ROUND-UP: March 20-24, 2023

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Good news for both those needing passport and NEXUS cards was delivered last week; the heat is on Heathrow as it prepares for a strike leading up to Easter, and the world’s top airport was revealed by Skytrax.


The federal government says it has now “completely eliminated” the backlog of passport applications that caused major delays – and major political strife – last year. New applicants will now get them on time, though people whose passports expire in 2023 are still urged to get them renewed immediately.

The feds have also announced that the NEXUS trusted-traveller program will fully ramp back up within five weeks with airport enrolment centres set to reopen for applicant sit-downs as follows: March 27 – Halifax and Winnipeg; April 3 – Vancouver; April 12 – Calgary and Edmonton; April 17 – Montreal-Trudeau; April 24 – Toronto Pearson and Ottawa. The new two-step interview will allow a sit-down session at a Canadian enrolment centre followed by an interview at a US preclearance location in a Canadian airport.

Singapore Changi has reclaimed its spot as the world’s top airport in the prestigious annual “Passengers’ Choice Award” rankings by Skytrax. Vancouver rated a respectable 20th on the top 100 list, moving up eight spots from 2022.

Notably, both Montreal and Calgary also significantly moved up the list to 45th (from 66th), and 92 (from 125), respectively, while Toronto Pearson dropped to 64th (from 43rd).

Heathrow Airport says it has contingency plans to remain open and operational if security workers walk off the job on March 31 as planned. The strike action – scheduled to take place at Terminal Five over the busy Easter Break – will last 10 days through Easter Sunday on April 9.


Advance customs declaration is now available to all travellers arriving on international flights at Edmonton International Airport (YEG). Express lanes are also available in the customs areas for travellers who complete their Advance Declaration to skip line-ups for Primary Inspection Kiosks (PIK).


 Vancouver has been boosted from a seasonal to year-round route by Icelandair with four flights a week to be available YVR. The service increases as the carrier increases is network capacity by 17% compared to 2019. Canadians will continue to be able to take advantage of Icelandair’s Stopover Program, which allows travellers flying to Europe (destinations include London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Amsterdam, and more) to add a one- to seven-day stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare.

 Air Canada has announced the addition of new, non-stop seasonal flights between Montreal and Amsterdam for the summer (June 2-Oct. 14). Flights will operate five-times weekly on Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Lynx Air will offer seasonal summer flights between Toronto Pearson and Kelowna International starting April 13, and between Hamilton and Vancouver starting April 16. Both will go through Calgary.

New “Fly Your Way” branded fares from Fiji Airways offer customers the option to customize how they travel based on their needs with four categories – Lite, Value, Comfort, and Plus – offering a range of options. All categories will include meals, beverages, inflight entertainment, and a carry-on bag, with increasing value add-ons from Lite to Plus, such as checked baggage, ticket change and cancellation flexibility, seat selection and boarding priority.


Until April 11, Rocky Mountaineer is offering $700 off per couple or (US$250 p.p.) on qualifying net new bookings on “Rockies to the Red Rocks” packages. The offer is available for any new bookings on travel dates in 2023, on both packages and rail-only for direct, travel agents, and wholesale bookings.

 VIA Rail Canada has received the Gold Parity Certification from Women in Governance. This certification recognizes VIA Rail’s efforts and achievements in promoting and supporting women’s leadership development, career advancement and representation at all levels of the organization.


More than 28 million people visited the Caribbean in 2022, a more than 50% jump compared with the previous year and nearly 90% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019, according to the CTO. Due to lingering travel restrictions, visits from Canada did not rebound as expected, with some 2.1 million reported. The diminished arrivals in 2022 amounted to 7.2% of total arrivals to the region, and only 60% of pre-pandemic totals.


Air Transat’s Train + Air offer is back. Combining air and train service, in partnership with the SNCF, the service lets passengers pair an Air Transat flight to Paris with a railway travel to 18 cities in France and Belgium, or to combine both means of transport for the return trip to Canada. The Train + Air offer is available for bookings made through GDS and will also be available via the Air Transat website in the coming weeks.


Travellers who purchase a package at a Grand Palladium Hotels and Resorts or TRS Hotels property with Sunwing by the end of the month for departures by March 31, 2024, will automatically receive 10 bonus contest entries for their chance to win a seven-night all inclusive stay for two at the Grand Palladium Colonial Resort and Spa in Riviera Maya with Sunwing. Non-purchasing customers are also eligible but limited to one entry during the contest period and must complete a contest form found on

TravelBrands reports positive feedback for its ‘new and improved’ Access+ all-in-one travel platform. Among the new amenities are enhanced hotel search widget, dynamic fly & drive packages, and dynamic cancellation penalties, and a bilingual cruise booking engine.


Now open is The St. Regis Kanai Resort, Riviera Maya (photo). Located a short drive from both Cancun and Playa Del Carmen and beside the UNESCO World Heritage Sian Ka’an Reserve, the resort boasts avant-garde architecture and 124 lavishly appointed guestrooms and 19 suites, each offering ocean views and a private terrace or plunge pool. Guests of all room categories will also have access to the St. Regis Signature Butler Service. There are eight culinary venues, including a tea and chocolate salon; spa; Athletic and Beach clubs, and adult and family pools.

The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua recently unveiled its new luxury room category, the Fire Lanai Collection, completing the final phase of the resort’s US$100-million transformation. With the new room additions now open, The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua is one of the only resorts in the Hawaiian Islands offering rooms with private fire pits. The Fire Lanai Collection comprises 33 guestrooms and suites designed with island-inspired décor, an extended lānai with private fire pit, and custom outdoor lounge furniture, inviting guests to experience Maui indoor-outdoor living.


Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay has completed a full multi-million-dollar renovation project. As part of the design overhaul, the property is introducing refreshed and elevated amenities including a new lobby; coastal dining concept, Gold Coast Kitchen + Cocktails; as well as downtown Miami’s first M Club, the brand’s signature lounge. Located at 1633 N. Bayshore Dr., the towering 31-storey skyscraper has long been a fixture of Miami’s tourism industry. It now features 607 remodeled guest rooms and suites with a vibrant, oceanic design, many of which include a private balcony and all offer views of Biscayne Bay and surrounding cityscape.

Ritz-Carlton has landed in Melbourne, Australia. The 80-storey luxury hotel offers spectacular views of the city and, of course, the brand’s signature amenities, culinary offerings, and highly personalized service.


Transitioning from sister line Costa, Carnival Venezia officially joined the Carnival Cruise Line fleet last week in Cadiz, Spain, with Costa Captain Tihomir Muzic handing over the ship to Carnival Captain Claudio Cupisti. The ship will receive finishing touches over the next two months in preparation for her 15-day transatlantic Carnival Journeys sailing from Barcelona on May 29, ahead of the start of year-round cruising from New York’s Manhattan Cruise Terminal on June 15.

Further to its two existing Journey Together programs, Explora Journeys has now introduced another group travel program – ‘Journey Together Gatherings’ catering to extended families or friendship groups. Designed for travel advisors to book small groups, the new offering starts with five suites and a minimum of 10 guests. Travel advisors can benefit from a complimentary host berth, rewarding commission payments and each suite reserved comes with a complimentary Journey Experience credit to use onboard. Explora Journeys is the privately owned luxury lifestyle brand of the MSC Group. A fleet of six ships, two of which are under construction, starting this year through 2028.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKSDisney100 anniversary celebrations continued with the reopening of the Mickey’s Toontown (photo) at Disneyland Park in Anaheim last week. The reimagined attraction offers young families a distinct area of Disneyland Park with more open green spaces for gathering and play. Guests will experience thoughtful elements for different needs of young families, from companion restrooms and a quieter area for decompression to a curb-free land that helps make navigation easier for guests of differing abilities. Attractions include CenTOONial Park, Goofy’s How-To-Play Yard, Donald’s Duck Pond, and the new family-friendly attraction, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which debuted Jan. 27.


Agents who sign up for the Peru agent specialist program with PromPeru before the end of the month and attend its Rainforest webinar on March 30 will earn two chances to win a $150 Amazon Gift Card

Variety Cruises has launched two new cruises in Tahiti, the first time the company has operated in the destination. Sailing round-trip from Papeete port, the seven-night and 10-night itineraries explore the islands with a maximum capacity of 49 passengers. The company is the first cruise line to add the destination of Makatea to its official itinerary. Active travel professionals are invited to get familiarized with the new itineraries with special FAM rates. Contact the company for details.


ACTA has announced its networking events for 2023 They include:

  • ACTA 2023 Eastern Canada Travel Industry Summit – Sept. 14

Toronto Congress Centre, 650 Dixon Rd, Etobicoke, Ont.

  • ACTA 2023 Western Canada Travel Industry Summit – Sept. 21
    River Rock Casino Resort, 8811 River Rd., Richmond, BC
  • ACTA 2023 Québec Travel Industry Summit – Sept. 27
    Centre de Congrès Palace, 1717 Blvd. le Corbusier, Laval, Que.
  • ACTA’s Avalon European River Cruise Summit – Oct. 21-28 – is already sold out.


The Globus family of brands has hired Matthew “Billy” Stewart as Business Development Manager (BDM) in BC. Based in Vancouver, Stewart will be responsible for building and maintaining travel partner relationships and regional sales goals across Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland for Globus, Cosmos and Avalon Waterways. Stewart has nearly 20 years experience in cruising and touring including working at Exoticca and G Adventures.

Sjeidy Dijkhoff- Feliciano has recently been named as the new Area Director of North America for the Aruba Tourism Authority, overseeing the tourism board’s regional sales and marketing teams. Dijkhoff-Feliciano has been at the ATA since 2002, with her most recent role as Communications Manager, spearheading Aruba’s public relations efforts across 10 international markets.


Leading up to Pride Month in June, Miami is packed with LGBTQ+ experiences, not least Miami Beach Pride (April 1-16), the destination’s largest LGBTQ+ event with expanded programming that includes a Pride pool event, an LGBTQ Family picnic, Queer Art Showcase, and the Pride March and Parade on Ocean Drive. Other notable events include the OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival (April 20-30); SweetHeat (May 16-22) is a dedicated event for women from the queer community; and Sizzle Miami (May 25-29), one of the most popular urban LGBTQ+ events for Black revellers and people of colour during Memorial Day weekend.

For the first time, the FIFA Women’s World Cup is heading Down Under, when 32 nations will go head-to-head across Australia and New Zealand (July 20-Aug. 20). With all of Team Canada’s games being held in Australia, now is the time for Canadian soccer fans to plan a “once-in-a-lifetime Australian adventure” that includes games in five cities and plenty to do beyond, says the country’s tourist board. The tourney is a chance to “not only catch one of the 64 FIFA matches but tick off some bucket list travel experiences around the country,” enthuses Tourism Australia.


In 1903, the Wright brothers applied for a patent on their airplane.

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First published at Travel Industry Today


First published at – Global Travel News