ROUND-UP:Oct. 18-22, 2021
Among the highlights in the news last week: Canada has lifted its travel advisory against non-essential travel; vaccine passports are coming (and required); federal government aid packages have changed, but travel gets a boost; and TTAND joins the TL Network.
The Government of Canada has lifted its advisory against non-essential international travel that has been in place since March 2020. But a similar advisory against cruising remains. The new advisory also urges all travellers to be fully vaccinated before a trip.
The federal government has unveiled a $7-billion redesign of pandemic aid for businesses and individuals that kicked in Sunday. The new wage and rent subsidies for businesses will be more generous and targeted to the still-hurting tourism and hospitality sectors.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government and the provinces have reached agreement on a vaccine passport for all travel. He says several jurisdictions have already begun to roll out the new proofs of vaccination. Government officials said all provinces plan to have their version of the Canadian document, which will be distinguished by similar markings and Q code, available by the end of November.
Canada’s chief public health officer says the country is approaching the level of 90% of the population having at least one dose of COVID vaccine. But Dr. Theresa Tam says while our protection against COVID-19 has been bolstered by vaccines, it’s important to protect ourselves against other illnesses too by getting the regular flu shot and keeping up with public health guidelines. Tam says Canadians should continue to wear masks, keep up with hand hygiene and provide good ventilation in our indoor spaces.
The Travel Agent Next Door has announced that will be joining the TL Network (TLN) effective Nov. 1 after a 98% vote in favour by over 900 of its members.
Fully vaccinated travellers with a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result are no longer required to take a second COVID-19 PCR test on arrival in Barbados or observe a quarantine period, though random antigen tests on arrivals (free) may be conducted. Unvaccinated travellers are still subject to full protocols, including pre- and arrival testing and up to five days quarantine.
The inaugural Caribbean season planned for Tradewinds Voyages this winter will no longer take place. “Guest concerns about accessibility to certain islands and resistance to travelling in bubbles, which is a key part of the brand experience, has brought the company to this conclusion,” says the company, which was to operate 17 voyages between December and April. TV says its tall ship Golden Horizon, the world’s largest, will operate in the Med from May to October next year.
Edmonton-based discount carrier Flair Airlines is buying four Boeing 737 Max jets and will start flying to new destinations in Canada and the US in the spring. Flair will launch service to destinations including San Francisco, Nashville and Denver and start flying between Toronto and Victoria. It is going to hire 100 pilots and is also looking to hire flight attendants and operational support staff.
Air Canada will begin new non-stop routes from Toronto to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, operating twice a week starting on Dec. 16, and to Great Exuma, Bahamas, operating once a week starting on Dec. 19. It has also expanded its routes from Quebec City, with the addition of non-stop flights to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., starting in November and increasing during peak season, and to Orlando, starting in December. Flights will be operated on a Rouge narrow body aircraft and packages are available through Air Canada Vacations.
IATA announced that Etihad Airways, Jazeera Airways, Jetstar, Qantas, Qatar Airways, and Royal Jordanian, will implement IATA Travel Pass in a phased rollout across the airlines’ networks. These five airlines join Emirates Airline as IATA Travel Pass implementation pioneers.
BY THE NUMBERS
Porter Airlines celebrated its 15th anniversary on Friday. The carrier, based at Toronto Island Airport (and adding service to Toronto Pearson in 2022), now serves close to two dozen destinations in Canada and the US both year-round and seasonally.
Complimentary round-trip chartered air flights between Miami and Ushuaia, Argentina, as well as hotel nights in both cities will be provided for Crystal Cruises guests for inaugural round-trip Ushuaia voyages in Antarctica featuring the new polar-class expedition yacht, Crystal Endeavor, which will launch her inaugural Antarctic season with eight voyages in November through February 2022. “Book Now Savings” also apply for reservations made by Nov. 3, plus US$1,000 shipboard spending credit per person.
Four new Fiji 2022 getaways will be offered by Goway as the South Pacific nation prepares to re-open to tourism on Dec. 1. Each of the seven-night packages suits a different kind of traveller, ranging from the Fiji Family Escape, with first-class accommodation on Castaway Island in the beautiful Mamanucas, to a stay at the deluxe Savasi Island Resort for couples and romantics; “Adventure on the Coral” is for adrenaline junkies, and Yasawa Island Resort & Spa showcases Fiji as a destination to get away from it all, relax, and recharge. For full details and more, attend Goway’s Fiji webinar on Nov. 3 – sign up on Gowayagent.com.
From reduced fares and fees to free COVID coverage and easy-to-access destination information, Sunwing says it want to make it as easy as possible for agents and customers to navigate the new world of travel. Highlights of Sunwing offerings include the ability for customers to change their plans anytime with no fees along with free COVID-19 medical coverage on most all-inclusive vacation packages. Sunwing has also launched a dedicated “Travel Requirements” landing page providing current information on everything from travel regulations, including destination entry requirements, insurance options, PCR testing information, a pre-departure checklist, and helpful tips for returning to Canada.
Virgin Hotels is making a new home in the Big Apple. Virgin Hotels New York will be located on the northwest corner of 29th Street and Broadway in the NoMad neighbourhood, close to many famous NYC attractions. The new-build is expected to open before the end of the year with 463 guest rooms, meeting spaces, and multiple food and beverage venues, including the brand’s flagship space, Commons Club and the new concept, the Pool Clubs.
Formerly the historic La Jolla Inn, the Cormorant Boutique Hotel, which is slated to open this fall in San Diego, Ca., has undergone an extensive, three-year renovation that brings a mid-century modern aesthetic to the heart of La Jolla. Named after the seaside town’s famed Cormorant birds, the hotel includes 26 nautical-inspired guestrooms, each with a balcony and expansive views of the Pacific Ocean; a new rooftop terrace bar; and Prospect Market, an upscale grab-and-go marketplace as an homage to the property’s origins as the only market in La Jolla Village in the 1940s.
The Buenaventura Golf & Beach Resort, a family-friendly destination beach resort located two hours from Panama City, reports that it has updated all 114 guest rooms in time for the restart of travel. The renovation project maintained the hotel’s historic Panamanian culture and heritage while updating its look, presenting a unique blend of coastal elegance and contemporary design. Rooms, feature private balconies, plush mattresses, and marble or hardwood floors, while the resort offers a range of onsite activities with 10 swimming pools, a Nicklaus-designed 18-hole championship golf course, biking, tennis, sports club, spa, and many other nearby experiences.
Leela Palaces, Hotels, and Resorts has opened a second hotel in Bengaluru, dubbed the “Garden City” of India. Located in Bhartiya City, one of India’s largest integrated smart cities, the Leela Bhartiya City Bengaluru exudes modern luxury and sophistication in its 281 lavishly appointed rooms and suites and overlooks the Central Park. Strategically located on Thanisandra Road, the property is a 30-minute drive from the international airport.
Relocating to what it calls “the epicentre of the cruise industry,” Windstar Cruises will set up shop in its new Miami home by June of next year. HQ for the small ship cruise line has been Seattle.
Princess Cruises is announcing plans for additional ships returning to service in North America next spring sailing from Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver, and Fort Lauderdale. Starting between Feb. 13 and April 22, cruises onboard three additional Princess MedallionClass ships will take guests to the Caribbean, Hawaii, and the California Coast. Crown Princess, Island Princess and Royal Princess join the eight Princess ships scheduled to restart in 2021, representing 79% of Princess’ ship capacity. Among the sailings will be Royal Princess from Vancouver to California beginning April 8.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
A standalone Peppa Pig theme park at the Legoland Florida Resort is set to open Feb. 24. The park will feature rides, interactive attractions, themed playscapes, water play areas, and live shows, mostly designed for small children and their parents. Families will also be able to meet Peppa and her friends – a cast of characters operated under a licensing agreement with Hasbro, which owns the character. Legoland Florida has expanded repeatedly since opening in October 2011 on the former site of Cypress Gardens. The park unveiled its first hotel in 2015, added the off-site Legoland Beach Retreat in 2017, and opened Pirate Island Hotel last year.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
A second “Marketing Masterclass” from AmaWaterways will take place on Dec. 9 aboard the AmaKristina “Colours of Provence – Christmas Market” sailing in the Rhone River. The in-depth learning opportunity for travel agents is designed to combine a river cruise experience with continuing education, arming travel advisors with new skills and strategies to grow their river cruise business with individuals and groups. Co-hosted by AmaWaterways’ CMO Janet Bava and Travel Marketing & Media’s founder Sandra McLemore, the inaugural event AmaSiena’s maiden voyage at the beginning of August was sold out. For details, visit Ama’s travel agent portal.
A new appointment at Transat sees Maria Pagano named Senior Director, Brand & Customer Experience. She brings over 15 years of marketing strategy and branding experience in the civil and commercial aviation industry. In her new role, Pagano will oversee the strategic positioning of the Air Transat brand and all the group’s brands in both domestic and international markets. In addition, she will represent the voice of the customer within the organization and implement outstanding and personalized customer experience throughout all travel operations.
Canada Jetlines announced the appointment of Adam Wilcox as Director Business Development & Network Planning. The former Porter Airlines veteran will lead business development and expansion for the new all-Canadian leisure carrier.
Rock of Ages: On Nov. 23, The Rolling Stones will close out their “No Filter” tour at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Fla. The tour marks the band’s first time reuniting following last year’s postponement and the south Florida date follows 14 stops across the United States that concludes a record-breaking first leg in 2019. Meanwhile, Rod Stewart will return in 2022 for 10 more shows of his residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, May 13-21 and Sept. 23-Oct. 1. Lastly, “unforeseen medical symptoms” have forced Celine Dion to cancel the Nov. 5 opening of her new show at Resorts World Theatre, with performances through Feb. 5 now delayed.
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First published at Travel Industry Today