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ROUND-UP:Sept. 20-24, 2021

Last week saw the government, and the travel lobby, get back to work after the election; US Travel successfully conduct its trade show, IPW; Goway and Air Canada Vacations launch new brochures; and Canada lift its ban on flights from India.

NEWS

Canada’s ban on flights from India, in place since April, expired at 23:59 EDT yesterday (Sept. 26). Arriving eligible travellers must have proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test from the approved Genestrings Laboratory at the Delhi airport taken within 18 hours of the scheduled departure of their direct flight to Canada.

Both ACTA and TIAC have vowed to continue to work with and lobby the newly re-elected Liberal government to continue to offer financial aid to travel and tourism business and individuals through May of 2022. Other issues include vaccinations and labour shortages.

US Travel’s 52nd annual IPW took place in Las Vegas last week with close to 2,600 attendees from 52 countries. Smaller than usual – “more like a large Florida Huddle” – was nevertheless the first large scale travel event to be held in the US since the start of the pandemic. Next year the show moves to Orlando in June with hopes that by then the COVID crisis will be a thing of the past.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Regent Seven Seas Cruises began its first voyage in just under 18 months on Sept. 11 with new ship Seven Seas Splendor cruising from Southampton, England. The next ship in the fleet to resume sailing will be Seven Seas Explorer on Oct. 15, from Trieste, Italy. Seven Seas Mariner will resume sailing Dec. 18 from Miami, as will Seven Seas Navigator on Jan. 6, 2022. Lastly, Seven Seas Voyager will return on Feb. 15 from Barcelona, Spain.

DELAYED/ CANCELLED

Key West’s iconic Fantasy Fest parade and street fair on Duval Street will not take place this year due to the continuing COVID crisis. However, many of its Oct. 22-31 festival’s scheduled events, including signature events like the Headdress Ball and Pet Masquerade will continue, while encouraging attendees to abide by COVID protection protocols. Organizers of the Zombie Bike Ride and the fundraising campaign to elect the festival king and queen cancelled their events last weekend, citing COVID concerns. Key West’s popular Masquerade March, scheduled Oct. 29, is also currently on hold.

AIR

Air Canada will begin non-stop service between Vancouver and Santa Ana in Orange County, Ca., starting Oct. 2. Flights will initially be four times per week, with plans to increase to daily service in 2022.

Starting Dec. 9, Swoop will add new service between Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (YWG) and Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to its winter schedule.

The US Justice Department and officials in six states have filed a lawsuit to block a partnership formed by American Airlines and JetBlue, claiming that it will reduce competition and lead to higher fares.

DEALS

The ‘All Aboard!’ promo from Air Transat gives travellers 20% off base fares (eco budget and eco standard) on flights to the United States, the South, and within Canada when booked by Sept. 30 for travel Oct. 1-April 30, 2022. To take advantage of the offer, travel agents must first make the booking and then send an email to promocodeabc@transat.com to request the file adjustment for their clients. Use the promo code AIR20.

To celebrate the resumption of its direct flights from Toronto Dublin on Sept. 18, Aer Lingus is offering round-trip fares to Canadians starting at $399 roundtrip. Bookings must be made by Oct. 7 for travel Oct. 1 to Feb. 17, 2022. Service four times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday).

TOURS

A new, interactive digital travel brochure is now available from Goway. Titled “Your Next Journey: The Best of Goway Travel,” the collection is designed to aggregate travel ideas from across all the tour operator’s destination regions in one place, presented with a new design and simplified presentation. Hundreds of travel ideas have been curated by Goway destination specialists, including tips, insights, and photos, and have been standardized in terms of accommodation level and travel style. As well, all pages have embedded links back to Goway’s main website, ensuring that it’s easy for travellers and travel professionals to get more information. The brochure can be found on Goway’s website or Issuu, and agents can earn a $25 bonus by taking a quiz HERE.

2022 is on track to be a record, rebound year, says the Globus family of Brands, prompting the company to release a “robust” list of guaranteed departures for next year designed to give travel advisors and clients a confidence boost that travel’s long road to recovery is nearing its end.

HOTELS

Set to open this fall, The Gabriel South Beach in Miami is a member of the Curio Collection by Hilton and is designed to reflect the 1930s golden age of glamour. Located at 640 Ocean Drive, the sprawling property is the sister property to The Gabriel Miami located in downtown Miami. Boasting the greatest linear footage on Miami Beach’s most iconic street, the historic property has 132 guest rooms and suites and two pools, including a show-stopping, glass bottom pool on the roof overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is also home to two destination restaurants, Meet Dalia and Meet Mia, by INK Entertainment, a hospitality and entertainment company that is headquartered in Toronto.

Now open in Washington, DC, the new Kimpton Banneker Hotel is located on 16th St. NW and features 144 spacious guest rooms. For dining, Le SeL is an intimate and relaxed French bistro, and a year-round rooftop bar and open-air deck offers spectacular views of the Washington Monument and the White House.

RESORTS

Sandals reports that since the onset of the pandemic, hundreds of Canadian travel advisors have taken advantage of its free Sandals Car Wrap program. But none have utilized the marketing tool to the extent as TPI’s Kim Paquette, who became the first agent in Canada to wrap an RV (photo). The Ottawa agent “has taken her mobile marketing to the next level… and now drives a moving billboard, literally and figuratively,” says Sandals, which adds that it will also wrap boats and golf carts too, in addition to cars. The program provides a US$3,000 value at no cost to the travel advisor.

Both Secrets Bahia Mita Surf & Spa Resort and Dreams Bahia Mita Surf & Spa Resort in Mexico are undergoing renovations to guest rooms following recent weather events. Estimated completion date is Nov. 30.

CRUISE

Royal Caribbean International has announced the world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas, will debut in the US and Europe. The highly anticipated ship is set to sail from its home in Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean on March 4, 2022, before making its way to Barcelona and Rome to kick off summer vacations in May. The Wonder will feature eight distinct “neighbourhoods,” including new features such as the Suite Neighbourhood, a cantilevered pool bar named The Vue, and Wonder Playscape – an interactive, open-air kids’ play area with expansive views.

The latest addition to Avalon Waterways “Storyteller Series” is American band Sister Hazel. The “All For You” cruise invites “Hazelnuts” to discover the Rhine River with the band, who will take part in book-signings, Q&A sessions, and, of course, performances – not to mention, casual interaction with guests. The eight-day Mainz-Amsterdam cruise takes place Sept.6-13, 2022. Other Storyteller cruises will include Candace Bushnell, Cheryl Strayed, Gillian Flynn, Edwin McCain, and Christopher Moore. Diana Gabaldon’s (“Outlander”) cruise, departing Oct. 30, 2021, has sold-out.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

After more than a year of waiting, Cirque du Soleil and Disney have announced that “Drawn to Life” is scheduled to open on Nov. 18. The new family-friendly show coming to Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., was scheduled to open in March 2020, but delayed due to the pandemic. The collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Walt Disney Imagineering will take residency at Disney Springs in Orlando with tickets on sale now on the Cirque web site.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Seventeen top cruise lines are featured in TravelBrands’ cheeky “We’re Full of Ships” campaign, which offers guests free perks such as free prepaid gratuities, onboard credits, reduced deposits, and additional savings on cruise fares. And travel agents will earn 5x Loyalty Rewards Points for any three-day or longer cruises booked online with participating cruise lines by Oct. 1. They can also make a $250 bonus commission for any new group booking with a minimum of five staterooms.

EVENTS

Sept 28: WestJet and WestJet Vacations are hosting a virtual showcase on Tuesday at from 1 to 3 p.m. EST, for agents to learn what new with the company and its preferred hotel partners and tourist boards. The agenda includes various breakout sessions, networking in a virtual lounge and the opportunity to win prizes by collecting Xperience Points. Sessions and insights include agent resource site and self-serve options; reciprocal frequent flyer program with Delta; network and pricing revenue management; Distribution 101; corporate programs; fireside chat with agency and specialty sales; and Travel Ready series and Safety Above All protocols; online chat with hotel partners. For questions, email salesevents@westjet.com; to register, click HERE.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

The Jamaica Tourist Board has announced the winners of its recent short story contest, which invited Canadian travel agents to share memories and anecdotes of favourite visits to the island and capturing its unique spirit and vibe. First place winner was David Humphrey of Travel Experts, who wrote about visiting the James Bond-inspired GoldenEye resort; second was Sandra Williams-Reid, TTI Travel; and third, Larry Canniff, Expedia Cruiseshipcenter. More news can be found on the JTB Travel Agent Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS

This year’s Air Canada Vacations sun brochure was released to the trade last week featuring packages in 42 sunny destinations with over 550 mostly all-inclusive hotels to choose from (including 35 new additions), three exclusive resorts and 35 semi-exclusive resorts. For those looking to set sail again, the tour operator offers more than 100 cruises, including the addition of the Silversea Cruise Line. Aeroplan members will find exclusive perks at 184 hotels and there are 124 Play Collection resorts. Early- and group-booking Incentives are available for early and group bookings, as well as a weddings.

DESTINATIONS
The Ain Dubai Ferris Wheel in Dubai is set to get rolling Oct. 21. The largest observation wheel in the world will provide incredible city and Bluewaters’ Island views at 250 metres in the air. This attraction will be able to carry 1,750 passengers in air-conditioned cabins and offers additional experiences such as dinner or drinks with a private bartender. Cost is $35 p.p.

If you happen to find yourself in Nashville, Tenn. at the beginning of next month, be sure to peel away to nearby Centerville for the National Banana Pudding Festival (Oct. 2-3). Admission is free and “The Puddin’ Path” lets guests sample 10 scrumptious banana pudding recipes for just $5.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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