All travel news.

ROUND-UP:Nov. 23-27, 2020

Air Canada and Shoppers Drug Mart have partnered for COVID testing; Air France returns to YVR; Cyber Monday deals, and more:

NEWS

Air Canada customers requiring a PCR test for international travel (such as Hawaii) can now get one at Shoppers Drug Mart. The program begins Dec. 7 (at which time costs will be revealed) at participating locations in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. Results are typically available within 24-48 hours.

The WestJet-YVR COVID-19 Testing Study has started. The collaborative effort between researchers from UBC and Providence Health Care and project sponsors WestJet and Vancouver Airport Authority is investigating a method of COVID-19 rapid testing to help inform the safest and most efficient way of testing departing passengers at YVR. Strictly voluntary, passengers are asked to test for the coronavirus at check-in.

Canada has launched a new program to help travellers who may face airport delays because they have a similar name to someone on the country’s terrorist “no-fly list.” The Canadian Travel Number provides a unique number that travellers apply for to ensure they are not falsely flagged and face delays at check in. The program can be applied for at Canada’s public safety website.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

The Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger has re-opened corresponding to Hawaii’s eased entry protocols. A new “Clean Commitment” and other safety protocols are in effect.

Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort will re-open Jan. 28, 2021, while Sandals Emerald Bay will reopen Feb. 1, 2021.

DELAYED/ CANCELLED

Disney Cruise Line has cancelled all sailings departing through January 2021. Sailings are cancelled on board the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder and Disney Dream through Feb. 1 and the Disney Fantasy through Feb. 6.

The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association will host the 37th edition of its global convention in Atlanta Sept. 8-11, 2021, a delay of several months from its traditional April/May timeframe, due to the pandemic.

AIR

Travel between Paris and Vancouver will be available again, twice weekly, with Air France from Dec. 14 to March 27, 2021. Passengers will be on board the Paris-Papeete flight, which is temporarily stopping in Vancouver replacing Los Angeles as the route’s refueling stop. Outbound flights are Mondays and Wednesday, returns from Paris Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Qatar Airways and Air Canada begin a codeshare agreement for travel between Doha and Toronto on Dec. 15. Air Canada passengers will be able to seamlessly connect onwards to more than 75 destinations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East with Qatar Airways, which currently operates four weekly flights to Montreal and operated temporary charter flights to Toronto and Vancouver during the pandemic.

WestJet’s updated December schedule features up to 55 daily flights to sun destinations in the Caribbean, the US (including Hawaii) and Mexico. The schedule also highlights increased domestic frequencies for travel through to Jan. 4, 2021. For sun seekers the airline is adding December flights to Liberia (Costa Rica), Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, Barbados, Mazatlán, Huatulco, Orlando, Las Vegas, Honolulu and (Maui).

BY THE NUMBERS

Passenger numbers are expected to plummet to 1.8 billion (60.5% down on the 4.5 billion passengers in 2019 and roughly the same number that the industry carried in 2003), says IATA. Furthermore, airline industry losses will amount to US$118.5 billion for 2020 and $38.7 billion in 2021.

DEALS

Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals are plentiful. Here are a few that have legs beyond today:

Trafalgar: Savings of up to $650 p.p. on all 2021 ‘Best of’ Trafalgar tours departing April 1-Dec. 31, 2021. Offer valid through Dec. 8.

Costsaver: Receive a $200 credit on a 2021/22 Costsaver booking made before Dec. 17. Valid until Dec. 8.

Insight Vacations: Through Dec. 3, save 15% on all European Country Roads and Easy Pace journeys departing between April to November 2021.

European Waterways: Save 30% off private whole barge charters on three select April and May 2021 France itineraries (two departures each). Offer in effect through Dec. 4.

Bermuda: Several hotels and resorts are offering free nights and other discounts for Cyber Monday and continuing the rest of the week. Among them:

• Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa: 5th night free.
• Coco Reef Resort: 3rd or 4th night free when booking a beachfront room Dec-March.
• The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club: 40% off 2020 stays booked by Dec. 5; use using the promo code PBLK.
• Grotto Bay Beach Resort: 3rd night free.
• Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa: 50% off one-bedroom suites (minimum of three nights).
• Pompano Beach Club: Stay four nights or more between Feb. 25 and March 31, 2021 and receive every 4th night free.
• The Reefs: 3rd night free when staying Jan-March, 2021.
• Royal Palms Hotel: 7th night free and two complimentary Ascots Swizzles (one-night non-refundable deposit required).

Offers valid until Dec. 7 for travel December to March 21 unless otherwise noted (blackout dates apply).

HOTELS

Kimpton Clocktower Hotel

Manchester’s new Kimpton Clocktower Hotel, located in the city’s landmark Victorian clocktower, is a magnificent terracotta Grade II listed building dating to 1890. All 270 loft-style bedrooms, including 11 suites, were designed to make the most of the stunning, double and triple-height ceilings. Other original period features including glazed brick, tile, faience, stained glass and carved wooden staircases, are combined with contemporary fittings and interiors.

TOURS

Swoop’s new Trusted Travel Getaways program is designed to take the fear out of travelling over the holidays. Three departures to Montego Bay, Jamaica – Dec. 19, 26 and Jan. 2 – include flights and accommodation at the all-inclusive Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay, ground transfers in Jamaica, along with a complimentary pre-travel COVID-19 test from a leading Canadian laboratory service provider.

CRUISE

Silversea Cruises is set to enhance its all-inclusive offerings with the upcoming launch of its new 2022/23 itineraries. For the first time, the cruise line will include at least one complimentary shore excursion on all voyages. All cruise fares will also include roundtrip air and transfers. The 2022/23 collection will be the cruise line’s largest-ever itinerary release, with almost 12% more itineraries compared to the previous launch, and featuring 315 voyages across all seven continents, calling in 669 destinations in 114 countries, with 61 maiden calls. Cruises open for sale Dec. 10.

New itineraries that feature four ports of call and others that showcase twice the number of glaciers will highlight Royal Caribbean’s 2022 Alaska season on board Ovation, Quantum, Radiance and Serenade of the Seas. The summer program offers seven-night cruise vacations departing from Seattle; Seward, Alaska; and Vancouver, and is now open for booking.

RESORTS

Baha Mar, Bahamas

Bahamas’ Baha Mar resort complex will begin a phased re-opening on Dec. 17 starting with the Grand Hyatt, to be followed by Rosewood and SLS properties. Enhanced safety and health measures will be in effect, including a 60% occupancy limit and guests will be required to take a complimentary COVID-19 rapid test upon arrival. Trips may be cancelled up to 24 hours before arrival and guests can receive the fourth night free with the “Spectacular Awaits” booking offer.

Upon reopening Dec. 15, Now Larimar Punta Cana will unveil a brand change, becoming Dreams Royal Beach Punta Cana. Existing bookings will be honoured.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Pending government approval, Brightline and Walt Disney World Resort have reached an agreement to build a train station at Disney Springs. Brightline is already building tracks from South Florida to Orlando International Airport and planning to extend service to Tampa. The South Florida to Orlando extension is scheduled to begin service in 2022

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Agents can earn 2% bonus commission for every Canadian ski vacation package booked with Air Canada Vacations through Dec. 6.

For the next four weeks, travel agents who are members of TravelBrands’ Your TravelBrands BDM Facebook group will have the opportunity to receive prizes and other perks in offered in conjunction with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). In week one, agents can get up to 5,000 Loyalty Rewards points by attending an NCL webinar, joining NCL University or taking new courses at NCL University. Agents can also earn 2% bonus commission during the giveaway period. The offer is applicable on new bookings made by Dec. 18.

EVENTS

Dec. 1 – The Air Canada Foundation will hold its first ever online Gift of Travel Auction, featuring an array of over a hundred unique, and in some cases historic, aviation items. All proceeds will be distributed to Canadian charitable organizations focused on the health and wellness of children and youth.

Dec. 8 – The Israel Ministry of Tourism in Canada will host its next webinar on Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. (EST). Register HERE.

Dec. 8 – Reach Global Marketing is hosting a series of webinars for clients on Dec. 8. The sessions are as follows (all times EST): New Hampshire, 10:30 a.m.; North Carolina, 11:30 a.m.; Bermuda, 12:30 p.m.; Arizona, 1:30 p.m.; and Las Vegas, 2:30 p.m. Those who take part in at least two of the sessions have a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. Reach out to Reach for link details, david@reachglobal.ca.

APPOINTMENTS

FINN Partners has been appointed by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) as their integrated communications agency in the US and Canada, focussing on communications positioning, media and trade relations, promotions, strategic brand alliances, experiential marketing initiatives, special events and supporting influencer marketing and social media campaigns. Dubai is the fourth most visited city in the world.

DESTINATIONS

A tourist fee to enter Venice that was postponed because of the pandemic will be re-introduced on Jan. 1, 2022. The rate has yet to be fixed, but it had been scheduled to be up to US$12. Overnight visitors with hotel reservations don’t have to pay.

Britain’s Hampton Court Palace will host its first ever Tulip Festival in 2021. Guests can tiptoe through the palace grounds April 17 to May 3 on a special trail highlight elaborate displays throughout the gardens, courtyard and orangery. The palace will also be commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Field of Cloth of Gold (postponed from 2020) with the ‘Gold and Glory: Henry VIII and the French King’ exhibition running from April 1 to Sept. 5. Admission is included with palace entry.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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