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MOON OVER MANHATTAN

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Shane McInerney is accused of carrying on violent and disruptive behavior during an eight-hour flight from Ireland to the United States earlier this month. At least one passenger told the crew that his behavior was “scary,” authorities said. Reportedly he was on his way to Florida to start a job as a soccer teacher at a sports academy in Daytona.

The 29-year-old McInerney from Galway, Ireland, appeared in federal court in Brooklyn on Jan. 14, facing a felony charge of intentionally assaulting and intimidating a member of a flight crew. He was released him on a $20,000 bond.

The Irishman was a passenger on a Delta flight from Dublin to Kennedy Airport in New York on Jan. 7. According to an FBI affidavit filed in court, during the flight, some of his transgressions included throwing an empty drink can that hit another passenger in the head; pulling down his pants and underwear to “moon” a flight attendant and other nearby passengers; kicking the seat in front of him, upsetting the person sitting there and refusing to wear a mask despite dozens of requests by the crew.

At one point, the Delta captain, on break, confronted McInerney, who repeatedly placed his own hat on the captain’s head and then held his fist in the captain’s face and said, “Don’t touch me,” the FBI agent wrote in the affidavit.

During the flight the crew had to repeatedly interrupt their regular duties to confront McInerney about his behavior and consideration was given to diverting the plane to another airport to have him removed. Ultimately the plane continued on to New York.

According to the FBI report as Airbus A-330 was on its final approach to JFK with all passengers and crew were buckled in, McInerney got up from his seat, stood in the aisle, and refused to return to his seat and fasten his seatbelt.

Authorities took him into custody upon landing.

According to his social media profiles, McInerney played professional soccer in Australia with Dandenong Thunder SC, and in Sweden with FC Linköping City. Last year, he was a kicker for Peru State College’s American football team.

In an interview last month with the The Irish Daily Star he spoke of his dream to play for the NFL.

Meanwhile, an Instagram post on January 16 showed that McInerney in Daytona Beach relaxing at the beach with a drink.

“Great to be back in the sunshine state,” he wrote. “Blessed to call this place home for the next few months.

In a statement, Delta said it, “has zero tolerance for unruly behaviour at our airports and aboard our aircraft as nothing is more important that the safety of our people and our customers”.

If convicted, McInerney faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Wouldn’t that be a bummer!

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

ROUND-UP:Jan. 17-21, 2021

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This week in the Round-up: Crystal is not having a ball; TICO introduces new specs; WestJet cuts more flights; Lynx Air reveals launch details; Contiki unveils a new look; and Air France announces plans for Quebec City.

NEWS

Crystal has suspended operations for its ocean and expedition ships through April 29 with river cruises suspended through the end of May. The cruise line says that suspending operations will provide its management team with an opportunity to evaluate the financial difficulties of its parent company Genting Hong Kong. Guests and travel partners are currently being notified. Crystal will provide a full refund of cruise fare paid, which will be processed automatically to the original form of payment.

In February, the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) will launch a new digital flipbook study manual for Travel Counsellor and Supervisor/Manager certifications. The new manual will have updated content to reflect changes in legislation and will be easier to use. Effective Feb. 28, TICO exams will be based on the newly revised study manual; the deadline to write the exams based on the current manual is Feb. 27. In the future, TICO says it will launch new, fully interactive online education and continuing education programs that have a strong focus on having students apply the program’s regulatory content.

ACTA is the latest travel organization to call on call on the federal government to lift mandatory arrival testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated, asymptomatic travellers so that the tests can be used to support Canada’s domestic testing needs.

Officials at the St. John’s International Airport Authority reached an agreement with the facility’s firefighters to end staffing shortages and flight cancellations and enabling normal operations to resume. The parties had been working with a federal mediator to resolve the situation.

Organizers of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, set to begin Feb. 4, say tickets will not be sold to the general public but instead will be distributed to “targeted” groups of people. Organizers had said in September that there would not be any international spectators at the Games due to COVID-19 prevention policies that have all but shut China’s borders to international travellers.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

After several months of forced suspension due to COVID-19, Air Transat has returned to Faro, Portugal with flight TS232 from Toronto on Jan. 18. Now operated year-round, the route will be offered once a week. The airline also operates flights to Lisbon and Faro from Toronto and, from Montreal, Lisbon and next summer, Porto.

AIR

Calgary-based Lynx Air announced it will officially take flight on April 7 with its first flight from Calgary to Vancouver. Initially, Lynx will offer five domestic destinations: Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Kelowna, and Winnipeg, with flights utilizing brand-new Boeing 737 aircraft. Routes will roll out throughout April with tickets now available to be booked online.

WestJet is continuing the consolidation of flights this month into next, with the airline announcing that 20% of its scheduled flights Feb. 1-28 will be reduced. The “difficult decision” is in response to the Omicron variant affecting staffing levels and the prolonged impact of government barriers on bookings, says the airline. The schedule reduction also represents a slight increase over January, which has seen 15% of flights curtailed.

As of May 17, Air France will connect Quebec City (YQB) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport with three weekly flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Flights will be operated by Airbus A330-200.

BY THE NUMBERS

Global tourism experienced a 4% upturn in 2021, compared to 2020 (415 million versus 400 million), however, international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) were still 72% below the pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to preliminary estimates by UNWTO. This follows on from 2020, the worst year on record for tourism, when international arrivals decreased by 73%.

TECHNOLOGY

Travelport has launched its new Travelport+ tools and functionalities. Customers using the latest version of the desktop tool, Smartpoint, can now access new itinerary enhancements, including Trip Quote, to customize itinerary quotes, and Assisted Ticketing capabilities. Additionally, Travelport has launched a new Trip Manager portal on Travelport+, offering self-service for travellers to carry out fast, easy transactions for their trip on the go and continues its Intelligent Storefront mission by making it easier for agents to understand offers and compare brands with similar attributes on a like-for-like basis. Agencies using Travelport can also better manage the hotel bookings they sell with a simple self-service rules engine, the Content Optimizer.

DEALS

Envision, Budapest

Wave Season deals from Avalon Waterways offer three tiers of savings, ranging from $1,700 to $3,200 in savings for booking on select cruises through March 27. The special rates apply to dozens of cruises, including the 15-day “Magnificent Europe” cruise ($3,200 per couple savings), 16-day “Enchanted Europe for Beer Enthusiasts” ($2,200); and eight-day “Danube Dreams” ($1,700). All bookings also include the option of adding airfare for $499.

The new ‘Spring Seat Sale’ from Transat is valid on new individual Europe bookings made through Feb. 14, for travel between March 1 and June 30, 2022. (Some exceptions apply). Details are available on the airline’s web site.

Savings of up to 20% off are available on select European Waterways Spring barge cruises in France, Italy, and Scotland. The offer ends Feb. 21.

TOURS

Capitalizing on the latest trends in health and wellness trends, TruTravels has launched a new FitVentures collection of wellness-focussed tours, departing from May. The two tour itineraries – one in Thailand, the other Indonesia – come with a ‘workout schedule’ and with Muay Thai classes, beachfront bootcamps and volcano hikes, with the tour operating promising to challenge the conventional wellness retreat by “making working out fun while travellers enjoy the trip of a lifetime.” Activities include cooking classes, cycling, sunset paddleboarding and more. With the “Great Escape Sale,” travellers can save up 40% off the price.

An eye-catching new look and feel signifying “an optimism for the industry that meets the new needs of clients” is behind a brand refresh from Contiki, launched last week. Featuring “Contiki Green,” the vibrant new colour in part represents the brand’s take on sustainability – a “new kind of green.” Along with the new look, Contiki says it has also realized its goal of becoming entirely carbon neutral effective this month.

HOTELS

Hard Rock Hotels has announced plans for the opening of its newest REVERB by Hard Rock in Hamburg, Germany. Slated to open in mid-2022, the 134-room hotel
will be located within the St. Pauli Bunker, Hamburg’s largest, and one of its few preserved, high-rise bunkers, which has come to locally represent creativity and urban culture. REVERB by Hard Rock is a new select service hotel designed for the modern music lover, a sanctuary for the eclectic, and a place where fans meet and experience a melting pot of music culture. The hotel features a modern, urban design package, traveller-friendly integrated technology, and programming focused on local music, food, and lifestyle.

The new ‘Winter Escapes’ promotion by B Hotels offers discounted nightly rates at various Florida properties when booked by March 19 for travel by June 30. Promotional rates start at US$119 at the B Resort & Spa in Orlando (Disney Springs area), $229 at B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale, and $299 at Banana Bay Resort in the Keys. The Orlando property is also providing free breakfast to kids 12 years of age and under (some limitations apply). Booking must be made with the hotel online using the promo code BWINTER.

RESORTS

IHG Hotels & Resorts is expanding in Bali, Indonesia. The 120-key all-suite and villa InterContinental Bali Sanur Resort will be a rebrand of the former Fairmont Sanur Beach Bali and will relaunch with a fresh identity. The beachfront resort is located on Sanur Beach which is known for its long stretch of sandy beach with shallow waters and will boast 26 villas, each with a private pool, as well as 94 suites.

A new Ritz-Carlton Reserve resort has been announced for the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, joining an exclusive collection of only five Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties around the world. Located on the southern end of the island, it is expected to feature an open-air resort including 90 intimate rooms forming part of the community once known as the Cotton Bay Club. Amenities will include an 18-hole golf course, a lavish spa and swimming pools, and restaurants.

CRUISE

As part of its “Worry-Free Promise,” Holland America Line is extending its Flexible Cancellation Plan. Originally for cruises departing by the end of April, the plan now includes bookings made by March 31 for itineraries that depart on or before Sept. 30 and allows clients to cancel for any reason and receive a Future Cruise Credit in the amount of any cancellation fees that normally would be incurred. Cancellations must be made up to 30 days before departure. Additionally, final payments for cruises through May 31 are due at 60 days instead of 75 or 90.

Viking has floated out its newest ocean ship – the 930-guest Viking Neptune – marking a major construction milestone. Set to debut in November, the vessel will spend her maiden season sailing itineraries in the Mediterranean before embarking on the company’s 2023-24 Viking World Cruise.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival returns from March 4 to April 26 with its unique “tour” of California regions and neighbourhoods at the Anaheim theme park. A dozen festival marketplaces will offer bites and beverages for every palate. Complimentary culinary demonstrations with visiting, local, celebrity, and Disney chefs will return on Saturdays and Sundays during the festival. And to further enhance the experience, guests can book and purchase signature events such as the Carthay Circle Winemaker Receptions, and the Wine, Beer and Mixology Education & Tasting Seminars. The latest details will be shared on Disneyland.com.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Travel advisors booking new-to-Windstar Cruises guests will receive a $100 per booking bonus commission or a $100 Visa gift card during Wave Season (through Feb. 28). Clients, meanwhile, can choose between “Pick Your Perk” savings options that include up to $1,000 onboard credit per stateroom or up to two free hotel nights with included transfer between hotel and yacht, plus full breakfast, Wi-Fi, resort fees and taxes.

Polar adventure operator Quark Expeditions has unveiled a gift card incentive for graduates of its PolarPro sales training program. Eligible travel advisors who sign up and graduate from the sales training program before March 31 can submit a request to earn a $250 gift card (or local equivalent) on their first booking with Quark Expeditions within 90 days of graduation. Eligible travel advisors who make their first booking after March 31, within 90 days of graduation, will earn a US$100 gift card (or local equivalent).

EVENTS

Registration is open for US Travel’s signature trade show, IPW, which is scheduled to take place from June 4 to 8 in Orlando. Last year the annual spring-time event in Las Vegas was postponed until September following outright cancellation in 2020.

The American Marketing Group’s Travel Market conference at Resorts World Las Vegas has been changed to Oct 27-30, 2022 (the previously announced dates were Sept. 28-Oct. 1).

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Popular industry executive Frank Dennis died Jan. 15 at age 80. Owner of Uniglobe Eastern Canada Region from 1991 to 2016, Dennis was instrumental in the franchise’s growth over the years and a leading figure in the Canadian travel industry, including having served as the first chair of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO).

Canadian travel industry figure Michael Friisdahl is set to become executive chairman of Britain-based Signature Aviation, the world’s largest network of private aviation terminals (FBOs). The former CEO of Rouge airline and Thomas Cook North America has been president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) since December 2015, where he will depart at the end of February.

H.I.S.-Red Label Vacations Inc. (RLV) has announced the appointment of Kurt Ortmann as the Mississauga-based company’s new VP of Information Technology. The 30-year travel industry veteran, whose mandate is to amplify the company’s technological infrastructure and further the continued goal of streamlining operations and expanding customer-centric solutions, took office Jan. 14

DESTINATIONS
Laax, Switzerland,
is now home to the longest treetop walkway in the world (photo). The 1.5-km.-long walkway, also known as “Senda dil Dragun”, winds between the trees at a height of up to 28 m. Entering its first winter, the treetop walk connects the two villages of Laax Murschetg and Laax Dorf.

Miami Beach Live! is a month-long celebration starting in March that will feature a variety of activations and live events designed to engage all five senses in the South Florida city. Every Friday through Sunday during March, a diverse lineup of programming will take place in and around Lummus Park and the beachfront areas, from 10 to 13 streets. Themes include Dance, Pop, International, and Symphonic/Broadway – across an array of music, arts, culture, and culinary offerings. Every weekend throughout the month also features a Friday night movie, Saturday evening headlining concert, and Sunday Dine-Around spotlighting Miami Beach’s best-in-class culinary offerings.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

ROUND-UP:Jan. 10-14, 2021

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Remember when “wave season” meant cruising? It’s that time of year. Also in last week’s news: Lynx Air announce tickets are on sale, with a contest to celebrate; Transat enhanced check-in procedures; TICO deferred payments (again); the US conditional sailing order expired; and winter fun is cancelled.

NEWS

The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) advises that new provincial funding will enable it to waive registrant fees for a third year as the travel industry continues to grapple with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Travel agencies and wholesalers will receive a fee waiver for annual registration renewal fees and Travel Industry Compensation Fund payments (Form-1) owed to TICO from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023. The waiver applies to all registrants registered with TICO as of March 31, 2022.

Tourism operators in British Columbia can apply for financial help from a $15-million relief fund to cover some of their losses due to COVID-19. The provincial government says BC-owned hotels or motels that employ more than 150 people, Indigenous-owned resorts on reserves with over 100 employees, and tourism operators who hold tenure or BC Parks permits can all apply for grants. The fund was suggested by a task force established in September 2020 to look at ways of helping tourism operators during the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

Effective Feb. 15 all visitors to Belize are required to apply for Belize Travel Health Insurance – a mandatory insurance that helps protect travellers against incurred medical and non-medical expenses if they test positive for COVID-19 during their stay in Belize. Cost of the policy is US$18 with coverage for up to US$50,000 in medical (including emergency assistance), accommodation, and trip cancellation expenses related to treatment of COVID-19 for a period of 21 days. Arrivals continue to be required to present a negative test.

The European Union ended travel restrictions on flights from southern Africa on Jan. 11, well over a month after imposing them to in hopes of containing the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

DELAYED/ CANCELLED

Due to public health measures, in-person Winterlude activities at the Snowflake Kingdom and elsewhere in Ottawa will not take place this year. Canadians across the country, however, are being invited to vote online in the 44th annual event’s National Ice-Carving Championship. Also cancelled is the BeaverTails Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival, which was take place as part of Winterlude from Feb. 4 to 21.

With less than 48 days to go, the 2022 Ontario Winter Games were postponed until 2023 due to surging Omicron cases in the province, the uncertainty of some events taking place and the possibility of others being cancelled due to COVID exposures. The games were slated to be a positive economic influx into the tourism sector of Renfrew County, which has been hard-hit by the pandemic. And on Saturday, it was announced that the BC Winter Games next month in Vernon would also be cancelled due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the province.

Large-scale events, such as Lunar New Year fairs, have been banned in Hong Kong as the city tries to keep a lid on the omicron outbreak. Transit passengers from 150 countries and territories were also banned effective yesterday (Jan. 16). Early this month, Hong Kong imposed a two-week ban on incoming flights from several countries, including Canada. Other restrictions have been posed as part of the Chinese city’s “zero tolerance” COVID-19 policy.

RE-OPENING/RE-START
A section of the historic Old Seven Mile Bridge, paralleling the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, reopened Wednesday (photo) in the Middle Keys so residents and visitors can once again use it for cycling, walking, running, rollerblading, watching sunrises and sunsets and to access Pigeon Key. The oft-photographed 3.5-km span of bridge near Marathon was part of a US$44-million renovation that began in 2017.

Continuing its restart, Carnival Cruise Line resumed guest operations Friday from Charleston, S.C., with Carnival Sunshine. The ship departed today on a four-day cruise to Nassau, Bahamas.

The daily, public ferry service between Anguilla’s Blowing Point Ferry Terminal and the Marigot Ferry Terminal on the French side of St. Martin has recommenced.

AIR

Tickets for Lynx Air flights go on sale on Wednesday (Jan. 19) and to celebrate the Canadian low-cost carrier (formerly Enerjet) has launched a trivia contest starting today (Monday) offering Canadians a chance to win free flights for a year. Two grand prize winners will win one round-trip flight per month to any Lynx destination for 12 months and five additional winners will each receive one round-trip flight anywhere on Lynx’s network. The contest closes Jan 18 at 8 p.m. MT. For details and to enter, click https://www.flylynx.com

Air Transat customers can now upload and validate their destination health documents when checking in online. This will allow them to obtain their digital boarding pass before arriving at the airport and ensure they meet entry requirements. The tool, which uses a technology developed by Amadeus, is currently in a test phase and will be deployed in three phases. Initially it will only validate the COVID-19 test and will be available for a selection of routes. In the coming months, it will be extended to the entire Air Transat network and will also validate proof of vaccination for destinations that require it.

KLM reports that it will start adding 0.5% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for flights departing from Amsterdam and will additionally give customers the option of purchasing an extra amount of sustainable fuel. In this manner it aims to stimulate the market for SAF. “The face of travel is set to change in the future and SAF will play an essential role in this regard,” says the Dutch carrier.

RAIL

Given the impact on travel demand of tighter COVID-19 restrictions due to the rapid spreading of the omicron variant, VIA Rail will temporarily reduce frequencies in the Québec City-Windsor corridor starting Wednesday (Jan. 9).

Clients booking an eligible Canadian trip this month (through Jan. 31) on Rocky Mountaineer will receive a complimentary upgrade from SilverLeaf to Goldleaf service ($1,500 value). Bookings are also risk free with a full travel credit for use to the end of the 2023 season granted to any travellers who cancel within 60 days of their trip for any reason. GoldLeaf Service includes bi-level glass-dome coaches equipped with spacious seats and unobstructed views; exclusive outdoor viewing platform; and gourmet breakfast and lunch.

DEALS

Through Feb. 6 Bermuda’s “Pink Sale” is offering up to 50% off on hotel bookings in the destination, with rates starting at $100/night and travel available through December. Participating properties and information can be found HERE 

Costa Cruises North America has savings of up to US$800 on select 2022 itineraries as part of Wave Season. The offer, available on bookings made by Feb. 28, applies to select Mediterranean and northern Europe itineraries in 2022. As an added bonus, guests also receive a $100 p.p. onboard credit, totalling $200 in onboard credit per cabin. Wave Sale deals are available on cruises departing from April through November. Restrictions and blackout dates apply.

HOTELS

Atlific Hotels has added four British Columbia hotels to its management portfolio, including two in Fort St. John – the Travelodge by Wyndham Fort St. John and Ramada by Wyndham Northern Grand Hotel & Conference Centre – plus two in Richmond, the Holiday Inn Vancouver Airport and Holiday Inn Express Vancouver Airport. The latter recently completed a top to bottom renovation and offers 161 guestrooms with free fiber optic high-speed WiFi, fridge and microwave, fitness centre, 24-hour airport shuttle, gated parking with electric charging and onsite restaurant. The Holiday Inn Express Vancouver Airport also recently renovated and features 107 guestrooms with a variety of in-room conveniences, fitness centre, 24-hour airport shuttle, and free breakfast.

Housed in the historic Tontine Building that originated as the city’s first Stock Exchange in 1729, the sleek, residentially inspired Wall Street Hotel will boast 180 spacious rooms and suites, a fine dining restaurant featuring a Michelin star chef, plus a stylish rooftop bar and lounge with outdoor terrace when it opens in March. The Preferred Hotels member is located at 88 Wall St. in lower Manhattan and in the heart of the global financial district, steps from Battery Park, the World Trade Center, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

RESORTS

Clients can save 45% off the price of all-inclusive spring and summer escapes at top Club Med resorts throughout Mexico, Florida, the Caribbean, and Canada. The “Your Vacation Your Way” sale is open for bookings through Feb. 23 for travel through Aug. 26. Additional perks include a free room upgrade and free stays for kids under four. Participating resorts include Punta Cana, Cancun, Miches Playa Esmeralda, Quebec, Ixtapa, Turks and Caicos, Sandpiper Bay, Caravelle, and Buccanneer’s Creek.

Due to open April 1, Dreams Karibana Cartagena Beach & Golf Resort will be the first AMR Collection resort in South America. The Colombian all-inclusive will feature 268 rooms, all with a private terrace, balcony, or swim-out suites. Other amenities include five bars and lounges with unlimited international and domestic top-shelf spirits; three gourmet à la carte dining choices; pool and beach service; 24-hour room and concierge services; daily activities and entertainment; access to a private beach club; 18-hole golf course; and more.

CRUISE

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says it will let its controversial conditional sailing order mandating various COVID-19 protocols aboard cruise ships sailing in US waters expire as initially intended on Jan. 15. Health and safety measures applied by individual cruise lines will then become voluntary.

Delayed a full year by the pandemic, Avalon Waterways new vessel, the Avalon View, will now debut in April in Bratislava, Slovakia. The ship will be christened by on April 12 by godmother Meredith Vieira, a 15-time Emmy Award-winning TV broadcaster. After the ceremony, the 166-passenger View will join Avalon’s Suite Ship fleet to sail the Danube River in 2022.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has unveiled the next ship in its new Prima Class category. Norwegian Viva will begin sailing Mediterranean itineraries in June 2023, homeporting in key southern European port cities Lisbon, Venice, Rome, and Athens, before sailing to the Southern Caribbean for her 2023-24 winter season (from San Juan)

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

SeaWorld Orlando says that its anticipated Ice Breaker roller coaster will make its debut on Feb. 18. The roller coaster ride has four airtime launches, as well as a 28-m.- tall spike with 100-degree angle. Although the ride doesn’t officially open until the middle of next month, those with season passes will get sneak peaks earlier.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

G-Normous, G Adventures’ biggest annual agent incentive offers $75K worth of cash and prizes to agents in Canada through April 30. The 9th annual “thank you” promotion also invites agents to compete in fun community challenges, and to vie for the $5K grand prize for the overall G-Normous top seller in Canada. In addition to the cash prizes, agents also receive one entry to win a fantastic trip each month – drawn at random – with each booking made. Agents with a G Adventures Sherpa account are automatically registered. Agents without an account can sign-up through their agency manager at https://www.gadventures.com/agents/register

EVENTS

Registration for ‘MeetGB Virtual’ 2022, VisitBritain’s free flagship business event is still open. Taking place in Feb. 15-17, the online tradeshow for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions/Events (MICE) is held in partnership with MeetEngland, Business Events Scotland, Meet In Wales, Tourism Northern Ireland, and London Convention Bureau, inviting international buyers to connect online in real time with UK destinations, venues, and suppliers. For more info and registration: https://www.visitbritain.com/gb/en/business

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Two familiar faces are back with the AMR Collection in Canada. Scott Reid returns as BDM Central Canada, covering Western Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan; and after a short stint away Brian Joseph returns as BDM for the Toronto, Greater Toronto Area, Eastern Ontario, and the Niagara regions. They join Orelbys Vigoa (Quebec and Atlantic Canada) and Carlo Trinidad (Western Canada).

AGENTS

An annual customer contest conducted by The Travel Agent Next Door (TTAND) attracted 42,000 online entries. Designed to help build data bases and enhance social media presence, the contest offered a seven-day Caribbean cruise for two from Fort Lauderdale on Celebrity Cruises in a Verandah stateroom, with complimentary air from all major Canadian gateways. Winner of the contest was Paul Vendetti of Ontario, a client of TTAND agent Jennifer Jones (photo).

The American Marketing Group (AMG), parent company of TRAVELSAVERS, NEST and The Affluent Travel Collection, has introduced an enhanced digital platform that delivers social media content for all affiliate agencies in the US and Canada. The platform, called Social Connect, helps advisors engage their current clients and reach new clients to build their brand awareness and increase sales.

BY THE NUMBERS

Nevada casinos set a record in November, reporting a ninth straight month of US$1 billion or more in house winnings, providing another sign that business in the nation’s tourist-dependent gambling mecca has returned to pre-pandemic levels. The $1.32 billion in casino winnings reported statewide was up from $1.22 billion in October, and almost reached the record $1.36 billion figure set last July, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported. The streak beat the previous record of eight consecutive months set before the Great Recession, from October 2006 to May 2007. Nevada sports betting also set records – reaping a record $72 million in November on sports wagers totaling $1.1 billion.

DESTINATIONS

Cuba has eliminated the need for visitors who test positive to stay in “hotel-hospitals,” instead permitting travellers to isolate in their hotel. The new measures replace previous requirements for passengers who test positive for COVID-19 to quarantine at the government designated facilities. Now, passengers can stay at their hotel in select rooms that are separated from the rest of the hotel in a different block or section and overseen by medical personnel.

From Feb 17 to July 17 the British Museum in London, in partnership with Wiltshire Museum and English Heritage, will host The World of Stonehenge, the UK’s first ever major exhibition on the history and mystery of the ancient site. There will be hundreds of objects brought together from across Britain and Europe including stone axes from the North Italian Alps, stunning metalwork from Ireland, and an extremely rare 3,000-year-old sun pendant, described by the British Museum as the most significant piece of Bronze Age gold ever found in Britain.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

RIDING HIGH: Coast to coast coasters coming in 2022

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Thrill-seekers will be riding high this year with the debut of no less than four major new attractions in the US, spanning the country from coast to coast. Busch Gardens will unveil Iron Gwazi in Tampa, while SeaWorld breaks the ice with a new ride in Orlando and California’s fastest, tallest, and longest dive coaster in San Diego. There’s also something for swingers in San Antonio. Here’s a look:

Ice Breaker

Ice Breaker promises to be SeaWorld Orlando’s coolest coaster yet. Set to officially open on Feb. 18, the ride will feature four launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida — a 28-m.-tall spike with 100-degree angle. The coaster debuts after a two-year delay due to the pandemic and joins Manta, Kraken, and Mako, at the Orlando theme park.

Iron Gwazi

Another coaster delayed by the pandemic, Iron Gwazi will launch at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in March as North America’s tallest hybrid coaster and the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world. It will be the Florida theme park’s 10th roller coaster, promising the unique thrill of plunging riders from a 63-m.-tall peak into a 91-degree drop and reaching top speeds of 122 kph. The journey will include a dozen airtime moments, including three inversions, as it races along more than 1,240 m. feet of purple steel track and giving riders a stunning view of African animals on the park’s Serengeti Plain. Other notable coasters at the theme park include Tigris, SheiKra, and Montu, recognized as one of the top 10 coasters in the United States.

The Emperor

Emperor, SeaWorld San Diego

The tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster in California, as well as the only floorless dive coaster in the state, will debut in March, at SeaWorld San Diego. Named after the world’s largest penguin, the new coaster will mimic the species’ amazing underwater diving ability. Climbing to 46 m. with feet dangling in the air, riders will be suspended on a 45-degree angle at the crown of the ride before plunging down a 43 m. facedown vertical drop, accelerating to more than 97 kph. Riders will also experience inversions, barrel roll, Immelmann loop, hammerhead turn and flat spin as they race along the nearly 762 m. of track. Each of the floorless ride cars will hold 18 riders in three, six-person rows – the first seating configuration of its kind in North America.

Tidal Surge

At SeaWorld San Antonio Tidal Surge will be the world’s tallest and fastest swing ride, taking riders on a journey “above the clouds to feel the sensation of flying high above the park.” Accommodating 40 riders, the ride will feature two pendulum-like arms that will soar progressively higher to a staggering height of 41 m. at its peak. The dueling arms will alternate sides and sway back-and-forth at 110 kph, creating multiple airtime moments that levitate guests out of their seats with each heart-stopping swing. Riders’ legs will dangle and hang as they soar over the waterski lake and take in the beautiful views of the park, while reaching multiple negative G moments before plunging back towards the earth.

SeaWorld San Antonio’s thrill ride portfolio currently includes four thrill coasters, and one for families, plus a high swing.

Jurassic World Velocicaster

Not to be forgotten, the newly opened (last summer), but perhaps missed by many during the pandemic maelstrom, Jurassic World Velocicaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando currently holds the title of Florida’s fastest and tallest launch coaster, and the world’s first coaster based on the Jurassic World blockbuster franchise. The new species of roller coaster raises the bar in extreme roller coaster design and is the ultimate experience for coaster enthusiasts and thrill-seekers, with a series of intense manoeuvres that will send guests catapulting up to 113 kph and more than 45 m. in the air with the swiftest of prehistoric predators.

 

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

PALACE INTRIGUE: UK plans party to celebrate monarch’s milestone

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From a military parade to a pudding competition, the United Kingdom plans to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee this year, marking 70 years on the throne. Elizabeth will become on Feb. 6 the first British monarch to reign for seven decades, and festivities marking the anniversary will culminate in a four-day weekend of events June 2-5.

The weekend, which includes an extra public holiday in honour of the 95-year-old queen, will begin on Thursday June 2, with Trooping the Colour – the annual military parade that marks the queen’s official birthday. That will be followed on June 3 by a service of thanksgiving honoring the queen’s service to the UK, her other realms and the Commonwealth.

In a nod to coronation chicken – the concoction of cold chicken, curry powder, mayonnaise and other ingredients served at garden parties marking the queen’s formal ascent to the throne – the palace will sponsor the Platinum Pudding competition to create a new dessert dedicated to the monarch.

The competition will be open to UK residents as young as eight and will be judged by television cooking personalities Mary Berry and Monica Galetti, together with Buckingham Palace head chef Mark Flanagan. The winning recipe will be published ahead of Jubilee weekend so it can be part of the celebrations.

Some 1,400 people have already registered to host Jubilee lunches on June 5, with flagship events set to take place in London and at the Eden Project in Cornwall. The palace expects there will be some 200,000 neighbourhood events across the UK.

The weekend will end with a pageant honouring the monarch’s service and looking ahead to the next 70 years. Dancers, musicians, military personnel, and key workers will “tell the story of the Queen’s reign,” while children will create a picture of their hopes and aspirations for the planet, the Buckingham Palace said.

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

KEY WEST LANDMARK BACK TO SCRATCH

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Restoration has been completed on Key West’s Southernmost Point marker, one of the most photographed landmarks in the Florida Keys, following damage from a fire intentionally set early New Year’s Day.

City public works staff finished repainting the marker late last week. It designates the southernmost land point in the continental United States, a replica of a marine navigational buoy with red, yellow, black, and white stripes.

“The Southernmost Point is one of the most iconic spots in the Florida Keys,” Key West Mayor Teri Johnston said. “People come from around the world in order to be photographed in front of this statue.”

Key West police have announced charges against two men suspected of torching a Christmas tree next to the landmark buoy. The suspects were seen on webcams early Jan. 1. Footage shows one man dragging the tree to the location. They took several pictures on their phones of each other in front of the burning tree next to the buoy. Flames and heat left a large scar on the front of the marker.

The 20-ton concrete monument, installed beside the Atlantic Ocean in 1983, bears lettering that proclaims it stands just 90 miles from Cuba. For decades, Key West visitors have lined up for pictures before its expanse.

The damage and multi-day repair didn’t stop the flow of daytime visitors to the Southernmost Point. Public Works personnel did their restoration work at night. Damage was estimated at over $5,000.

Doing the damage.

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

ROUND-UP:Jan. 3-7, 2021

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Highlighting this week’s round-up: Air Canada and Transat trim schedules, Hong Kong bans flights from Canada, G Adventures has big Bhutan news, a new resort opens its doors in Jamaica, and Disneyland is looking ahead to the Chinese Lunar New Year.

NEWS

Hong Kong announced a two-week ban on flights from seven countries, including Canada, to help stem an emerging omicron outbreak in the city. The ban took effect Jan. 9 and will continue until Jan. 21. The measures came as new omicron clusters have emerged over the past week, many linked to several Cathay Pacific crew members who broke isolation rules and dined at restaurants and bars in the city before testing positive.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is calling for the region’s government leaders to reduce the isolation periods for travellers to align more closely with newly introduced standards in the US (five days) and UK (seven days). CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig is recommending a seven-day period, compared to as many as 14 days currently mandated in some destinations. To not do so, she says, would reverse progress made by the tourism sector since the start of the pandemic.

DELAYED/ CANCELLED

The world’s coolest music festival has been cancelled due to the pandemic. Igloofest was to take place in Montréal’s Old Port over four weekends from Jan. 15 to Feb. 22.

BY THE NUMBERS

Not all cruises are created equal, says Avalon Waterways. Pointing to several recent COVID outbreaks on ocean-going ships, the river cruise specialist says that despite operating more than 100 cruises across Europe, Egypt and the Galapagos Islands this past summer and fall, that it registered precisely zero COVID-19 cases onboard its ships, amongst either guests or crew. Avalon notes that the number of Canadians taking a river cruise has doubled in the past decade and that 95% of Canadian agents say they sell the segment.

AIR

Transat A.T. says it is cancelling nearly 30% of its winter flights through Feb. 25 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on air industry plans and profits. The company says the ongoing impact of the omicron variant and the federal government’s Dec. 15 recommendation against non-essential travel abroad have triggered a wave of trip cancellations.

Air Canada Vacations has been forced to temporarily suspend operations to over a dozen sun destinations effective Jan. 24, lasting until April 30. However, the tour operator is quick to note that operations to 23 destinations are being maintained and only 7% of customers will be impacted. Affected destinations include Antigua, Aruba, Samaná, Curaçao, Exuma, Grenada, Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo, Bermuda, Grand Cayman, Havana, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

DEALS

The “Escape Back to the Blue” Wave season campaign by Celestyal Cruises offers 30% select 2022 sailings in the Greek Islands and eastern Med through March 31. Additionally, children 12 years and younger sharing the same stateroom with their parents sail for free. Solo travellers also receive a reduced solo supplement on select sailings.

TOURS

To celebrate its status as a launch partner for the re-opening of the ancient Trans Bhutan Trail (after 60 years), G Adventures will offer two tours along the route in the Himalayan nation starting May 1. The active trekking itineraries (photo) include the 11-day “Camp the Trans Bhutan Trail” trip, which features camping and homestays, and a 12-day “Highlights of the Trans Bhutan Trail” itinerary with accommodation in homestays, locally owned guest houses, and hotels. Both packages feature three to four hours of hiking per day along the best portions of the 403-km trail, while engaging with locals along the way.

CRUISE

Tradewind Voyages has confirmed its full program for the 2022/23 season, with the world’s newest and largest tall ship, Golden Horizon, making her inaugural journey in the Caribbean in Barbados next November. Complementing the debut in the Mediterranean in May 2022, the following year’s season will feature sailings starting from Portugal in April 2023. The Caribbean season offers an extensive selection of voyages that span the Grenadines, St Vincent, St Lucia, Guadeloupe, British Virgin Islands, St Kitts, St Barts, Antigua and more. Early booking incentives are available through Jan. 31. In Canada, call 437- 826-9600.

Summer 2023 cruises in Europe are now open for booking with Royal Caribbean. The newly announced program features nine ships visiting more than two dozen countries across 35 itineraries and featuring destinations from the Amalfi Coast to the Holy Land, and Iceland to the Adriatic islands of Croatia, British Isles, Canary Islands and Greek Isles. Departures will begin in May.

RESORTS

H10 Hotels has inaugurated Ocean Eden Bay, a newly built 444-room five-star resort in Trelawney, Jamaica. The adults-only luxury hotel is located on the seafront at Coral Spring, adjacent to the Ocean Coral Spring resort that the company opened in December 2019. The complex has six restaurants, four bars, a private beach area with sun loungers, and a large designer swimming pool overlooking the sea. Guests will also have access to all Ocean Coral Spring’s spaces and services. The hotel is H10’s second in Jamaica and seventh in the Caribbean, with three resorts in the Riviera Maya and two more in Punta Cana, all of them five-star with prime seafront locations.

Four Seasons Resort Lanai is welcoming a new observatory to its property this winter. The resort’s Love Lanai Cultural Advisors, working with the Imiloa Astronomy Center on the Island of Hawaii, are developing an accompanying observatory program about the history of Pacific Ocean voyaging, native Hawaiian traditions, and the methodology of traditional wayfinding, providing an overview of astronomy as it relates to Hawaii and parallels with Hawaiian culture. Resort guests in small groups can participate in observatory programming, which will be offered weekly. The new facility’s state-of-the-art, fully automated one-metre-class telescope observatory system features a direct-drive altitude-azimuth mounting system.

HOTELS

Rendering of the future Hotel Riu Plaza Chicago

Construction will begin this spring in Chicago on Riu Hotels and Resorts’ next urban Riu Plaza property. The new-build skyscraper, located in Streetville, the city’s commercial and cultural centre and close to the Magnificent Mile, will house a hotel with 28 floors and more than 350 rooms. Construction is expected to last for around two years.

The first-ever NYC Hotel Week has kicked off in New York. Running until Feb. 13, visitors will receive a 22% discount off the standard room rate at more than 110 hotels in the city (including all five boroughs), including properties such as The Beekman Hotel; Lotte New York Palace; The Pierre New York; The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue; Opera House Hotel; Hilton Garden Inn New York/Staten Island; The Rockaway Hotel; and The William Vale. Hotel weeks is part of NYC Winter Outing, which includes NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway Week and NYC Must-See Week, running from Jan. 18 to Feb. 13. Hotel week reservations can be made HERE.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure commemorates traditions of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures. The festival is filled with multicultural performances, kid-friendly crafts, culinary delights, beautiful décor, celebratory merchandise, and live musical entertainment, from Jan. 21 through Feb. 13. Not surprisingly, taking stage in 2022 – the Year of the Tiger – will be Tigger, joined by other popular Disney characters including Mulan and Mushu, Mickey and Minnie, and the Three Little Pigs – all donning their festive attire. Lunar New Year traditions include the Lucky Wishes Wall and “Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession,” a performance that honours family, friendship, and the potential for a fortune-filled new year.

Mardi Gras celebrations kick off at Universal Studios Florida from Feb. 5. The family-friendly version of the iconic Big Easy bash runs through April 24 and features a grand nighttime parade featuring uniquely themed floats and tons of beads, star-studded concerts on select nights, and authentic Cajun-style cuisine from New Orleans.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

David McKenna is the new president and CEO of Rocky Mountaineer, having taken office Jan. 4. The Canadian tourism veteran is a prominent leader in the domestic tourism industry who also serves as board chair of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC). Prior to joining Rocky Mountaineer, McKenna was president at the Banff Jasper Collection by Pursuit where he led tourism expansion and acquisition projects in the Canadian Rockies.

EVENTS

A new season of ‘Irie Hour’ resumes Tuesday (Jan. 11) at 2:30 p.m. EST. Joining the Jamaica Tourist Board for the session is special guest Nina Spencer, a motivational speaker coach and speaker who will help inspire and motivate travel agents during these tough times. The topic for this one-hour coaching session will be “2022 Bring it ON! Forward Thinking: Profoundly Practical Strategies for Protecting Your Professional Passion and Building Great Client Relationships Despite Pandemic Times.” To register, click HERE.

DESTINATIONS

Canada’s largest food and drink festival, Dine Out Vancouver, reports that it has only been “slightly impacted” by the omicron outbreak and is moving ahead with its 20th anniversary season. From Jan. 14 to 31, hundreds of restaurants, breweries, and winemakers will present the best of the West Coast and international culinary arts with multi-course fixed-price menus starting at only $20. Festival organizers say that capacity limits and maximum seating adjustments will be made to indoor ticketed events; meanwhile outdoor events like Street Food City are not affected.

The Louisiana Great River Road Museum and Interpretive Center on the grounds of Houmas House Estate and Gardens is the newest member of the Great River Road network of museums and interpretive centres. The 3,300-sq.-m. museum is a state-of-the-art, $15-million facility chronicling the history and telling life stories along the lower Mississippi River from Baton Rouge through New Orleans to the mouth of the river. To date, there are more than 74 centres in the Great River Road Network interpreting the stories of the Mississippi River. These centres reside along the 10-state stretch of the river and include museums, parks, aquariums, and nature centres along with historic and prehistoric sites.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

HAPPY TRAILS: Ancient Bhutan Trail to re-open after 60 years

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The Kingdom of Bhutan is set to reopen the historic and sacred Trans Bhutan Trail for the first time in 60 years with Toronto-based G Adventures designated as an official launch partner. Such is the import of the occasion that the King of Bhutan will officially inaugurate the Trail, fulfilling a vision to restore the ancient route for tourism, adventure, and connection, and based on the Kingdom’s core principles of sustainability and sustainable tourism

Spanning 403 km across the country, which is perched in the Himalayas between India and China, the Trail was part of the ancient Silk Road, used by pilgrims, armies, and traders for thousands of years; and until the 1960s, it was the only way to travel across the country.

Official records can be traced to the 16th century when the Trail was the only route between the east and west of the country, connecting fortresses – or Dzongs – deep in the remote eastern Himalayas. It also served as the pilgrimage route for Buddhists in the east to travel to sacred sites in western Bhutan and Tibet, and legendary Garps – trail runners – would travel the trail at great speed by foot with mail and important messages, often making their journeys without food or water.

When construction of a national highway began across Bhutan in the 1960s, the trail’s ancient stairways and footpaths gradually fell into disrepair.

Extensive restoration work began two years ago in preparation for this spring’s opening and last March a team of surveyors began clearing jungles, fording rivers and reconstructing bridges to their former glory, at the same time re-connecting with local communities, which provided hospitality and assistance, even as Bhutan and the world were enveloped in the emerging COVID crisis.

The Bhutan Canada Foundation, the non-profit that led the restoration of the trail, named Toronto-based G Adventures as the first group adventure operator when the trail launches to the public. (Visitors to Bhutan may only do so through a sanctioned tour operator).

Sam Blyth, chair of Foundation and lead donor for the Trans Bhutan Trail, said G Adventures, which has been operating tours in the Himalayan nation for the past decade, was an obvious partner to help relaunch the trail given the company’s long history and success running small group tours and giving back to destinations through its commitment to community tourism.

“As well as providing income opportunities for local people, especially youth, in rural communities, the restoration of the trail is a community-based project designed to preserve an ancient cultural icon and provide a sustainable experience for travellers,” Blyth says.

“Economic benefit will flow directly into the local communities as a result of community tourism, whether via homestays, the purchase of supplies locally for multi-day trips, or the employment of local guides.

“Spanning the world’s only carbon negative country, the Trans Bhutan Trail also reflects the country’s philosophy of ‘Gross National Happiness’ and enables the children of Bhutan to continue to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors. It’s our vision that one day the Trans Bhutan Trail will be considered one of the great walks of the world.”

Punakha Dzong

Starting in May, G Adventures will offer two active trekking itineraries along the route: the 11-day “Camp the Trans Bhutan Trail” trip, which features camping and homestays, and a 12-day “Highlights of the Trans Bhutan Trail” itinerary with accommodation in homestays, locally owned guest houses, and hotels. Both packages include necessary Trail permits.

Company VP Yves Marceau says the tours will focus on trekking specially selected parts of the 403-km route and connecting with local people to learn about Bhutanese life and culture, thus combining active travel and cultural immersion with the benefits of community tourism.

Participants will hike for three to four hours a day through forests and meadows and travel through rural settlements around the Dzongs, and enjoy local meals each night, whether they are camping or staying in homestays, hotels or local guest houses.

“Trails have historically connected remote communities and helped distribute much-needed income to local people as travellers move across the landscape,” Marceau says. “In today’s world, the pandemic has encouraged people to spend more time in nature and now they are looking for similar experiences when they travel.”

It is expected that Bhutan’s borders will reopen to tourism ahead of the Trans Bhutan Trail’s official opening ceremony in March.

For more information on the Trans Bhutan Trail, click https://www.transbhutantrail.bt

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

PUBS, PATIOS & BARS: World’s best bar 2021

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The results are in and the world’s best bar for 2021 is, well, you’ll have read on to find out – but know that the esteemed establishment bagged best in class on the 13th annual list (sponsored by Perrier) which this year spans 17 countries and features 18 new entries spread across Australia, India, Mexico, Russia, Argentina, Sweden, Spain, China, and the UAE.

Drum roll: For the second consecutive year, the Connaught Bar in London was crowned No.1 in The World’s 50 Best Bars list, announced earlier this month at a live awards ceremony in the UK capital. Being The World’s Best Bar, it follows that the Connaught was also named Best Bar in Europe.

Located in the prestigious Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, the swank venue has catered to a glamorous crowd, including Royals, since opening in 2008.

Judged by 500 industry experts, the the Cubist-inspired bar is celebrated for its “artful, modern drinks with graceful service in an elegant setting,” and is known for its unique Martini trolley, where bartenders give a highly personalised drinks experience to guests.

Says W50BB: “A triumph from the start, Connaught Bar still manages to edge closer to perfection every time its doors open. It is the quintessential London hotel bar, but in its poise, elegance and the leadership of Agostino Perrone, Giorgio Bargiani, and Maura Milia, it has a distinct Italian accent. From the welcome on entrance and the backdrop of gleaming David Collins-designed cubist decor, to the intuitive service and cocktails that run a delicate line between classicism and modernism, this is a bar for which excellence has become a bare minimum standard.
“To its apostles, the headline act is the Dry Martini, which arrives via a trolley that becomes a temporary stage for your own personal performance. Thrown between shaker and mixing glass is your choice of gin – try the bar’s own, distilled at the hotel – and bitters from an aroma-daubed flavour card inspired by perfumeries. But from January 2022, do also have a leaf through the new menu, Impressions, which takes inspiration from the encounters that shape our experiences. The Eclipse cocktail stands out – from the white page and the black tables. Inspired by contrast in photography, this gin cocktail is housed in a striking white glass, painted black on the inside so the liquid fades to nothing. Just as the Connaught Bar, it leaves a lasting impression.”

The rest of the top five bars includes fellow London destination Tayēr + Elementary (No. 2), rising star Paradiso in Barcelona (No. 3), Athens favourite The Clumsies (No. 4) and the acclaimed Florería Atlántico in Buenos Aires (No. 5).

Other highlights from the list, include:

• French-born cocktail innovator Remy Savage is honoured as Roku Industry Icon
• Thunderbolt, Los Angeles, is named Campari One To Watch
• Re, Sydney, earns Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award
• Lab 22, Cardiff, takes the inaugural Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu title
• Hanky Panky, Mexico City, wins the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award, debuting at No. 12
• Presidente, Buenos Aires, secures Nikka Highest Climber Award, moving up 29 places
• Insider Bar, Moscow, wins London Essence Best New Opening
• Attaboy, New York, clinches Rémy Martin Legend of The List title

The full list – spoiler alert: there are no Canadian entries – can be viewed HERE.

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:Dec. 13-17, 2021

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Canada has advised again against non-essential travel; Canada Jetlines hopes to be airborne in Q2; new hotels and resorts continue to open; and the Jamaica Tourist Board celebrated its top agent specialists at an on-island gala.

NEWS

With the Omicron variant rising, the Canadian government re-imposed its warning against all non-essential international travel. The move comes less than two months after the warning was lifted.

Travel industry experts say Ottawa’s advisory to avoid all non-essential travel could have significant impacts on travel insurance, with some plans specifically excluding coverage as a result. They are warning Canadians to double-check their insurance coverage before leaving the country.

After signing a Definitive Lease Agreement for its first Airbus A320-200 aircraft, Canada Jetlines says it expects the aircraft to be delivered by February, which will put it on track to be airborne in Q2.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Seasonal service to Mont-Tremblant, Que from Porter Airlines started on Friday. The non-stop service from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to Mont-Tremblant International Airport, will operate until March 28.

BY THE NUMBERS

Miami International Airport is finally seeing more passengers than it served before the pandemic and set new records for Thanksgiving holiday travel despite growing concerns about the spread of the omicron variant. About 3.9 million passengers passed through security last month, a 6% rise from 3.7 million ticketed passengers in November 2019, airport officials report. And during the entire 12-day Thanksgiving travel period, 1.7 million passengers passed through the airport, 14% more than the same period in 2019. The airport expects record-high passenger volume to continue through December.

AIR

Air Transat has announced the extension of its route between Toronto and Faro, Portugal to the summer of 2022. The route, which was initially offered from Jan. 18 to the end of April, will now be operated until Oct. 25 on a weekly basis, every Tuesday, with its new Airbus A321neoLR aircraft.

Known since December 1948 as McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas’ international airport was officially renamed Harry Reid International Airport after an influential former US senator last week. The airport code remains LAS.

Travelport and Cathay Pacific have a renewed and expanded multi-source content distribution agreement that includes a commitment towards advancing New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiatives. Travelport-connected agencies around the world with real-time access to search, sell, and book its Cathay content and inventory. The agreement will also see the content available to agents progressively expanded, to include a larger range of fares as well as ancillaries than had previously been unavailable.

Flair Airlines plans to expand its fleet to 30 aircraft by mid-2023, more than double the current size as it strives for a 50-plane fleet within five years. The ultra-low-cost carrier says it will lease an additional 14 new Boeing 737 Max jetliners in the next year and a half. The new planes would come on top of the dozen currently on hand as well as the four already slated for arrival next year. Edmonton-based Flair whose fleet was down to one plane last April, says it expects to have see 20 aircraft flying to Canadian cities ranging from Victoria to St. John’s, N.L., by next summer.

DEALS

From Jan. 18 to Feb. 13, NYC Winter Outing, presented by NYC & Company and preferred payment partner Mastercard, will offer New York wintertime experiences at an attractive price point across hotels, dining, Broadway, museums, cultural institutions, attractions, performing arts, and tours. The program will bring together NYC & Company’s three signature programs, NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway Week and NYC Must-See Week, and introduce a new program, the first-ever NYC Hotel Week to create ultimate value across the five boroughs. Offers include 22% off hotel stays; 2-for-1 tickets to Broadway shows, attractions, museums, cultural institutions, performing arts and tours; and prix-fixe menus at hundreds of restaurants. Hotel week bookings open Jan. 4, the others, Jan. 11.

TOURS

Preparing to meet the increased demand for open spaces and off-the-beaten-path travel, Costsaver is expanding to two additional destinations with new itineraries in Australia and New Zealand for 2022 and ‘23. Among the options are the nine-day “Cosmopolitan Sydney and Melbourne,” the adventurous “Tropical Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef,” and “The Essence of Southern New Zealand.” The three tours also feature 40 optional experiences to enable clients to personalize their travels.

Fans of the new Matrix movie can take a walk in Neo’s footsteps and into the rabbit hole with a new self-guided tour created by the San Francisco Travel Association (SF Travel) based on filming locations in the city. Portions of the fourth Matrix installment were filmed in early 2020 in San Francisco’s Financial District, Chinatown, North Beach, Russian Hill, and South of Market (SOMA) neighbourhoods. The Matrix Resurrections film locations tour guides visitors through diverse and charming neighbourhoods into downtown and ends on the waterfront. To access a digital map, click HERE.

RESORTS
AMR Collection’s Breathless Cancun Soul Resort & Spa celebrated its grand opening Dec. 7 (photo). Located in the hotel zone on the Cancun strip, the 429-suite beachfront resort offers vibrant, contemporary décor and includes three pool, gourmet dining options, 11 bars and lounges, fitness centre, luxury spa, fire pit plaza for up to 35 people, and a pet playground. Also celebrating its grand opening was Zoëtry Casa del Mar Los Cabos on Dec. 15.

Located on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Club Med Ixtapa, has officially re-opened. The family-friendly all-inclusive resort is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the green mountains of the southern Sierra Madre. Spread across 15 hectares and situated along a 730-m. stretch of white sand beach, the resort offers guests plenty of room to roam and enjoy unlimited refined culinary options, 25-plus land and water activities like pickleball, sailing, and flying trapeze, immersive destination excursions like deep sea fishing, and highly-customized kids’ clubs to keep kids busy while adults enjoy some R&R at the spa.

HOTELS

The Margaritaville Beach House Key West is now open, following an ongoing multi-million investment. Previously the Barbary Beach House Key West, the rebranded and upgraded south Florida resort sits oceanfront along Smathers Beach and offers 186 spacious suites, a lagoon-style pool, and lounging hammocks throughout the grounds. Amenities include poolside entertainment, daily refreshments, a 24-hour fitness centre, kids’ activities, lawn games, and easy access to the beach. The resort is located a mile from Key West International Airport, and provides complimentary shuttle service to the airport, Duval Street, and the Downtown Seaport Harbor.

Choice Hotels’ upscale Cambria brand continues to expand in the US with the opening of the newest location, the Cambria Hotel Louisville Downtown-Whiskey Row. The five-story, 128-room hotel is the second Cambria to open this month, following the Cambria Hotel Nashville Airport. Located at 120 South Floyd St. in the heart of downtown and its vibrant entertainment district, the hotel is close to Waterfront Park, Louisville Slugger Field, and nightlife, restaurants and bars on the famed Whiskey Row, once home to the Kentucky Bourbon industry.

CRUISE

Carnival Cruise Line has reopened Camp Ocean, its supervised children’s program for fully vaccinated children ages 5 to 11, for the first time since its ships have resumed service. Additionally, Circle “C” and Club O2 will continue to be open for vaccinated early teens ages 12 to 14 and for vaccinated teens ages 15 to 17, respectively.

Thanks to a multi-year agreement with the Panama Tourism Authority, Norwegian Cruise Line will homeport seasonally in Panama starting next spring, the first cruise line to due so. As such, roundtrip voyages will be offered from the Central American country by NCL starting on March 20.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment will open the new seven-hectare Sesame Place San Diego in March. It’s the second Sesame Place location in the country and the first located on the West Coast. Highlighted by the Elmo’s Rockin’ Rockets ride, the park will feature an interactive Sesame Street Neighbourhood complete with the iconic 123 Stoop, where kids can play in a world that plays back through immersive physical and digital character experiences. By summer, guests will be able to splash through 11 water attractions including a one of the largest wave pools in Southern California.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Angella Bennett, Regional Director, Canada, Jamaica Tourist Board (far left) pictured with some of the top-selling Canadian Jamaica Travel Specialists

The Jamaica Tourist Board recently rewarded its top-selling North American Jamaica Travel Specialists, including 20 Canadians, with a three-night, all-inclusive trip to Jamaica, culminating in an awards gala ceremony. Canadian agents were: Amanda Elizabeth Beaver – Glow Travel; Amy Marie Wood – Romantic Planet; Cheryl Jaster-Rhyno – Your Travel Boss; Dawn Ann Fairbanks – Grand Travel; Heather Kearns – Destination Weddings Travel Group; Jen Langlois – Suite Trip Travel TPI; Karen Lippett – Latitudes Plus/Smart Travels; Lois Barbour – Travel Time TPI Inc.; Melissa Jane Britton – Love Voyage; Michelle Lynn Adams – All Ways Travel; Pauline Blacoe – Shine Travel; Ramona L Noor-Ramdeo – Countryside Travel Centre Holidays; Sharon Boissonneault – House of Travel; Sigfie Constantine Salmon – TTAND; Tamara Graae – Ixtapa Travel; Tanja Steinbock – Barrett & Carlysle Travel; Theresa Annmarie Stephenson – TK Travel by Design; Valerie McEneny – Battlefield Travel; Vanessa Elizabeth Martinez – Unforgettable Escapes; and Yvonne Campbell – Yvonne’s Travel and Tours.

EVENTS

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has announced its next Annual Summit will be held live and in-person from March 22 to 25, 2022 in Ras Al Khaimah, the northern most Emirate in the United Arab Emirates. The event will be the first time that the not-for-profit travel trade association, which serves government, tourism offices, hotels, airlines, and other travel-related companies with interests in the Asia Pacific region, will host its Annual Summit in West Asia.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Urszula Gut of The Travel Agent Next Door was the winner of the grand prize at the recent Europe Travel Xpo. The trip is a Castle & Country Ireland trip for two, sponsored by Tourism Ireland and Royal Irish Tours. The grand prize was awarded in a random draw of participants at Europe Travel Xpo – a virtual event held on Dec. 2.

Five organizations and individuals have been recognized by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada for “creativity, diversity and originality found in tourism.” Recipients of the 2021 Canadian Tourism Awards, presented at the recent TIAC congress in Ottawa include Hôtel de Glace, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, Que. (Air Canada Business Excellence Award); Squamish Lilwat Cultural Centre, Whistler, BC (ITAC Indigenous Tourism Award); Ocean Quest Inc., St. John’s, Nfld. (VIA Rail Canada Sustainable Tourism Award); Sally MacInnis, Ingonish Beach, NS (Tourism HR Canada Appreciation Award); William R. Fatt – posthumously awarded (Canadian Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Destination Toronto).

DESTINATIONS

The 39th annual Ontario Power Generation (OPG) Winter Festival of Lights, Canada’s largest free outdoor light festival, is extending its duration to illuminate Niagara Falls for a total of 101 nights, ending Feb. 21. With over 3 million lights and 75-plus spectacular displays providing colourful visuals, Niagara Falls will be transformed into a twinkling winter wonderland along the Niagara Parkway, Dufferin Islands, and across the tourism districts. Visitors to this popular annual festival can walk or drive through the Festival route to explore the self-guided experience.

Fully vaccinated international travellers, nationals and locals arriving by air into St. Kitts and Nevis are no longer required to test upon arrival or quarantine for 24-hours while awaiting test results. Fully vaccinated cruise passengers upon arrival at Port Zante, Charlestown or South Friars are also now allowed to fully integrate (free flow into the Federation). Only vaccinated travellers, 12 and over may visit St. Kitts and Nevis; exemptions apply for citizens and children 11 and under who are accompanying their fully vaccinated parents or guardians. All travellers must submit negative test results from an RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.

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First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News