All travel news.

Manulife has introduced COVID insurance, Carnival is culling ships

Carnival Cruise Line is continuing to cull its fleet: The company says it will sell Carnival Fascination and Carnival Imagination, both of which had previously been put on long-term lay-up status and removed from published itineraries. (The Fantasy and the Inspiration were sold in July). The Fascination has been in service since 1994, the Imagination set sail a year later.

Travellers with flights to or from Europe and scheduled to depart between March 1 and Oct. 31 of this year can be reimbursed within four weeks, says WestJet. The policy marks a shift from the airline’s previous stance that offered flight credit or no-fee rebooking rather than reimbursement for trips that were cancelled. In June, WestJet adopted a similar approach to refunds for cancelled flights to or from the United States or United Kingdom.

Saturday (Sept. 27) is World Tourism Day. The annual event recognizing the importance and contributions of tourism is variously celebrated by the United Nations World Tourism Organization as well as by cities and other destinations, and by private sector organizations and individual tourists.

INSURANCE

Effective October, a new insurance plan geared towards coverage for the coronavirus pandemic will be available from Manulife. The COVID-19 Pandemic Travel Plan will cover Canadians travelling in Canada and internationally, including to countries with a Level 3 Travel Advisory, and will provide Emergency Medical coverage, including specific additional coverage for COVID-19 and related conditions. It will also include added Trip Interruption benefits in the event of quarantine.

• Sunwing: The company will offer the Manulife insurance at no cost to clients as part of air and travel packages (excluding cruise) for a duration of up to 21 days. The offer is valid through Oct. 31 for travel through May 31, 2021.

Air Canada: The airline is also offering the medical and quarantine insurance through Manulife on a complimentary basis for customers booking a round-trip international flight through Oct. 31 for travel by April 12, 2021.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Canadians have begun arriving again in Cuba with Air Canada delivering 104 passengers from Montreal to the Caribbean country earlier this month (photo). The flight marked the re-opening of international tourism to Cuba, with the tourist board’s Canadian director Lessner Gomez declaring, “All the right safety protocols are in place and Canadians can travel to Cuba with confidence knowing that Cuba it’s a safe destination…” Passengers received a free COVID test upon arrival.

Hard-hit by COVID, South Africa plans to begin a phased-in re-opening of its international border starting Oct. 1. Visitors from some countries may be barred.

Australian small ship expedition line Coral Expeditions has confirmed a restart of operations for Oct. 14 with a series of new seven-night sailings onboard the yacht-like Coral Discoverer. Operating out of Cairns with planned departures through mid-December this year, the nature-based expeditions will take small groups of guests to explore the pristine outer reefs and lesser-known islands of the Great Barrier Reef, showcasing the region’s marine life and the natural and history of Far North Queensland.

DELAYED/CANCELLED

World Travel Market has cancelled the live portion of its conference this year. Previously scheduled WTM London virtual proceedings will continue to take place Nov. 9-11 offering delegates the chance to arrange one-to-one virtual meetings to do business, attend conference sessions and roundtables, take part in speed networking, and more.

AmaWaterways has extended the suspension of its regular program of river cruises in Europe, Africa and Asia through Nov. 15.

The World Creole Music Festival, Dominica’s signature event has been cancelled. The 22nd annual event, which attracts about 20,000 attendees, was to take place Oct. 23-25.

AIR

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport is the first Canadian airport to be accredited under the ACI Airport Health Accreditation program. Airports Council International (ACI) is the only global trade representative of the world’s airports. Established in 1991, ACI develops standards, policies and recommended practices for airports, and provides information and training opportunities to raise standards around the world.

UAE-based Emirates anticipates returning to full operation of its network of 140 destinations by next summer and gradually putting its Airbus A380 fleet back into service on routes with high demand. The carrier is currently flying to A380 to a handful of cities including Toronto.

Qatar Airways is celebrating the launch of its 100th aircraft to feature high-speed ‘Super Wi-Fi’ connectivity, which the airline says is “the fastest broadband service available in the sky.” The service is being rolled out across the airline’s fleet and is available on Montreal flights.

Passengers on flights fitted with GX Aviation can receive up to one-hour free access to the Super Wi-Fi service with the ability to purchase full-flight access if more online time is needed.

DEALS

The new Infinite Canada Flight Pass from Air Canada allows holders to book travel within Canada for a flat fee and without blackout or booking restrictions, change or cancellation penalties and to fly as often as desired for up to three months, depending on the duration of pass purchased. Starting at $2,000, the pass can be purchased through Sept. 23.

TOURS

Four new tours have joined G Adventures “Travel with Confidence Plus” collection, which has COVID-friendly features such as smaller group sizes (max 12), cheaper solo rooming options, ensuite bathrooms and private transportation, as well as increased sanitization and hygiene protocols. The new “Plus” tours are: “Cuba Rhythms: Rum & Fun,” “Cuba Explorer,” “Highlights of Madagascar,” and “Australia & New Zealand Encompassed.” In total the collection comprises 41 trips in 28 countries throughout 2021.

HIS-TravelJapan, aims to make it easier for Canadians to travel to Japan through an extensive roster of offers flights, hotel stays, tours, virtual tours, cruises, rail passes and more Japan-related products all on one platform. In addition, the website provides vacation packages to other popular destinations worldwide. The company is new division of Red Label Vacations.

BY THE NUMBERS

The newly released 2020/21 Sun Collection from Air Canada Vacations features 42 destinations, over 700 hotels – mostly all-inclusive – 31 of which are new, three exclusive resorts, 30 semi-exclusive resorts, and more than 100 cruises (including the addition of Cunard Line). There are also more than 150 hotels participating in the Spotlight Collection and more than 115 Play Collection resorts.

HOTELS

Newly opened is the 259-room Tru by Hilton Orlando Convention Centre. Promising a simplified, spirited and affordable stay, the property is located at 6461 Westwood Blvd. near the convention centre and centrally located between Walt Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Orlando Resort.

Esmé Miami Beach, a unique boutique hotel located along Miami Beach’s Española Way pedestrian plaza is set to open in early 2021. Originally built as a 1920s artist village, the Spanish-Mediterranean revival property is comprised of eight buildings featuring 145 hotel rooms and five original food and beverage concepts and is located alongside a collection of the street’s popular restaurants and cafés.

RESORTS
Located on a 1-km coral island in the Maldives, GMH’s 99-villa Chedi Kudavillingili (rendering above) plans to open later this year with 36 overwater villas, a 150-m.-long central pool and proximity to the Malé International Airport, a 25-minute speedboat ride away. While the overwater villas fishtail off one end of the island, the resort features a variety of health and wellness venues including spa, health club, gym; yoga pavilion; and soccer, tennis, volleyball, badminton and basketball spaces. There will also be multiple dining options, beach bar, cigar lounge and library.

CRUISE

Four new updated itineraries throughout European hot spot cities and idyllic river towns, plus new inclusions from offshore excursions to airport transfers and themed cruises, will highlight U by Uniworld’s 2021 roster of river cruises. Among the highlights is the “GenZ on U” program for parents and teens; U’s first themed cruise for foodies; beer and wine included at lunch and dinner, plus airport transfers. The new or updated cruises are “Amsterdam & Brussels Bound,” “Vienna Vibe, “Eastern Europe Escape” and the reimagined “Rolling on the Rhine.”

In the “this should be over by then” category, Crystal Yacht Cruises want to give travellers more than three full years to look and to book a cruise aboard its boutique yacht Crystal Esprit. The company has opened reservations early for its 2023-24 itineraries, which feature predominantly six- to eight-night voyages in places like the Seychelles, Greece, France, Italy, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Croatia and more.

EDUCATION

Travel Agent Essentials is a new online, self-paced, comprehensive travel agent training course offered by ACTA. Aimed at newer and “aspiring” agents, the entry-level course covers essential fundamentals of travel including travel agency operations, air travel, ground transportation, cruising and land accommodation and packages. The fee is $995; ACTA members receive $100 savings. Click HERE for to details or to enroll.

EVENTS

Oct. 1: The first-ever virtual national conference by Transat Distribution Canada will take place Oct. 1 from 4 to 8 p.m. EST. Under the theme “Ready. Set. Go.” TDC’s 3,000 travel professionals, company execs, and 35 preferred partners will gather together to discuss the challenges they are facing and how they can best serve travellers with their future travel plans.

Oct. 5-8: This year’s annual Seatrade Cruise conference will be held virtually. Described as “the largest and only global gathering of cruise professionals in 2020,” Seatrade Cruise Virtual expects online attendance from more than 5,000 cruise professionals for four-days of virtual “networking, sourcing, education and innovation.” Go to the Seatrade Cruise web site for details.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

It’s well-deserved musical chairs at Tourism Ireland as now former Canadian marketing manager Dana Welch moves to New York to take on the role of VP Marketing, USA, to be replaced by now former Canadian trade and digital executive Sandra Moffatt. Welch had been with the tourist board in Canada since 2014, while Moffatt joined in 2018.

With Dana Welch on the move, she has been replaced as chair of the European Travel Commission in Canada by Switzerland’s Pascal Prinz, who drops “vice” from his former title.

DESTINATIONS

Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan resumed international operations on Sept. 8, nearly six months after it closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Depending on country of origin, travellers are required to follow strict protocols before and upon entering the Kingdom.

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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