ROUND-UP:July 12-16, 2021

American visitors may soon be welcome in Canada, cruise ships can return after Nov. 1, Ireland eases requirements for Canadians, and big plans from Porter Airlines highlight last week’s notable travel industry news.

NEWS

The federal government is aiming to re-open the US border to allow fully vaccinated US citizens into Canada again by as early as mid-August. And if the current vaccination rate remains on its upward trajectory, fully vaccinated travellers from around the world could begin arriving by early September as well, Justin Trudeau says.

The federal government is offering easy financing for the country’s beleaguered tourism operators; this includes a mix of non-repayable grants of up to $100,000 or no-interest loans of up to $500,000 to finance capital improvements.

The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) reports that Jet Airways, operating out of Mumbai, India, and which suspended operations effective April 17, 2019, became officially insolvent on June 22 when the company was sold (asset purchase only. The new company will operate as Jet Airways 2.0. Consumers who purchased Jet Airways travel services from an Ontario-registered travel agency or website and did not receive their travel services due to the cessation of the airline may file a claim from the Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund for reimbursement via TICO. The claim deadline is Dec. 23, 2021.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Starting today (July 19), Ireland begins welcoming visitors from Canada who have valid proof of vaccination. For those that are fully vaccinated, no travel-related testing or quarantine is necessary.

The federal government has lifted the prohibition on cruise ships operating in Canadian waters Nov. 1, effectively paving the way for a return to cruising in 2022. Operators will be required to fully comply with public health requirements.

Carnegie Hall in New York will resume performances in October following a 1-1/2-year closure caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but with a limited schedule of recitals and small ensembles until large orchestras return in January. The Hall initially intended to open the season with a virtual gala, but planning is now underway for a live opening concert at full capacity.

BY THE NUMBERS

The latest figures from IATA show that demand at North American carriers in May demand fell 74.4% compared to the 2019 period, an improvement over the 77.6% decline in April versus two years ago. Capacity sagged 58.5%, and load factor dropped 32.2 percentage points to 51.7%. (Due to the pandemic, IATA does not use 2020 figures as a basis of normality).

AIR

Toronto-based airline Porter Airlines says it will introduce up to 80 state-of-the-art Embraer E195-E2 aircraft into its fleet starting in the second half of 2022. The planes, which will notably operate from Toronto Pearson instead of the airline’s traditional home at Billy Bishop island airport, have transcontinental range, which will enable Porter to reach potential markets coast to coast in Canada, along with destinations in the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

The new airline Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA), or Italy Air Transport, which is being created to replace the long financially ailing Alitalia will take off on Oct. 15 with its first flights. Precisely what name or logo will be on the new airline’s planes has not yet been determined

United Airlines is ordering 200 Boeing Max jets and 70 Airbus planes so it can replace some of its aging planes and grow after the pandemic eases.

DEALS

Victory Cruise Lines, operated by American Queen Steamboat Company, is offering up to US$2,000 savings per stateroom on its new immersive Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula itineraries on Victory I. The line’s “FREEDOM” sale is available on four 11-day cruise and land tours taking place in January 2022 departing Cancun roundtrip for reservations made by Aug. 31.

Taking place now through Aug. 31, Miami Spa Months offers guests up to 50% off a variety of treatments – from open-air spa facials to Swedish or Balu fusion massage, or a private couple’s mud bath treatment. Participating venues include The Palms AVEDA, Esencia Spa at Nobu Eden Roc Hotel Miami Beach, Valmont for the Spa at the Setai, and the Spa at Carillion Miami Beach.

TOURS

G Adventures, which celebrated the departure of its 250th trip since re-start on July 11 is extending its current sale offering up to 25% off more than 100 itineraries across seven travel styles, for trips booked by July 31 and departing before Oct. 31. G notes that it will conduct 165 trips in July and more than 200 in August.

New sustainable travel experiences in Europe designed to benefit local communities are being introduced by Intrepid Travel, designed in partnership with the MEET Network Association, which works with protected areas in the Mediterranean to create ecotourism products that support nature conservation efforts and benefit local communities. Intrepid’s two new tours incorporating MEET experiences include the five-day “Croatia: Sibenik & the Kornati Islands,” and “Highlights of Crete,” both departing from Aug. 14.

HOTELS
Baillie Lodges’ new-look Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge on Vancouver Island has re-opened following an extended closure due to the pandemic, which has offered an opportunity for the luxury lodge operator to complete a $2-million makeover on the property. Upgrades include a full renovation of interiors for the property’s 25 luxury tents plus a refreshed itinerary of wilderness adventures, such as horse-riding, whale and bear-spotting, canyoning, and scenic helicopter flights, which are included in the rate.

Quebec hotel chain Times Hôtels is now welcoming guests at a brand new 143-room landmark hotel in Laval. The fifth property for the group, Grand Hôtel Times Laval is situated at the corner of St Martin and Jeanne-Mance close to the Centropolis business, retail, and entertainment hub. The 12-storey hotel features contemporary rooms and suites and an array of amenities including an indoor pool and fitness centre, chic VIP lounge, and a 150-seat Pizzeria Sofia location specializing in fine Italian cuisine. The second phase of the development project, slated to start construction in Spring 2022, will include an additional tower with more than 150 rooms

RESORTS

In celebration of its opening, the Barbados COVID Lab at The Crane Resort is offering a “Fast Track Testing” package for Canadians for US$229 that includes personal VIP service, being whisked through customs, immigration, and the various Ministry of Health processes at the airport, a one-way transfer to resort, a PCR test on both arrival and departure, and a luxury “isolation suite” at no charge in the unlikely event a fully vaccinated visitor tests positive.

The 184-room Barbary Beach House Key West is to transform into Margaritaville Beach House Key West, this fall, offering poolside entertainment, daily refreshments, a 24-hour fitness centre, activities for kids, lawn games, lounging hammocks throughout resort grounds, and Hobie catamarans, paddleboards and kayaks. Barbary Beach House, the former Sheraton Suites Key West, opened in June 2020 after undergoing an $18-million renovation. The resort is at 2001 S. Roosevelt Blvd., located across a half-mile shoreline stretch of Smathers Beach and about a mile from Key West International Airport.

CRUISE

Declaring Venice’s waterways a “national monument,” Italy has banned mammoth cruise liners from sailing into the Italian lagoon city, which risked being declared an imperiled world heritage site by the United Nations later this month.

Luxury river cruise operator AmaWaterways has announced a new partnership with leading family history and consumer genomics company, Ancestry. The collaboration provides a unique opportunity for guests to discover details pertaining to their specific family history while cruising with Ama with a special Ancestry Experience package that provides travellers with a pre-cruise private consultation and family history research, onboard presentations, and curated excursions accompanied by an expert genealogist throughout the cruise. The first cruise departs from Amsterdam on July 20, 2022, aboard the AmaStella, visiting Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Switzerland.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort returns Sept. 3-Oct. 31 with Halloween events and themes throughout Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. Downtown Disney District gets in the spirit as well, from Sept. 9- to Oct. 31, with seasonal décor, treats and an all-new Halloween-themed pumpkin hunt, Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit.

EVENTS

July 20: Agents from coast to coast are invited to join the Jamaica Tourist Board’s inaugural Virtual Product Showcase on July 20 from 1 to 3 p.m. On tap will be timely destination updates, the opportunity to connect with travel suppliers, “some unique island fun,” plus games and giveaways. To register for the Zoom event, click HERE.

TL Network is set to relaunch in-person “mixers” between members and suppliers starting later this summer. In all, 14 events are scheduled in the second half of 2021 and are free to members. Events, with full safety protocols and limited numbers, feature mini-trade show, presentations, and dinner. Dates include Aug. 31, Winnipeg; Sept. 14, Vancouver; Sept. 15, Mississauga; Sept. 21, Calgary; Sept. 22, Kitchener-Waterloo; Sept. 28, Halifax; Sept. 29, St. John’s; Sept. 30, Edmonton; Oct. 5, Saskatoon; Nov. 23, Winnipeg and Montreal; Nov. 24, Ottawa; Dec. 1, St. Catharines; and Dec. 14, Vancouver.

DESTINATIONS

Effective July 12 St. Kitts & Nevis’s “Vacation in Place” period for fully vaccinated international air travellers was reduced from nine days to three days, with testing on day four and the ability to fully integrate into the Federation upon receipt of a negative test result.

A massive installation dubbed “Beyond Monet” will make its world premiere Aug. 5 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The exhibit will transform more than 400 paintings, covering 4,600 sq. m. into larger-than-life images, including well-known masterpieces from the “Water Lilies” series. Tickets start at $39.99 for adults and $29.99 for children and are available at monettoronto.com.

London’s Science Museum and the Cambridge University library have acquired a large collection of items belonging to late physicist Stephen Hawking, from his personalized wheelchairs to landmark papers on theoretical physics and his scripts from his appearance on “The Simpsons.” Many of the artifacts will be preserved as part of the collection belonging to the Science Museum Group and will go on display at the museum early next year. Museum officials are also hoping to create a touring exhibition in the UK before setting up a permanent display in London.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today