All travel news.

ROUND-UP:Oct 5-9, 2020

Departure fees are going up at Pearson, cruise lines are cancelling in November, and IATA says the chance of getting COVID while flying is low…

NEWS

Citing dramatic revenue loss due to COVID, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority‘s (GTAA) is hiking rates, including airport improvement fees for departing passengers to $30 (an increase of $5) and connecting passengers (from $2 to $6) effective Jan. 2, 2021. Aeronautical rates for commercial aviation will increase by 3%. The GTAA notes it hasn’t raised AIFs in 11 years.

A new survey commissioned by Sunwing reports that 56% of Canadians are considering going on vacation within the next year. Regular vacation-goers are even more likely to be interested in an upcoming getaway, with 71% saying that they are considering a vacation. Of respondents who would consider travelling in the next 12 months, 50% indicated they would be interested in planning an all-inclusive getaway.

Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, has launched Brand USA Global Marketplace – a one-stop shop that provides access to a diverse range of US destinations, attractions, and points of interest for the international travel industry. The first “re-imagined trade show” event on the “custom-built, always-on, virtual platform” will be for Europe on Oct. 26-29. A custom Canadian event, along with other destinations, will follow.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Jamaica’s Ministry of Health and Wellness has expanded acceptable testing categories allowing travellers to choose between presenting a negative COVID-19 Antigen test, or a negative PCR test. Testing must be performed by an accredited lab and results must be presented to the air carrier prior to boarding a flight to Jamaica as well as upon arrival. This process replaces the prior requirement for travellers to upload COVID-19 test results as part of the Travel Authorization process. Additionally, travellers are now able to visit COVID-compliant attractions located inside and outside of the Resilient Corridors via licensed transportation.

The Bahamas is set to re-open its tourism sector on Oct. 15, but incoming visitors must “Vacation in Place” for 14 days or the duration of stay, whichever is shorter, which means staying on the grounds of a traveller’s hotel or accommodations. That restriction will be lifted on Nov. 1. (Other protocols, such as antigen test upon arrival still apply).

Mandatory quarantine requirements are being removed in Hawaii starting Oct. 15, to be replaced by pre-test protocols for all arrivals.

DELAYED/CANCELLED

The following cruise lines are cancelling the following sailings:

Carnival Cruise Line departures PortMiami and Port Canaveral for November. It has also cancelled five cruises scheduled to operate from Sydney, Australia from Jan. 16 – Feb. 8, 2021.
Royal Caribbean Group is extending the suspension of sailings to include those departing on or before Nov. 30 excluding sailings from Hong Kong. Additionally, Celebrity Cruises will also be suspending its full 2020/21 winter program in Australia and Asia and Azamara has suspended all 2020/21 winter sailings throughout Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and South America.
• All Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises in November
MSC Cruises has cancelled MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seaside, and MSC Armonia cruises through Nov. 30, as well as all cruises departing from the Mediterranean and Far East with the exception of MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica – both of them sailing with guests from Schengen countries only.

AIR

Air Canada says it plans to explore the application of COVID-19 contact tracing technology in its workplace using through an app and wearable technology. The initiative is designed to enhance health and safety for employees and instill consumer confidence.

WestJet’s schedule has been boosted to 48 destinations, including 39 in Canada, three in the US and three in Mexico, two in Jamaica and one in the UK. The updated post-COVID schedule is still significantly reduced compared to 2019, but several major routes have returned including non-stop service between Calgary and Palm Springs, Phoenix, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas along with the return of non-stop service between Toronto and Kingston and Montego Bay, Jamaica and Cancun. The airline is also reintroducing non-stop Dreamliner service from Toronto to London (Gatwick).

BY THE NUMBERS

Since the start of 2020, there have only been 1.2 billion travellers and only 44 cases of COVID-19 that are believed to be flight-related, claims IATA – one for every 27 million passengers. Acknowledging that if even if 90% percent of cases were going unreported, IATA recalculates only a one in 2.7 million probability of an air traveller having contracted the virus.

DEALS

Oct. 14 is the final day for Sunwing’s “See You At RIU” sale, offering guests up to 50% off at RIU Hotels & Resorts. The offer applies to travel Nov. 6 to April 30, 2021 and agents will receive 5X Star points. Clients will offer receive COVID-19 coverage at no extra cost.

European Waterways is offering an additional incentive of 10% off on cabins and private charters for early-bird bookings on select luxury 2021 hotel barge cruises in France, the UK and Italy, valid when booked by Oct. 31. Clients booking by Dec. can reschedule their 2021 cruise at any time up to 30 days prior to departure if government regulations prevent travel.

TOURS

Clients booking packages with Transat in October will get free COVID-19 medical insurance at no extra cost, plus Option Flex Standard’s extra flexibility to change or cancel a trip as part of its Book Packages With Confidence offer. Departures must take by April 20, 2021.

New group incentives from Goway include a waived $600 booking fee (valid to March 31, 2021) and the chance for any agent making a new booking to win an ounce of gold. Meanwhile, Goway’s Travelmate Assurance program features the services of a dedicated senior group coordinator, priority phone line, and global assist line available from anywhere in the world, plus other client perks.

HOTELS

The historic San Domenico Palace hotels is set to become a Four Seasons. The former 15th-century Dominican monastery in the hilltop town of Taormina, Sicily, is undergoing extensive renovations and , when complete, will reopen with 111 guest rooms and suites, a new beach club and restaurant, along with the two-Michelin Star Restaurant, Principe Cerami, as well as enhancements to the current facilities and public areas. The hotel will also include a state-of-the-art spa with seven treatment rooms, an indoor pool, and a Turkish Bath.

RESORTS

Sandals Negril

For bookings through Dec. 31, Sandals and Beaches guests will automatically receive insurance coverage for medical expenses. “Travel Protection Plan – Insurance Is On Us” by Trip Mate is valid on travel through May 31. 2021. Cancel for any reason protection is also in effect through the end of the year.

Playa Hotels & Resorts reports all of its all-inclusive resorts across Mexico and throughout the Caribbean will be open by December. Since early summer, Playa has been bringing resort operations back online after temporarily suspending operations earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The final phase of re-openings will see the following resorts re-open in October: Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta; Panama Jack Resorts Playa del Carmen; Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana; Dreams Puerto Aventuras; and Dreams Punta Cana. And reopening in mid-November will be Hilton La Romana.

CRUISE

Reservations are now open for Carnival Celebration, Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship set to debut in November, 2022. A sister to the line’s first XL-class ship, Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration will debut with an inaugural 14-day transatlantic cruise from Southampton on Nov. 6, 2022, followed by the launch of year-round service from PortMiami on Nov. 21, 2022.

MSC Cruises’ second ship to return to service, MSC Magnifica, will have a longer itinerary when she returns to sea. With a new re-start date of Oct. 19, the ship will sail a series of seven cruises including an eight-night Christmas cruise departing on Dec. 18 from Genoa, Italy. Meanwhile, the MSC Grandiosa’s current sailings will be extended through year-end, including the ship’s Christmas cruise to depart Genoa, Italy on Dec. 20.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Dubbed “a new species of roller coaster,” Jurassic World VelociCoaster is scheduled to debut next summer at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando. Based on the blockbuster film series, the extreme roller coaster experience will takes riders through intense maneuvers at speeds of up to 110 kph and more than 45 m. in the air, across 1,432 m. of track simulating a high-speed chase alongside a nimble pack of Velociraptors. For a sneak peak, click.HERE

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Expedia Partner Solutions has released business-to-business (B2B) rates on its Expedia TAAP booking tool. EPS enables travel agents to earn up to double their compensation for bookings at international hotel chains with over 81,000 rooms available globally.

EVENTS

 

Gorillas of Uganda

 

Oct. 21 – The Alliance of Pioneer Travel Operators (APTO) in cooperation with the Uganda Tourism Board will host a destination education webinar for the Canadian travel trade at 2 p.m. (EST) on Oct. 21. Hosted by Lilly Ajarova, CEO of Uganda Tourism, the session will focus on the African country’s history, wildlife (including famous gorillas, photo), culture, gastronomy and tourism infrastructure. Details of a fam program in 2021 will also be given. For information, e-mail Contact@Alliance-PTO.org.

Oct. 14-Nov. 10: Air Canada Vacations will host several ski webinars ahead of the winter season. They are: Sun Peaks, Oct. 14; Ski Jasper Marmot Bassin, Oct. 28; Ski Whistler, and Nov. 10. Contact the tour operator or check out its “ACV Inner Circle” Facebook page for details.

Oct. 19-22: Canadian agents are invited to join travel professionals from other countries at France 360, Atout France’s first large-scale trade event in the Americas since the beginning of the health crisis. In addition to one-on-one virtual appointments (reversed workshop) with more than 40 suppliers and destination representatives, there will be virtual training sessions, panels and presentations. The Oct. 19-22 event is free; for information contact melanie.paul-hus@atout-france.fr.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

A team from The Travel Agent Next Door took the top spot globally with the most steps in the recent Planeterra Trek Challenge, which raised more than US$76,000 to help community tourism organizations that are suffering as a result of the global pandemic. While the challenge was for individuals and teams around the world to virtually trek the 85,000 steps it would take to climb to Everest Base Camp, the TTAND team stepped up with a whopping 514,646. More than 550 people from 30 countries took part.

Eric Cohen, owner of Infinite Departures Travel in Richmond Hill, Ont. was named Nexion’s “Canadian Rising Star,” for 2020 at the host-agency’s recent annual conference.

DESTINATIONS

The state of emergency in Botswana has been extended for a further six months to combat the spread of COVID-19. The southern African country will maintain several restrictions, including limits to international travellers and tourism, in contrast to neighbouring South Africa and Zimbabwe, which are opening up their economies.

A new destination website for Montserrat will be a “major step” in enhancing the Caribbean island’s marketing capabilities, says the country’s director of tourism. “(It) will play a key role in generating awareness, providing users with compelling stories and information on the island’s history, culture, sites and attractions, giving them all that they need to book a Montserrat vacation,” says Warren Solomon. Check it out – www.visitmontserrat.com

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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