ROUND-UP:June 14-18, 2021

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Canada is added to France’s green list; TravelBrands has new refund policy, a Royal Caribbean debut is delayed, and Air Transat releases its winter schedule…

NEWS

TravelBrands reports it is now offering full refunds on vacation packages without relying on external assistance and, at the same time, protecting agent commission. The refund policy will include all Air & Hotel bookings, including TravelGenie, Sunquest, and Exotik Journeys packages that have flights with Air Canada or Transat. If a refund cannot be secured on a land portion, a future travel voucher will still be applicable. Coverage dates include travel on or after Feb. 1, 2020, and new bookings as of June 1, 2021, going forward. For information, click HERE.

FCM, the business division of Flight Centre Travel Group, has partnered with South Pole, a leading expert in global climate action and project development to launch a new global carbon offsetting program. In addition, FCM has announced that it will offset all staff travel worldwide once pandemic restrictions allow employees to travel for business purposes again. This step will also be backdated to 2019.

Airline passengers arriving at Halifax Stanfield International airport can now take a COVID-19 test upon arrival. Travellers are issued a self-swab kit and instructions with health staff on hand for assistance. Although the tests aren’t mandatory, officials say the testing measure is a way to quickly identify and respond to cases. The self-swab kit is a PCR test – a lab-based test similar to the one used at primary assessment centres, and people will receive results by phone or email within 72 hours of dropping it off.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Canada has been to France’s green list for entering the country, meaning that Canadians can visit with needing an ‘essential’ reason for doing so. And travellers who have been vaccinated for at least two weeks do not need to provide an additional negative PCR test.

Canadians are no longer be required to present a negative PCR test to enter Turkey if they can provide a vaccination card that is at least 14 days old or show proof that they have been in contact with the virus in the past six months. If this cannot be provided, submission of a negative PCR test taken up to 72-hours before the entrance to Turkey, or negative rapid antigen test taken up to 48-hours before the entrance to Turkey, is deemed sufficient. Quarantine measures will not be applied for Canadians. Turkish Airline reports, however, that all passengers will continue to be required to wear masks at airports and on board flights.

Travellers arriving in Iceland after July 1 will be exempt from border screening if they present a certificate of vaccination or recent recovery from COVID-19.

DELAYED/ CANCELLED

Royal Caribbean International is postponing for nearly a month one of the highly anticipated first sailings from the US since the pandemic began because eight crew members tested positive for COVID-19. The new Odyssey of the Seas was to set sail from Fort Lauderdale, Fla, on July 3 but is now postponed to July 31.

BY THE NUMBERS

Three new entrants – Abu Dhabi, Jersey, and French Polynesia – have joined the growing list of destinations to get the Safe Travels stamp, the world’s first global safety and hygiene stamp. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) initiative now boasts more than 275 destinations around the world in the year since it has been launched to help lead the recovery of tourism from the COVID-19 pandemic.

AIR

Air Canada operated its first non-stop service between Montreal and Cairo on Friday. The airline is offering three flights per week on a 255-seat Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft.

Weekly flights from both Regina and Saskatoon to various sun destination will be offered this winter by Sunwing, starting from Dec. 11 and continuing through April 2022. From Regina, flights will service Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Mazatlan, Punta Cana and Varadero. From Saskatoon, the same destinations will be available as well as Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, the latter from Dec. 9.

Air Transat says it will begin flying to nearly 50 destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, the US and Europe starting Nov. 1. New to the winter schedule will be direct flights from Montreal to Miami and Fort Myers, Fla., starting in December.

WestJet is expanding its international network to include Amsterdam, Netherlands. The new twice-weekly service from Calgary will operate on the 787 Dreamliner starting Aug. 5, increasing to three times a week as of Sept. 9.

Ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC) Flair has introduced non-stop service between Ottawa International Airport (YOW) and Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Calgary. In August, the schedule grows with the addition of service to Halifax, Kelowna, and Abbotsford.

DEALS

For bookings made through June 28, European Waterways is offering 10% off both cabins and whole-boat charters. With the specials, cabin prices start at US$4,095 p.p. double, while whole boat charters start at $31,950. Prices are all-inclusive and include all meals on-board and amenities such as the use of bicycles, a wide selection of local wines and an open bar stocked with the finest liquor. They also include all excursions on the itinerary and chauffeured transfers to and from the barge from a designated pick-up point.

To welcome back travellers, participating Curacao hotels are offering the fourth night free when booked by June 29 for stays June 19-Oct. 30. Negative COVID tests are required to enter the island.

TOURS

Intrepid Travel has launched a new training program in North America to certify advisors as Intrepid Travel Specialists, complete with exclusive access to promotions, incentives, and more. To become a specialist, advisors must complete five half-hour trainings that outline various components about Intrepid Travel as a business and brand, beyond the traditional trips it offers. Training topics include subjects such as responsible travel. For details visit Intrepid’s industry training hub or email intrepidspecialist@intrepidtravel.com.

Tauck’s August sailings on the Douro River in Portugal will mark its first-ever journeys on the river, as well as the debut of its new ms Andorinha riverboat. The Andorinha will accommodate just 84 Tauck guests, or about or 33% fewer people than other ships of the same approximate size. A notable feature will be a pop-up restaurant that rises from the stern of the vessel’s Sun (top) Deck on hydraulic lifts to become a fully functioning eatery with commanding views of the surrounding countryside.

HOTELS

Jumeirah Group has re-opened its European flagship hotel, The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, in the heart of London’s Knightsbridge. The opening followed an 18-month closure during which the famed A-lister haunt underwent an all-encompassing £100-million renovation – the most extensive in its history. Featuring contemporary luxury, the 17-storey, 186-room hotel gives guests access to the private Cadogan Gardens, presenting a green space and tennis courts, normally only open to residents, as well as the renowned The Peak Fitness Club & Spa,” which includes the city’s largest 20-m. swimming pool and featuring natural daylight and views through its double-height glass ceiling.

Dubai Tourism reports that all hotels in the emirate will have to comply with 19 sustainability standards as set by Dubai Sustainable Tourism (DST), by July 1. The requirements support Dubai’s Carbon Abatement Strategy 2021 target to reduce carbon emissions by 16% by the end of this year, thereby helping enhance Dubai’s position as a sustainable tourism destination.

RESORTS

The newest five-star luxury boutique hotel in St. Maarten is now open. The Morgan Resort & Spa is located minutes away from Maho Beach and Princess Juliana Airport and close to the Maho Village shopping and entertainment complex. The 124 guestrooms and suites feature balconies or terraces, and are furnished with chic, modern furniture and nautically inspired accents and artwork. Amenities include an intimate restaurant, infinity-edge rooftop pool, 360-degree rooftop observation deck, four wedding venues, and on-site activities.

With the La Colección Resorts’ ‘Summer Wanderlust’ offer available for bookings until Aug. 31 and for travel until Dec. 31, 2021, guests can receive up to 60% off rates. plus added perks at certain properties, such as complimentary airport transfers, daily resort credits, and complimentary stays for children under 12.  The company features 30 beach and urban resorts located throughout Mexico and the Dominican Republic and includes such brands as Live Aqua Resorts, Grand Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts, Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts, and Explorean Discovery Resorts.

CRUISE

Starting in November, vacationers can set sail onboard the adults only Marella Explorer 2 with Sunwing and save up to $300 per couple ($150 p.p.) on select sailings when booked by July 1 for travel between Nov. 23 and Jan. 25, 2022. The Marella Explorer 2 is the newest ship in Marella Cruises’ fleet and the latest addition to the tour operator’s cruise lineup, offering adults-only vacation experiences at sea in the Caribbean and Central America, with destinations including the Cayman Islands, Guatemala, Cartagena, and Panama.

A new on-demand service that allows guests to call a crew member to their exact location to make an in-person request for assistance is being introduced by Princess Cruises. CrewCall is available on stateroom TVs as well as the MedallionClass app and leverages the OceanMedallion wearable to guide a crew member to a guest’s exact location.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

California’s Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood will welcome back guests June 26 with several new experiences: The “Storytelling Showcase,” where guests can explore the evolution of Warner Bros.’ nearly 100-year history; “Action and Magic Made Here,” the new grand finale experience featuring the DC Universe and Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series; and an expansive new Warner Bros Studio Store, which will be open to the public without a Studio Tour ticket purchase. The Studio Tour now admits families with children five years and older.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Ocean Hotels, operators of Sea Breeze Beach House, South Beach Hotel and, the soon to open, all-inclusive O2 Beach Club & Spa in Barbados has announced a new trade rewards incentive. Agents can earn two points for every booking of five nights or more at the new five-star O2 Beach Club and Spa with every two points equaling a one-night stay in a Club Room at the property (with no limit on accumulated nights). Upgrades are available for three or four points per night. Points may also be converted to cash: US$30-$45-$60 for two to four points. Each booking also qualifies for a $70 monthly draw and agents joining the program before June 30 could win a seven-night stay at the O2. For full details, e-mail info@canlinktravel.com or click HERE.

EVENTS

June 23: Brand USA is preparing for the resumption of cross-border travel by conducting a special virtual training day for Canadian travel agents, hosted on the Brand USA Global Marketplace, on Wednesday June 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT. Through live training sessions and pre-recorded segments, agents will learn about the latest products, protocols, and information on what’s new in the US travel and hospitality industry (including a keynote address from US National Parks), ensuring they are equipped with the tools necessary to promote and sell the US. All pre-recorded content will also be translated into French Canadian. Register HERE – deadline is June 21.

June 23: Following last month’s inaugural live virtual town hall on digital marketing, Sandals Resorts is going back to basics with an interactive new session on grassroots marketing. “Let’s Talk – Grassroots Marketing” will take place Wednesday June 23, 1-2 p.m. EDT. Register HERE.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

ACTA’s vice-president of advocacy and member relations Heather Craig-Peddie has announced her retirement after 22 years at the association. The move is effective July 16. Joining the ACTA team will be Avery Campbell, who has five years experience in the industry including time at McCord Travel and Awarding Canada.

With the retirement of Les Kovacs as Sales Manager Canada for Singapore Airlines, Discover the World will take over responsibility for sales and marketing for the airline across Canada effective July 1. Discover the World has provided sales representation to Singapore Airlines in Mexico for more than 25 years and more recently in Czech Republic and Slovakia.

DESTINATIONS

Harmony Beach Park, Jamaica

Montego Bay, Jamaica’s largest free public-access beach park is now open. Harmony Beach Park is designed to be a new recreational focal point for locals and tourists alike. The 6.5-hectare community hub features a variety of spaces for exercise, entertainment and relaxation, including a scenic jogging trail, amphitheatre, multipurpose courts, children’s play areas, gourmet food stalls, wellness centre, and three seaside gazebos for weddings.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige says the state will drop its quarantine and COVID-19 testing requirements for travellers once 70% of the state’s population has been vaccinated against the disease. Hawaii will also lift its requirement that people wear masks indoors once that level has been reached, he said. Currently, approximately 60% of Hawaii’s population has had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and over 52% finished their dosing regimen.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News