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ROUND-UP:Feb. 06-10, 2022

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Border measures are easing around the world, though not in Canada (yet); Royal Caribbean floated out and Cunard named their latest ships; plus, in other news from last week, Air Canada unveiled some Disney fun, Insight revealed its new specialist program, and Globus incentives were introduced, including the chance to win a free cruise from Avalon Waterways.

NEWS

The Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors (ACITA) has initiated an official e-Petition, which is now open on the Parliament of Canada website, calling for the end of pre-arrival PCR testing requirements for international arrivals to Canada. Travel agents and industry colleagues are invited to sign and agents are encouraged to share the document with clients as well. The officially sponsored petition #e-3835 will remain open to be signed through March 10 and can be accessed HERE.

Recent research in the UK indicates that a booking boom occurred in that country immediately after mandatory COVID-19 tests for vaccinated travellers were eliminated. The data supports urgent pleas from across the Canadian travel and tourism industry for the government here to do the same. Conducted by ForwardKeys, the research reveals that combined inbound and outbound flight bookings jumped to 84% of pre-pandemic (2019) levels after the UK government’s announcement on Jan. 24. Outbound bookings increased 106% and inbound 47%.

The Philippines has lifted a nearly two-year ban on foreign travellers in a lifesaving boost for its tourism and related industries as an omicron-fuelled surge eases. Foreign travellers from 157 countries with visa-free arrangements with the Philippines who have been fully vaccinated and tested negative for the virus will be welcomed back and will no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival.

BORDERS

New COVID-19 protocols in Bermuda will come into effect March 7. All visitors will be required to show proof of current vaccination status (second dose within six months, or three doses of the vaccine) and a negative COVID-19 test result (antigen or PCR) taken within two days of arriving on the island, however no further testing will be required upon arrival unless required for return to the country of origin, in which case Bermuda will automatically schedule and provide return testing to travellers. Travellers will also need to complete a Travellers Authorization form 24 to 48 hours prior to arrival in Bermuda.

Australia will open its borders to all vaccinated tourists and business travellers on Feb. 21 – nearly two years after closing its border and imposing some of the world’s toughest travel restrictions on its citizens and permanent residents to prevent them from bringing COVID-19 home.

AIR

Swoop plans to increase its fleet to 16 aircraft from 10 beginning this summer. The acquisition of six new Boeing MAX-8 aircraft will enable the ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) to meet peak season travel demand, says the airline, which will also significantly expand its domestic network, adding non-stop flights to Newfoundland and increasing service in Atlantic Canada.

A steamed WestJet has cancelled 20% of its flights in March, extending schedule cuts from February amid ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainty that continue to drain demand. Calling the cuts “avoidable,” WestJet is urging the government to provide a roadmap to Canadians for the return of accessible and affordable that notably eases restrictions such as pre-travelling testing and quarantine.

Frontier is offering to buy Spirit Airlines in a US$2.9 billion cash-and-stock deal that would close in the second half of the year if approved by regulators and Spirit shareholders. The “tie-up” of the low-cost carriers would create the fifth largest airline in the US.

BY THE NUMBERS

Since early November, WestJet and budget subsidiary Swoop have cancelled 11,285 trips for March, or 48% of their scheduled flights. Air Canada has scrapped 16,617 or 41% since mid-October, according to flight data firm Cirium.

DEALS

The “Tale a Beach Break’ promo from Transat offers up to 40% off new individual bookings made between by Feb. 20. The sale applies to flights to Europe, for travel be April 30, 2022. Exceptions apply.

Coinciding with its new protocols (mentioned above), Bermuda’s ‘Pink Sale’ promotion, offering savings on participating accommodation of up to 50%, has been extended until Feb. 20.

TOURS

TravelBrands Encore Cruises has a new cruise line partner, Tradewind Voyages – a luxury small ship cruise line that sails without using main propulsion engines, thereby giving guests an authentic sailing experience. Global itineraries feature smaller locations accessible by virtue of the ship’s smaller size. Travel agents who book a Tradewind Voyages sailing through TravelBrands will earn 2,000 Loyalty Rewards points per stateroom.

For a limited time, Aeroplan members can earn bonus Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD) and Status Qualifying Miles (SQM) when booking an Air Canada Vacations flight-inclusive package with their travel agent for travel through April 30, 2022. Bonus SQD earned are equal to 50% of the total package price and extends to group bookings. Plus, additional Bonus SQM can be earned depending on a customer’s Aeroplan EliteTM Status.

CRUISE
Carnival Cruise Line’s next new ship ‘Carnival Celebration’ was floated out at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, signifying a major step in her construction, before moving to the shipyard’s outfitting pier to prepare it for sea trial in the summer and delivery in the fall. The Celebration is the second of three Excel-class ships, joining Mardi Gras, already sailing from Port Canaveral, Fla., and Carnival Jubilee, set to sail from Galveston, Texas in 2023.

Cunard has named its newest ship – the ‘Queen Anne’ – which will sail in 2024, with sales set to start in May. The vessel will be the 249th in the cruise line’s historic fleet and will mark the first time since 1999 that the company will have four ships at sea (including Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth).

HOTELS

In Los Angeles, the Beverly Hills Hotel has revealed a fresh redesign, featuring 11 new poolside retreats. Decked out in pink, the new poolside cabanas present the perfect stay for visitors looking to turn back time to Hollywood’s Golden Age. The hotel is known for being featured in many classic films and its celebrity clientele, past and present.

IHG Hotels and Resorts has opened its first voco hotel in Germany – voco Dusseldorft Seestern. Located in the Lörick district of the city, the hotel is a premium option for those visiting Dusseldorf for business or leisure, located within walking to distance to the banks of the Rhine River and a short drive from the airport and the city’s main shopping and business districts.

RESORTS

Clients booking at stay any all Secrets, Dreams, Breathless, Zoëtry, Sunscape, or Now resorts by March 29, when travelling through Aug. 20, 2022, are eligible for 40% savings on room rates, as well as $200 in resort coupons, through the AMR Collection “Welcome Home” promotion. Kids also stay free at participating resorts.

Travellers can save up to 30% and receive a daily $30 resort credit at The Reef Atlantis on Paradise Island, Bahamas for stays of seven nights and more. Booking window is through March 31, 2022, for travel until March 31, 2023.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Billed as “going beyond anything Disney has created before,” “Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser” will take flight March 1 at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The innovative two-night vacation experience invites guests to “become the heroes” of their own Star Wars story, which interweaves with members of the crew, other passengers, droids, and familiar Star Wars characters such as Rey, Chewbacca and Kylo Ren. Included are accommodation, meals, and onboard activities.

EDUCATION

The Insight Specialist eLearning course is new and improved. The course is now streamlined into one learning path with three modules, which travel advisors can choose to complete in the order most relevant to their needs. Suited to both novice or existing specialists, the course will provide sales tips, the latest offerings and more, says the company. Successful participants also earn eligibility for Insight Vacations fam tours and receive a certificate to show clients.

FAMS & INCENTIVES
As part the Air Canada’s collaboration with Disney and Pixar, the carrier will be promoting the new film “Turning Red” through a themed livery (photo) that will fly across the country on a Canadian built Airbus A220. The animated film is set in Toronto and directed by Academy Award winner and Canadian Domee Shi. Passengers can see a special video onboard and the airline is conducting a contest through Feb. 20 offering five prize packages, each featuring a trip for four people to Toronto to attend the Canadian premiere of the film on March 8. Enter HERE.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Globus family of brands wants to celebrate travel advisors’ sales successes with a plethora of incentives, including weekly prizes and a free Avalon Waterways cruise in 2022. Running from Feb. 14 through April 1, the ‘Just Say “YES!”’ booking contest awards travel advisors one entry for every passenger booked during the booking window. Winners will be announced weekly. Visit Agentlingo for details.

EVENTS

ACTA has posted a “save the date” notice for members to attend the association’s in-person conferences in September – Toronto on the 14th, Vancouver on the 21st, and Montreal on the 28th. Also on the calendar is a return of the annual ACTA Ontario Golf Tournament at the Royal Ontario Golf Club in Milton on Thursday, July 14, with proceeds going to help support the Tourism Cares Charity and the ACTA Advocacy Fund. Questions about ACTA 2022 in-person events can be addressed to Marco Pozzobon at mpozzobon@acta.ca.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

In response to the workforce shortage impacting British Columbia’s hospitality industry, the British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) has, for the first time in it’s 105-year-old history, created an administrative position dedicated to recruitment. New “workforce specialist” Alison Langford will lead both domestic and international recruitment efforts for the accommodation sector, developing new hiring opportunities and strengthening existing initiatives with partner organizations.

DESTINATIONS

Israel has approved a US$35 million upgrade to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, one the country’s most iconic and visited sites. The plan aims to encourage more visits to the site by improving public transportation accessibility, developing new educational programs, and continuing existing development projects.

After touring worldwide for 15 years, the Kinsey African American Art & History Collection returns to Los Angeles at SoFi Stadium (site of the Super Bowl) on Feb. 23. The collection is considered one of the largest, most comprehensive of its kind with over 9,300 sq. m. of art, sculptures, photographs, rare books, and letters. The collection documents the African American experience and illuminates the untold stories of Black Excellence throughout US history, focussing on the lives, accomplishments of African Americans from the 16th century through the years of slavery and emancipation to the civil rights movement and modern day.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

PUBS, PATIOS & BARS: How many bottles of beer on the wall?

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Athens might be better known for tavernas and pretty patios, but the Greek capital is not without its worthy pubs and bars, which make excellent spots to sample the country’s burgeoning micro-brewery scene. And one of the best is Barley Cargo, which boasts a selection of beers “as far as the eye can see.”

Among them are over 140 local varieties – many from Athens proper – that in part comprise an official roster of over 350 brews, though some say it’s closer to 500. (That leaves at the least over 200 international brands for those with more established tastes). And more than a few patrons have observed a lengthy list of IPAs in a country where lagers are more common.

Also noteworthy is a unique industrial-style draft beer tap believed to be the longest in the city (if not country).

Located near the National History Museum in the city centre, the pub is ideally suited to lunch or for a respite from sightseeing and, in Greek fashion, provides out-front seating astride the beating street and in a city best experienced under its typically sunny, blue skies.

Interior

Inside, the rustically minimalist interior design features benches and bars rather than booths.

A favourite of Greeks and tourists alike, the establishment is noted for its friendly staff, good food (from beef to chicken and sausages), reasonable prices, and fun atmosphere, which includes live music, ranging from jazz to rock and world music.

But it’s the beers – draft and craft – which are available in tasting flights as well, that rate most highly amongst visitors.

As one Tripadvisor poster exclaimed, “If you are a beer nerd, like myself, you must come here!”

Barley Cargo is located at Kolokotroni 6, Athens, in a neighbourhood notably quieter than the Plaka, and is open every day from 11 a.m. till 3 a.m.

Exterior

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, check us out at:

Related articles: Pubs, Patios and Bars

 

 

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

ROUND-UP:Jan. 31-Feb. 04, 2022

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In last week’s “news,” Niagara-on-the-Lake introduced a new hotel tax, ACTA a new focus on diversity, Exotic Journeys a new look, Outer Shores a new BC lodge, Sandals a new webinar on its newest resort (Curaçao), and BranchUp unveiled a new, but familiar face.

NEWS

After years of deliberation, false starts and delays, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. councillors have approved the implementation of a controversial municipal accommodation tax. The 2% levy is set to begin on July 1. Initially, it will only apply to rentals with five or more rooms – mainly hotels – but most B&Bs and short-term rentals are expected to be added in the future.

Direct international flights to Bali have resumed for the first time in two years as Indonesia opens the resort island to foreign travellers from all countries, though mandatory quarantine remains in place. Garuda Indonesia operated its first flight in two years from Tokyo and Singapore Airlines will introduce a regular direct route to and from Denpasar in Bali starting Feb. 16.

AT THE BORDER

The Government of Aruba has eased entry requirements for all visitors. Effective Feb. 3, visitors have the option of presenting status of COVID-19 booster vaccination, or negative results from an antigen test taken one day prior or a PCR test up to a maximum of three days prior to travelling. s must be uploaded as part of Aruba’s Embarkation/Debarkation Card process no earlier than three days before arrival. Visitors between the ages of 12 and 17 can enter Aruba with a completed primary series with no booster. Full details on the web site.

DELAYED

The famed Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be held in late April rather than the final weekend of February, as the number of coronavirus cases in Brazil spikes and the omicron variant spreads across the country.

BY THE NUMBERS

In a sign that travel is back in the US and “ahead of schedule,” Visit Tampa Bay has announced record-setting 2021 numbers that included revenue in excess of US$758 million, an increase of over $50 million or a 7.1% increase on the previous best numbers set in 2019. Additionally, tourist development taxes collected by Hillsborough County in January (for hotel stays in December) totalled $4,495,484, a 32.8% increase over the previous record for January, set in FY 2020.

AIR

Starting in May and operating weekly until the beginning of September, Sunwing’s summer domestic program will commence for its 17th consecutive year. Flights will depart daily between Toronto and Vancouver, starting May 17 until Sept. 7; between Toronto and St. John’s from Monday to Friday, starting June 20 until Sept. 7; between Toronto and Gander on Tuesday and Fridays, starting June 21 through Sept. 6; and between Toronto and Stephenville on Wednesdays, June 22-Sept. 7.

Turkish Airlines reports that it has started to use sustainable aviation fuel on its flights. Aviation fuel obtained from sustainable sources was used for the first time on TK1823 flight that departed from Istanbul Airport for Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport on Feb. 2. While sustainable fuel will be used for one day a week on the chosen route, there are plans in place to use it on different routes on a wider scale.

DEALS

The “Great Escape Sale” from Sunwing offers hot deals on warm weather breaks in destinations across the destination. The offer, which encompasses all travel styles, is available for booking through Feb. 28 for departures by April 30.

Up to $7,000 off select voyages is available to river cruisers with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ ‘Cruise Back Into Travel’ offer. Bookings, valid through Feb. 28, must be paid in full.

American Queen Voyages is celebrating its 10th anniversary with an extra 10% savings on the already reduced rates of the cruise line’s ‘Winter Savings Event.’ Guests booking on select sailings will see fares beginning at US$2,599 when booked by Feb. 28. Eligible sailings include Memphis to St. Louis on the American Duchess, Detroit to Montréal on Ocean Navigator, and Vancouver to Sitka on Ocean Victory.

HOTELS
The owners of niche adventure travel company Outer Shore Expeditions are adding to their portfolio with the opening of Outer Shores Lodge this spring. Bordering Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in British Columbia, the six-bedroom, two cabin lodge features a great room with stone fireplace, dining room, library, indoor steam shower, and workshop space. Each of the cabins is fully self-contained with a full kitchen and fireplace. Guests will enjoy daily locally sourced meals and guided excursions on hikes, by kayak, or by boat. They can also explore the historic boardwalk town of Bamfield, take in sunsets and local wildlife, and explore lush rainforests and stunning west coast beaches. Full-service packages including excursions are available.

When island hopping from Nassau, Canadian travellers prebooking a minimum four-night stay at a participating Bahamas Out Island property will receive one free airline or ferry ticket. Deadline for bookings is Feb. 14. For details and participating resorts, click HERE.

TOURS

TravelBrands’ Exotik Journeys is celebrating 45th anniversary with a new look and expanded offerings detailed in seven new brochures: The Exotik Explorer; Ocean Explorer; Self-drive Explorer: The best of USA; Self-drive Explorer: The best of Canada; Escorted Tours Explorer; Explorer Canada Holidays; and Explorer Winter Holidays. Belize is also being introduced as a new destination. Additionally, both, both travel agents and their clients will get a chance to be rewarded with a variety of incentives (see “Agent Incentives” below). TravelBrands is planning a virtual event (agents and clients) in March to mark the milestone with details to come.

Transat Distribution Canada (TDC) has added online travel agency Exoticca to its list of preferred partners. Founded in 2015, Exoticca offers affordable itineraries that are in between 100% escorted and a la carte tours. Over 300 destinations tours are available to meet the needs of small groups, private tours, and solo travellers on every budget.

CRUISE

Currently sailing in Baja, Mexico, and Hawaii, UnCruise Adventures reports that its post-pandemic comeback will continue with Alaska cruises starting April 8. Seven and 14-night departures will include 14 different itineraries spread across seven vessels and continuing through Oct. 8 – the longest Alaska season in the company’s history.

To honour and thank first responders and healthcare workers – including Canadians – Holland America Line is extending its Military Appreciation Offer to members of these communities with US$100 onboard spending money. The bonus credit is available for select ‘Have It All’ cruise bookings to a variety of destinations through May 2022. Reservations must be made by March 15.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Mardi Gras kicked off this weekend at Universal Orlando and continues with festival-themed events through April 24. Park guests will find live concerts (including the Barenaked Ladies on Feb. 19), a spectacular Mardi Gras parade, Bourbon Street brass bands performing throughout the park, and savoury cuisine inspired by diverse flavours from around the world. The event is included in the price of admission.

RESORTS
Landmark Resort
, one of the largest resorts in the Myrtle Beach, SC, area, will open a massive new waterpark this summer. The expansive 910-sq.-m. facility will be located on Ocean Boulevard opposite the over 500-room Landmark Resort and will be exclusive for guests who stay through the on-site rental program. A massive overhaul of the resort’s H2OASIS Waterpark, the brand-new facility will feature an array of slides and water play features, including three 12-m. tall enclosed 80-cm.-diameter slides will stretch 72 m. with 1,500 litres of rushing water flowing down each slide every minute.

After completing a US$55-million renovation, Sandals Royal Bahamian is now welcoming back guests to the luxurious, 404-room all-inclusive resort and private offshore island. Highlights of the resort’s enhancements include new swim-up suites and private villas, upgraded restaurants and five new dining venues, as well as new entertainment offerings.

AGENT EDUCATION

Visit Orlando has launched a reimagined Orlando Travel Academy, featuring new interactive sales tools, resources for travel, and corresponding app. The e-learning platform offers travel advisors quick and easy access to sales planning resources, including digital brochures, maps, itineraries and an on-demand training curriculum and graduates can also tap into discount offers ranging from 50% off select theme park tickets to 40% off room rates.

ACTA is embracing diversity and inclusion at the association with a series of measures designed to help expand awareness and actions in the Canadian travel industry. These include the launch of new courses for the trade; a partnership with the “Canadian Diversity Initiative”; a new in-house committee; and signing the BlackNorth Initiative Pledge. For more information on the courses, click HERE

FAMS & INCENTIVES

TravelBrands Encore Cruises’ ‘Valentine’s Dinner on Us’ campaign gives agents the opportunity to receive a $25 Uber Eats e-gift card for all cruise bookings made. The promotion applies to any new cruise booking made through Feb. 10. The offer is applicable to any sailing in any category, and with all Encore cruise line partners. The $25 Uber Eats e-gift card is applicable on every cruise file that is reserved and deposited or paid in full during the booking window.

Travel agents will earn an extra 4,500 Loyalty Rewards Points per passenger for all destinations on individual bookings made with Exotic Journeys through March 31. Agents will also earn 2X Loyalty Rewards Points until Oct. 31, 2022, on group bookings for Canadian destinations. A grand prize of 45,000 Loyalty Rewards Points will be awarded to one lucky agent. Every booking made is a chance to win.

EVENTS

Feb. 10: In advance of the opening of the new Sandals Royal Curaçao on April 14, Canadian travel advisors are invited to participate in a live webinar with Sandals Resorts, American Airlines, and the Curaçao Tourist Board on Thursday. Created especially for the Canadian market, the hour-long webinar starting at 1 p.m. EST will be led by Lorna Richards, National Training Manager, Unique Vacations Canada Inc., and features special guests from American Airlines and the Curaçao Tourist Board. To register, click HERE.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Arriving: Canadian travel industry veteran Doug Patterson has joined BranchUp, a Canadian company that offers free turnkey marketing solutions for travel advisors. Best known for his long tenure at Trafalgar Tours in Toronto, Patterson will start his role as National Director – Sales and Travel Advisor Engagement for the company on Feb. 7. He can be reached at DPatterson@BranchUp.com .

Moving on: After over 15 years at Club Med Canada, Meetings & Events Business Development Manager Quebec Annie Archambault is leaving the company effective Feb. 11. Club Med says she has been “a valued member of the sales team since 2006 (and) proved integral in promoting the brand and exponentially increasing the volume of business in the Québec market.”

Moving up: Chris Lynes has been named President of Corporate Traveller for the Americas. The Toronto-based executive is a 21-year veteran of the Flight Centre Travel Group where he has held leadership roles throughout the business including Area Leader, Brand Leader, and most recently as Sr. VP. Corporate Brands in Canada. Lynes will be responsible for the continued evolution of CT Americas regional business, in addition to developing the company’s new “glocal” structure.

DESTINATIONS

A new epicurean festival, the Anguilla Culinary Experience (ACE), will take place May 11-15, bringing together talented chefs from Anguilla and around the world for five days of curated experiences at a host of island hotels and resorts. The event will feature three signature events: the opening night Ultimate Barefoot Luxury Party at Cap Juluca; an afternoon Rosé Soirée party at Malliouhana; and a Caribbean beach barbeque on Meads Bay where local grill-masters will offer up freshly grilled seafood and ribs, while members of the island’s competitive culinary team battle in a mystery basket competition. For more information and package purchases, priced from US$425, click HERE.

Throughout this year and next Vilnius, Lithuania, will be conducting number of city-wide cultural, educational, and art events to celebrate its 700th anniversary in 2023. In 1323 Gediminas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, mentioned the city for the first time in his letters to foreign merchants and craftsmen, and the date, Jan. 25, has been attributed to the official origins of Vilnius as a city. Events for the 700th anniversary next year are designed to highlight the colourful history of the capital and strengthen ties between city residents and visitors.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

SHINING A LIGHT ON NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES

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One hundred landmarks in 32 countries – including Niagara Falls and the CN Tower in Canada – lit up in unity to mark the third annual World Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Day on Jan. 30. World NTD Day supports the goal of the World Health Organization to eliminate at least one NTD from 100 endemic countries by 2030.

Originally announced in Abu Dhabi in 2019, the 100 ‘light ups’ sought to shine a light on NTDs, a group of communicable diseases that are considered preventable and treatable, yet continue to affect more than 1.7 billion people worldwide, including 1 billion children.

There are 20 NTDs that cause immeasurable suffering – they debilitate, disfigure and can be fatal, at the same time creating cycles of poverty and costing developing nations billions of dollars every year.

To that end, World NTD Day has become a global movement that aims to galvanize the global health community and engage the public in the urgent effort to end NTDs.

“Building on the success of the London Declaration on NTDs, and recognizing the changing global landscape, we are using World NTD Day 2022 as a catalyst for action,” announced Thoko Pooley, Executive Director of Uniting to Combat NTDs. “We are launching the ‘100% Committed’ campaign, a global movement to secure increased resources for neglected tropical diseases, and crucially to facilitate political leadership and ownership of NTD programs from affected countries, through endorsements and signatories behind the new Kigali Declaration on NTDs.”

CN Tower, photo – Jonathan Gazze

Through UAE-helmed diplomatic efforts to obtain official recognition of the day, World NTD Day was officially recognized by the WHO in May 2021 and the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi continues to play a leading role in the mission.

“World NTD Day represents an important catalyst to translate awareness into action – it is not only crucial for the public to know more about these diseases, but also for donors, endemic countries and other stakeholders to collaborate to bring an end to NTDs in affected countries,” said Nassar Al Mubarak, Sr. Director at the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi.

“Over the past few decades, incredible progress has been made towards ending NTDs; however, one in five people in the most vulnerable communities around the world are still affected by these preventable and treatable diseases,” he continued. “We are pleased to see the Day providing a platform for raising awareness through the new 100% Committed campaign and efforts such as the light-up activation. We hope that this movement continues to gain traction and spark new partnerships and commitments necessary to beat NTDs for good.”

This year “light-up” sites included The Bell Tower in Perth, Tokyo Tower, Great Wall of China, New Delhi Railway Station, Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi, Expo 2020 Dubai, Kenyatta International Convention Centre, The Rome Colosseum, Jet d’ Eau, Niagara Falls, CN Tower, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, and Christ the Redeemer.

A special focus was placed on notable landmarks in endemic countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Sudan.

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

BACK ON ITS FEET: Sandals Royal Bahamian re-opens after reno

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Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort welcomed its first guests late last week (Jan. 27) following a US $55-million renovation. The re-opening of the Cable Beach (Nassau) resort is a fitting start to the year for Sandals Resorts, which is marking its 40th anniversary year with a series of milestone events.

Situated on six sprawling hectares, the new-look 404-room Sandals Royal Bahamian is designed to reflect the easy-going spirit of the Bahamas and thoughtfully entwine its experiential touchpoints – from the pastel pink of the flamingo to the vibes of traditional Junkanoo.

Featuring an off-shore island, the elegant all-inclusive features two large pools, club level and swim-up butler suites, over a dozen restaurants, two white sand beaches, and offers guests VIP airport transfers in a Rolls-Royce or Mercedes-Benz for butler guests.

Here’s a look:

Rooms: The new Island Village, comprised of standalone villas named after remote Bahamian cays, are representative of the provincial Bahamas – a compilation of the destination’s quintessential pinks, blues, and white accents, with shiplap, striped awnings, and additional touches that create a chic, yet relaxed ambiance. Butler Villa Suites each house private pools and outdoor tranquility soaking tubs.

Meanwhile, the refreshed East and West Bay accommodations offer an array of room and suite categories, including beachfront Butler Suites in the East Bay, where a new Infinity Swim-Up pool ends right where the sand begins. An entirely new zero-entry Swim-Up pool hugs the West Bay tower’s ground level suites, while the Penthouse Love Nest Butler Suites showcase panoramic ocean views from a private balcony. Neutral colour palettes and wood furnishings create a modern chic design that accentuates the bright blue Caribbean sea beyond.

Culinary: Sandals Royal Bahamian elevates Nassau’s culinary scene with 13 fresh restaurant concepts:

• Guests can feel the rhythm of the music and savour Pan-Caribbean spices at Kanoo – short for Junkanoo – where a new “Brasserie 30” à la carte lunch menu is designed to deliver the lunch experience in 30 minutes or less, for a faster return to the pool or beach.

• Outfitted in pinks and greens inspired by the alluring feathers of the national bird, La Plume serves exquisite French cuisine in a modern atmosphere.

• Additional temptations include steak and seafood specialties at Butch’s Island Chop House, hearty British fare at The Queen’s Pearl, Southern Italian favourites at Tesoro, and the freshest sushi at Soy.

• Three eclectic gourmet food trucks offer sweet treats and coffee at Sweets n Tings, locally inspired Bahamian fusion and fresh seafood at Coco Queen, and a new twist on Italian classics at Bahama Mamma Mia.

• New signature cocktail menus are served up at bars, such as the Glass Flask Banana Bread Old Fashioned at the new Mr. B’s.

Coconut Grove: A destination of its own within the resort, Coconut Grove includes a lush and expansive beachfront lounge shaded by coconut palms. It’s also a home base for the new food trucks, which are open from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., and music and entertainment, which last late into the evening.

Private Island Hideaway: Deserted beaches and colourful coral reefs await at the resort’s secluded private island, Sandals Barefoot Cay, an escape-within-an-escape located just one mile from the shore. Couples can sail aboard the resort’s new Love Runner boat or spend the day on shore, complete with a pool bar with swings, an infinity-edge Jacuzzi, outdoor shower, and new restaurant, Aralia House, serving up fresh seafood from boat to table and authentic Caribbean delicacies.

Spa: The resort’s Red Lane Spa welcomes guests back to three serene locations: the Main Spa, the Day Spa and the Offshore Escape – Zen Garden on Sandals Barefoot Cay. Spa facilities include two saunas and two steamrooms, complementing an expansive menu of services that now feature two new couples rituals: Love & Trust and Forever in Love.

Weddings: Three new exclusive wedding inspirations capture the authentic Bahamian vibe. The Conch Pearl Wedding utilizes the signature pink spiral shell as an accent, while the shoe-optional Barefoot Wedding is set right on the sand at a variety of resort locations including the private island. The Bahamian Wedding is set in a lush tropical garden, moving guests to the sounds of a Bahamian gospel choir. A customary conch blowing ritual will conclude special guest events and weddings, welcoming love and good fortune to the sounds of rake and scrape music.

“The new Sandals Royal Bahamian encompasses a new era in travel, inviting our guests in love to connect with the vibrant culture, natural wonders, and authentic traditions of the beautiful Bahamas — and in turn reconnect with each other,” says Sandals Resorts Executive Chairman Adam Stewart.

“We have a long history in the beloved Bahamas and it’s simply one of the most beautiful places on Planet Earth. It’s what lured our founder and my father, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, to this illustrious setting over 26 years ago. We’ve added special elements throughout the resort to impart his legacy to the setting we’ve created here. Our new Butch’s Island Chop House restaurant and adjacent Mr. B’s bar, for example, both give a nautical nod to his love for the sea, and even his iconic blue and white striped shirts served as the esthetic inspiration. At Sandals Royal Bahamian, we honour our celebrated past, while surprising our guests in entirely new ways.”

The grand opening event on Thursday, which included several Caribbean leaders and dignitaries also included the presentation of the 2021 Stewart Family Philanthropic Award to the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), whose work to protect and restore the over 8,900 hectares of land and sea under its purview will continue with the development of a primary level environmental curriculum for students and educators, funded by the Sandals Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts. The award celebrates good stewards who embody a strong commitment to the wellbeing of the communities, families, and environments of the Caribbean.

Take a virtual tour of the resort HERE.

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

ROUND-UP:Jan. 24-28, 2021

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More countries are easing entry rules; Canadian athletes set off to Beijing; Rocky Mountaineer introduced a new partner; Carnival is sticking to its COVID plan; and registrations opened for ExploreGB – all in this week’s highlights of last week’s news!

NEWS

Effective Jan. 28, the modified pre-departure test requirements for travellers coming to Canada on direct or indirect flights from India or Morocco were removed. Travellers from these countries are no longer be required to obtain a valid negative pre-departure COVID-19 test from a third country. All travellers entering Canada are now subject to the same pre-entry test requirements, regardless of their departure country.

The airport in Kelowna, BC, has received $15 million in federal funding for upgrades to infrastructure, including for the flow of passengers and crew being tested for COVID-19. Some of the improvements include replacing airfield lighting, sections of the terminal building’s roof and the construction of runway areas.

The BC Court of Appeal dismissed WestJet’s efforts to overturn the certification of a class-action lawsuit on baggage fees. The Calgary-based airline is alleged to have between September 2014 and March 2019 published two prices for checked bags, one that was free and then charged passengers another that was higher. WestJet ultimately amended wording in its domestic tariff to remove that one checked bag will be free.

ENTRY NEW

Declaring that border testing of vaccinated travellers has “outlived its usefulness,” the British government announced that it is scrapping coronavirus testing requirements for people arriving in England effective Feb. 11 – news hailed by the travel industry as a big step back to normality.

The Cayman Islands reports that it has officially entered Phase 5 of its phased reopening plan, whereby children aged 11 years and younger will be permitted to travel to the destination accompanied by vaccinated adults regardless of the child’s vaccination status. In addition, quarantine requirements for all travellers are shortened to seven days from 10, and testing protocols have been altered – now requiring travellers to submit a lateral flow test (LFT) on days two, five and seven of their stay.

Updated entry protocols in Aruba mean Canadians (and other nationalities deemed high risk) now have the option of taking an antigen test one day prior or a PCR test up to two days prior to travelling to Aruba. Tests cannot be taken on arrival. Visitors 12 and older, who have tested positive using a molecular Covid-19 test by nasopharyngeal swab between 10 days and 12 weeks prior to travel date to Aruba, and do not show any symptoms, will be exempt from the requirement of providing a negative COVID-19 test result for entry. Full details can be found on the aruba.com website.

Vaccinated tourists visiting Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates no longer need to show proof of a booster shot to enter. The tourism specific change comes as confusion swirls around entry rules for Abu Dhabi, which has taken a more stringent approach to containing the coronavirus than UAE neighbour Dubai, prompting the former to erect a hard border with the latter, forcing all drivers to come to a halt for vaccination and COVID checks on what once had been a wide, empty highway before the virus struck.

BY THE NUMBERS

The World Health Organization reported that a shipment of 1.1 million COVID-19 vaccines to Rwanda on Jan. 15 included the billionth dose supplied via COVAX. However, the WHO noted that as of Jan. 13, 36 of its 194 member states had vaccinated less than 10 percent of their population, and 88 less than 40%.

AIR

Air Canada’s flight AC2201 from Vancouver to Beijing on Jan. 26 marked the first of three special charter flights transporting Team Canada to the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The plane featured a special livery for the occasion. The airline also introduced a comprehensive program to support the athletes.

New carrier Canada Jetlines has received conditional approval for flight crew (pilot) training from Transport Canada. Final approval of the training program will be granted once Transport Canada has reviewed the training conducted under the program and it proves to be satisfactory. The carrier plans to launch this spring.

Air France reports that it’s free “Ready To Fly” service continues to be deployed across its network, including now for domestic flight where vaccination is mandatory. To reduce the time required to process the submitted documents, Air France says it is replacing the manual verification of the vaccine pass with an automated check, ensuring customers travelling in France receive instant confirmation. The service is currently available on more than 140 routes on departure from 80 airports, including flights to France on departure from Europe and Canada.

DEALS

Clients can save up to 15% on Collette tours in North America for bookings made between Jean 26 and Feb. 4 for travel through the end of the year. Use offer code EXPLORE22. Some restrictions apply.

Two or more passengers travelling to Dubai on Emirates by April 30, and booking by Feb. 6, can save 25% on fares when travelling together. The offer is valid on return trips booked in economy or business classes by travel agents or via emirates.com/ca. Travellers can also take advantage of other perks, including receiving a free Emirates Expo Pass and My Emirates city pass (valid until March 31).

HOTELS

IHG Hotels & Resorts first Vignette Collection property in Asia will open in Bangkok in March. The 393-room Sindhorn Midtown is part of IHG’s newest luxury and lifestyle brand and follows the opening of Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok in 2020. Both hotels are situated within Sindhorn Village, a development project in the area of Langsuan Road and Soi Tonson.

Committed to continued growth, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts reports that it has more than 50 new projects under planning or development, including in Italy, Spain, China, Japan, Colombia, Belize, and across key markets in the US, all of which will add to the company’s existing portfolio of 122 hotels and resorts and 48 residential properties in 47 countries around the world.

RESORTS

AMR Collection says that due to equipment and product delivery delays resulting from the omicron variant, both Secrets Moxché Playa del Carmen and Secrets Impression Moxché in Mexico will delay their openings until April 18, and June 1, respectively.

TOURS

American Queen Voyages has partnered with Rocky Mountaineer to offer a pre- and post-cruise luxury rail City Stay Package for the inaugural season of Ocean Victory. Travelling through the Canadian Rockies between Calgary and Vancouver, the opulent add-on option is available for six sailings from May to September. The “Landscapes & Luxury Rocky Mountaineer City Stay Package” is available as a six-day pre-cruise option for guests booked on Ocean Victory May 2, 23; June 13; July 4, 25; Aug 15; Sept 5, and as a five-day post-cruise on May 28; June 18; July 9, 30; Aug 20; and Sep 10. The brand-new expedition ship Ocean Victory will sail between Vancouver, and Sitka, Alaska on 13-day journeys and feature ports of call that larger ships cannot access.

A new in-depth, eight-day exploration of the Swiss and Bavarian Alps, highlighted by a performance of the traditional Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany, has been introduced by Tauck. The “Swiss Highlands & Bavarian Alps” tour runs from May to September and starts in Bern, Switzerland.

CRUISE

Carnival says it will continue to operate – and expand – its current COVID-19 protocols, including sailing vaccinated voyages, requiring pre-embarkation testing, and following onboard indoor mask requirements “until further notice.”

Redesigned tier structures, which simplify reaching the next tier mark, are a key enhancement of Norwegian Cruise Lines Latitudes Rewards Program for loyalty members. The refreshed program features seven tiers, including new Diamond and Sapphire levels, replacing the Platinum tier. Fewer points are also mostly required to reach each level. Latitudes members will also have access to special offers and new onboard experiences, such as cabin upgrades, wine tasting, package discounts, and more. First-time guests are automatically enrolled in the program.

Cunard will be taking Shakespeare and new works to the high seas in 2022 as it joins forces in a first-of-its-kind partnership with Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) to bring world class theatre to its transatlantic stage. Available exclusively on board the flagship Queen Mary 2, the three-year partnership will run May 29-Aug. 12, and then again from Sept. 15 to Nov. 13.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

LEGOLAND Parks and luxury sports car brand Ferrari have announced the world’s first LEGO Ferrari “Build and Race” interactive attraction is coming to LEGOLAND California Resort this spring. Featuring a life-size Ferrari F40 model developed by the LEGO Group, Build and Race puts guests in the driver’s seat as they make their way through the “garage” to the “racetrack” using their creativity and imagination to build, test and race their own LEGO Ferrari.

Meanwhile, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto is reopening Feb. 3. The attraction has introduced enhanced cleaning measures throughout the day to clean and sanitize the attraction, including high-frequency touchpoints, play areas, and LEGO bricks.

EVENTS

Buyer registration is now open for VisitBritain’s annual trade show ExploreGB, which will take place virtually again this year, from March 22 to 24. The event hosts hundreds of pre-scheduled one-to-one virtual business meetings over the three days giving international buyers the opportunity to do business with top travel industry suppliers and destinations from across the UK and forge valuable business connections. Buyers control their own meeting diary and can arrange meetings around their other commitments, it is not compulsory to attend for the whole three days. There will also be a series of webinars to help boost knowledge of the UK as a visitor destination. Register HERE.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) has appointed Pulse Travel Marketing as its new Canadian representative. The agency, under Sana Keller and Annika Klint, is tasked with creating brand awareness and ensuring that the Southern California destination is prominently positioned with the travel trade, and key distribution media channels across Canada through strategic trade, marketing, and communications programs.

DESTINATIONS

The historic ocean liner Queen Mary, which has been a Southern California tourist attraction and hotel for decades, is being prepared for “critical repairs,” according to officials in the city of Long Beach, which owns the ship. The ship will remain closed, except for film location work, until the $5 million worth of repairs are completed, a city statement said last week.

Visit Tampa Bay has launched the Riverwalk Attraction Pass, a new program connecting venues along the Tampa Riverwalk in one ticket that provides discounts to users. Similar to the CityPASS program, the Pass brings together many attractions but also enables museums and centres that would have been traditionally excluded to be part of a holistic program. Initial attractions participants include the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Henry B. Plant Museum, Florida Aquarium, Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa Bay History Center, and the Pirate Water Taxi. Users access a mobile landing page on the Visit Tampa Bay website to purchase the Pass and after receiving a link to their pass, can add it to their home screen on their mobile devices, where it is scanned for admission.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

PUBS, PATIOS & BARS: The Lit Lounge: How life should be!

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With the temperature in the minus 20s as I write this, the beautiful island of Anguilla is sounding pretty good right about now. And if I were there (sigh), there’s a reasonable chance I might be getting lit, if you’ll excuse the pun, at one of the Caribbean island’s hot new establishments, The Lit Lounge.

Opened in 2019, Lit Lounge is located in the bustling (by Anguillian standards) hub of Sandy Ground – a go-to spot on island for both breathtaking beaches and memorable nights.

Positioned right on the beach, beneath a banner that proclaims: “How life should be,” the two-story establishment is framed by palm trees and features a large bottom deck with seating, high tables, and a long bar, while the upper deck serves as a large lounge area overlooking the spectacular bay, usually crammed with boats at rest.

Sensational for dinner or drinks at sunset, the bar/restaurant really comes to life in the evening as locals and visitors alike “get lit,” dancing the night away to local bands and DJs playing pop, soca, reggae, and latin tunes. Thursday is karaoke night.

Patrons sip local Caribbean beers (like Red Stripe) or the branded “Lit Lager,” but the bar really steps up with a comprehensive list of cocktails, both standard (daquiris, margaritas, rum punch, etc.) and custom (Lit Knockout Punch, Blue Moon, Ginger Splash…) all curated by noted local mixologist Taffy Hodge.

In addition to a variety of pizzas, authentic Caribbean is a staple on the menu, from fried chicken to creole fish and Jamaican rice, and the Johnny Cake sliders come highly recommended. Lit has also recently partnered with Asian fusion restaurant Ethnik Cuisine to add a twist (including sushi rolls) to the offerings.

Tiny Anguilla is most easily reached from St. Martin via a half-hour fast ferry ride. The Lit Lounge is open daily from 6 p.m. “til late.” How life should be…

Sandy Ground, Anguilla

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

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