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ROUND-UP:Oct. 19-23, 2020

Canada has been removed from Europe’s “white list” of COVID-friendly countries; much WestJet/Swoop news; and longer US border restrictions.

NEWS

Alberta will introduce expedited testing for international travellers arriving in Calgary at the Coutts land border crossing starting Nov. 2. The pilot project – a first in Canada – will be voluntary and would allow individuals producing a negative COVID-19 test to quarantine for two days rather than 14.

Canada has been removed from the European Union’s “white list” of countries from which travellers can visit the bloc without COVID-related restrictions such as quarantines or mandatory tests. Not every country in the bloc adheres to the non-binding list.

The proposed re-opening of the Canada-US border to non-essential traffic has been postponed once again until Nov. 21.

RE-OPENING/RESTART

Starting today, travellers entering Costa Rica by air will no longer need to present a negative RT-PCR test result. The measure comes less than a week before the country reopens its borders to all international travellers on Nov. 1. An online health pass must still be filled out and insurance coverage is required.

International travellers will be welcome again in St. Kitts & Nevis effective Oct. 31 with the re-opening of the islands’ borders. For entry protocols go to the St. Kitts and Nevis tourism websites.

VIA Rail will begin a gradual return to service in Western Canada by providing intercity transportation exclusively between Winnipeg and Vancouver starting Dec. 11.

DELAYED/CANCELLED

Cathay Dragon is no more. The regional subsidiary of Cathay Pacific has been shut down after 30 years as part of restructuring to reflect the global health crisis.

Carnival 2021 has been cancelled in Trinidad and Tobago because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AIR

An alliance agreement between WestJet and Delta Air Lines has been given tentative approval by the US Department of Transportation. Canada’s Competition Bureau approved the joint venture in the summer of 2019.

Meanwhile, WestJet says it will begin providing refunds to passengers who had their WestJet and Swoop flights cancelled by the airlines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – the first airline to offer full refunds for all flights. The company says the refunds will be in the original form of payment, rather than a credit for future flights as it had been previously offering. Refunds are expected to take six to nine months. Passengers will be contacted starting Nov. 2.

Swoop launched operations at Toronto Pearson Airport on Sunday. Inaugural flights included Montego Bay, Edmonton, Kelowna and Halifax with additional flights to destinations such as Abbotsford and Cancun continuing this week.

Air Canada is making its fleet of all-business class Jetz charter aircraft available to customers for commercial flights as it redeploys the fleet on popular winter routes. Each of the airline’s four Airbus A319 aircraft are configured with only 58 business class seats – less than half the normal number of seats on this aircraft type – providing an elevated level of comfort and service.

BY THE NUMBERS

US on the move: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened over one million passengers on Oct. 18, representing the highest number of passengers screened at TSA checkpoints since March 17, 2020. In addition to screening one million passengers in a single day, TSA screened 6.1 million passengers at checkpoints across the US during the week (Oct. 12-18), a weekly volume that was the highest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

DEALS

The launch of a new enriched loyalty program by Windstar Cruises is being promoted this week with an exclusive private sale for club members, including attractive pricing plus double alumni savings on all sailings in 2021 and 2022.

Through Nov. 15, agents can offer clients a buy one, get one at half off discount to experience Alaska with Hurtigruten. Use the code BOGOHO on the company’s travel agent portal. Itineraries booked by Oct. 31 may be cancelled for any reason in the future with a full refund – including the deposit – within 14 days of cancellation.

HOTELS
Visiting or returning to Hong Kong? Ovolo Hotels says it has guests covered when it comes to quarantine. The company can’t override the government’s mandatory 14-day isolation protocol, but it can mitigate further complications through its Quarantine Concierge package, which includes a room (photo) equipped with unlimited premium Wi-Fi, Apple TV and Alexa, along with in-room fitness equipment and games; use of Quarantine Concierge; room service breakfast; HKD$1,000 (approx. US$130) in F&B credits for in-room dining; complimentary cocktail daily; Zoom social sessions with other guests; and more. The package is available at Ovolo Central, Ovolo Southside and The Sheung Wan by Ovolo locations.

TOURS

Catering to Canadians planning to travel domestically due to the pandemic, TravelBrands has released six brochures highlighting diverse travel experiences and itineraries in Canada. Hundred of options can be found in the guides: Canada Winter Holidays, Canada Rail & Cruise, Canada City Packages, Canada Escorted Tours, Canada Self-Drive, and Canada Excursions. Each brochure has its own unique promotion for travellers. Themed promotions are indicated on the last page of each brochure.

Insight Vacations has released its new 2021-22 Europe & Beyond collection with 120 itineraries and over 100 Insight Experiences across Europe, Africa and Asia. Early booking bonuses apply when booked and paid for by Dec. 17.

CRUISE

In 2021, Holland America Line will offer a full season of cruises and Land+Sea Journeys in Alaska. From April through September, six ships will sail roundtrip from Seattle and Vancouver or one-way between Whitter (Anchorage) and Vancouver.

Citing its ongoing commitment to sustainable travel, UnCruise Adventures has released a digital-only edition of its 2021-22 cruise brochure on its web site. Included are destination videos and mobile applications. The company says it has gone completely paperless.

RESORTS

The Abaco Beach Resort (photo) is set to re-open on Nov. 1 following an extensive renovation and expansion conducted after Hurricane Dorian. Now featuring 94 guest rooms, suites, and condo residences, the property also has a state-of-the-art marina, known as “Boat Harbour,” with 200 rebuilt slip and Helipad. Situated in the historical tourist district of Marsh Harbour, the massive beachfront property is five minutes from the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport.

The adults-only, all-inclusive, Haven Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa has re-opened. The oceanfront resort, located between Cancun and the Riviera Maya, caters to vacationers seeking a luxurious beach getaway and has several introductory offers available. The property is part of Hipotels Hotels & Resorts and a member of the Preferred Hotels and Resorts L.V.X. Collection.

EVENTS

Nov. 2-6 – Designed to group several annual Dominican Republic travel trade shows together – including DATE – the tourism ministry supported “ASONAHORES Virtual Fair 2020” is intended to promote the relaunch of the country’s tourism sector in a “semi face-to-face way” through pre-scheduled digital business meetings and a program of activities relevant to representative of travel agencies, tour operators, event co-ordinators, incentive companies and more. More information and registration details can be found at www.asonahores.com

Nov. 9-10: The annual Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) will be held virtually this year providing a forum for leading suppliers of Jamaican tourism product to meet with travel wholesalers and tour operators from all over the world. Dubbed JAPEX Live 2020, the interactive virtual platform will enable attendees to explore the destination’s tourism regions from afar; drop into an exclusive networking lounge; and participate in online live chats while immersing themselves in destination news and information, including a feature keynote from tourism minister Edmund Bartlett. For full details, click www.japex.org

PEOPLE

Omar Josephs, a member of the Unique Vacations Canada team since 2003 has been given the title Senior Manager, Groups and Events, adding expanded responsibilities to his role on the Canadian sales team for Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts.

DESTINATIONS

Count the Cayman Islands among the countries offering a remote work at home program that allow “digital nomads” to stay for up to two years. For information and restrictions regarding the “Global Citizen Concierge Program,” click www.visitcaymanislands.com

Despite the pandemic, work continues on Frigate Bay beach in St. Kitts & Nevis. The popular attraction is undergoing a multi-million upgrade through the construction of offshore breakwaters, onshore groynes, overall beach nourishment. Completion is expected in January.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

* 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

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