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ROUND-UP:Sept. 13-17, 2021

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Last week’s highlights include news of new leadership at WestJet; Red Label Vacations testing US waters; Transat resuming UK and Portugal flights, a new assurance program from Sandals; and Globus extending its vaccine policy for guests through 2022.

NEWS

WestJet Airlines Ltd. has named Harry Taylor its interim president and chief executive. Taylor has been WestJet’s chief financial officer since 2015. He will assume the interim CEO role between late November and mid-December 2021.
Taylor will replace current WestJet chief executive Ed Sims, who announced in June his plans to retire at the end of this year. Jennifer Bue, WestJet’s current VP of finance planning and analysis, has been named interim CFO.

Toronto-based H.I.S.-Red Label Vacations is expanding to the US with a new sustainable online travel agency that promises to allow clients to offset their carbon emissions while booking. Copolo is designed to be simple one-stop site for travellers to plan and book their trip, including airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, and more. Travellers will also have the option to offset the carbon emissions produced from their trip by partnering with CHOOOSE, a leading climate-focused technology company in Oslo, Norway.

Effective Nov. 15, Cuba will relax entry requirements and open all tourism destinations. The move will reflect an over 90% vaccination rate in the country, says the tourism board. Fully vaccinated Canadians can enter without undergoing a COVID test upon entry or quarantine, though subject to temperature screening and random tests. Not fully vaxxed visitors must provide a PCR test taken with 72 hours of arrival. COVID tests for the return home will be provided at hotels for only US$30 (visa or debit).

BY THE NUMBERS

Chinese health officials say more than 1 billion people have been fully vaccinated in the world’s most populous country. That represents 72% of its 1.4 billion people. China’s National Health Commission says 2.16 billion doses have been administered and 1.01 billion people have been fully vaccinated.

AIR

Starting Nov. 20 and Dec. 4 respectively, Swoop will introduce new service from Edmonton and Toronto to Los Cabos, Mexico. Non-stop flights will operate weekly from the Alberta city and twice weekly from T.O.

Flair Airlines is extending its flight schedule through Summer 2022 in core Canadian and US markets. The ultra low-cost carrier says many year-round and seasonal routes will see an increase in service including departures from Edmonton (YEG), Kelowna (YLW), Halifax (YHZ), Kitchener (YKF), Abbotsford (YXX), Winnipeg (YWG), Toronto (YYZ), Saint John (YSJ), Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC), Victoria (YYJ), Charlottetown (YYG), Thunder Bay (YQT), and Montreal (YUL).

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Sunwing is set to resume service to Cuba with weekly flights to Varadero and Cayo Coco starting Oct. 8 and into November from Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton. As the winter progresses, more gateways and destinations are expected to be added to reflect evolving consumer demand, says the tour company.

The first flights between Canada and the UK from Transat transpired last week after several months of inactivity due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The airline will initially be flying three times weekly from Toronto to London Gatwick. In response to strong demand, the airline also announced it would be resuming its flights from Toronto to Manchester Oct. 19, earlier than originally planned. And direct flights from Toronto to Glasgow are set to resume on Dec. 15. The airline also resumed service to Portugal – Montreal-Lisbon and Toronto-Porto – last week.

Air Transat also resumed flights between Canada and Portugal last week after many months of temporary suspension due to COVID-19. The company operated its first two round-trip flights this week, connecting Montreal to Lisbon and Toronto to Porto. Air Transat now offers two direct flights per week from Montreal to Lisbon and from Toronto to Porto. Direct flights from Toronto to Faro are set to begin on January 18.

Porter Airlines officially returned to Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) last week with service to Ottawa, Montreal and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) also returned with service to Billy Bishop.

DEALS

The 20th Anniversary Sale by AMR Collection is offering savings plus additional perks for guests at Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets, Breathless, Dreams, Now, and Sunscape Resorts & Spas by AMR Collection when booking by Nov. 22 for travel through April 9, 2022. The offer includes $200 in resort coupons, $20 spa treatment at adult-oriented properties, $20 kids at select family-friendly properties, and a free night return stay when celebrating a 20th birthday or 20th anniversary during original stay, as well as savings up to half off.

TruTravels welcomed its first travellers back on the road recently after more than 500 days as the youth-travel and social adventure specialist kicked off its relaunched European tours with an 11-day sailing and land adventure in Croatia. The G Adventures brand is offering 30% off October departures to help fill remaining tours for the late-summer season.

TOURS

The Globus family of brands – consisting of Globus, Cosmos, Avalon Waterways and Monograms – says it will require all travellers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to join any vacation in its portfolio through 2022. Last month, the GFOB extended vaccination policies into 2022; with this announcement, it’s now committing to that policy for the full year.

In conjunction with the launch of its Caribbean cruise program, Tradewind Voyages has appointed Toronto-based Discover the World as its general sales agent (GSA) in charge of sales and marketing in the US and Canada. The world’s largest tall ship, Golden Horizon, will make her inaugural voyage in the region from Barbados with the first of 21 round trips departing on Nov. 11 through March 31 March, featuring smaller ports of call and undiscovered gems in the islands.

HOTELS

Bill Gates’ investment firm Cascades has purchased a controlling stake in Four Seasons Hotels from Saudi Arabia-based Kingdom Holding. The price – an incredible US$2.21 billion. The deal, which is expected to close in January 2022, has Cascades buying half of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s stake in the hotel chain.

In November, Montreal will welcome the new 351-room Hyatt Place Montreal Downtown, located at 1415 Saint-Hubert St. close to the gay village and Quartier des Spectacles, along with numerous downtown attractions.

RESORTS

Guests impacted by COVID-19-related travel interruptions will now receive a free replacement vacation (including airfare) from Sandals and Beaches resorts, in what the company says is an industry-first guarantee designed to promote worry-free travel amongst guests. The new no-charge Sandals Vacation Assurance Program, which is included in all current and new reservations made through Dec. 31, 2021, for travel until Dec. 31, 2022.

The all-inclusive Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace in La Romana, Dominican Republic, will re-open on Oct. 1 after extensive renovations. Known for its secluded pristine beaches and turquoise waters, the resort is offering a special inaugural “Endless Summer” promotion granting guests a third night free, with rooms from US$85 per person, per night. Guests will also get free access to all the sporting activities and amenities of the resort’s sister property, Dominicus Beach.

CRUISE

Cruise Control columnist Wallace Immen reports that “just when it seemed cruising was starting to get more predictable, cruise lines have once again tightened the testing rules for getting on ships.” Immen says the new two-day testing deadline means Canadians may need to have two sets of negative COVID tests, one to fly to a cruise and another to get on board.

AmaWaterways celebrated the launch of its newest ship, AmaDahlia, on the Nile River on Sept. 6, sailing the “Secrets of Egypt & The Nile” itinerary. Company co-founders Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst were on hand for to meet guests in Cairo before the ship’s launch in Luxor, which featured local musicians and an Egyptian whirling dervish performance.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

After a pandemic-related absence of almost two years, Halloween Horror Nights has kicked off at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. The annual horror extravaganza continues on select nights until Oct. 31. This year’s haunted houses are inspired by the movies “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “The Haunting of Hill House,” “Beetlejuice,” and “The Bride of Frankenstein.”

Air Canada is celebrating Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary celebration with an Aeroplan contest that gives members a chance to win up to 50 prizes, including one of five Air Canada Vacations packages to the Orlando, Florida, theme park destination. The contest is effect through Sept. 29, ahead of the launch of WDW’s 18-month milestone event, which starts Oct. 1. Air Canada is also adding Disney merchandise and Disney Gift Cards that can be redeemed using Aeroplan points on the Aeroplan eStore. For details, visit Air Canada’s web site.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Air Canada’s Global Sales team, in partnership with Switzerland Tourism, recently hosted a group of travel agents at the latest edition of the Air Canada Race in Basel, Switzerland. The event was held to show Canadian travel professionals what it’s like to get back to travelling “in a safe and responsible manner…” The airline produced a video of the Aug. 27-Sept. 2 event, check it out HERE.

EVENTS

Sept. 30-Oct. 1: ACTA has released details about some of the panel topics that will be covered at its Virtual Summit, Sept. 30-Oct. 1: ACTA President, Wendy Paradis will facilitate a panel discussion with travel industry leaders to focus on anticipated trends and challenges; Flemming Friisdahl, President and Founder at The Travel Agent Next Door, will lead a panel of travel agents to explore why there has “never been a better time for travel agents to stand proud”; and Keith Lane of Celebrity Cruises and Gary Murphy of Ama Waterways will discuss the continued efforts towards cruise recovery. For info and registration click HERE.

The Antigua & Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association, in collaboration with island’s tourism authority, are preparing to conduct the seventh installment of the travel trade business to business destination event, Showcase Antigua Barbuda. And notably, the Oct. 13-14 event will take place face to face. Registration details are to come.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

The Travel Agent Next Door’s Jeffrey Cohen has been recognized again by Celebrity Cruises as an Iconic Advisor winner for 2021 for the second quarter of 2021 in the ‘Most Engaged Year over Year’ category. Cohen was one of only five Canadian travel advisors to receive the award for Q2 2021.

Air France – KLM has appointed Eric Caron Sr. VP and GM for North America, a new role. Based in New York, he will oversee Air France and KLM passenger activities within Canada, French Polynesia, Mexico, and the United States. Caron was most recently based in Paris, France serving as Executive Vice President In-flight Services and a member of the Air France Executive Committee.

DESTINATIONS

Originally scheduled to open last year, but delayed due to the pandemic, Athens’ new Olympic Museum is now open. Located within walking distance of the 2004 Olympic stadium, the state-of-the-art venue is housed over a 3,500-sq.-m. light-flooded floor of the Golden shopping mall in northern Athens and linked via a pedestrian bridge to the main Olympic arena, known as OAKA. The spacious new cultural landmark traces the legendary history of the Olympic Games through the three main chapters of its evolution: Birth (Ancient Olympia), Revival (Athens 1896) and Return (the 2004 Athens Olympics); using rich audiovisual props such as videos, animations, interviews, and augmented reality applications that will flash visitors back in time to ancient Greece.

Two stars of the dinosaur world will take centre stage in Raleigh, North Carolina, in fall 2022 with the opening of “Dueling Dinosaurs,” a permanent exhibit at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. The most complete fossils of a Tyrannosaurus rex and a Triceratops ever unearthed will be displayed as they were found: locked together as if dueling at the time of their death. The museum is building a state-of-the-art research centre, called SECU Dinolab, where the public can get a close-up view and meet scientists seeking to uncover secrets that were buried for 67 million years. The museum announced the acquisition of the T. rex and Triceratops in May 2020, 14 years after they were excavated at a Montana ranch.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

PUBS, PATIOS & BARS: We Bierliebe in Switzerland

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Sometimes drinks just taste better in a particular setting, such as beer with a ballgame in front of it, or a glass of wine with a lush vineyard stretching out to the horizon behind. Such is the case with Bierliebe and Friends, which is nestled along the edge of the River Reuss within paddling distance of Lucerne’s famous covered bridge/causeway.

Lucerne is arguably Switzerland’s prettiest city and the Europe’s oldest timber bridge, Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), which spans the river diagonally and contains a number of historic paintings inside, is its prime attraction. So where better to settle in for in a peaceful and regenerative drink after a few hours of sightseeing? – an experience I was lucky enough to have earlier this month while on a post Air Canada Race 2021 FAM trip excursion.

There are a number of venues chock-a-block to Bierliebe and Friends along the Rathausquai, but one of my colleagues had found this pub/patio a couple of years ago and recommended we return for the service, the beer (and, of course, the view).

As for the former, the owner Vince Vercueil, South African by birth, remembered Ann, and sat with us to chat, explaining that his establishment’s philosophy was “love of beer” and mission to “elevate” Swiss beer, which boasts 1,300 microbreweries.

To that end, Bierliebe doesn’t serve pints or pitchers, rather unique two- and four-decilitre glasses (typical is three), and sampler flights (four glasses). “You won’t get drunk here,” Vercueil laughed, adding, “We’re not a Saturday evening address.” He notes that much of the pub’s clientele is local, despite its prime location on the town’s tourist trail, which helped the business survive the pandemic.

There are 12 local Swiss craft beers on tap to try, ranging from wheat, sour and stouts, to lagers and IPA. There is also wine, cider, whisky, and gin.

“You have a lot of people who want to discuss (Swiss) beer and there’s always someone here to do it,” says Vercueil.

Food is similarly locally sourced with burgers courtesy of a neighbourhood butcher and custom bread made at a local bakery. The “Swiss” gourmet hotdogs and bratwurst also earn raves.

Patrons can sit inside, with some window views of the bridge, but the patio on the Rathausquai provides the most desirable setting.

In sum, its attributes have garnered awards for Bierliebe and Friends. Add to it my distinguished blessing, and, hopefully soon, yours.

The Pub is open daily from 11:30 a.m. and is easy to find. You’ll see it from the bridge.

With glass purposefully in hand, we at Travel Industry Today continue our series on some of the planet’s best bars, patios and rooftop venues. For more articles in the series, click here:

PREVIOUS ARTICLES: https://travelindustrytoday.com/pub-patio/

 

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

ROUND-UP:Sept. 6-10, 2021

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The Canadian border cracked opened a little more, airlines started flying again from YTZ, ACV hosted a virtual product launch, WestJet jumped on the staff vax bandwagon, and other pandemic-related items (surprise!) dominate last week’s news round-up.

NEWS

Fully vaccinated foreign visitors are once again able to enter Canada. Effective Sept. 7, travellers who receive their second dose of vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival and who show proof of a negative molecular test for COVID-19 that’s no more than 72 hours old can enter without quarantine. They are also required to use the ArriveCAN app or online web portal to upload their vaccination details.

All WestJet Group employees, current and future, will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, says the company. Employees who are unable to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for medical or other reasons will be accommodated, but others must attest to their vaccination status by Sept. 24 and/or be fully vaccinated by Oct. 30 or face unpaid leave or termination of employment. As part of its vaccine mandate, the airline will not provide testing as an alternative to vaccination.

After months of struggle and speculation over its long-term future, Philippine Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York. The company will need court approval for its plans to trim liabilities by US$2 billion by restructuring and reducing its fleet by a quarter.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Billy Bishop celebrated the return of Porter Airlines flights with a water cannon salute.

Air Canada and Porter Airlines are flying again from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ). For the former, the resumption of service at the island airport features five daily Air Canada Jazz return flights to Montreal aboard De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft. Porter also resumed service from the island on Sept. 9 with flights to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Thunder Bay. Other destinations starting within the next 10 days are Halifax, Quebec City, St. John’s, and Moncton, and Boston, Chicago, New York, and Washington DC will return on Sept. 17. Flights to other year-round destinations are set to resume as of Oct. 6.

Also flying again is Air Canada Rouge, which resumed service last week with flights between Toronto and Las Vegas, Orlando, and Regina, with other destinations being introduced in September to include Cancun and Tampa.

DELAYED/ CANCELLED

Seabourn has updated the restart of one of its remaining ships, Seabourn Quest, in time for the summer season in the Mediterranean on May 10, 2022. The ship will resume service in Europe, where it will spend its summer season homeporting from Venice, Italy. The ship will visit countries in the Adriatic and Ionian seas through mid-July before turning west and north to explore coastal destinations across Spain, Portugal, France and the UK. The revised restart date also means the brand is cancelling its 2021-22 Antarctica and South America season on Seabourn Quest, which also includes the Amazon region. The line is currently operating two of the five ships in its fleet, Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Ovation.

BY THE NUMBERS

Transat AT Inc. reports it lost $138.1 million in its latest quarter compared with a loss of $45.1 million in the same quarter last year. Revenue in what was the company’s third quarter totalled $12.5 million, up from $9.5 million a year ago. Transat began a gradual resumption of flying on July 30 after suspending operations on Jan. 29. The company has said it plans to offer flights to nearly 50 cities this winter.

AIR

WestJet has launched WestJet Link service connecting Calgary and Dawson Creek, BC. The new service operates four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Air Canada has unveiled an expanded Travel Ready hub to help customers plan and prepare for upcoming trips. The interactive online tool allows users to easily find information on necessary travel documentation, COVID-19 test requirements, testing locations, and country travel restrictions for any global destination.

Emirates is offering travellers to or through Dubai a free Emirates Expo Day Pass for use during Expo 2020 Dubai. And to further encourage travellers to maximize their time in the city and during the Expo and the UAE Golden Jubilee, Skywards loyalty program members will be eligible to earn one Skywards Mile for every minute spent in Dubai with the airlines’ special ‘Mile-A-Minute’ offer. The world’s fair begins Oct. 1 and continues through March 31, 2022.

DEALS

In celebrations of its new non-stop service between Toronto (YYZ) and Kingston, Jamaica, which will operate twice weekly beginning Dec. 8, Swoop is offering a limited quantity of introductory one-way fares between Kingston and Toronto starting from just $129 all-in.

TOURS

With the aim of continuing its development of customer-centric content, Sunwing has launched a new “Best of the Best List” highlighting its best resorts across popular sun destinations, the most luxurious room categories, top beaches, and more. The new program will be unveiled every year in the fall and is based on a combination of guest reviews and travel expert recommendations. This year’s list can be viewed HERE.

The Travel Corporations’ (TTC) guided tour brands, Trafalgar, Contiki, Insight Vacations, Costsaver, Brendan Vacations, and Luxury Gold, have announced an extension of the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all adult guests. The new policy, requiring clients to show documented proof of having received two doses of approved vaccines from either Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, or one dose from Johnson & Johnson (all completed 15 days prior to travel) came into effect on Sept. 1 and will remain until at least Dec. 31, 2022.

HOTELS

Delray Beach, Florida, has a new Hilton. The 141-room Ray Hotel Delray Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton is located in the Pineapple Grove Arts District in the centre of town. Highlights of the property include an expansive rooftop pool deck with a restaurant and bar, lush landscaping, a robust wellness program and state-of-the-art fitness centre, plus immersive art installations throughout the public spaces.

Due to open in February in Chicago is the LaSalle Hotel, a luxury property located in the centre of The Loop. The hotel will occupy the top five floors of the historic building at 208 S. LaSalle, adjacent to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and promises to offer business and leisure travellers the “timeless elegance” of the original LaSalle Hotel, which opened in 1909 to much acclaim as “Chicago’s finest hotel.” Amenities include a signature restaurant and lounge; 232 luxury suites and oversized guestrooms, featuring elegant furnishings, millwork, cabinetry, and large marble-clad bathrooms; a library retreat and a solarium adjacent to the hotel lobby; state-of-the-art fitness centre; plus extensive ballroom and meeting space. Bookings are now open.

RESORTS

Royalton Luxury Resorts’ newest all-inclusive property, Royalton Grenada Resort and Spa, re-opened on Oct. 1. Overlooking Tamarind Bay with direct access to two of the island’s best white-sand beaches, the resort features 269 well-appointed rooms with rain showers, soaker tubs, and handcrafted DreamBed mattresses; 24-hour room service; complimentary non-motorized water sports; free high-speed Wi-Fi resort-wide; a world-class spa; and more.

Now open for its inaugural summer season, Club Med La Rosière, the brand’s newest resort in the French Alps, will welcome guests for its first winter season later this year. Situated in the Tarentaise Valley of the French Alps, the all-inclusive ski resort offers sweeping 180-degree views of the surrounding region and unlimited ski-in/ski-out access in the heart of Espace San Bernardo, well-known for its sunshine and snow cover. A variety of accommodations, include interconnecting rooms for large groups, includes 395 units projecting the cozy atmosphere of a refined alpine Chalet.

CRUISE

Oceania Cruises has unveiled the Inaugural Season of voyage itineraries for Vista, the line’s newest ship. The 18 inaugural season voyages commence in April 2023 and will span more than 24 countries across four continents, from Asia to North America. Previews can be found online at OceaniaCruises.com and will open for sale this week (Sept. 15).

Crystal Cruises’ 2022 “Grand Voyage, Caribbean Idylls & Mediterranean Masterpieces” on Crystal Serenity will depart Jan. 17, 2022, from Miami, concluding in Los Angeles 132 days later on May 29. The destination-rich itinerary will call in 82 ports in 32 countries and includes 11 overnights in such cities as Istanbul, Monte Carlo, Naples and Cannes, as well as island enclaves of St. Barts, Madeira, the Canary Islands. This new Grand Voyage replaces the line’s 2022 World Cruise, which was cancelled because many countries on the original itinerary remain uncertain in their ability to welcome guests back at this time.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Universal Studios reports it will open its first theme park in China in the country’s capital on Sept. 20. Under construction since 2016, the theme park has received strong backing from Beijing authorities, including the extension of one of the city’s main subway lines to the site. Along with rides, shows, restaurants and exhibits, the resort features a pair of hotels. The project will complement Universal’s other two Asian parks in Japan and Singapore.

EVENTS

Air Canada Vacations VP Nino Montagnese

More than a thousand people attended Air Canada Vacations 2nd annual virtual DreamMakers product launch Sept. 9. Attendees had the opportunity to take part in training, connect with ACV staff and get the latest company news, take a virtual fam, meet dozens of suppliers on the “trade show floor,” and, of course win prizes. ACV VP Nino Montagnese was on hand (virtually) to greet agents and vowed, “Next year we will go back to our full product launch –so we can see you live!”

Sept. 17: A new series of live, virtual training sessions from Sandals will debut on Sept.17 featuring the all-inclusive chain’s new resort in Curaçao (opening April 2022) as the first featured topic. The “Take 10” presentations will take place every Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. EDT through Nov. 19 and feature a grand prize contest for those who attend all 10 sessions. Upcoming dates and topics also include Beaches Turks & Caicos, Sept. 24; Sandals Grenada, Oct. 1; and Celebrating Sandals 40th Anniversary, Oct. 8. Register HERE.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Tim Paul has joined Discover the World Canada as Senior Manager focused on Expedia’s Travel Agent Affiliate Program (TAAP). The Calgary native and former Westjetter has 20 years of aviation and travel industry experience, including roles in customer service, B2B marketing, inside sales, and digital travel agent platforms at the airline. He was also a member of the travel agent advisory board at WestJet and possesses an “in-depth understanding of a travel agents’ DNA and expectations,” says Discover the World Canada director Jane Clementino. Paul can be contacted at Tim@discovertheworld.ca.

DESTINATIONS

A new Tourism Vaccination Task Force in Jamaica is helping ensure vaccinations for all 170,000 tourism workers on the island, including individuals working in hotels, villas and guest houses, attractions, airports, cruise ports, craft markets, as well as ground transportation operators. The program started Aug. 30 and continues at additional sites across the country.

Through Oct. 15, the ‘Kids Free Florida Keys’ value-added program will allow kids under 12 to take part in a host of experiences at no cost when accompanied by one paying adult. Offers apply to select attractions, tours, watersports and other offerings, such as restaurant perks. Go to KidsFreeFloridaKeys.com to download the coupons.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

ROUND-UP:Aug. 30-Sept 03, 2021

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Ontario is queuing up for QR codes; Hurricane Ida ravaged the US, south and north; Sunwing makes staff vaccinations mandatory, and latest doings at Disney, all in today’s round-up.

NEWS

Ontario has joined the growing list of provinces introducing COVID-19 vaccine passport systems. The province will require residents aged 12 and older to show their vaccine receipt and a piece of government-issued photo ID starting Sept. 22 in order to access the indoor areas of restaurants and bars, nightclubs, meeting and event spaces, gyms and theatres. As of Oct. 22, residents will receive a QR code that will serve as proof of vaccination, which businesses can scan using a government app.

Sunwing says it will be requiring all new and existing employees across all Canadian divisions be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The new policy aligns with the Government of Canada’s recent announcement that it intends to require vaccination across all federally regulated industries later this fall. Employees will have until Sept. 13, to provide proof of their full vaccination status or their intention to vaccinate.

Sixteen years to the day that Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana, Hurricane Ida blasted ashore in the state as one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US, blowing off roofs and reversing the flow of the Mississippi River as it rushed from the coast toward New Orleans. Ida’s 230 kph winds tied it for the fifth-strongest hurricane to ever hit the mainland US The storm continued north and devastated parts of the northeast, including New York City, where flooding catastrophic flooding and multiple deaths occurred.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

On Aug. 29, Crystal River Cruises celebrated the resumption of European river cruise operations as Crystal Ravel sailed from Vilshofen on a seven-night Danube itinerary, followed by the next day by sister ship Crystal Debussy seven-night Rhine itinerary from Basel, Switzerland.

Oceania Cruises also welcomed guests across the gangway on Aug. 29 for the first time in 524 days. Marina was the first of Oceania Cruises’ ships to resume sailing and is also the first cruise ship to sail from the port of Copenhagen since 2019. Next up for the cruise line will be a restart by the Riviera, which resumes sailing in the Greek Isles on Oct. 18; Insignia from Miami on Dec. 21 on a six-month-long “Around the World in 180 Days” voyage; Sirena starts in the Caribbean on Jan. 21, 2022; Regatta will sail Feb. 5, 2022, in Polynesia; and Nautica will make waves in the Mediterranean on April 1, 2022.

British soldiers in scarlet tunics and bearskin hats are once again parading outside Buckingham Palace as the Changing the Guard ceremony resumed after a pandemic-induced 18-month gap.

DELAYED/ CANCELLED

Due to current market conditions resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to provide enhanced liquidity, Celestyal Cruises says it as decided to sell its “Experience” vessel and will revert to operating the same sized fleet it had prior to the pandemic. The cruise line will resume 2022 operations with the Crystal and Olympia in March.

BY THE NUMBERS

In July, Destination Canada launched a Canadian travel packages portal, showcasing 130 different itineraries for domestic travellers to explore and experience the best of Canada. The Canada tourism board reports that to date, it has received over 1.46 million views and has created 86,000-plus leads to tour operators. Any Canadian tour operator that sells direct to consumers is invited to have their product placed on the site by emailing traveltrade@destinationcanada.com.

AIR

Montreal Lounge, Air France

A fully redesigned Air France lounge at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is now open. In association with the Plaza Premium Group, the 490 sq. m. lounge has a seating capacity of 149 and is free for Business and Flying Blue Elite Plus customers; other AF and KLM can purchase passes subject to availability. The new space features seats and large sofas, a shared work, free Wi-Fi and USB sockets, showers, and more. Flying Blue Ultimate customers have access to a more private space. It is open from 2 to 10 p.m. daily.

New service between Toronto and Scotland will be launched by WestJet next spring with the addition of non-stop flights to Edinburgh and Glasgow set to launch on June 2, 2022, while flights between Glasgow and Toronto will begin on May 20, 2022. The former is set to operate three-times weekly, while the latter will operate four-times weekly. Flights between Halifax and Glasgow are also set resume next spring.

Porter Airlines has completed the modernization of its De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft fleet with a series of updates ahead of its return to flying on Sept. 8. All 29 aircraft now feature the new TiSeat E2 from Expliseat, the world’s lightest aircraft seat, along with a number of other cabin enhancements.

Air Canada’s loyalty program Aeroplan has announced a new multi-year strategic partnership with the LCBO that will enable Aeroplan members to earn points when shopping at LCBO stores across Ontario. The partnership will launch before year end.

TOURS

G Adventures has introduced a “Vaccinated Tours” program, with each trip having a fully vaccinated chief experience officer (CEO or tour guide) confirmed to lead the tour, on which all travellers must also be fully vaccinated. The tour operator notes that 304 October departures across 116 tours will operate as Vaccinated Tours and 64 departures will be designated as Travel-Ready. On the former, all travellers and CEOs must have received a full COVID-19 vaccination with the final dose administered at least 14 days prior to day one of the tour. On the latter, all travellers and CEOs must have either received a full vaccination or have a negative PCR test within 96 hours prior to departure. An icon will be featured next to each trip on G’s website to indicate a tour’s status.

Starting in November, Sunwing returns to the national capital region with flights and packages from Ottawa International Airport for the 2021-22 winter season. Through April, the travel company will offer 11 different destinations across the Caribbean and Mexico, amongst them Los Cabos, Cancun, Punta Cana, Holguin and Montego Bay. At the same time, the company says it will offer 10 different sun destinations this winter from Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport this winter, beginning Nov. 1.

DEALS

The new “10,000 Seats Under $299” flash sale by Air Transat invites Canadian travellers to book their fall travels through Sept. 13 for flights departing from Montreal, Quebec City, or Toronto for travel between Sept. 20 and Dec. 16, to the South (Cuba, DR, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, St Maarten), Florida (Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando) and within Canada (Calgary, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver). Listed rates are for one-way Economy or Eco budget fares; the later can only be booked through Sirev Air and GDS. See the web site or Get Connected for details.

As part of Ottawa Tourism, Tourisme Montréal and Destination Toronto’s newCity Friends with Benefits campaign, Air Canada is offering 20% off valid new bookings through Sept. 30 between Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa for travel on Friday, Saturday and Sundays through Dec. 31; and VIA Rail is similarly offering 20% off best available fares (excluding Escape fares) between the three cities on bookings made by Oct. 8 for travel between Sept. and Dec. 31. Check the details HERE.

CRUISE

Holland America Line says travellers can anticipate a restart date of May 2022 for Volendam and Zaandam. The ships will join Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam, Rotterdam and Zuiderdam, which have returned to service or are slated to restart cruising by November 2021. The Volendam will explore Northern Europe and Zaandam will return to the Canada/New England region. With these new start dates, the Grand World Voyage and Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage will not operate in 2022 and will resume in 2023.

Dubai will be the setting for the naming ceremony of MSC Cruises’ new flagship, MSC Virtuosa. Set to take place on Nov. 27, the occasion will also be a part of the celebrations surrounding the Golden Jubilee of the UAE and will be staged during Expo 2020 Dubai. Following the naming ceremony, the ship will depart for its maiden Gulf voyage on Nov. 28, the first of a series seven-night cruises with visits to the ports of Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas, Dammam in Saudi Arabia and Doha with additional embarkations at Abu Dhabi and Doha.

HOTELS

Holiday Inn Dublin Airport has recently opened in the Irish capital. The new build hotel has 421 rooms and is located 10 minutes from Dublin Airport Terminals and a short reach of the city’s Guinness Store House and Old Jameson Distillery.

A new Maldron Hotel has opened on Renfrew Street in the centre of Glasgow, Scotland. Located in the former STV headquarters, the four-star property has 300 rooms and is centrally located, offering a great new hub in the city for short breaks and getaways.

RESORTS


As part of their ongoing Paradise Protection Protocols initiative, Saint Lucia’s Premium All-Inclusive Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa and the luxury, couples-only Serenity at Coconut Bay have brought back their offer of free travel insurance included with stays of five-nights or longer. The insurance program covers medical and quarantine expenses up to US$100,000 and is free for international arriving guests and all bookings made through Oct. 31 for travel through June 30, 2022. Guests staying fewer than five nights have the option to purchase the insurance within 24 hours of arrival on resort for US$39 p.p.

Effective Sept. 1, Elite Island Resorts, with all-inclusive hotels in Antigua, St. Lucia, The Grenadines, Barbados, and Panama, requires all guests over the age of 12 to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination upon arrival.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Fifty years ago, the Walt Disney World Resort opened its gates in Orlando and beginning Oct. 1, 50th anniversary festivities – dubbed “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” – will begin. Find out more, along with the latest news from Disney Destinations – including on the new Disney Dream, Avengers Campus, and Adventures by Disney – at our special Disney inFocus microsite. Click HERE.

EVENTS

Sept. 30-Oct 1: ACTA has announced the addition of several keynote speakers and topics for the upcoming virtual Travel Industry Summit. Seminars will include: Dr. Dominique Tessier –The Travel Health Group – Restoring Confidence and Travelling Safely in the COVID-19 era; Indira Barthelemy and Megan Mustonen, Global Affairs Canada – Travel Advisories and the Role of Global Affairs; Amandine Gicquel, IATA – The Airline Industry and the Demand for Travel; Marie-Claude Du Cap – CEO, Aléas – Due Diligence: Explore new ways of marketing your agency to meet client needs; and Brett Walker, CATO, and Nathalie Guay – ATOQ – Restarting and Rebuilding your Relationship with Tour Operators. ACTA notes that the trade show will take place on Day 2 of the event from 2 to 14:30 p.m. EST, with over 40 exhibitors already confirmed.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Continuing to expand its presence in key markets throughout Canada, Direct Travel, Inc., has acquired Ottawa-based McCord Travel Management. The company will now operate as McCord Travel, A Direct Travel Company. McCord Travel founder Scott McCord will join the Direct Travel senior management team as Director of Customer Experience and continue to oversee the operations of McCord Travel.

DESTINATIONS

Cruise ships will still be docking in Venice, thanks to a temporary solution that re-routes big ships away from the fragile canal that skirts the historic city. Temporary landing places are being set up to accommodate up to 10 cruise ships at the Venice Ro-Port Mos Terminal in Fusina. It’s a compromise to salvage the fall cruise schedule following an Aug. 1 decree banning all ships from the city, but not the final answer.

Peru has created its first fully protected marine area, the Nazca Ridge National Reserve. Covering approximately 62,400 sq. km. of Peruvian territorial sea, the reserve is mainly intended to protect an undersea mountain range that occurs in the region, from 1,800 to 4,000 m. deep, providing a space to conduct deep marine research. The area is off the south coast of Peru and puts almost 8% of the country’s marine domain under protection.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

TORONTO PATIO GOES AGAINST THE GRAIN

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Toronto’s downtown waterfront isn’t the most user-friendly, with copious condos, office complexes, still-working industrial port businesses, and airport blighting the limited space of Harbourfront. But with one’s back to the city, looking out onto Lake Ontario, the harbour and encompassing islands are surprisingly idyllic – which is why a rare restaurant-patio like Against the Grain is worth its weight in gold.

Though it’s been around for a decade, I discovered the “urban tavern” only last week thanks to a first post-pandemic (?) luncheon with the new director of the German National Tourism Office in Canada, Anja Brokjans, whose office at VoX International is across the street. Located in the Corus building on Corus Quay (near the bottom end of Jarvis Street on Queen’s Quay), ATG plays up its position as one of Toronto’s only waterfront taverns, and with a spacious lakeside patio to boot (seating is first-come, first serve Thursday-Sundays, reservations available at other times.)

We took advantage of the patio recently (on what was proclaimed to be the hottest day of the summer), which was festooned with flowers and tables suitably distanced. On this occasion, I didn’t notice the firepits or lounge seating that are usually a popular feature.

However, it was the view of the harbour that commanded attention (other than each other), including passerbys casually strolling by along the lake’s edge.

Bar

Anja and I settled for soft drinks and sparkling water for our meal, but an extensive bar list beckoned for future occasions, especially a beer list featuring close to three dozen brews. About half of those are available on tap, ranging from local city favourites such as Mill Street and Steam Whistle to a few from further afield – Muskoka Brewery, the US (Rolling Rock), Belgium (Stella Artois) and Ireland (Guinness). Non-beer lovers will find a fine wine list and cocktails, served from the inside bar.

Food options were similarly inspired and eclectic – “donut holes” for dessert gives you the idea – and ranging from oysters to noodle bowl, jerk chicken to Hawaiian Ribeye, and various “hand-helds,” i.e. burgers and sandwiches. I tried the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich (so tall I had to use a knife and fork, and so much, I couldn’t finish); and if Anja doesn’t mind me saying so, she opted for a bowl for mushroom risotto, managing it with more grace than I couldn’t manage with my gigant-o sandwich.

All in all, Against the Grain was a great spot to enjoy a great day on the waterfront. Next time: indoors in the winter.

With glass purposefully in hand, we at Travel Industry Today continue our series on some of the planet’s best bars, patios and rooftop venues. For more articles in the series, click here:

PREVIOUS ARTICLES: https://travelindustrytoday.com/pub-patio/

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

ROUND-UP:Aug. 23-27, 2021

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Canadians get the green light for Britain, unvaccinated Air Canada employees face the axe, ITA replaces Alitalia, Pfizer finally gets approved in US, , Wild Florida welcomes unusual baby gators, St. Kitts makes its mark in Canada, and more in last week’s Round-up.

NEWS

Effective today, Canada has been added to the United Kingdom’s “green list,” meaning travellers can enter the UK without a mandatory quarantine. Canadians will still need to take a pre-departure test and a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 of arrival. Regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated, no quarantine will be required, unless an individual tests positive. All visitors must also complete the passenger locator form, which can be filled out online 48 hours before arrival. Local variations may apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

All non-exempted employees of Air Canada mainline, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Vacations must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 30 or “face consequences up to and including unpaid leave or termination.”

Delta Airlines says it will begin charging employees on the company health plan $200 a month if they fail to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a policy the airline’s top executive says is necessary because the average hospital stay for the virus costs the airline $40,000.

With the launch of a new Italian carrier (Italia Trasporto Aereo, or ITA) imminent, Alitalia has announced that is has stopped selling tickets from Oct. 15, effectively signalling an end to the airline, which has been in operation since 1947, but in bankruptcy since 2017. The airline says it will contact affected passengers for refunds or rebooking on an Alitalia flight before Oct. 14.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has been named Best Airport in North America by the Skytrax World Airport Awards for a record 12th year in a row. Skytrax is recognized as the global benchmark of airport excellence with more than 21.65 million completed passenger questionnaires, making it the largest annual global airport customer satisfaction survey. YVR also received the Skytrax COVID-19 Airport Excellence award, the only airport in Canada to do so.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now fully approved for used by the US Food and Drug Administration. Perhaps more importantly, the status upgrade from “emergency use authorization” in the US (it has been approved in Canada) is expected to spur wary individuals to finally get the shot as the delta variant continues to surge.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

California may have been last in the US cruising queue, after Florida, Texas, and Seattle, but the state has returned as a cruise gateway after 17 months on pandemic pause with the launch of the Carnival Panorama last week bound for the Mexican Riviera.

Crystal Cruises celebrated the return to service for luxury ocean ship Crystal Symphony as she departed this week on the first in a series of four seven-night “Luxury Bermuda Escapes” cruises sailing roundtrip out of Boston on Sundays. The ship’s departure was delayed by one day due to Hurricane Henri. The series of Bermuda sailings will shift to New York starting Sept. 24.

BY THE NUMBERS

As part of a commitment to address climate change and protect biodiversity, Parks Canada is mobilizing to plant 150,000 trees this summer in up to 18 national parks from coast to coast. This includes planting 2,500 trees in Fundy National Park this year alone.

AIR

With Canada’s international border set to reopen on Sept. 7, Air Canada will begin Toronto-Munich service three times weeks weekly departing the former Tues., Thurs., and Sat., and the latter Mon-Wed-Fri. AC service will aboard a 298-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Non-stop service between Orange County/Anaheim and Calgary will be re-introduced by WestJet effective Nov. 4, with twice weekly service that will transition to thrice weekly on Dec. 7. Additionally, the airline moves from summer flights to providing year-round service between Calgary and San Francisco, operating twice weekly, beginning Oct. 31, 2021.

Gulf Air has been added to Aeroplan’s roster of over 40 airline travel partners. The national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain serves 55 cities in 30 countries with modern fleet consisting of the A320 family and the 787 Dreamliner.

Member of Flying Blue, Air France and KLM’s loyalty program can now transfer of their American Express Membership Rewards points to their Explorer, Silver, Gold or Platinum Flying Blue accounts. They also can take advantage of the monthly Promo Rewards, such as a reduction in miles needed to book rewards tickets or benefit from the offers of an array of partners including car rentals and hotel stays.

TOURS

Quark Expeditions

Polar adventure operator Quark Expeditions has announced a total of 17 different itineraries in its Arctic 2023 season – many on the technologically-advanced ship, Ultramarine. Guests on Ultramarine, equipped with two helicopters and 20 quick-deploy Zodiacs, can choose from a varied portfolio of adventure options in the industry, such as flightseeing and helicopter-supported mountain biking. Sample tours include “Spitsbergen Explorer: Wildlife Capital of the Arctic,” “Under the Northern Lights: Exploring Iceland & East Greenland,” “Canada’s Remote Arctic: Northwest Passage to Ellesmere Island,” and “Jewels of the Russian Arctic: Franz Josef Land.”

Several new direct Sunwing routes will start this fall from Toronto and Montreal: Toronto-Los Cabos, Thursdays starting Sept. 16; Toronto-Aruba, Mondays starting Sept. 20; Toronto-St. Maarten, Thursdays starting Sept. 30; Montreal-St. Maarten, Thursdays starting Nov. 4; and, Montreal-Los Cabos, Thursdays starting Nov. 11. In addition to the flights, vacationers can choose from a range of popular resorts, such as the all-inclusive Riu Palace Aruba, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino and Spa in St. Maarten, and the adults-only Riu Palace Baja California in Los Cabos.

HOTELS

The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas is relaunching its entertainment with an entire slate of headliner shows, from a modern day “Rat Pack” of former boy band performers, to a new dance show featuring Dancing with the Stars alum Derek Hough. In all, more than 100 shows will be available in 2021, throughout the resort.

Jamaica’s upscale The Tryall Club in Montego Bay has added two new premium accommodation options to its portfolio of 74 condominiums, beach houses, and luxury villas. Earlier this year, the property unveiled a 1,000-sq.-m., six-bedroom Oceans villa, which features Zen-inspired design with a private infinity pool; and the grand five-bedroom Bella Vista, appointed with traditional mahogany furnishings, Italian marble, a bespoke game room, and a separate wellness building. With rental rates starting at US$20,000 per week, the new Tryall Club villas feature personalized service from dedicated butlers, chefs, and housekeepers. Guests can also travel in style via private jet through an new partnership with XO Jet Aviation.

RESORTS

Located on a hillside in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in Mexico, Delta Hotels by Marriott, Riviera Nayarit, an All-Inclusive Resort is the company’s first property in Mexico and its inaugural all-included resort. Situated between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the resort features 117 guestrooms featuring private balconies with mountain views, two restaurants, and four pop-up venues. Additionally, there are two swimming pools, 24-hour fitness centre, 10-treatment room spa, and a beach club accessible via frequent shuttle service. The property is located 30 minutes away from Puerto Vallarta airport and nearby attractions such as a popular handcraft market and Flamingo’s Golf Club.

Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana is preparing for a December opening in the Dominican Republic. A product of a partnership with Karisma Hotels & Resorts under the Island Reserve brand, the all-inclusive resort is designed to combine the easy-going, fun vibe of Margaritaville resorts with the luxury bona fides of Karisma, which owns and manages an extensive portfolio of resorts including Azul, Allure, El Dorado, Nickelodean, Sensatori, and other brands. The five-star resort, located in Cap Cana (near Punta Cana) on the southwestern-most tip of the DR, will mark the second resort for the Island Reserve brand after Cancun.

CRUISE

Vulnerable people, even if they are fully vaccinated, should avoid cruising at present, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in new guidance published on its web site. The warning, which includes river cruising, applies to people with a high risk of serious illness, including those with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, and the elderly.

The debut of Disney Uncharted Adventure aboard the Disney Wish will lead guests on a journey “from bow to stern and beyond the stars” that allows them to interact with Disney characters while completing quests to further an adventurous and fun storyline. Individuals or groups up to six can play, with the Play Disney Parks app acting as a spyglass that turns parts of the ship into a virtual reality playing field. The ship will sail its maiden voyage on June 9, 2022.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

After months of incubation, care, and monitoring, Wild Florida and its “Croc Squad” officially welcomed two more albino hatchlings to Orlando attraction, Wild Florida, which runs the world’s only successful albino alligator breeding program. Earlier this summer, a batch of 18 albino alligator eggs were collected from their adult albino alligators, Snowflake and Blizzard. The baby crocs are the second hatchlings delivered and will be put on exhibit at a later date. Wild Florida Airboats, Drive-thru Safari & Gator Park is located on Lake Cypress in Kenansville.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

St. Maarten tourism is launching a special “Travel Agent Program” for three consecutive months starting in September. North American travel professionals are invited to independently visit the Dutch Caribbean island and take advantage of special rates from on island partners, which include accommodations, land and watersport activities, restaurants and more.
For details and registration, e-mail stb-marketing@sintmaartengov.org 

EVENTS

Sept. 2-5: For the second consecutive year, The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) will hold its annual conference virtually, with Leshan, China, once again the featured destination. Virtual PATA Travel Mart (PTM) 2021 will be a business-to-business travel contracting and virtual networking event designed to mirror and enhance the features of the long-standing PTM, which for over four decades has connected qualified international buyers and sellers from Asia Pacific and beyond through one-to-one business appointments. Check PATA’s website for more details and registration.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

In a sign of increased commitment to the Canadian market where it hopes to increase visibility and boost stayover visitors, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority (SKTA) has named Oakville, Ont.-based Fathom Communications (Fathom Co) as its first-ever Canadian Public Relations Agency. The agency’s scope of work will include trade and consumer media relations, content strategy, events and activations, social media strategy and the cultivation of co-op marketing opportunities. The island is now open to fully vaccinated travellers and Air Canada will offer non-stop service from Toronto Nov. 7 to April 24, 2022. E-mail Laura Johnson at ljohnston@fathomco.com

DESTINATIONS

HK Tramways in Hong Kong as been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the “largest double-decker tram fleet in service.” It is the world’s most unique fleet of double-deck tramcars in operation, carrying up to 200,000 passengers every day. Affectionately known by locals as the “Ding Ding,” it is one of the cheapest, greenest, and most scenic ways to get around Hong Kong.

Beijing is planning to develop a special tourist route in the Chinese capital ahead of the planned opening of Universal Studios Beijing this fall. The tourism trail will encompass the Universal Studios theme park in Tongzhou district as well as its nearby destinations such as the Grand Canal, the Songzhuang artist village, the Taihu town, and the Zhangjiawan ancient town. According to city officials, “The route would help tourists to enjoy beautiful sceneries, experience intangible cultural heritage and modern arts, and relax with plenty of outdoor activities in the area.” More hotels will also be built around the route.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

ROUND-UP:Aug. 16-20, 2021

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Canadian airports get federal funds for COVID testing, Hyatt Hotels has agreed to buy AMResorts, Disney World eases its mask mandate, and a majority of Canadians back vaccine certificates.

NEWS

The US land border will remain closed to Canadians and Mexicans until at least Sept. 21. The US Department of Homeland Security says restrictions on non-essential travel at all land and ferry border crossings will remain in effect to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant. The restrictions, which have been in place since March 2020, had been set to expire Saturday.

Federal officials in the US are extending until Jan. 18 a requirement that people on airline flights and public transportation wear face masks, a rule intended to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Transportation Security Administration was scheduled to enforce the rule until Sept. 13.

Ottawa has launched a new funding program for the country’s major airports to invest in COVID-19 testing and screening infrastructure. Twenty-six facilities across the country are eligible to tap the $81.6 million Biosecurity Funding Stream to aid in the recovery and re-start of travel.

BY THE NUMBERS

76% of respondents to a survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies said they would strongly or somewhat support a vaccine passport like the one Quebec is implementing. Quebecers are even more supportive of the measure, with 81% saying they are in favour of the plan, which will apply in places like bars, concerts, and festivals where there are lots of people in a confined space.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

The Vancouver Aquarium has officially re-opened. Along with a new 4D Theatre Experience, the Aquarium also unveiled its Marine Mammal Rescue Exhibit, a feature that showcases the Aquarium’s work in rescuing and rehabilitating marine mammals on B.C.’s coast.

Norwegian continued its “Great Cruise Comeback” with departures out of Seattle (to Alaska) and Miami. The cruise line also floated the Norwegian Prima from drydock at Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera (Venice), Italy, marking a major construction milestone and the first time the new vessel touched water. It will sail next summer.

DELAYED/ CANCELLED

International travellers will have to wait until early 2022 before being able to visit New Zealand as the South Pacific nation delays exercises caution in reopening its borders due to the pandemic.

AIR

WestJet has reinstated its Calgary-Paris route, making it the only non-stop between the cities. The French capital joins London and Amsterdam on WestJet’s Calgary network. The Paris flights are weekly through Oct. 31 and mark the resumption of the carrier’s codeshare with Air France.

Ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) Flair Airlines announced a new base at Edmonton International Airport accompanied by an expansion of service that will bring four new non-stop US destinations to the city. The new Edmonton-US routes will start Dec. 16 and include non-stop service to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Palm Springs, and Hollywood Burbank through the Spring. Flair is also expanding its domestic network from Edmonton. In addition to existing winter service to Kitchener-Waterloo, Vancouver, Abbotsford and Toronto, Flair is expanding its current summer service from Kelowna and Victoria to extend throughout the winter season.

Porter Airlines is introducing a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for staff to support a safe and healthy workplace for employees and passengers. Aligning with Porter’s restart of service on Sept. 8, team members must be fully vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of the start of their shift.

DEALS

Lifestyle hotel brand B Hotels & Resorts’ “BSummer” promotion offers special rates and perks on stays now through Sept. 30, at the brand’s collection of upscale resorts in top Florida destinations, including Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and the Keys. Nightly rates start at US$99.

TOURS

The Globus family of brands – consisting of Globus, Cosmos, Avalon Waterways and Monograms – has extended pre-trip Health & Safety Protocols, including requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (14 days prior to embarkation) to join any vacation in its portfolio, for travel through March 2022. Moving forward, Globus says it will advise all travellers of vaccine implications or changes with advance notice. Accepted vaccines include those authorized or approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Health Canada, European Centre for Disease Prevention (ECDC) or an official government body.

Australian-owned adventure expedition operator Aurora Expeditions has joined Virtuoso as one of the newest suppliers of its exclusive global preferred partner portfolio to expand and reach a new global audience. The small-group, expedition-style travel company voyages to some of the wildest places on Earth, including Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands, the Arctic (European and Canadian), Alaska, the Russian Far East, Costa Rica, Baja California and West Papua.

CRUISE

Princess Cruises Alaska

The newly announced 2023 Alaska cruises and cruisetours program from Princess Cruises went on sale last week, featuring six Medallion Class ships, including the cruise line’s newest Discovery Princess, returning to Alaska for a second season. There are 145 departures, 14 unique itineraries, five glacier viewing experiences and four departure ports, including Vancouver.

All guests travelling with Uniworld River Cruises must now show documented proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson), with the final dose administered no less than two weeks prior to the start of their cruise/tour. The policy will be in effect until at least Dec. 31, 2021. In addition to the proof of vaccination, guests will still be required to wear a mask while walking around public areas, such as the corridors or the lobby, and when the required distancing to others cannot be maintained. Masks can be taken off when seated in the lounge and restaurant. While onshore, all guests and crew are subject to local mask guidelines.

HOTELS

The ribbon has been cut at Hyatt Regency JFK Airport at Resorts World New York, a new hotel that connects with Resorts World New York City casinos. The eight-story, luxury hotel in Queens has 400 high-tech guestrooms, a popular Sugar Factory Restaurant, fitness centre, state-of-the-art conference and meeting spaces, and 6,500 onsite slots and electronic table games. The centerpiece of the property is a soaring grand lobby, suited for art exhibits, events and musical performances.

Virgin Hotels New Orleans opened Aug. 18. Located in the city’s artsy Warehouse District, the new hotel delivers thoughtful yet playful references to the city and hotel features multiple dining and drinking outlets, including the 13th-floor bar, Dreamboat; a cocktail lounge; The Pool Club, a rooftop pool, restaurant, and bar; Commons Club, the brand’s flagship restaurant, bar and lounge;, and Funny Library Coffee Shop—plus various meeting and event spaces.

RESORTS

AMResorts has introduced a new master brand designed to bring its six resort chains together under one name – AMR Collection. The strategic repositioning is designed to help both agents and guests easily identify the brand that best news their needs. AMR Collection includes Secrets, Dreams and Breathless Resorts & Spas, Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Alua Hotels & Resorts and Sunscape Resorts & Spas, with the portfolio representing 102 properties across 36 beachfront destinations and eight countries, including new entries in St. Martin and Macao Beach in the Dominican Republic.

Meanwhile, Hyatt Hotels Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Apple Leisure Group (ALG), including AMResorts. The US$2.7-billion acquisition, expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approval, will enable Hyatt to boost its presence in the luxury resort sector and immediately double its global resorts footprint with the addition of almost 100 ALG properties.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Disney World is now allowing visitors to choose whether or not to wear face coverings in outdoor lines, outdoor theatre and outdoor attractions. Masks had been required previously. Face coverings will remain optional in outdoor common areas. They will still be required for visitors aged two and up at all indoor locations, such as restaurants, theatres, and transportation with the exception of ferry boats.

AGENT EDUCATION

With Italy re-opening to tourism and Air Canada having started service again last month, the Italian National Tourist Board invites travel agents to join its “Travel to Italy” training academy. The course is designed to provide travel advisors with the “inspiration, knowledge, and confidence to create unforgettable itineraries to sell (and upsell) clients for their trips to the land of ‘La dolce vita.’” Nine free modules range from food and wine to art cities, outdoor activities, and getting around the country. Upon completion of the course, advisors receive the designation of “Italy Specialist” along with a certificate to prove to clients that they are experts in the destination. To register, click HERE.

FAMS

Medinet Habu Temple, Egypt

Egypt, Nov. 10-18: Toronto-based NARAT’s unique ‘In Agatha Christie’s Footsteps Egypt & Sudan FAM’ will showcase the Middle East through the famed English author’s experience and comes ahead of next year’s Disney film adaptation of “Death on the Nile.” Designed to promotes the launch of the NARAT’s 2022 Egypt programs tied to Agatha Christie experiences, the FAM will showcases such iconic sites such as the Great Pyramids and Sphinx, the new Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Valley of the Kings; and historic Luxor, Kom Ombo, Edfu, Philae and Karnak, the latter via a Dahabiya Nile cruise. Agens can also extend the trip to include the Abu Simbel, the Red Sea, and neighbouring Sudan. Priced at US$1,959, the FAM includes international (ex Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver) and domestic flights, five-star hotel and cruise accommodations, touring with a Canadian tour director and Egyptologist guide, and meals. One companion, subject to space availability, is welcome. For info, call 1-877-By-NARAT (296-2728) or email fams@narat.org.

EVENTS

Aug. 24: On Tuesday, the Jamaica Tourist Board in Canada has invited special guests from award-winning social media agency Pinch Social to host a professional development session designed specifically for travel specialists. The special skill-building session of the JTB’s weekly “Irie Hour” broadcast will take place at 2:30 p.m. EST and focus on how agents can use and optimize various social media platforms for their business to enhance their online presence, reach new clients, and achieve success in the new consumer travel environment. The JTB says it’s a great way for agents to attend a typically pricey workshop for free. Register for the event HERE.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Switzerland Tourism (ST) has announced the promotion of Divine Bonga to Head of Media and Communications North America starting Sept. 1. In her new role, Bonga will be managing the communications strategy for the tourism board and lead teams in New York, San Francisco, and Toronto. Bonga succeeds Ursula Beamish-Mader, who managed media relations in Canada for over 30 years and, additionally, led the North American media department for Swiss Tourism for the last decade. Taking over the Toronto-based role of Media Relations Project Manager Canada effective Aug. 26 is Laura Fairweather. She has 25 years experience in PR with Four Season Hotels and Resorts, Fairmont, and the Canadian Tourism Commission.

DESTINATIONS

Tickets for Expo 2020 Dubai, a six-month world’s fair (Oct. 1-March 31, 2022) are now on sale. One-day tickets are priced at AED 95 (CDN $32; multi-day tickets, offering unrestricted entry for 30 consecutive days, are priced at AED 195 ($167). Seniors (60-plus), those under the age of 18, and students holding a valid student ID from any academic institution in the world will be given free entry.

Tickets include access to all pavilions, events, and live performances, featuring up to 60 live events each day. They can be purchased via authorized ticket resellers around the world (including online travel agents, tour operators, hotel groups and airlines), or at https://www.expo2020dubai.com

Peru’s new National Archeological Museum, opened this summer, marks 200 years of independence for the South American nation. Known as MUNA, the museum is located in Pachacamac, just south-east of Lima, and focuses on the preservation and conservation of the country’s immense cultural heritage. The five-storey museum was conceived to house 500,000 Inca and pre-Inca pieces, which have not been exhibited in the past for lack of a suitable place. Initially, the museum will offer temporary exhibitions and a significant cultural program, with permanent exhibitions being unveiled in 2024 to coincide with the bicentennial of the Battle of Ayacucho.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

DISTILL OUR BEATING HEART: Whiskey returns to New York

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The Big Apple is home to countless iconic pubs, pleasing patios, and brain cell limiting bars, but for more than 100 years, no whiskey distillery has called Manhattan home. That’s now changed with the opening of Great Jones Distilling Co., Manhattan’s first and only legal whiskey distillery since Prohibition.

Like many other architectural projects in New York, the distillery is a feat of ingenuity. The six-year construction journey has overcome rigid city regulations, centuries-old fire codes, and a global pandemic to deliver a new spirit to the city and give New Yorkers their own whiskey distillery. The result is a 2,600 sq.-m. space at 686 Broadway in the NoHo district (between SoHo and Greenwich Village), comprised of a custom-built distillery where people can take part in tours and tasting experiences (starting Aug. 21), as well as a restaurant, speakeasy, and event venue, which will open in September.

Founded by Proximo Spirits and fuelled by the vision of owner and 11th- generation spirits maker Juan Domingo Beckmann, the distillery embodies the notion that the best spirits should reflect their origins, in this case threading the history of bourbon in New York to the present day.

To that end, the whiskies are made exclusively with grains grown in the rich ebony soil of the Black Dirt region less than two hours north of Manhattan in Upstate New York, resulting in whiskies that are smooth, balanced, and complex, with a distinctive spiciness characteristic of the New York-grown grains from which they are made. More spice, less sweet – more New York.

“The opening of Great Jones Distilling Co. represents a landmark moment for spirits and New York City history, bringing the craft of whiskey distillation back to Manhattan after 100 years,” says company founder Juan Domingo Beckmann, Founder of Great Jones Distilling Co. and Proximo Spirits.

With the opening of the distilling company comes the introduction of three new whiskies: Great Jones Straight Bourbon, Great Jones Four Grain Bourbon, and Great Jones Rye Whiskey. The three signature liquids are made from 100% New York-sourced grain and have been aging for the past five years in new charred American oak barrels at Great Jones’ sister distillery, Black Dirt.

Construction of the expansive distillery space conquered many unique challenges. Located in an area of the city with a rich history from the Prohibition era, the 82-year-old building had to be reinforced deep below ground to support the custom combination copper pot still with two columns housed on the second floor, navigating the subway system that runs below the building. During the renovation, a secret tunnel was discovered, thought to be used to transport whiskey and other spirits under the streets of New York. This tunnel now runs directly behind the speakeasy, which is set to open this fall.

The visitor experience at Great Jones includes:

• Distillery tours and guided whiskey tastings and experiences

• The Restaurant at Great Jones (opening September), a refined yet
approachable culinary experience offering a contemporary menu focused on locally sourced New York ingredients.

• The Speakeasy: An intimate underground spot featuring a restaurant and exclusive tasting menu

• The Lounge: An exclusive enclave for guests and space for private events

• The Shop: Offering merchandise, plus the distillery’s three signature spirits. Four Grain Bourbon and Great Jones Rye Whiskey are both sold exclusively at the distillery while Great Jones Straight Bourbon Whiskey is sold both on-site at the distillery as well as at bars and retailers in New York and New Jersey.

Great Jones Distilling Co. is open Wednesday-Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. Distillery tours are available to those 21 and older and are available for booking.

https://www.greatjonesdistillingco.com/book-your-visit/

With glass purposefully in hand, we at Travel Industry Today continue our series on some of the planet’s best bars, patios and rooftop venues. For more articles in the series, click here:

PREVIOUS ARTICLES: https://travelindustrytoday.com/pub-patio/

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

HITTING THE HIGH LIFE AT WHISTLER

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To relieve my pent-up frustration at not being able to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions, I booked a trip to Whistler in August for some mountain golf and other alpine pleasures. Whistler kicked up its already world-class reputation when it co-hosted (with Vancouver) the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

In early 1960s, most folks opined that developing Whistler as a ski resort was ridiculous—too stormy, too isolated, no services or road links. The list went on. But Whistler had remarkable terrain—voluptuous slopes that dropped nearly a vertical mile to the valley floor, hundreds of acres of old growth forest—and a plethora of snow.

Franz Wilhelmsen and a cohort of mountain enthusiasts ignored the naysayers and carved a network of ski trails out of the bush. Today, Whistler is considered one of the premier mountain resort destinations in the world with two mile-high peaks (Whistler and Blackcomb) linked via a pedestrian-only village. It has become four-season success story by which now most others in North America are judged and often modelled upon.

Set into the skyscraping mountains of the Coast Range, the town has an irrepressible spirit that matches its surroundings. Things have changed quite a bit since the early days when what is now the centre of Whistler Village was a garbage dump where the bears foraged. The bears are still there but those early days when skiers swigged beer out of their ski boots have changed considerably. Whistler, the top ski, snowboarding and mountain biking resort in North America has also ascended to the heights of one of Canada’s best golf destinations

Going for Gold

While Olympians in Tokyo were going for Gold, I was too, but my Gold involved the super perks and pampering offered to guests in the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Gold level. Fairmont spent more than $14 million, creating a boutique hotel within its existing property. Guests receive all sorts of extra benefits starting with concierge check-in at the totally renovated eighth-floor Gold Lounge. There’s an outdoor patio, perfect for sipping your morning cappuccino and enjoying the breakfast offerings created by Chef Isabel Chung. Chef makes her jams from BC fruit and honey comes from the hotel’s rooftop hives. Breakfast offerings include charcuterie, cheese, smoked salmon, yogurt, fruit, warm from-the-oven pastries, and daily hot specials served in Covid-friendly individual sized serving dishes.

Tea, finger sandwiches and pastries are served mid-afternoon and from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. guests may indulge in gourmet hors d’oeuvres, an assortment of cheeses and charcuterie and more sweet treats. The honour bar well-stocked martini and gin-and-tonic stations. The lounge with its overstuffed leather couches makes a comfortable extension to the guest rooms, each with electric fireplace, soaker tub and a sensory aromatherapy experience with Skinjay, an all-natural essential oil pod that diffuses through the showerhead. Choose your scent according to your mood: sleep, detox (after too many martinis!), party or play.

Golf Nirvana

I chose “play.” First on my hit list was the Chateau Whistler Golf Club, where unlike the other Whistler area courses, you really do climb up and down 400 feet of dramatic alpine terrain.

“We listened to the land and harmonized with nature,” says its creator, Robert Trent Jones, Jr. An engineering marvel, the course, carved out of the bench lands of Blackcomb Mountain, traverses “Billy goat” steep ledges, gushing glacier-fed streams, massive granite outcroppings and mighty Douglas firs.

The first five holes present an uphill battle with several creeks transecting the fairways. Try to concentrate on your swing but you will be distracted by the spectacular mountain views, possible bear sightings and giddying alpine air. The eighth signature hole plays downhill to a green set off by a crystal-clear lake and a massive granite cliff. The Chateau Whistler course is a true beauty queen with outstanding views in every direction.

Smack dab in the centre of the village, The Whistler Golf Club, built in 1983, is the granddaddy of the Whistler area courses. It was also Arnold Palmer’s first Canadian design.

“It’s a Palmer design with a Whistler attitude, “remarks sales manager, Ro Davies. Indeed, classic rock music piped from the clubhouse, the high five you’ll get from the starter and marshals who will help you find errant balls are all part of the Whistler G.C. vibe.

The 6,700-yard, par-71 course is set amongst ancient cedars, majestic fir trees, winding streams and nine lakes. The Club received the designation of Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, in part for staff’s extensive environmental initiatives. Their efforts have had a direct impact on both the Crabapple Creek trout population and local bear population through enhancements of their wildlife habitats, outreach and education and chemical use reduction. You might spy a small cub taking a stroll around the patio.

The signature 16th hole, called The Gallery, is a knockout with elevated tees and a carry over a sparkling lake and then a winding river. In the spring of 2021, The Gallery was expanded to provide seating for joggers, walkers and cyclists on nearby trails to enjoy the views and applaud good tee shots.

Just down the road, Nicklaus North, designed by the Golden Bear himself, meanders alongside glacier-fed Green Lake. Jack Nicklaus deliberately designed it to be fun, with roomy fairways and enormous greens. That said, there are over 50 bunkers and water on 15 holes to be avoided. The par-threes here are very strong, especially the signature 17th that plays alongside Green Lake. Although Nicklaus ‘s company has built almost 300 courses in 40 countries, only four are Nicklaus Signature tracts and one of those is Nicklaus North.

Après Golf Food and Fun

R&R at the Spa
Scandinave Spas are designed so guests may relax and rejuvenate. The prescribed routine: spend about ten minutes warming your body in a sauna, eucalyptus-scented steam bath, hot tub or thermal waterfall. Heating the body increases blood circulation, which, in turn, cleanses by promoting the elimination of toxins. Then it’s time to close the skin’s pores by cooling off beneath a bracing Nordic waterfall or a dip in a cold tub. The third part of Scandinave’s routine is chill-out time. Snooze in the solarium, swing in a hammock or cozy up by the outdoor fire with a good book and a cup of organic tea.
www.scandinave.com

The One & Only Bearfoot

Where else can you saber a bottle of Champagne and drink it with a platter of freshly shucked oysters? Wait, the fun has just begun. Don a parka and sample four exotic vodkas from a choice of 50 from around the globe in the Ketel One Ice Room where the temperature is ideal for savouring the clear liquor. An evening at Bearfoot Bistro is never dull. Their latest creation may just be the world’s best martini. With no apologies to James Bond, their Vesper cocktail is neither shaken nor stirred, but made in a copper pot with liquid nitrogen. It’s so cold its almost viscous, but the booze has not been diluted with ice. Now sample some of the finest and most innovative cuisine in Whistler from Chef Melissa Craig. Finish the night off with a tableside preparation of ‘nitro” ice cream—the best molecular cuisine you’ll ever taste.
ww.bearfootbistro.com

Ready to Go?
Stay and play golf/hotel packages
www.chateau-whistler.com/offers/whistler-bc-golf-travel-package

All about Whistler
www.whistler.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

ROUND-UP: Aug. 9-13, 2021

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Vaccine certificates for travel will soon be available for Canadians, TravCorp brands guests must vaccinate before travel, flights arrivals from India get pushed back again, the US border opened (in one direction at least), and Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the British monarch) is sailing again.

NEWS

Fully vaccinated Canadians will soon be able to get a government document that will certify their COVID-19 vaccine history for the purpose of international travel. The vaccine certificate, expected to be ready by the fall, will be digital, with an option for those who can’t have or don’t want a digital certificate.

The Canadian land border opened to vaccinated Americans on Aug. 9. Border wait times were not deemed to be too bad at some locations, while lengthy bottlenecks were in evidence at others. No word on when Canadians can cross the other way.

Expedia Group has announced that every purchase made through its mobile apps will result in a donation to help UNICEF’s global COVID-19 response, which endeavours to distribute safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments in over 180 countries. Participating Expedia brands include Expedia, Hotels.com, Vrbo, Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotwire, ebookers, and CheapTickets.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth returned to sailing on Friday (Aug. 13) after a 17-month break. Following a series of UK voyages, international sailings will begin in October with a cruise from Southampton to Amsterdam followed by a 14-night voyage to the Canary Islands and Madeira in November.

US-headquartered small ship cruise line Windstar Cruises has welcomed back the 342-guest flagship Wind Surf to the sea. The largest sailing ship in the world recently departed from Barcelona on an eight-day voyage to Lisbon, stopping at ports including Palma de Mallorca, Cartagena, Almería, Málaga, Gibraltar, and Cadiz. Four of the line’s six yachts are now back in the water cruising.

Air Canada will resume flights to St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Nov. 1, having suspended its service when the Canadian border closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The islands returned to cruising on Aug. 7 with the arrival Seabourn Odyssey in Bequia.

DELAYED/ CANCELLED

Citing the latest public health advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Transport Canada has restricted all direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India until Sept. 21. The agency is also extending the requirement related to third-country pre-departure COVID-19 molecular tests for travellers to Canada from India via an indirect route. This means that passengers who depart India to Canada via an indirect route will continue to be required to obtain a valid COVID-19 pre-departure test from a third country – other than India – before continuing their journey to Canada.

With new COVID-19 cases surging in Louisiana, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival won’t be returning this year after all, organizers say. The festival, which traditionally is held in the spring, had been scheduled to run Oct. 8-10 and Oct. 15-17 this year after being canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The festival is expected to return to its original time frame next year, April 29-May 8.

BY THE NUMBERS

As part of a commitment to address climate change and protect biodiversity, Parks Canada is mobilizing to plant 150,000 trees this summer in up to 18 national parks from coast to coast. This includes planting 2,500 trees in Fundy National Park this year alone.

AIR

Two new winter services from Air Canada will depart from Quebec City: Flights to Fort Lauderdale will start on Nov. 19 and flights to Orlando on Dec. 17. Starting Dec. 4, Air Canada will also be offering more flights to Punta Cana and Cancun.

On Nov. 4, WestJet will launch new non-stop service between Calgary and Seattle. Flights will operate four times weekly on WestJet Encore’s Q400 aircraft and will increase to two-times daily on May 19, 2022.

Eurowings Discover has been added to Aeroplan’s roster of more than 40 airline travel partners. Eurowings Discover is the new leisure carrier of the Lufthansa Group with operating bases in Frankfurt and Munich, Germany. It serves several international destinations in Africa, North America, the Indian Ocean, and the Caribbean.

West Africa

CRUISE

West Africa and its unique archipelagos – the Bissagos Islands and Cape Verde – have been added to a growing list of new warm-weather destinations for Hurtigruten Expeditions. The 13-day itinerary includes four countries: Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal, with ‘MS Spitsbergen’ based out of Dakar. The expansion follows the cruise line’s recent launch announcement of year-round expedition cruises to the Galapagos Islands starting early 2022. Besides its first-ever African expedition cruises, Hurtigruten will also introduce a series of itineraries to the Canary Islands and Madeira for the 22/23 seasons.

‘Oasis of the Seas’ will lead the next group of Royal Caribbean ships to return to service with a Sept. 5 departure to The Bahamas from New York. A dozen more ships will sail out throughout the fall and winter across the globe, from Alaska to Australia by May of 2022 giving the cruise line its full complement of ships.

TOURS

The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) guided tour brands have announced a Covid-19 vaccination requirement for all adult guests, effective Sept. 1. Trafalgar, Contiki, Insight Vacations, Costsaver, Brendan Vacations, and Luxury Gold’s new policy requires clients to show documented proof of having received two doses of approved Covid-19 vaccines from either Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, or one dose from Johnson & Johnson. The final dose of the vaccine must have been administered a minimum of 15 days prior to their departure and the policy will remain in effect until at least Dec. 31. Clients will need to provide the proof to their Wellbeing Director, Travel Director, Trip Manager or Travelling Concierge before joining the tour and also upon arrival at their destination. They will additionally need to comply with specific PCR testing requirements imposed by airlines and/or the destinations, which may differ from country to country.

RESORTS

Almost 100 Olympians from the islands where Sandals Resorts International operates have been gifted complimentary vacation stays by the company. 2020 Olympians who medaled in the just-concluded Tokyo Games will each receive one complimentary no-limit on nights’ stay, in the highest room category at any Sandals or Beaches resort across the region complete with luxury BMW transfers from their home to the resort of choice. In addition, all athletes who represented their country in the Olympics in any event will receive four-night vacations at a Sandals Resort in their home island.

Upon reopening Sept. 1 and after an extensive renovation project, AMResorts’ Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa in Mexico will undergo a name change to Dreams Aventuras Riviera Maya.

HOTELS

Markham Hilton

With safety and hygiene becoming an area of increased focus for the hospitality industry, The Hilton Toronto/Markham Suites Conference Centre and Spa has introduced a fully touchless device using ultraviolet-C ray technology to keep guests’ cell phones as clean as possible.

The Hilton Garden Inn Snowdonia is now open and ready for guests. Not only is the hotel the first Hilton Garden in Wales, but it is also one of the largest hotels in North Wales with 106 rooms. Located on the site of Adventure Parc Snowdonia and home to Wave Garden Spa, it is ideal for travellers seeking active and well-being holidays and for exploring the surrounding scenic region.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

LEGOLAND New York Resort has officially opened. Along with a themed 250-room hotel, the attraction features seven LEGO lands: Brick Street, Bricktopia, LEGO NINJAGO World, LEGO Castle, LEGO City, MINILAND, and LEGO Pirates. The park also features the first LEGO Factory Adventure ride, which transforms riders into LEGO Minifigures, plus signature rides such as the Dragon coaster and LEGO NINJAGO The Ride. Kids can also earn their very own LEGOLAND Driver’s License at Driving School, team up to save the day at Fire Rescue Academy, and catch LEGO movies in 4D at Palace Cinema. The attraction is located in Goshen, NY, about 90 minutes north of New York City.

AGENT EDUCATION

A comprehensive e-learning platform for Canadian travel agents called ‘MSC Masters’ has been launched by MSC Cruises. The digital program comprises interactive modules, videos, tutorials about MSC Book, and generally provides a deeper insight into the cruise line and its itineraries. Agents who enrol will progressively earn rewards to eventually become an MSC Cruises Master. As an additional incentive for agents, 10 $200 or 20 $100 gift cards will be drawn for those who successfully complete the exam by Aug. 31. Agents can find out more from their BDM, Inside Sales, or by visiting https://www.mscbook.com

The Los Cabos Tourism Board has a new full-service destination portal designed to complement its agent specialist program and create a one-stop shop for travel advisors to access all the information they need to sell the Mexican destination. The Los Cabos Specialist site offers an up-to-date educational platform, loyalty program, downloadable resources like guides, maps, videos, and images, and a B2B marketplace, where hotels service provides have their own booths. Graduates from the previous training program are invited to creating a password on the new portal and enroll in the recently revised and expanded Los Cabos Specialist training program. For more information, visit HERE.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Sunwing has announced a writing contest in conjunction with global multi-platform entertainment company Wattpad. Winners will receive an all-inclusive vacation for two at a Royalton Punta Cana Resort & Casino property. The #MissedMilestones Writing Contest is designed to curate a collection of firsthand stories from customers featuring, in 500 words or less, travel moments and milestones that they missed out on during the pandemic, including how they would celebrate those moments in the tropics. The contest runs until Aug. 14 and rules can be found on Wattpad’s website, which will also post winning stories.

EVENTS

Canada’s premier marketplace for the tourism industry, Rendez-vous Canada, will return in a new hybrid format next year. Hosted by Destination Canada and TIAC, and set for May 23-27 in Toronto, RVC+ 2022 will bring back in-person attendance, while also incorporating a virtual component, creating more opportunities for industry delegates to engage and make appointments with international buyers, travel trade media and Destination Marketing Companies (DMC).

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

The Travel Agent Next Door has named luxury cruise line Seabourn to approved supplier status for the host agency.

Dr. Ernest Hilarie is Saint Lucia’s new Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture, and Information. The former diplomat was sworn in on Aug. 5.

DESTINATIONS

France is now requiring people (including tourists) to show a QR code proving they have a special virus pass before they can visit restaurants and cafés or travel across the country, including on high-speed, intercity, and night trains as well as on long-distance travels by plane or bus. The special pass is issued to people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 or have proof of a recent recovery from the virus or who have a recent negative test. Similar measures were also introduced last week in Italy.

Opened July 30, the Niagara Parks Power Station is a new landmark attraction just south of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls. By day, visitors explore the preserved interior of the historic power station, transformed with new exhibits and guest amenities. Beginning Sept 3 each night, an immersive sight and sound experience “Currents: Niagara’s Power Transformed” will bring the building to life. The first major power plant on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, the Niagara Parks Power Station was completed in 1905 to produce hydroelectricity by leveraging the power of the Niagara River.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News