ROUND-UP:Sept. 6-10, 2021
The Canadian border cracked opened a little more, airlines started flying again from YTZ, ACV hosted a virtual product launch, WestJet jumped on the staff vax bandwagon, and other pandemic-related items (surprise!) dominate last week’s news round-up.
Fully vaccinated foreign visitors are once again able to enter Canada. Effective Sept. 7, travellers who receive their second dose of vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival and who show proof of a negative molecular test for COVID-19 that’s no more than 72 hours old can enter without quarantine. They are also required to use the ArriveCAN app or online web portal to upload their vaccination details.
All WestJet Group employees, current and future, will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, says the company. Employees who are unable to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for medical or other reasons will be accommodated, but others must attest to their vaccination status by Sept. 24 and/or be fully vaccinated by Oct. 30 or face unpaid leave or termination of employment. As part of its vaccine mandate, the airline will not provide testing as an alternative to vaccination.
After months of struggle and speculation over its long-term future, Philippine Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York. The company will need court approval for its plans to trim liabilities by US$2 billion by restructuring and reducing its fleet by a quarter.
Air Canada and Porter Airlines are flying again from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ). For the former, the resumption of service at the island airport features five daily Air Canada Jazz return flights to Montreal aboard De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft. Porter also resumed service from the island on Sept. 9 with flights to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Thunder Bay. Other destinations starting within the next 10 days are Halifax, Quebec City, St. John’s, and Moncton, and Boston, Chicago, New York, and Washington DC will return on Sept. 17. Flights to other year-round destinations are set to resume as of Oct. 6.
Also flying again is Air Canada Rouge, which resumed service last week with flights between Toronto and Las Vegas, Orlando, and Regina, with other destinations being introduced in September to include Cancun and Tampa.
Seabourn has updated the restart of one of its remaining ships, Seabourn Quest, in time for the summer season in the Mediterranean on May 10, 2022. The ship will resume service in Europe, where it will spend its summer season homeporting from Venice, Italy. The ship will visit countries in the Adriatic and Ionian seas through mid-July before turning west and north to explore coastal destinations across Spain, Portugal, France and the UK. The revised restart date also means the brand is cancelling its 2021-22 Antarctica and South America season on Seabourn Quest, which also includes the Amazon region. The line is currently operating two of the five ships in its fleet, Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Ovation.
BY THE NUMBERS
Transat AT Inc. reports it lost $138.1 million in its latest quarter compared with a loss of $45.1 million in the same quarter last year. Revenue in what was the company’s third quarter totalled $12.5 million, up from $9.5 million a year ago. Transat began a gradual resumption of flying on July 30 after suspending operations on Jan. 29. The company has said it plans to offer flights to nearly 50 cities this winter.
WestJet has launched WestJet Link service connecting Calgary and Dawson Creek, BC. The new service operates four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
Air Canada has unveiled an expanded Travel Ready hub to help customers plan and prepare for upcoming trips. The interactive online tool allows users to easily find information on necessary travel documentation, COVID-19 test requirements, testing locations, and country travel restrictions for any global destination.
Emirates is offering travellers to or through Dubai a free Emirates Expo Day Pass for use during Expo 2020 Dubai. And to further encourage travellers to maximize their time in the city and during the Expo and the UAE Golden Jubilee, Skywards loyalty program members will be eligible to earn one Skywards Mile for every minute spent in Dubai with the airlines’ special ‘Mile-A-Minute’ offer. The world’s fair begins Oct. 1 and continues through March 31, 2022.
In celebrations of its new non-stop service between Toronto (YYZ) and Kingston, Jamaica, which will operate twice weekly beginning Dec. 8, Swoop is offering a limited quantity of introductory one-way fares between Kingston and Toronto starting from just $129 all-in.
With the aim of continuing its development of customer-centric content, Sunwing has launched a new “Best of the Best List” highlighting its best resorts across popular sun destinations, the most luxurious room categories, top beaches, and more. The new program will be unveiled every year in the fall and is based on a combination of guest reviews and travel expert recommendations. This year’s list can be viewed HERE.
The Travel Corporations’ (TTC) guided tour brands, Trafalgar, Contiki, Insight Vacations, Costsaver, Brendan Vacations, and Luxury Gold, have announced an extension of the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all adult guests. The new policy, requiring clients to show documented proof of having received two doses of approved vaccines from either Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, or one dose from Johnson & Johnson (all completed 15 days prior to travel) came into effect on Sept. 1 and will remain until at least Dec. 31, 2022.
Delray Beach, Florida, has a new Hilton. The 141-room Ray Hotel Delray Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton is located in the Pineapple Grove Arts District in the centre of town. Highlights of the property include an expansive rooftop pool deck with a restaurant and bar, lush landscaping, a robust wellness program and state-of-the-art fitness centre, plus immersive art installations throughout the public spaces.
Due to open in February in Chicago is the LaSalle Hotel, a luxury property located in the centre of The Loop. The hotel will occupy the top five floors of the historic building at 208 S. LaSalle, adjacent to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and promises to offer business and leisure travellers the “timeless elegance” of the original LaSalle Hotel, which opened in 1909 to much acclaim as “Chicago’s finest hotel.” Amenities include a signature restaurant and lounge; 232 luxury suites and oversized guestrooms, featuring elegant furnishings, millwork, cabinetry, and large marble-clad bathrooms; a library retreat and a solarium adjacent to the hotel lobby; state-of-the-art fitness centre; plus extensive ballroom and meeting space. Bookings are now open.
Royalton Luxury Resorts’ newest all-inclusive property, Royalton Grenada Resort and Spa, re-opened on Oct. 1. Overlooking Tamarind Bay with direct access to two of the island’s best white-sand beaches, the resort features 269 well-appointed rooms with rain showers, soaker tubs, and handcrafted DreamBed mattresses; 24-hour room service; complimentary non-motorized water sports; free high-speed Wi-Fi resort-wide; a world-class spa; and more.
Now open for its inaugural summer season, Club Med La Rosière, the brand’s newest resort in the French Alps, will welcome guests for its first winter season later this year. Situated in the Tarentaise Valley of the French Alps, the all-inclusive ski resort offers sweeping 180-degree views of the surrounding region and unlimited ski-in/ski-out access in the heart of Espace San Bernardo, well-known for its sunshine and snow cover. A variety of accommodations, include interconnecting rooms for large groups, includes 395 units projecting the cozy atmosphere of a refined alpine Chalet.
Oceania Cruises has unveiled the Inaugural Season of voyage itineraries for Vista, the line’s newest ship. The 18 inaugural season voyages commence in April 2023 and will span more than 24 countries across four continents, from Asia to North America. Previews can be found online at OceaniaCruises.com and will open for sale this week (Sept. 15).
Crystal Cruises’ 2022 “Grand Voyage, Caribbean Idylls & Mediterranean Masterpieces” on Crystal Serenity will depart Jan. 17, 2022, from Miami, concluding in Los Angeles 132 days later on May 29. The destination-rich itinerary will call in 82 ports in 32 countries and includes 11 overnights in such cities as Istanbul, Monte Carlo, Naples and Cannes, as well as island enclaves of St. Barts, Madeira, the Canary Islands. This new Grand Voyage replaces the line’s 2022 World Cruise, which was cancelled because many countries on the original itinerary remain uncertain in their ability to welcome guests back at this time.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
Universal Studios reports it will open its first theme park in China in the country’s capital on Sept. 20. Under construction since 2016, the theme park has received strong backing from Beijing authorities, including the extension of one of the city’s main subway lines to the site. Along with rides, shows, restaurants and exhibits, the resort features a pair of hotels. The project will complement Universal’s other two Asian parks in Japan and Singapore.
More than a thousand people attended Air Canada Vacations 2nd annual virtual DreamMakers product launch Sept. 9. Attendees had the opportunity to take part in training, connect with ACV staff and get the latest company news, take a virtual fam, meet dozens of suppliers on the “trade show floor,” and, of course win prizes. ACV VP Nino Montagnese was on hand (virtually) to greet agents and vowed, “Next year we will go back to our full product launch –so we can see you live!”
Sept. 17: A new series of live, virtual training sessions from Sandals will debut on Sept.17 featuring the all-inclusive chain’s new resort in Curaçao (opening April 2022) as the first featured topic. The “Take 10” presentations will take place every Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. EDT through Nov. 19 and feature a grand prize contest for those who attend all 10 sessions. Upcoming dates and topics also include Beaches Turks & Caicos, Sept. 24; Sandals Grenada, Oct. 1; and Celebrating Sandals 40th Anniversary, Oct. 8. Register HERE.
Tim Paul has joined Discover the World Canada as Senior Manager focused on Expedia’s Travel Agent Affiliate Program (TAAP). The Calgary native and former Westjetter has 20 years of aviation and travel industry experience, including roles in customer service, B2B marketing, inside sales, and digital travel agent platforms at the airline. He was also a member of the travel agent advisory board at WestJet and possesses an “in-depth understanding of a travel agents’ DNA and expectations,” says Discover the World Canada director Jane Clementino. Paul can be contacted at Tim@discovertheworld.ca.
A new Tourism Vaccination Task Force in Jamaica is helping ensure vaccinations for all 170,000 tourism workers on the island, including individuals working in hotels, villas and guest houses, attractions, airports, cruise ports, craft markets, as well as ground transportation operators. The program started Aug. 30 and continues at additional sites across the country.
Through Oct. 15, the ‘Kids Free Florida Keys’ value-added program will allow kids under 12 to take part in a host of experiences at no cost when accompanied by one paying adult. Offers apply to select attractions, tours, watersports and other offerings, such as restaurant perks. Go to KidsFreeFloridaKeys.com to download the coupons.
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First published at Travel Industry Today