ROUND-UP: Oct. 16-20, 2023

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Canada got going on a new high-speed rail link, but has fallen behind on producing sustainable jet fuel. Other round-up highlights include Canadian air news about Peru and Panama; a partnership between Air Miles and Expedia; a new Margaritaville in Belize; and festival fever in a several interesting destinations.


Canada possesses the key factors to place it at the cutting edge of sustainable jet fuel, making it all the more “bizarre” that Canada lags behind the United States and Europe on the green-flying front, said Airbus Canada’s chief executive. Benoit Schultz said the country’s long history of resource development, renewable energy, agriculture, and aircraft manufacturing should put it in the pilot’s seat on developments around sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Canada and Quebec have launched an RFP for the High Frequency Rail project, which will be the largest Canadian infrastructure project in generations. Once operational, the “transformational” rail line will span the Québec City to Toronto corridor with dedicated passenger tracks. The RFP process will be ongoing until summer 2024. Following the evaluation period, the Government of Canada will select the group who will become the private developer partner to work collaboratively with VIA HFR to design and develop the project.

The AIR MILES Reward Program has selected Expedia Group as its strategic lodging supply partner. The newly launched AIR MILES Travel platform will offer collectors access to Expedia Group’s global supply of 700,000 hotels and vacation rental properties in both standalone lodging and package bookings. This strategic lodging partnership is part of AIR MILES’ newly launched travel platform, one of several enhancements to the program since being acquired by the Bank of Montreal.


To better accommodate the growing Canada-Panama market and to support tourism, the two countries have announced an expanded agreement that will allow airlines to introduce more flight options and routings. Each country’s airlines are now able to operate a total of 14 passenger flights per week, and an unlimited number of all-cargo flights – up from nine flights per week for passenger and/or all-cargo services. The agreement goes to into effect immediately.

Count Calgary among Porter Airlines’ new destinations from Ottawa, with the airline announcing that flights between the cities will start on Feb. 14. The service is Porter’s latest expansion into Western Canada from the Capital, complementing existing flights to Vancouver and Edmonton.

Lynx Air has announced an exclusive partnership with Allianz Global Assistance (Allianz). Lynx customers now have the opportunity to protect their flights with Allianz’s travel insurance products. Travellers can add cancellation, interruption, and medical coverage to both new and existing Lynx Air bookings.


Clients booking Princess Hotels & Resorts with Sunwing by Oct. 31 can take advantage of several savings offers, including no single supplements at Princess Hotels’ Punta Cana Princess All Suites Resort Spa and Platinum Yucatan Princess All Suites Resort and Spa for October 2023 departures; reduced package rates on departures by April 30, 2024; and their eighth adult passenger free on groups travelling by Dec. 22, 2024. All customers are also automatically entered in the giveaway of an all-inclusive getaway at Grand Sunset Princess All Suites and Spa Resort. Plus, agents have the chance to win a seven-night stay at the Tropical Deluxe Princess Punta Cana for bookings made by Oct. 31 to Princess hotels in Mexico and the DR for departures by April 30, 2024.

Through the end of the month, Riviera River Cruises is offering a $500 p.p. discount on select European river cruise departures in April and May 2024. The spring discount is available on itineraries from eight to 15 days, including cruises that take in the Dutch bulbfields, alpine views of Switzerland, Eastern Europe, and the UNESCO-listed Danube Delta, new 11-day cruises and more.


More transparent, enhanced carbon dioxide (CO2) emission estimates for flights have been introduced on Travelport+. They are calculated using the publicly accessible Travel Impact Model (TIM), which has been developed by Google in partnership with the Travalyst coalition. This new feature is the first of Travelport’s wider product offering that is focused on helping agents, travel managers and travellers easily make more eco-conscious choices when planning and booking their trips.


Margaritaville Ambergris Caye

With the Prime Minister of Belize John Briceño amongst others on hand, Margaritaville Beach Resort Ambergris Caye (photo), Belize officially opened to guest earlier this month. Situated just north of the coastal town of San Pedro and steps away from a stunning beach that’s home to the second largest coral reef in the world, the secluded boutique resort features 55 suites, one restaurant, two bars, a BBQ and picnic area, two pools, St. Somewhere Spa, and ample opportunity for adventure, including snorkelling at nearby Hol Chan Marine Reserve, or feeding and swimming with nurse sharks at Shark-Ray Alley.

Sandals Resorts is expanding its innovative off-site dining program to Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, Bahamas. “Island Inclusive” is available to guests staying seven nights or more in select room categories (OS1B, S1B, BSUP, V1PP, or 1BS) as well as Sandals Select Reward Members who are Diamond, Pearl or Ambassador levels staying in any room category. Participants receive a US$250 voucher and off-site roundtrip transportation at four off-site partner restaurants.


Portland, Oregon will welcome a new Ritz-Carlton this fall (opening date TBA), the first five-star luxury hotel in Portland and first Ritz in the Pacific Northwest. The new build has already transformed the city’s skyline with its 35-storey tower and the lobby, inspired by Portland’s beloved Forest Park, will welcome guests as they check-in to one of 251 guest rooms and suites. The hotel’s signature restaurant will be helmed by Chef Pedro Almeida who comes from the Ritz-Carlton’s Penha Longa Resort in Portugal (home to three Michelin-starred restaurants. The hotel’s spa is inspired by Portland, known as the Rose City, and will feature rose-imbued treatments, an infinity pool and athlete-grade fitness centre.

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic (Nov. 10-11) will return for its 14th year, treating guests to a street party festival with unlimited food and beverage tastings at diverse food stations, featuring culinary selections from the hotel’s award-winning restaurants and wine from around the world.


With the launch of year-round flights to Peru in December from Toronto and Montreal, Transat is adding packages, excursions, and à la carte hotels to its offering, making it easier for both clients and travel advisors to book a trip to the South American destination. Transat will offer all-inclusive packages at selected hotel partners in Lima, as well as à la carte hotels in Aguas Calientes, Cusco, Urubamba and Puno. In addition, the company says it will soon offer a variety of excursions in different regions of the country.

Youth travel brand Contiki is giving travellers more choice in 2024 with new destinations, plus new Pride trips and limited-edition age-restricted trips for those travellers who’d prefer to travel with more like-minded people. Contiki’s newest trips include ‘Greek Explorer’ which covers the historic hotspots and geographical wonders of Athens, Meteora, Corfu and more; ‘Best of Georgia,’ a cultural deep dive into one of Europe’s most exciting emerging destinations; and ‘Best of Baltics’ visiting hidden gems of Eastern Europe including Split and Budapest. Contiki has also crafted some bespoke versions of existing trips, designed to give travellers more choice for who they travel with. Next year, popular European trips including Croatia Island Sail and Greek Island Hopping will run variations exclusive to both 18-22s and 27-35s.


EXPLORA 1, Explora Journeys’ first of six luxury ships, was officially named by renowned marine biologist and oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle in Manhattan, NY, on Oct. 12 (photo). Explora Journeys is the luxury travel brand of MSC Group. EXPLORA I began sailing in July this year with a series of journeys in Northern Europe before crossing the Atlantic to New York with visits en route to Iceland, Greenland and Canada. The luxury ship will spend the autumn in North America, the winter in the Caribbean, and spring on the U.S West Coast and Hawaii before returning to Europe in Summer 2024 for a series of sailings in the Mediterranean Sea.

Norwegian Cruise Line is set to introduce nearly 1,000 dedicated solo staterooms across its diverse 19-ship fleet. And the company has opened for sale for the first time ever, three new solo stateroom categories, including Solo Inside, Solo Oceanview and Solo Balcony for future sailings starting Jan. 2, 2024. With pricing and availability dependent on the destination and demand, solo travelers can expect to pay less than a traditional double occupancy room.


Air Canada Vacations has added MSC Cruises to its roster of cruise offerings and to celebrate, travel agents will earn 3% bonus commission through the end of the month for individual bookings made for any sailings (in any categories) through 2025.


CLIA reports that its 2023 order book data shows that cruise lines continue investment in new vessels with 44 new ships on order during the next five years, representing an investment of US$62 billion since 2019. Of these new ships, 25 will be LNG- powered and seven will be either methanol ready on delivery, or methanol capable, representing an investment in new engine technologies that will accelerate the maritime transition towards a future of low to zero carbon fuels.


At the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival (through Nov. 18), guests can savour unexpected flavours from around the globe as they circle the iconic World Showcase. The celebration at Walt Disney World in Orlando features over 25 global Marketplaces, including a menu of new flavours and sips along with live entertainment, family activities and more. This year, the festival welcomes back two fan-favourite flavour destinations: “Hawaii,” featuring flavours from the Pacific paradise; and “The Noodle Exchange,” offering savoury ramen and noodle bowls. Four all-new Global Marketplaces debuted this year to mark the Disney100 celebration that commemorates the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company.


VisitBritain is set to host a series of travel agent workshops in four Ontario cities this November. And yes, they promise, a cuppa tea and treats will be on hand. In partnership with VisitWales, VisitScotland, and Canadian tour operator partners, Globus, Goway, RIT and Travelbrands, the workshops will include presentations and networking opportunities, highlighting key product, tours and partners across Britain. Workshops run from 4 to 7 p..m on the following dates: Nov. 13 in Kingston; Nov. 14 in Ajax; Nov. 15 in Barrie; and Nov. 16 in London. To register for one of the workshops, email: and include preferred city.


Citing growing demand for The Bahamas from the Canadian market, the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board (NPIPB) has reinstated its partnership with Newmarket, Ont.-based Canlink Travel Representatives to expand its marketing and sales efforts in Canada. Canlink’s relationships within retail and group travel agencies will create a bridge between the NPIPD Board and Canadians, providing greater recognition of the destination as a preferred vacation spot, says the NPIPB.


A new food and drink festival is coming to Jamaica’s scenic South Coast this fall. Visitors can savour unique flavours and locally grown delights from the island’s thriving farming region during the inaugural Treasure Beach Food, Rum & Reggae Festival. Hosted Nov. 10 to 12, the three-day celebration will include culinary-themed excursions, interactive cocktail tastings, live stage shows, and more. Foodies will get a true taste of Jamaica’s ‘bread basket’ parish by touring local farms, sampling spirits from world-class rum producers, and watching live chef demonstrations with local legends.

From Nov. 23 to 25, “Back to the 90s” in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba, promises to be an epic three-day festival that will transport attendees to the “golden age” of the 1990s. The festival is a first for the destination and will feature a lineup of artists, as well as beach parties with international DJs. Over 15 hotels in the area are taking part. For details, go to


In 1977, West German commandos stormed a hijacked Lufthansa airliner at an airport in Somalia and freed all 86 hostages aboard.

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First published at Travel Industry Today


First published at – Global Travel News