ROUND-UP: Jan. 1-5, 2024

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A new currency is being introduced in the Dutch Caribbean and two eastern European countries are set to join the Schengen zone; additionally in this week’s round-up, a setback for Transat in labour negotiations, more measures to limit overcrowding in Venice and G Adventures’ has tapped into Taylor-mania for its “biggest agent experience ever.”


A new joint currency will be launched this year for the Dutch Caribbean constituent countries of Curacao and St. Maarten more than a decade after they became autonomous within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Caribbean guilder will replace the Netherlands-Antillean guilder and the new currency will contain improved security features and will circulate alongside the current currency for three months after its introduction, according to a bank report. The current Netherlands-Antillean guilder will be transferrable to the new currency for a period of 30 years at an equal rate.

Bulgaria and Romania have received permission to join Europe’s passport- and visa-free Schengen Area starting in March, the governments of the two countries said. The move initially will apply only to travellers arriving by air and sea, while Austria has committed to continuing negotiations over the need for border checks when crossing from the two countries by land, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov said.

Venice announced new limits on the size of tourist groups, the latest move to reduce the pressure of mass tourism on the popular canal city. Starting in June, groups will be limited to 25 people, or roughly half the capacity of a tourist bus.


Jamaica is expecting its best winter season ever in 2023-24 with tourism minister Edmund Bartlett declaring that for the first time in the island’s history, there will be over one million stopover travellers for the season. In 2023, Bartlett said Jamaica will have welcomed more than 4.1 million visitors – an increase of 23.7% over the total number of visitors recorded in 2022.


It was back to the bargaining table last week for Air Transat and its flight attendants after the latter voted earlier in the week to reject a tentative deal with company. There are currently no strike or lock-out notices issued by either party and both say they are keen to reach a new agreement quickly.

Portuguese carrier Azores Airlines will begin flying between the Azores and the Algarve in 2024 with flights between Ponta Delgada and Faro operating twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays as of June 2.


Silversea officially named Silver Nova during a ceremony in Fort Lauderdale Jan.  4, honouring maritime traditions to welcome the ‘Ship of Light’ to its fleet. The most environmentally conscious ultra-luxury ship ever built, the 728-guest Silver Nova strengthens Royal Caribbean Group’s commitment to sustainability. Meanwhile, clients can save up to CDN$5,000 per suite ($2,500 p.p.) on a wide variety of voyages with the ‘$5,000 Reasons to Sail with Silversea Wave Season offer.’ Bookings must be made by Feb. 29.

Guests booking a 2024 cruise before Jan. 31 with Crystal will receive a complimentary suite upgrade, as well as an upgraded wardrobe valeting service with dry-cleaning and garment care also included free of charge.


Starting April 1, Greece plans to offer exclusive guided tours of its most powerful tourist magnet – the Acropolis in Athens – outside normal opening hours. The new service will apply to a maximum four groups of up to five people each. It will cost 5,000 euros ($7,300) per group, although individuals prepared to cover the full group fee are welcome to visit on their own.

Customers holding a Eurail or Interrail pass and wanting to buy seat reservations are now able to do so via Rail Europe’s customer website. With this feature, customers can quickly determine whether an additional seat reservation purchase is required for specific journeys, and if so, the associated cost.


Universal Orlando Resort announced the addition of two new hotel properties to the Universal Orlando hotels portfolio (image above). Co-owned and operated by Loews Hotels, Universal Stella Nova Resort and Universal Terra Luna Resort will each feature 750 guest rooms in the resort’s Prime Value category – bringing the total number of guest rooms across the destination to 10,500 – and are slated to open in early 2025.


Set to open in preview on Jan. 19, the Dew Drop Inn Hotel and Lounge, on Lasalle Street in Central City, New Orleans, will include 17 hotel rooms, a live music venue, and a resort-style pool. First opened in 1938 by Frank Painia, the Dew Drop was a hotel, music venue and barber shop. Legendary musicians played on its stage including Ray Charles, Little Richard, Deacon John, and Irma Thomas.

The French Riviera city of Cannes is now home to the very first Staybridge Suites property in the country. Staybridge Suites Cannes Centre represents the introduction of the all-suites hotel to the growing IHG Hotels & Resorts portfolio in France, welcoming guests looking for a more spacious or extended stay experience.


Now open is Hideaway at Royalton Blue Waters, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort, an adults-only property in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

From April, Club Med will offer only offer: 1) premium, all-inclusive beach and mountain Club Med resorts and 2) Exclusive Collection spaces, resorts, yacht, villas and chalet. The last 3-Trident resorts – Club Med Serre-Chevalier, Club Med Djerba La Douce and Club Med Arcs Extrême – will transition into premium properties


Updated summer itineraries from MSC Cruises include an entirely new program for MSC Musica in the West Mediterranean, and an enhanced Greek Island itinerary for MSC Opera. From May 13 to Oct. 28, MSC Musica will offer seven-night sailings out of Civitavecchia for Rome to destinations in the West Mediterranean including Genoa (Italy), Cannes (France), Barcelona, Ibiza (Spain) and Cagliari (Italy) before returning to Civitavecchia. This new program has replaced the cancelled sailings that included Haifa, Israel, due to the ongoing geopolitical situation. MSC Opera’s existing seven-night sailings between May 12 and Oct. 5 have been enhanced with additional Greek Island destinations, the new itinerary includes Bari (Italy), Piraeus for Athens, Santorini, Katakolon, Corfu, and Kefalonia (Greece) before returning to Bari.

Quark Expeditions says guests will recieve complimentary Wi-Fi and alcohol on all voyages as of its Antarctic 2024/25 sailing season


As part of its worldwide “You Belong with G Experience” campaign, agents from Canada will be invited to join G Adventures to see ‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’ live in Toronto this coming November. The tour company says the incentive is the biggest agent experience it has ever delivered, with top sellers from different countries around the world also heading to concerts in New Orleans and London. G’s top seller for each month earns ‘a space’ January through to July 31 based on wild card tickets to be announced in coming months. Tickets will be awarded via cumulative sales. Keep up on the initiative on G’s ‘Agents of Change’ Facebook page.


Mark your calendars, the next edition of the Destination France road show will roll out in four Canadian cities in February: Montreal on Feb.  19; Toronto Feb. 20; Calgary Feb. 21 and Vancouver, Feb.  22. Details to come.

 Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2024 will take place in Montego Bay, Jamaica from May 20-23, 2024. The 42nd annual show will include the return of the Caribbean Travel Forum on May 20, and the introduction of Marketplace Responsible Tourism Day on May 23, 2024.


Park’N Fly’s presented the Salvation Army with a busload of toys during CTV Toronto’s annual Toy Mountain segment during the network’s nightly news broadcast on Dec. 16 (photo). Major donors, sponsors, and on-air hosts attended – including a merry band of elves from Park’N Fly Toronto. Along with partners and volunteers, the Park’N Fly team spent over a month “stuffing the Park’N Fly bus” with over 800 toys. “This year’s campaign donation is our best ever and looking forward to pushing that bar in the future,” said Frank DeCesare, Park’N Fly’s VP of Sales and Marketing.


Red Label Vacations, parent company of TravelBrands and other leading retail brands, reports that it has been certified as a ‘Great Place to Work’ by the reputable Great Place to Work Institute, a global authority on workplace culture, employee experience. The award is based entirely on what current employees say about their experience working at the company. RLV president and CEO Nathalie Tanious said, “This certification reflects our ongoing dedication to creating a workplace where our employees feel valued, supported, and inspired to contribute their best. Our success is not attributed to one individual’s efforts alone; rather, it is achieved through the synergy of all of us working seamlessly in tandem, each contributing our unique strengths to the greater whole…”


Bermuda has a couple of value offers for visitors in early 2024. The island’s 11th annual Restaurant Weeks starts Jan. 18 and continues until Feb. 29 with diverse offerings and prix-fixe menus at various price points. Meanwhile, February is Spa Month, featuring 50% off treatments at top Bermuda spas.

 Belize is all about the festivals in 2024. The annual Chocolate Festival of Belize is celebrated every year over the Commonwealth weekend in May. The event is a perfect excuse to visit the diverse southern region of Belize, namely the town of Punta Gorda. Throughout the summer, the LobsterFest of Belize is celebrated around the country, namely, including the islands of Placencia and Caye Caulker. Belize’s International Music and Food Festival is a two-day summer festival that showcases local and international musical artists, with genres ranging from Reggae, Afro-Beats, Dancehall, Soca, Punta, and Latin beats, as well as exceptional local cuisine on Belize’s biggest island. In 2024, it’ll be the third year that the destination is hosting the event.


In 1965, the name change of Trans-Canada Airlines to Air Canada took effect.

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First published at Travel Industry Today


First published at – Global Travel News