ROUND-UP:Nov. 2-6, 2020
Canadian air arrivals face new mandatory protocols; Sunwing and rouge are in the air again; and cruise lines have paused North American operations until the end of the year.
The US Travel Association has high hopes for the administration of new president Joe Biden. In a congratulatory message issued just minutes after the democratic candidate was declared winner on Saturday, USTA president and CEO Roger Dow said: “We applaud President-elect Biden’s objective of helping the industries most heavily impacted by the pandemic. The travel industry accounts for more than a third of overall US unemployment, and policies to promote relief, recovery, and stimulus for travel businesses are integral to a US economic turnaround… We stand ready to work closely with the Biden administration and both chambers of Congress to achieve policy goals that revive our economy and bring our country together—a hallmark of the travel industry.”
As of Nov. 21, all air travellers entering Canada will have to provide specific COVID-related information including travel information, self assessment, and quarantine plans through the government’s ArriveCAN platform. The measures are mandatory and can be completed online or through an app prior to boarding and also require post-arrival follow-up.
WestJet flight S1511 from LAX to Calgary on Nov. 2 marked the first international flight eligible to participate in the new government of Alberta testing pilot program. The program is trialing a two-day quarantine period in Alberta rather than 14.
Destination marketer Development Counsellors International (DCI) has released the second edition of “Capturing the Canadian Consumer.” Based on responses of 1,500 Canadians (English and French), the new edition focusses on the pandemic’s effects and how it has impacted consumer travel preferences, including on flights, hotels, and what travel agents can do to bring back business in 2021 and beyond. The report costs $450 and can details can be found on aboutdci.com.
Sunwing’s first flight since March took off from Toronto to Punta Cana on Nov. 6 and to celebrate the tour operator is offering up to 50% off packages at Royalton Luxury Resorts for a limited time.
Transat has officially resumed operations to Cuba. During the 2020-21 winter season, Air Transat will fly to Holguin from Montreal and Toronto and plans to gradually expand its operations to Varadero and Cayo Coco. At the height of the season, it will also offer flights to Holguin and Varadero from Quebec City.
The departure of Air Canada flight AC1810 from Toronto to Cancun on Nov. 2 marked the return of Air Canada Rouge to the skies.
The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis began welcoming back international visitors on Oct. 31. Tourists travelling to St Kitts and Nevis must have a negative RT-PCR test 72 hours before departure date.
Most major cruise lines have announced a pause in North American-based operations until at least Dec. 31. They include all Carnival Corp. brands (including CCL, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, Costa and Cunard), Royal Caribbean Group (including Celebrity and Silversea), MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line brands (including NCL, Oceania, and Regent Seven Seas). Note: Crystal had previously cancelled its 2020 cruise season.
Next year’s bi-annual Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games, originally scheduled to take place in August, have been postponed until the summer of 2022.
London’s Heathrow Airport has launched a rapid coronavirus test service for passengers. The pre-departure tests, which aim to provide results in an hour, are available to those flying to Hong Kong and Italy. The saliva swab costs $104 and can return results quickly because they don’t need to be sent to a laboratory. Hong Kong and Italy are among destinations requiring travellers from Britain and other “high risk” countries to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result 72 hours before their departure.
BY THE NUMBERS
The airline industry has “hit a wall,” says IATA. In September total demand was down 72.8% from the same month in 2019 levels and only slightly improved over the 75.2% year-to-year decline recorded in August. Capacity was down 63% compared to a year ago and load factor fell 21.8 percentage points to 60.1%. International passenger demand in September plunged 88.8% compared to September 2019, basically unchanged from the 88.5% decline recorded in August. Capacity plummeted 78.9%, and load factor withered 38.2 percentage points to 43.5%.
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Blue Diamond Resorts has extended its Royalton (brand) 10-Year Anniversary Sale until Nov. 25 with prices starting at US$85 p.p. per night and up to $600 in resort recredits.
Uplift, a “Buy Now, Pay Later” payment solution focused exclusively on travel is now available on The Travel Corporation’s 40 brands, including Trafalgar, Insight and Contiki. Clients can make monthly payments over an 11-month period with annual percentage rates (APRs) from 7%, allowing clients to take advantage of early booking bonuses. The omni-channel payment platform integrates into TTC’s travel advisor booking platforms, creating a seamless guest experience.
With millennials expected to be the first demographic to “re-travel” post pandemic, G Adventures has a launched a new series of tours especially suited to 18 to 30-something travellers, adding to the existing list of 150-plus options. Among the new ones are: Nepal: Mountains and Temples; Vietnam Roadtrip Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City; and Hawaiian Adventure: Beachin’ & Boardin’.
Royal Caribbean Int. has released an “adapted schedule” for its 2021-22 winter sailings based on by market research and feedback from guests and travel partners. New itineraries in the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand feature a variety of departure ports and itinerary lengths and more choices in the Caribbean with ships sailing from Florida and Texas. Guests with confirmed bookings between October 2021 and March 2022 whose cruises are affected will be notified directly.
In early 2022, Disney Cruise Line will return to Hawaii with a 10-night islands cruise, plus a variety of sailings to the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico departing from homeports including New Orleans, Galveston, San Diego, Miami and Port Canaveral. Featured in the program will be two special Disney Wonder 10-night cruises: to Honolulu from Vancouver on April 26 and a return sailing on May 6.
Las Vegas has a new resort. Located on the iconic Fremont Street Experience, the 35-storey Circa Resort & Casino is the tallest building north of the strip and features a distinctive, tapered, 71-degree tower, with 777 rooms and a two-storey casino. Ambiance is “vintage Vegas.”
After a year of renovations, the Bahia Principe Grand Tulum re-opens next week featuring a complete makeover, including placing the hotel’s Mayan origin front and centre. The brand’s original Mexican flagship property features Mayan-inspired architecture melded with natural surroundings and a host of amenities, including seven dining venues, extensive Kids Zone, three pools and beach. The property is one of four located within the Bahia Principe Riviera Maya Resort complex, an hour from Cancun International Airport and 30 minutes from Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
Opening April 2021 in the UNESCO World Heritage Site town of St. George, the St. Regis Bermuda Resort will bring luxury to a corner of the island with an otherwise limited hotel inventory. The opening marks the return of Marriott to Bermuda; the brand has not had a presence on-island since 1999.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
The halls are now decked at Disney World with a reimagined holiday celebration at the Orlando attraction’s four theme parks, Disney Springs and Disney resort hotels until Dec. 30. Highlights include seasonal food and drinks, special merchandise, and new entertainment experiences, and pop-up appearances by Santa at each park, as well as Disney Springs.
Nov. 12-13: Additional topics and speakers have been added at ACTA’s Canadian Virtual Travel Leadership summit taking place this week, Nov. 12 & 13. The two-day summit will include critical industry updates, networking opportunities, virtual trade show and prizes! Register for free HERE.
Nov. 17: Tourism New Zealand will host a Zoom webinar on its new 100% Pure New Zealand Marketing Hub on Nov. 17. The hub provides professionally designed and customizable marketing tools that empower travel advisors to convert on sales opportunities. Register HERE.
Nov. 24: TL Network Canada will host the launch of its virtual event, ‘Canada Connect,’ on the afternoon of Nov. 24. Member agents will have the opportunity to network and engage with preferred suppliers, as well as learn about all the latest enhancements to TL Network’s tools and solutions in a virtual setting. The event will be similar to the in-person “regionals” member advisors have attended in Eastern and Western Canada.
David Goldstein has been appointed as the new CEO of Travel Alberta. He takes the post having most recently served as president and CEO of Destination Canada.
Iceland, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Colombia and Turks and Caicos are the latest major destinations to adopt the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) global safety and hygiene stamp, which was launched earlier this year. The Safe Travels stamp was developed as the first of its kind to help restore confidence in travellers and aims to revive an ailing Travel & Tourism sector. It is now being used by over 145 destinations, including major holiday hotspots such as Puerto Rico, Philippines, Portugal, Turkey and Maldives.
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* Future dates and events listed here are up to date at time of printing, although obviously subject to changes due to ever-involving pandemic information. Travel Industry Today accepts no responsibility for sudden or unreported inaccuracies.
First published at Travel Industry Today