All travel news.

ROUND-UP:Sept. 7-11, 2020

More openings and more delays as COVID’s mixed bag continues; Globus sets date for first its departure since March; and an itravel2000 survey says Canadians are ready to travel again.

NEWS

No-charge COVID-19 travel insurance coverage is now being provided by WestJet for eligible guests booking travel to Mexico, the Caribbean and European destinations including the U.K for reservations made on or after Sept. 18 for travel through Aug. 31, 2021. Coverage, through partner TuGo, will be added automatically at the time of purchase.

Flight Centre is now covering certain emergency medical and quarantine expenses related to COVID-19 for clients while travelling. The COVID-19 Coverage and Assistance Plan was designed with Allianz Global Assistance to help restore Canadians’ confidence in travel, and comes at no additional cost to the customer when they book an eligible package.

A restructured sales force is now representing The Travel Corporation’s premium and luxury brands in Canada. The group is called the Velvet Collection and its aligned sales team will operate under the direction of Jeff Element, TTC president Canada; Michelle Palma, president of Uniworld Canada, Jonathan Raggett, global CEO of Red Carnation Hotel Collection; Brad Ford, president of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold Canada; and Sherwin Banda, president of African Travel, Inc. Trafalgar and Contiki retain separate sales associates.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

El Salvador plans to reopen airports for international flights starting Sept. 19. Incoming passengers will be required to show a negative PCR coronavirus test no more than three days old. Anyone lacking the test will be denied entry.

The Los Cabos Tourism Board is reporting that WestJet will resume flights to the Mexican resort destination on Oct. 10. Los Cabos reopened to tourism on June 15.

Phase 3 of The Bahamas’ tourism readiness and recovery plan will go into effect on Oct. 3 enabling all hotels on all islands to re-open, though guests must still abide by the existing 14-day Vacation-In-Place (VIP) protocol, which allows guests access to all amenities, including hotel spas, gyms, bars and more. Additionally, Phase 3 will also see the reopening of attractions, excursions, and tours on Nov. 1.

DELAYED/CANCELLED

Citing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on operations, the Vancouver Airport Authority has terminated its CORE Program – a large multi-year infrastructure project at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) intended to build “the airport of the future.”

Porter Airlines is updating its return-to-service date to Nov. 12, from the previously announced target of Oct. 7. The airline is waiving change and cancellation fees on all fares booked through Nov. 12, including Porter Escapes vacation packages.

All Costa Crociere cruises aboard the Costa Fascinosa, Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica ships in South America, with embarkations scheduled for the period from November to April 2021, have been cancelled.

BY THE NUMBERS

A new consumer survey by itravel2000 suggests that Canadians feel ready to travel again. Some of the notable findings are: 67% of participants are willing to fly once leisure travel opens; 44% want to travel to the Caribbean, followed by 34% more inclined to travel to a mixture of within Canada, Europe and the Caribbean; the ability to cancel or change a vacation package is the most important booking factor for travellers; 73% are willing to buy travel insurance; and 29% of the respondents want to travel as soon as they can, 30% prefer to wait for next three to six months, and 28% are willing to travel in 2021.

AIR

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) has announced the launch of its Safe Travels Program, a comprehensive initiative developed in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic that includes operational measures and safety protocols that have been implemented to ensure a safe and healthy environment for passengers, staff and partners at Billy Bishop Airport when flights resume this fall. Full program details can be found in this VIDEO.

The first phase of Salt Lake City, Utah’s new airport opens Tuesday (Sept. 15). SLC will gradually replace the city airport and opens with a new terminal and the west portion of Concourse A. Delta Air Lines will also be opening its largest Sky Club in the facility, which will also boast extensive artwork through, shops and restaurants, and will have best practice health and safety measure.

DEALS

Clients who a 2021 European cruise reservation with Holland America can take advantage of 20% off on shore excursions when pre-booked by Sept. 23. There are hundreds of tours to choose from, from an evening at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg to a visit to Reykjavik’s famous Blue Lagoon or witnessing the mysterious landscape of Giant’s Causeway in Belfast.

European Waterways is offering 10% off selected 2021 departures across its fleet in France, Italy and the U.K., including the Scottish Highlander. The 2021 specials are valid when booked by Oct. 12.

TOURS

Marking its first tour since shutting down due to the pandemic in March, Globus’s “Canadian Rockies Escape” will depart on Oct. 17 from Calgary. Reserved exclusively for Canadian travellers, the five-day tour explores the Banff area and includes Johnson Canyon and Jasper. Full health and safety protocols are in effect.

Lonely Planet has joined forces with Withlocals, a leader in community-driven tours guided by locals, to expand its catalog of Lonely Planet Experiences into 23 new cities while adding more private tours to existing program cities. The new additions will bring Lonely Planet Experiences well beyond 300 carbon-neutral tours worldwide. More details can be found HERE.

HOTELS
With shorter journeys in vogue this year, numerous Kempinski Hotels have unveiled a “Your 5-star road trip” program that link sister hotels in not-too-far destinations to create luxury packages that can be experienced on one trip. A sample journey features the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski in Munich and Kempinski Hotel Berchtesgaden in the German Alps. Or Kempinski Hotel Corvinus in Budapest and the Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras in Slovakia, the latter a distance of 350 km. Guests can use their own vehicles or rent through Kempinski (Sixt).

Featuring the “the world’s first bike-through lobby,” a “secret” arcade, psychic’s den, and mini disco, the retro-chic Hotel Zed Tofino joins sister properties in Victoria and Kelowna to offer up a unique accommodation option to travellers in British Colombia. Described as “super deluxe with an organic feel, the hotel’s colour scheme of burnt orange, avocado green, and eggplant purple make it a perfectly groovy fit for the wilderness-filled Tofino.” Nightly rates at the new 58-room Hotel Zed Tofino begin at $179 per night.

RESORTS

All couples that book a destination wedding or ReTie the Knot package at Sandals Resorts Sept. 15 to Dec. 31 with plans to wed in 2020 or 2021 will receive a Complimentary Wedding Ceremony Live Stream Service, so families and friends can – virtually – be part of the special moment when the couple says “I do.”

CRUISE

The Australia and New Zealand 2021-22 season for Princess Cruises goes on sale Sept. 16. Including South Pacific destinations Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu, the cruise line will offer one of its largest deployments ever with five ships (Royal Princess, Emerald Princess, Sapphire Princess, Coral Princess, and Pacific Princess) sailing to 82 destinations in 19 countries on 59 unique itineraries on voyages ranging in length from two to 36 days.

Citing pent-up demand and 65% of its cabins already booked in 2021, Ama Waterways says it will extend the sailing season for its “Secrets of Egypt & the Nile River” itinerary into June, 2022.

EDUCATION

To keep travel advisors and vacation dreamers informed on the process of re-opening, Experience Kissimmee has launched Kissimmee On-The-Go, a video series that features partners from across the destination as they address questions and virtually share an inside look of how their product has implemented strict safety measures. Search Experience Kissimmee on YouTube.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

A new program from Collette promises to not only pay travel counsellors a portion of their commission when a client books, but not recall the money if the traveller cancels. The new “Advanced Commission Program” has three flat-rate options: $100 per booking for land-only; $125 for land and air; and $200 per booking that includes Collette’s Travel Protection Plan. The initiative will be in effect until the end of the year for bookings on all departures from May 21, 2021 onwards.

EVENTS

Sept. 25-27: Panama will host its first-ever Experience Panama Expo providing international buyers the opportunity to learn about Panama’s new vision of tourism and experience the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage from the comfort of their home. The virtual fair will feature 200 local exhibitors — from destination marketing companies to tourism operators, travel agencies, airlines, hotels and resorts and more. Over 600 international professionals are expected to attend.
For more information about the event or to apply for participation, click HERE.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Lynda Sinclair died last week at age 60 after losing her battle with cancer. The popular travel industry veteran was most recently Sr. VP of Leisure Travel at Vision Travel/Direct Travel. Previously she had headed sales at Ensemble Canada and was general manager, Canada, with Travel Counsellors Canada.

DESTINATIONS

The night forest experience at Blue Mountain shows there’s more to the destination than top-notch skiing. “AGORA: Path of Light” begins with a gondola ride up the mountain, watching the lights of Collingwood reflect off southern Georgian Bay, followed by a 3-km walk along the escarpment and through the interactive art and light installations of AGORA, which promises “to help tell the story of the land in the language of light.” Advance reservations are recommended. Find out more HERE.

Effective Sept. 15, tourists arriving in Dominican Republic will no longer need to show a negative PCR test completed prior to entering the country. Instead, non-invasive breath test will be performed randomly for diagnosis. Likewise, foreign visitors who enter the country from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31, 2020, will have a traveller assistance plan provided at the time of check-in at their hotel, which includes emergencies in case of a COVID-19 infection.

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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