All travel news.

ROUND-UP:Nov. 9-13, 2020

TravCorp launches Brendan Vacations in Canada, Porter is postponed again, and Lufthansa has started rapid antigen tests in Germany.

NEWS

Three global airline alliances are urging governments to put into practice common guidelines for passenger testing and digital health pass technology to help people start flying again. Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam say testing could be part of an overall approach to restart international travel by reducing reliance on the “blunt instrument” of quarantines aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus.

The Travel Corporation has brought Brendan Vacations to Canada. The Dublin-based Ireland and Scotland specialist with over 50 years experience was bought by TTC in 2006 and visits nearly 40 cities in Ireland and Scotland offering clients four different travel styles: private chauffeur, locally hosted rail, self drive, and self drive luxe. The portfolio will be managed TTC’s Trafalgar/Costsaver team in Canada.

In its continued global initiative to ensure consumers can travel with confidence and stay in a safe environment, Internova Travel Group – parent company of TL Network in Canada – has selected digital health company Sharecare and Forbes Travel Guide as health security verification partners to validate the procedures and protocols at more than 50,000 hotels booked through its systems. The dynamic solution will help the travel industry align on a common approach, consistent protocols, and an established system of health security, say company executives.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

In an effort to revive its tourism industry, South Africa has opened up international travel to visitors from all countries. Foreign visitors must produce negative COVID-19 test results upon arrival.

DELAYED/ CANCELLED

Porter Airlines has adjusted its planned restart date for flights to Feb. 11, due to increasing COVID-19 cases and ongoing travel restrictions affecting customer demand.

Cancellation of Windstar cruises has been extended until March due to COVID. Wind Spirit is now set to sail in Tahiti March 25, followed by other vessels in the Caribbean and Med throughout April and Europe in July. Cancellations were previously in effect until the end of the year.

BY THE NUMBERS

The 30th annual Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) last week parlayed its virtual nature into record attendance, with more than 2,500 registrations from around the globe, including 2,000 travel agents, 250 tour operators, 140 supplier companies, 280 supplier delegates, 251 buyer delegates and 158 journalists. Booth visits were in excess of 25,000 and JAPEX LIVE saw an overwhelming 14,000 shares of content across the platform.

AIR

On Nov. 12, Lufthansa began the first test runs for comprehensive Covid-19 antigen rapid tests on selected routes between Munich and Hamburg. The airline is offering its customers the opportunity to be tested for Covid-19 free of charge before departure on two daily flights. Passengers who do not wish to be tested will be transferred to an alternative flight at no additional cost, however only passengers with a negative test result will have their boarding pass activated for access to the gate be granted.

Japan Airlines Group airlines Japan Air Commuter and Hokkaido Air System have joined the oneworld alliance as affiliates. The two airlines operate to more than 20 regional destinations in Japan with more than 90 daily flights.

DEALS

To mark 2021 and the turning of the calendar from calamitous 2020, G Adventures’ 21-day Cyber Sale includes discounts of up to 21% and $1 upfront deposits on more than 420 tour options across the company’s 18-to-Thirtysomethings, Active, Classic, Family, Local Living, Marine, Rail and Wellness travel styles. The sale is in effect until Nov. 30 for travel Jan. 1-Dec. 21, 2021.

Atlantis Paradise Island will resume operations on Dec. 10 in time for the winter holiday and festive season. Returning guests will discover renovated Royal East Tower guestrooms, Harbourside Resort villas, and The Reef residential-style studios and suites (opening Dec. 17), along with Dolphin Cay’s personalized guest experiences, a new family package, and more. A first-night free offer, bookable by Nov. 22 is available for stays Dec. 10-17 with two-night minimum.

TOURS

Globus Group

In 2021, Globus and Cosmos are making their group experiences even smaller with Small-Group Discovery tours available for the first time on all departures in North America and Europe. Both touring brands also offer Small-Group Discoveries on all departures through Central & South America, Asia, Africa and select departures in the South Pacific. Groups average 24 guests to allow travellers extra space while touring.

Travellers booking any Flight & Cruise package with Air Canada Vacations through Dec. 12 in a balcony stateroom or higher will receive $200 in flight credits per couple plus an extra $100 in flight credits per couple when booking their next cruise vacation with a future travel credit.

RESORTS

Banyan Tree Krabi

Now open, the 72-key Banyan Tree Krabi luxury resort (photo) in little known Tubkaek Beach (less than hour from Krabi International Airport in southern Thailand) is nestled on a verdant hillside and commands spectacular vistas of a dozen limestone cliffs rising from the sea and features a stunning Buddhist temple like entrance. The 5-star resort backs onto a lush national park and the roller-coastering Naga Crest Hill, granting all 13 beach villas and 59 suites – each of which has its own private pool – a westward-facing view of sunsets over the Andaman Sea. Facilities include two restaurants and a beach bar; kids’ club; fitness centre; and rainforest-themed spa.

The Bermudiana Beach Resort, Tapestry Collection by Hilton will open next summer – a cliff-top condo-hotel that will be the Hilton brand’s first hotel in Bermuda. Amenities include family-friendly and infinity pools, spa, fitness centre, and a secluded beach that is accessible via a two-car funicular elevator.

HOTELS

Having postponed its opening to the public in July due to the pandemic, Hotel de la Marine in Paris will now open April 13, 2021. Located on the Place de la Concorde across the rue Royale from the legendary Hotel de Crillon, the 18th century palace, former headquarters of the French Navy from the French Revolution through 2015, is being restored to showcase the royal and state’s period furniture, tapestries, and decorative objects to be displayed in the palace’s ceremonial ball rooms.

Set in a beautiful, honey-coloured Georgian terrace built in the 18th century, the 166-room Hotel Indigo Bath is now open. Located in a Grade 1 listed building, the IHG Hotels & Resorts property combines modern design and historical architecture in the attractive English city, famous for literature, romance, and, most notably, its ancient Roman baths.

CRUISE

In what it says is a bid to end “confusing promotions, complicated add-ons and limited time offers,” Celebrity Cruises is now including unlimited Wi-Fi and drinks, plus tips, in all its packages. The “Always Included” philosophy also allows guests to upgrade to the ELEVATE package, which includes premium drinks and shore excursions up to $200 p.p., while INDULGE further adds unlimited streaming Wi-Fi and $200 p.p. onboard credit.

In the 2021-22 season, Costa Cruises will deploy Costa Favolosa and its new flagship Costa Toscana in South America. The Costa Favolosa season will be even longer, almost five months, starting from Nov. 20, 2021 with embarkations in Santos, Rio de Janeiro and Itajaí.

Costa Toscana will make its debut in Brazil on Dec. 26, 2021, offering one-week cruises along the Brazilian coast, with embarkations in Santos and Salvador.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays begins Nov. 27 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Holiday kitchens will return around the World Showcase promenade, offering favourite dishes such as slow-roasted turkey with stuffing at the American Holiday Table. Meanwhile,
Inside World ShowPlace at EPCOT, JOYFUL! will take guests on a musical journey of holiday music, while Voices of Liberty will use their eight-part harmonies to share songs of the season at the America Gardens Theatre.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

The AMRewards loyalty program from AMResorts has been relaunched with cash and stay incentives, plus new redemption items. A cash bonus for bookings is also available to mark the occasion.

EVENTS

Nov. 17, Dec. 1: Insight Vacations has announced the introduction of a series of Business Building and Revenue Development webinars with the first two taking place on Nov. 17 (health protocols and consumer confidence) and Dec. 1 (small groups). The sessions will provide the agents the opportunity to gain practical knowledge on the business adaptations and innovations in the premium and luxury guided journey category developed during the COVID-19 global pandemic pause. Each webinar topic will be hosted twice on the given date to accommodate agents across the country. Contact Insight or your rep for full details.

Nov. 20 – As part of the program for Caribbean Tourism Month, the Caribbean Tourism Organization is organizing a free webinar at 11 a.m. EST on Nov. 20 for travel advisers during which CTO member countries will share “all the attributes that will help visitors find their solace in the Caribbean – food, drinks, adventure, wellness, art, resorts, you name it…” Register HERE.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Air Canada Vacations has announced that Mary Santonato is joining the company as its new Manager, National Accounts and will be based in the Mississauga office. Santonato has over 30 years experience in the travel industry, most recently as Director, Group Sales, Ontario & Atlantic Canada at Transat Tours Canada. She can be reached at msantonato@vacv.com.

TTAND Lends a Hand, the latest campaign launched by The Travel Agent Next Door, recently made $1,250 in community donations. Agents were invited to share their stories on how they have contributed to their community to make it a better place with five random draws that gave winners $250 each to donate to the charity of their choice.

DESTINATIONS

Blue Mountain resort in Collingwood, Ont., is now in full holiday mode. By day, the village sparkles with festive décor, warming fire pits, holiday music, and a horse-drawn carriage with Santa every Saturday. By night kilometre-long pedestrian pathways through the village and around the Mill Pond are decorated with interactive light displays. Packages are available at local hotels like the Westin Trillium House.

A recent survey of Germany’s top 100 destinations saw Miniature Wonderland Hamburg score top marks for the third time. Participants of the survey voted Europa-Park in Rust in second place and Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria came in third. More than 13,000 international visitors took part in the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) poll. Miniature Wonderland in Hamburg, featuring the world’s largest model railway, attracts 19 million visitors a year, while Europa-Park in Rust is Germany’s biggest theme park with 5.8 million visitors. About 1.5 million people visit “the Disney castle,” Neuschwanstein annually.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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