ROUND-UP: Feb. 20-24, 2023
Last week, in which the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was marked, the Canadian trade also saw the return of the annual Destination France roadshow, a glimpse of the future of travel from Air Canada, a unique promotion from Swoop, the opening of a new hotel for visitors to Toronto, and retirement news from a well-known travel industry figure.
National Aviation Day was observed on Feb. 23, with Canada’s minister of transport marking the anniversary of Canada’s first powered flight in 1909 when pilot J.A.D. McCurdy flew the Silver Dart nearly 800 metres in Baddeck, NS. “This first flight over 100 years ago,” said Omar Alghabra, “paved the way for today’s dedicated aviation and commercial pilots to connect people and move goods safely and quickly across our country and around the world.”
Feb. 24 marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prompting the United Nations Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to mark the “sad” anniversary of the occasion and urge ongoing solidarity from the tourism industry for the Ukrainian people.
Atout France was on the road last week, conducting its annual Destination France events for close to 350 agents, including events in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary (which rotates with Quebec biannually), and Vancouver. On average, close to two dozen suppliers took, including sponsor Air Canada, and a nearly dozen-strong supplier delegation from the Occitanie region of southern France, which will receive new Air Canada flights from Montreal into Toulouse starting in June.
BY THE NUMBERS
Dubai received 14.36 million international overnight visitors in 2022, growing 97% year-over-year from the 7.28 million tourist arrivals in 2021, according to the latest data published by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).
Air Canada and United Airlines have announced that through their enhanced transborder joint business agreement they will offer more than 260 daily transborder flights and two new routes this summer. The new routes include a new United-operated flight between Washington-Dulles and Calgary and a new Air Canada-operated flight between Washington-Dulles and Vancouver.
Swoop has launched its own clothing line called “Swoopwear,” with an innovative debut product dubbed “The Warmest Hoodie Ever.” That’s because each $99 sweater comes with a $500 flight voucher, which can used to buy a flight somewhere warm. Only 100 limited-editions sweaters will be produced. Visit swoopwear.ca.
Initially started as a seasonal service, Singapore Airlines flights to Vancouver will be suspended from October 2023, as the carrier adjusts its capacity in response to demand.
Calling the process, simple, seamless, and safe, Air Canada has launched digital identification, becoming the first airline in Canada with approval to use facial recognition technology to confirm identification. The pilot project is currently underway for select passengers departing from YVR for Winnipeg, and entering the Air Canada Café at Toronto Pearson, but will be expanded to other locations.
Through April 9, the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, Fla., has several special guest offers, such as a fifth night free and a nightly credit of up to US$300 towards dining and spa treatments. For stays at the five-star resort through Dec., 2025, families willing to book and pay in advance will receive 20 per cent off room rate.
On Feb. 24, The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Fla, lit up in blue and yellow (photo) – the colours of the Ukrainian flag – to mark one year since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Opening this fall in Orlando, Aloft Lake Nona will be a six-story, 205-room music-themed property. Its eclectic décor and design nods to the hotel’s music and technology roots that gives each guestroom its own character. Aloft Lake Nona will also feature a 930 sq.-m. conference centre and full-service restaurant.
Located on more than three hectares along Palm Beach County, Florida’s picturesque Singer Island, Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences is a new health-centric resort expected to open in April. It will offer first-class service along with a program combining Eastern well-being philosophies and western technology with 92,000 sq. m. of wellness amenities including The Aayush Hydrothermal water therapy circuit; indoor/outdoor treatment rooms; float tank; IV, sound and light therapies; acupuncture; body therapies from around the globe; and arguably the most sophisticated, spa-centered Ayurvedic and yoga program in the US.
As part of its “Stay Human” packages, participating Kimpton hotels and resorts have each developed a selection of bookable a la carte experiences with everything from on-demand elixir shots and private perfumery classes to sound bath healings and Thai boxing classes. The unconventional packages offer a diverse range of experiences that can arranged through designated Stay Human concierges on-property.
ACTA is calling for Sunwing to pay commission on bookings made via a discount code the tour company is posting in compliance with a class action lawsuit settlement in Quebec. ACTA says the offer excludes agents and it is continuing its advocacy with the company to change that. At the same time the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors (ACITA) says a recent survey indicated that 86% of its members, half from Saskatchewan, said their bottom lines were severely affected by recent cancellations by Sunwing, notably its discontinuation of service in the province, which resulted in recalled commissions.
Collette’s ‘Americana’ brochure for 2023 is set to be released, featuring 14 of Collette’s tours to the United States, including various Classic, small group Explorations, and Spotlights tours. The brochure will be out in early March and will offer consumers a $20 Uber voucher to help them further explore.
SIXT has opened a new rental car branch at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). The move continues the company’s expansion into Canada, which began last summer, adding to its branch location in Vancouver.
Celebrity Cruises has become the first ocean cruise line to ever earn prestigious Forbes Travel Guide (“FTG”) Star Awards. The five inaugural resorts at sea star-rated ships are Celebrity Apex, Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Flora, Celebrity Millennium (photo) and Celebrity Summit.
A new vessel has been added to the Greek and Easter Mediterranean cruise line Celestyal. Originally built as the Ryndam for Holland America Line and more recently operating for P&O Australia, the 1,260-guest Celestyal Journey will undergo an extensive, $28 million) refurbishment and technical maintenance overhaul before entering service.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
TRON Lightcycle/Run officially opens April 4 at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park. The attraction will be one of the fastest coasters at any Disney theme park in the world.
As it celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, Carowinds theme park in Charlotte, NC, will open Aeronautica Landing, which draws inspiration from North Carolina’s First in Flight history and spirit of innovation. New rides arriving in the spring include the speedy Air Racer, the futuristic Hover & Dodge, and the Air Walker, inspired by the Outer Banks setting where the Wright Brothers achieved powered flight in 1903. Since its opening on March 31, 1973, Carowinds has built a reputation for roller coasters, including the Fury 325, the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster. The park is also home to Carolina Harbor, a 10-hectare waterpark with slides, wave pools and large play structures.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
Canadian travel advisors who complete the Occitanie module of Atout France’s new ACTA-accredited France Connaisseur online specialist program by March 15 will have a chance to win six-night trips in the southwestern region (capital Toulouse). Sign up at destinationfrance.ca.
Travel agents have the chance to earn 2% bonus commission plus one air seat for every 30 passengers booked (max four seats) made via Air Canada Vacations’ ‘Book Your Own Group’ program. ACV will track all qualifying files for travel between May 1 and Dec. 18 to Mexico, the Caribbean, California, Florida, Hawaii or Las Vegas. For full details and terms and conditions please click HERE.
Luxury river cruise line AmaWaterways has extended its popular Tour Conductor (TC) credit promotion, allowing travel advisors booking groups of 10 or more guests the opportunity to earn TCs on river cruise, airfare, and pre- and post-cruise land packages. With the limited time offer, travel advisors can earn unlimited TCs on all new group contracts signed with deposits paid between October 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023, for travel on select 2023 and 2024 Europe and Mekong River cruise dates.
On March 1 from 10 to 11 a.m. EST, Incredible India will host an webinar focussing on luxury train journeys, cruise packages and health and wellness. Register HERE.
VisitBritain is hosting its annual flagship trade event ExploreGB all week – bringing together more than 200 global buyers to connect online and do business with 320 tourism industry suppliers and destinations from across Britain. The five-day program of virtual events gives destinations and suppliers the chance to promote their tourism products and services to top global buyers and forge valuable business connections.
After 12 years at Transat and a distinguished career in the travel industry, Susan Bowman has announced her retirement. In her final role, Bowman was VP Marketing and Industry Relations at Transat Distribution Canada (TDC). In wishing her a “well deserved retirement,” TDC GM Karine Gagnon, said: “Susan thus concludes an impressive career in the travel industry, having held positions in both retail and wholesale, in the areas of marketing, sales, industry relations, operations and loyalty.” Bowman’s last day will be April 12.
Reps4Rent has announced that industry veteran Gary Howard has joined its network as an Independent Marketing and Communications Professional. With over 30 years of experience in the travel, insurance, media relations, and consumer loyalty industries, Howard had a long tenure with CAA Atlantic as Sr. VP Marketing & Communications.
The Travel Agent Next Door has been awarded the “Biggest Comeback Agency” award by Celebrity Cruises for the highest increase in sales in 2021 vs 2019 out of all of national and key accounts across Canada.
Several Trevello travel advisors were recognized for their outstanding achievements and recognition at the ACV@Home Simply the Best Awards. They included Clara Power, Kayla Gavin, and Juphel Falcs as rising stars in the “Most Improved Sales” category; and Top Groups Supporters and Top Overall Supporters awards were received by Jen Langlois and Mahla Pourshamsa. And Karin Zabunyan’s earned a Diversified Sales Award.
Vancouver-based Uniglobe Travel has welcomed House of Travel (two locations) in Montreal to its global network, along with two other travel agencies in Istanbul and London, UK.
Tourism Winnipeg has launched a new digital pass to increase visits to local attractions. The new program will run throughout 2023 and is designed to encourage locals and visitors to explore five of the city’s top experiences at one low price. This pass is supported by Travel Manitoba which offers similar passes for different destinations throughout the province.
Anguilla will present its Second Annual Anguilla Culinary Experience (ACE), May 3-6, bringing together talented chefs from Anguilla and around the world for four days of chef collaborations, parties, tastings, barbeques, dinners and other curated culinary experiences at island resorts and restaurants. A portion of ACE proceeds will help fund local hospitality training and education. Schedule and ticket info can be found HERE.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 1993, two British explorers became the first to cross the Antarctic on foot without outside support. Sir Ralph Fiennes and Dr. Michael Stroud dragged their supplies on sledges weighing 196 kilograms across more than 2,100 km.
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First published at Travel Industry Today