ROUND-UP::Aug. 2-6, 2021, 2021

Mandatory vaccinations, evolving entry regulations in multiple destinations, flight restarts, and a new Sandals resort all made news in the travel industry last week.

NEWS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday his government was mulling vaccine mandates for federal workers and employees in federally regulated industries, specifically naming the aviation and railway sectors.

Quebec premier Francois Legault says the province will introduce a vaccine passport system that would require residents show proof of vaccination to access certain non-essential services.

Two American carriers, United and Frontier Airlines say they will require staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the former by late October or sooner, the latter by Oct. 1. United will dismiss staff who don’t (with some exceptions), Frontier will require frequent tests.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

The government of Portugal has announced a staged plan to lift restrictions, with all current limits being removed by this October. This comes as 55% of the Portuguese population are currently fully vaccinated, with a goal of reaching 80% by October. Restrictions on restaurants and bars have been eased, and sporting events are able to have fans present. A digital vaccination certificate or a negative coronavirus test will be needed to enter hotels, dine indoors on weekends, and visit spas, casinos, and large events.

ENTRY UPDATES

Today (Aug. 9) is the day that vaccinated Americans can once again travel to Canada. The land border remains closed to Canadian going the other way.

Germany now requires people entering the country (over 12) who haven’t been vaccinated or recently recovered from COVID-19 to show a negative test result.

All travellers, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, entering Belize from other countries are now required to present a negative COVID-19 test.

All fully vaccinated travellers, as well as children ages two to 11, are now required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test (rapid antigen or PCR) taken no more than five days prior to the date of arrival to The Bahamas. Unvaccinated travellers ages 12 and older must still obtain a negative PCR test taken no more than five days prior to the date of arrival. (Children under two are exempt from any testing requirements). Inter-island travellers within The Bahamas from Nassau & Paradise Island, Grand Bahama, Bimini, Exuma, Abaco and North and South Eleuthera, including Harbour Island, must follow the same protocols.

AIRAir Transat celebrated the launch of new direct service between Vancouver and Quebec City (photo), becoming the first and only airline to operate the route. Flights will take place on Mondays from Vancouver and on Sundays from Quebec City, until Oct. 25.

Air Canada’s has resumed thrice weekly direct flights from Toronto (YYZ) to Dublin (DUB). The route relaunch coincides with Ireland’s recent announcement welcoming back international travellers as of July 19 without the need to quarantine or test upon arrival, once fully vaccinated.

WestJet celebrated the launch of its new route between Calgary and Amsterdam with the departure of WS20 on Aug. 5. The 787 Dreamliner flight was the airline’s first launch of new service to Europe after more than 18 months and marked a significant milestone in WestJet’s commitment to restoring its global network.

New York-based airline JetBlue will start daily flights between JFK and Heathrow airports on Aug. 11 and add daily trips from JFK to London’s second-biggest airport, Gatwick, on Sept. 29. It plans to add Boston-London flights next year.

BY THE NUMBERS

The grim numbers are in: IATA says last year was officially the worst ever year for air transport (since being recorded in 1950): 1.8 billion passengers flew in 2020, a decrease of 60.2% compared to the 4.5 billion who flew in 2019; industry-wide air travel demand dropped by 65.9% year-on-year; International passenger demand decreased by 75.6%; domestic demand dropped by 48.8%; the number of routes connecting airports was down more than 60%; and total industry passenger revenues fell by 69% to US$189 billion.

DEALS

Clients booking trips with G Adventures through Aug. 31 can save 10% off the price of their trips (excluding international airfare) for travel between Nov. 1 and March 31, 2022. Sample itineraries include “Costa Rica Quest,” “Best of Southern Spain,” and “Classic Peru.”

Crystal Cruises has extended ‘book now’ savings and a $1,000 “As You Wish” shipboard credit until Sept. 1 for Crystal Endeavor’ inaugural Antarctica voyages
Travellers can save up to US$4,500 per guest.

HOTELS

Anaheim, Ca., now has two new AAA Four Diamond hotels, together comprising the first of their rating located outside of Disneyland Resort and doubling the number of properties with the designation to four. New are the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort and The Westin Anaheim Resort. Both offer rooftop restaurants and bars (JW has four and Westin has seven), pools with cabanas, and close proximity to Disneyland.

Qatar is adding 105 new hotels and hotel apartments to its already extensive portfolio of properties, as the country gears up to host the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. A recent opening is the five-star Banyan Tree Doha, while other upcoming entries include the Pullman Doha West Bay, a five-star Accor property; the JW Marriott West Bay, with an eye-catching and towering exterior; and the Steigenberger Hotel, famed for its exclusive hospitality.

RESORTS

Bookings are now open for Sandals Royal Curaçao, scheduled to open April 14, 2022. Guests can save up to $1,000 with the grand opening offer, available through Nov. 2. The 351-room resort, Sandal’s 16th, is situated on 18 hectares within the Santa Barbara private estate, an exclusive 1,200-hectare protected preserve. Highlights include two new signature suite categories, the Awa Seaside Butler Bungalows and Kurason Island Poolside Butler Bungalows, the brand’s first Dos Awa infinity pool with views overlooking the sea and the rugged mountain landscape, and Sandals’ first-ever floating restaurant and bar, constructed from a 28 m. authentic Dutch ship.

RIU Hotels & Resorts has reopened the Riu Palace Maspalomas in Gran Canaria. Following a five-month refurbishment, the hotel has moved up into the 5-star category and is now an adults-only establishment. With this reopening, all of RIU’s hotels in Spain are operative and all of those in Gran Canaria have been refurbished.

CRUISE

Holland America Line has taken delivery of its new ‘Rotterdam’, officially making it the 11th ship in the fleet. The vessel will remain in non-guest operations until its transatlantic crossing Oct. 20 from Amsterdam to Fort Lauderdale, where it will then begin its maiden season in the Caribbean. The third vessel in the Pinnacle Class series and the seventh ship to bear the name for Holland America Line, Rotterdam will carry 2,668 guests.

Miami has been added by Crystal Cruises as a port of call and a port of embarkation for Crystal Serenity’s Luxury Bahamas Escapes voyages, enabling travellers a US departure point for the cruises.

TOURS

“Freddie Tours” is a new company that offers a guided tour of Montreux, Switzerland, and its rich musical past by following in the footsteps of the Queen frontman Freddie Mercury (1946-1991), who had close links with the region. The one-hour tour includes walking by the façade of the apartment bought by Mercury and includes a visit to the Mountain Studio, located in the Montreux Casino, where Queen recorded six albums. This venue is now called the Queen Studio Experience and is a museum dedicated to the group. The guided tours (available daily and in English) cost CHF29 ($40) and can be scheduled via the Freddie Tours website.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

The all-inclusive Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa is celebrating the return of Canadian flights and travellers to Saint Lucia with up to triple booking bonuses as well as a free stay exclusively for Canadian travel agents as part of its CBAYREWARD$ program. For every seven-night booking made through Aug. 31, agents will earn a Double Bonus up to US$120 for fall travel, Sept. 1 -Dec. 20; a Triple Bonus up to US$180 for winter travel, Dec. 21–April 30, 2022; as well as a one-week free stay for making seven bookings. To qualify, join the CBAYREWARD$ program, make a booking (tour operator or direct), and register new bookings at CBAYRewards.com. Other rewards, including enhanced commissions and a group incentive is also on offer.

EVENTS

For the second consecutive year, The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) will hold its annual conference virtually, reflecting the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Virtual PATA Travel Mart (PTM) 2021 will take place from Sept. 2 to 5 with Leshan, China, once again the featured destination for the event. For more information, visit PATA.org/ptm or email ptm@PATA.org.

DESTINATIONS

Promenade des Anglais, Nice; photo – Atout France

Four new accolades from UNESCO are being counted in France. The city of Nice (photo) was recognized for “outstanding universal value”; Vichy, as one of the great spa towns of Europe; the Cordouan Lighthouse, a masterpiece of maritime navigation; and the Chapitre-Petit Buëche (Auvergne Rhone-Alps)), Grand Ventron (GrandEst)) and Massane (Occitania) nature reserves. In total, France has 49 inscribed sites on the World Heritage list: 42 cultural sites, six natural sites and one complex site.

Jamaica’s first Artisan Village is currently taking shape at Hampden Wharf in Falmouth, Trelawny and is scheduled to open later this year. A US$700-million project financed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, the new artisan village will be a “one-stop shop” for authentic Jamaican food, music, heritage, and crafts. Dozens of craft vendors and shopkeepers will be onsite selling handcrafted items and gifts, including chocolate, spices, coffee, rum, artwork, clothing and accessories. The facility is the first of a series of similar artisan villages that are planned for development in resort areas across the island.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today