IT’S A WRAP: 2023 news you may have missed

We get hundreds of news notifications and press releases every day, which means thousands each week and, well, you get the idea… That means that all the news that’s fit to print (or post these days) doesn’t always make it. Here’s a wrap for 2023 of our inbox, with some worthy news bites that we missed the first time around – and maybe you did too!


The Montreal Holocaust Museum has started construction of its new home at 3535 Saint-Laurent Boulevard in the Plateau Mont-Royal borough. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2025, followed by an official public opening of the museum by June 2026.

The relocation and expansion project addresses growing public interest in Holocaust history and human rights. In November 2023, the museum recorded the highest number of visitors in its history.

With the closing of the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023, the flag for the next Games was handed over to Canada, which will host event in 2025. The Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025 will bring together more than 500 competitors from up to 25 nations to compete in adaptive sports, including the new winter sports: alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, skeleton, and wheelchair curling, in addition to the core sports of indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby.


The Hawaii Tourism Authority will undertake a six-month action plan for 2024 to help address the aftermath of wildfire damage including increasing visibility and call-to-action for travel to Hawaii targeting high-potential travel markets in the US and Canada.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation announced a historic achievement in tourism, with the country welcoming a record-breaking eight million annual visitors in 2023.


 Air Canada announced a partnership with the new Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) ahead of its inaugural season opener on January 1, 2024. The deal sees Air Canada become an Inaugural Premier Partner of the PWHL and Official Airline for the league’s first six teams, reflecting its deep passion for hockey and sharing the best of Canada with the world.

In late November, Emirates became the world’s first airline to operate an A380 demonstration flight using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Departing from Dubai International Airport, this historic flight underscores Emirates’ ongoing commitment to sustainable aviation practices.

Travelport launched Lufthansa Group airlines’ NDC content and servicing capabilities in the Travelport+ platform. Agents using Travelport+ will be able to easily search and compare NDC offers from the Lufthansa Group airlines, which include Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS and Air Dolomiti. Travelport also announced a renewed agreement with Virgin Atlantic.

Travel agents will soon have more ways to access to Qantas’ New Distribution Capability (NDC) content through a new portal the airline is launching in 2024. From February, the portal will give agents who may not access Qantas NDC content via an Approved Technology Partner the ability to shop, book and service flights using the capabilities of the Qantas Distribution Platform.


Transat A.T. Inc. entered into a sale and purchase agreement for its 50% equity interest in the Armony Luxury Resort & Spa, Marival Collection (previously known as Rancho Banderas All Suites Resort), located near Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast of Mexico (the “Hotel”), to its co-shareholder, the owner of the Marival Group. The transaction in the amount of US$15.5 million is expected to close during Transat’s 2024 first quarter. The divestiture of Transat in the hotel is aligned with the Corporation’s strategic plan to refocus on its airline activities.

Intrepid Travel reported that it achieved record sales month globally in November and recorded its highest sales day in company history thanks to its annual Cyber Sale. This year’s record numbers also included the biggest day for North American sales ever, topping the previous record by 32%. Top selling destinations for North Americans included Ecuador, Morocco, Peru, Vietnam and Croatia, with Ecuador climbing a notable six spots in the rankings from last year to claim the top booked in the 2023 sale.


Carnival Jubilee

On Dec. 4, Carnival Cruise Line welcomed Carnival Jubilee (photo), its third Excel-class ship and 26th vessel in the fleet and immediately began departures from Galveston, Texas.

Royal Caribbean International’s revealed that sports “icon” Lionel Messi will be the official Icon of Icon of the Seas, which debuts in January. The most decorated football (soccer) player in history, Messi will welcome the new ship at an exclusive naming celebration in Miami.

Viking announced it’s bringing an additional 10 Viking Longships to its river fleet in the coming years. To meet strong demand for European river voyages, eight of the new vessels will sail Viking’s popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, while two additional Viking Longships will join the fleet on the Seine River. The total order is also inclusive of one Viking Longship for the Seine River that was announced in February 2023. Five of the new vessels will be delivered in 2025, with the remaining five to be delivered in 2026.

Explora Journeys, the luxury lifestyle brand of the MSC Group, unveiled sailings for EXPLORA I and EXPLORA II through to April 2026. The carefully curated journeys offer an array of different length sailings ranging from shorter journeys of between six to eight nights, through to longer voyages of 19 to 21 nights and offer accessible homeports such as Barcelona, Civitavecchia/ Rome, Miami, or Bridgetown. The journeys are designed to allow for a slower pace of travel, and to give travellers the opportunity to spend more time in each destination with overnight stays.

A full summer season in French Polynesia will be a first for Silversea, which opened a pre-sale on 17 voyages between April and September 2026 aboard Silver Whisper.  The ultra-luxury travel brand will operate two itineraries in rotation, offering deep immersion into 11 of some of the world’s most remote destinations in three of the region’s five archipelagos — the Society, Tuamotu, and Marquesas Islands.

Also open for booking:

  • Cunard’s Alaska 2025 season, featuring roundtrip sailings from Seattle ranging from 7 to 11 nights, from June 12 until Sept 25.
  • Bookings are now open for Holland America Line‘s 2025-2026 South America and Antarctica season, featuring a series of longer cruises up to 22 days aboard the Oosterdam.
  • MSC World Cruise 2026 on the MSC Magnifica will include embarkation options from four European ports – Civitavecchia for Rome, Genoa (Italy), Marseille (France), and Barcelona (Spain) on Jan. 4, 5, 6 and 7, 2026 respectively. The new 119-day route will visit 47 destinations in 32 countries, with seven overnight stays and full day stays in all other calls along the way.


The Sheraton Gateway, attached to Terminal 3 at Pearson Toronto International Airport, now has day passes for guest rooms and club lounge access. Day Passes are available from 9 am to 5 p.m. and cost from $225. Club Lounge Passes are available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and cost $129.

Warwick Hotels & Resorts opened its first property in Canada. Warwick Le Crystal – Montréal features 131 rooms and suites and follows WHR’s core strategy, namely, having hotels located in the centre of commercial, cultural, and gastronomic activities of international gateway cities.

Elite Island Resorts’ first-ever loyalty program offers discounted rates and value-added perks for its regular clientele at its eight properties located in Antigua, Barbados, the Grenadines and Panama. Highlights of the program include 15% off when booked nine months or more in advance; 10% off when booked six months or more in advance; 5% for less than six months in advance; plus, the privilege of extending VIP discounts to up to two additional rooms, accommodating friends or family traveling on the same dates. Discounts applicable year-round across all room categories and resorts.

The members of Relais & Châteaux‘s World Culinary Council voted to remove eel from their own menus and are sending a call to action to the rest of the group’s 580 hotels and restaurants to do the same. The European eel, which is featured in menus all over the world – and revered in certain French, Spanish, Belgian, Dutch and Japanese culinary cultures – is considered critically endangered and features on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Aqua-Aston Hospitality completed the shift to bulk bathroom amenities across its Hawaii properties, which has eliminated 5.5 million pieces of single-use plastic waste from its operations. The brand seeks to help further limit single-use plastic in Hawaii by providing complimentary tote bags and reusable water bottles to A-List subscribers.

The non-profit Iberostar Foundation and Planeterra have launched an ambitious program to promote community tourism initiatives by nearly a million potential travellers in 35 communities where the hotel group operates by 2030.The initiative has been piloted in Mexico and the Dominican Republic where Iberostar has 18 hotels and resorts.

Anticipated to open in 2027, the Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai will soar 44 storeys high with 160 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites in the Chinese city.

Margaritaville and Karisma Hotels & Resorts are planning an new resort under all-inclusive Island Reserve Inclusive Collection banner in Roatan, Honduras. The new-build is expected to completed in 2025.


LA Civil Rights Museum

More than 30 years in the making, the new Louisiana Civil Rights Museum in New Orleans (image above) honours Louisiana’s unique place in the national Civil Rights movement as well as its heroes, demonstrating their impact and significance today. The museum is part of the ongoing Civil Rights Trail, which since spring 2021, has unveiled 13 markers around the state.

Located in Geneva, Switzerland, the renowned European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) inaugurated its groundbreaking Science Gateway, designed to be a visionary hub for science education and outreach. The state-of-the-art facility represents a significant milestone in scientific engagement and welcomes curious minds from the age of five and above. The attraction is open Tues-Thurs with with exhibitions and activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Better still, it’s free.

The tiny Caribbean island of Dominica is creating the world’s first marine protected area for one of earth’s largest animals: the endangered sperm whale. Nearly 800 sq. km. of royal blue waters on the western side of the island nation that serve as key nursing and feeding grounds will be designated as a reserve, the government announced.

Michelin recently recognized 26 Denver restaurants in their inaugural Colorado-based Guide. The famously anonymous MICHELIN Guide inspectors selected a diverse range of restaurants across the city that exude culinary excellence. More info about the venues is available on the Visit Denver website.

New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum has sent its Concorde supersonic jet away for a facelift. The British Airways Concorde that still holds the record for the fastest transatlantic crossing by a passenger aircraft: 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds from Heathrow to JFK. The plane will be out of commission until the spring of 2024.

More than 50 works by Hans Holbein the Younger from the Royal Collection, including drawings, paintings, and miniatures, are on display at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace in London in the largest UK exhibition of the artist’s work in over 15 years. Running through April, ‘Holbein at the Tudor Court’ brings together more than 100 objects to chart the career and legacy of the great Renaissance artist at Henry VIII’s court. At the heart of the exhibition are more than 40 of Holbein’s intimate portrait drawings of the royal family and the Tudor nobility, particularly Henry VIII.

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First published at Travel Industry Today


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