ROUND-UP: Dec. 11-15, 2023

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Even as Christmas week approaches, there was no let up in travel news heading into the holidays, as a host of new flights took place, appointments were made and destinations and suppliers looked ahead to 2024 – all detailed in this week’s round-up of last week.


Air Transat and the union representing its flight attendants, CUPE, reached an agreement in principle for the renewal of the collective agreement. Details of the agreement, subject to a vote, will be presented to members in the coming days. The airline says, “Travellers can enjoy their travel plans with peace of mind.”

A long-term extension of the partnership agreement between Mastercard and WestJet has been announced, enabling the WestJet RBC Mastercard and the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard to continue to be the WestJet travel rewards credit cards.

The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) reports that it completed registrant and stakeholder consultations on its five proposals for its future funding framework, announced in early October and that the feedback is being compiled into a report for the Board of Directors and Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery. Additional updates will be provided early in 2024

Federal Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez says the ferry that operates between Digby, NS, and Saint John, NB, will not be moved to another route next year and will remain on its current route between the two Maritime provinces.

The US federal government says it will give more than $6 billion to a pair of high-speed electric rail routes in California – from Los Angeles to both Las Vegas and San Francisco.


The Bahamas surpassed eight million visitors this year, a record-breaking achievement that the ministry of tourism attributes to the natural charm of the islands, but also effective tourism strategies of stakeholders, including the ongoing enhancement and regeneration of tourism products such as Nassau’s new cruise port.


Air Canada

Air Canada celebrated its inaugural fight to Martinique from Toronto Dec. 16. Amongst those on hand for the celebrations were (photo, l-r): Karine Roy-Camille, Deputy Director Americas, Martinique Promotion Bureau (MPB); Angela Bruno, Routes Marketing Manager, Air Canada; Audrey Tanguay-Beaudette, Manager, Sales & Tourism Partnerships, Air Canada; Bénédicte di Géronimo, Martinique Tourism Commissioner; Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas, MPB; and Jean-Sébastien Esposito, MPB.

 Halifax to St. John’s will be added by Lynx to its summer network. Service will begin April 10, 2024, offering four flights per week each way to start and increasing to daily service in July with latest generation Boeing 737 jets.

Canada Jetlines launched its inaugural flight to Montego Bay from Toronto Pearson on Dec. 9. The low-cost carrier will initially have twice week service (Saturday and Sunday), with a third flight expected to be added in 2024. Other first flight last week: Porter from Toronto to Miami and WestJet to Bonaire from YYZ.

Porter Airlines is launching non-stop service between Ottawa International Airport and Winnipeg Richardson International Airport. Flights between the two cities commence on May 16, 2024, with one daily roundtrip flight, departing YOW at 9 a.m. and returning from YWG at 11:40 a.m. Service from Ottawa to Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary will increase to twice-daily service operated on the Embraer E195-E2.


Viva Resorts by Wyndham is ringing in the holidays with a ‘Fourth night Free’ offer along with an exclusive Hotel & Air Package Deal that enables guests to enjoy an extended stay while benefiting from the convenience of a bundled package for travel through March 2024. For those travelling with kids, the Early Booking Rate promotion provides a special treat, with kids under 11 receiving a discounted rate along with discounts on summer stays. For details, visit


Rovos Rail

Railbookers has added to its destination portfolio with 15 new luxury itineraries to South Africa. Each of the journeys, which range from nine to 20 days, features travel onboard one of the country’s iconic luxury trains, the Blue Train, or Rovos Rail. All Railbookers itineraries include rail transportation, hotel accommodations and sightseeing.

Agents are being encouraged to urge their clients early for Collette tours in early 2024. The tour operator says its is already seeing departures sell out for the new year, particularly in Q1. “Anyone who is looking to get out and explore the world with Collette should book their seats as soon as possible,” says company VP Jeff Roy, who adds, “We have dates available throughout 2024 and into 2025 because we want to let our travellers get ahead in planning.”


Royal Caribbean International is rolling out a new lineup of European itineraries for 2025 with six ships sailing from five popular destinations, including Allure of the Seas in Barcelona, Spain, for the first time since 2015. Along with Odyssey, Independence, Explorer, Voyager and Brilliance of the Seas, cruises range for two to 12 nights and feature locales such as Greece, Croatia, Italy, Portugal, Spain. and France. Bookings are now open.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has announced the date of its President’s Cruise for 2024. Hosted by President and CEO Ellen Bettridge, the special sailing will depart on June 16 on the popular ‘Castles Along the Rhine’ itinerary, onboard Uniworld’s brand new Super Ship for 2024, the S.S. Victoria. The cruise will operate on its usual Basel to Amsterdam route, but guests can expect exclusive activities and excursions, time to interact with Bettride during the journey, and special surprises created just for this cruise along the way.


In Nassau, Bahamas, Atlantis Paradise Island’s New Year’s weekend lineup of events returns with top talent including Tony Award- and five-time Emmy Award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris, multi-platinum, Grammy award-winning artists Timbaland and Maroon 5, and more. Open to resort guests and the public, the multi-day festivities will be held Dec. 30-31 and are available for purchase online.

In Islamorada, Fla., Casa Morada Resort, a member of Enthusiast Hotel Collection (EHC), has partnered with the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology to enable bird enthusiasts to become familiar with indigenous bird species in the Upper Florida Keys. EHC properties connect guests who are birdwatchers with local birding experts and birding ecosystems. Guests can study migration patterns and nesting rituals, observe birds on educational walks, and learn about efforts to protect vulnerable species. Casa Morada, located at 136 Madeira Road, and accepts guests 16 and older.


IHG Hotels & Resorts celebrated its 150th Hotel Indigo globally with the opening of Hotel Indigo Kuala Lumpur on the Park, marking the brand’s debut in Malaysia. The 180-room urban oasis overlooks picturesque Bukit Nanas and is flanked by KL Forest Eco Park— the only remaining patch of tropical rainforest in central Kuala Lumpur.


Greece-based small ship cruise company Variety Cruises is offering active travel professionals and airline employees up to 75% off on select seven-day sailings in Tahiti, the Seychelles, Cape Verde, West Africa, and Greece.  Available year-round, sample include Greece for US$400 (double), or $200 (single), or the Seychelles and Tahiti for US$500/300 (double/single), port taxes excluded.

A number of wedding promotions are available from Iberostar Beachfront Resorts for properties in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Mexico. Exclusive to members of the Star Agents program, agents will receive double points and a 15% enhanced commission on wedding day events. A 20% discount on spa services can be offered to all wedding groups. The promotion is valid through Jan. 31 for travel through Oct. 31, 2024.


 Visit California is planning a roadshow series for travel advisors across Western Canada in January with stops in Calgary, Jan. 16; Edmonton in the 17th; and Vancouver on Jan. 18. Attendees will be able to meet 22 California destination partners ready to share insider tips, agent incentives, and travel advice; enjoy California-inspired food and drink, and have a chance to win California-themed prizes. To register, click HERE.


Quebec executive Jean-Francois Pruneau has been named the next chief financial officer of Transat AT starting on Jan. 9. He was most recently executive VP and CFO at Starpax Biopharma.

Travel Edge announced the appointment of Andrew Pilkington as president. He will oversee Travel Edge Network, a luxury host agency; Travel Edge Retail; and Travel Edge Corporate. Most recently, Pilkington held the role of COO at TD’s Canadian Personal Bank.

 Switzerland Tourism North America has announced that Paolo Lunardi, who was Head of Trade Relations in North America since November 2020, has begun a new role as the Market Manager Switzerland Tourism Japan in Tokyo. In line with his departure, Oliver Weibel takes over as the Head of Trade North America while continuing his role as Director Canada based in Toronto.

Marking a historic milestone in its 75-year history, Inuit-owned airline Canadian North named its first Inuk president & CEO, Shelly De Caria, who had been serving in an interim capacity for the carrier, which connects remote and northern communities in Canada’s Arctic.


Junkanoo, the national cultural festival of The Bahamas, will return for its largest celebrations in downtown Nassau on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Junkanoo is The Bahamas’ cultural festival that represents the rich heritage of the African diaspora and is a colourful tradition that speaks to the strength and resilience of the Bahamian people.

The AIA Carnival in Hong Kong kicks off Dec. 21, running through to Feb. 25. A beloved Hong Kong tradition, the carnival promises thrilling rides, exciting games, interactive installations _ including attractions that have never before been seen in the city – and over 1 million plush toys. The carnival atmosphere is further elevated with street performances, food stalls, and live entertainment on the Center Stage.


In 2002, United Airlines, reeling from two years of heavy losses and unable to pay off nearly $1 billion in debt, filed for federal bankruptcy court protection. It was the largest such filing in aviation history. (It emerged from bankruptcy protection in February 2006.)

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First published at Travel Industry Today


First published at – Global Travel News