ROUND-UP: April 10-14, 2023

Canadian passport staff, along with other federal workers, announced they may strike this week; Fort Lauderdale was hammered by a historic storm; Transat boosted service to France; and the US decided that the COVID-19 emergency was officially over.


Just as the Canadian passport office seemed to get its head above water, members of the public service’s largest union, which represents more than 120,000 federal workers – including passport office employees – have voted in favour of a strike mandate that could be acted on as soon as Wednesday. Border and airport service could also be affected.

One of Florida’s busiest airports reopened Friday, two days after an unprecedented deluge left planes and travellers stranded and turned Fort Lauderdale‘s streets into rivers.

The US national emergency to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic has ended with the stroke of a pen on April 10 by President Joe Biden, who signed a bipartisan congressional resolution to bring measure to a close after three years – and just weeks before it was set to expire alongside a separate public health emergency on May 11.


Citing “skyrocketing demand” for the French provinces, Air Transat is expanding its flight operations to France, most notably on two direct routes departing from Montreal. The airline is also adding Marseille to its roster of year-round destinations. Additionally, it is extending its Montreal-Nantes service until Jan. 24, 2024. Air Transat is the only airline to offer direct flights from Canada to the airports of Marseille and Nantes.

 Air Canada and Amadeus have expanded their partnership, allowing travel sellers to benefit from a long-term roadmap that offers additional features and new content. The new, multi-year distribution agreement will enable access to its full range of NDC-sourced content from Air Canada through the Amadeus Travel Platform, enabling the carrier to provide enhanced travel retail experiences by distributing personalized and tailored offers.

Emirates is stepping up its frequency between Canada and the United Arab Emirates with two additional flights per week between Dubai and Toronto. The move to daily service, starting April 20, follows the announcement last week of an expanded air transport agreement between the two countries.


Quark Expeditions has brought back its “Polar Promo Sale” offering travellers up to 40% off voyages to the Arctic and Antarctic, plus a variety of booking incentives that apply to all upcoming seasons. In addition to saving up to 40%, clients will receive a US$1,000 flight credit off the top of their trip cost, $250 shipboard credit on select itineraries, and 10% if they pay in full at time of booking on select voyages. The sale runs through July 4.


As Goway Travel moves into its 53rd year, the company is gearing up for a marketing and brand transformation, its first since being founded by Bruce Hodge in 1970. Supporting a global expansion of the Toronto-based tour company, the project will feature a new Goway website with a cutting-edge reservation system to be launched launch later this year. The rebrand will be led by new VP of Marketing Mitchell Fawcett.

TProfile, which provides advanced Customer Experience Applications and CRM technology, has partnered with G Adventures, enabling it to expand its dynamic, real-time rich content – including quotes, images, and videos from G Adventures – as well as its global portfolio of tours network of travel agents.


A new Suite Upgrades promotion from Silversea Cruises provides guests with a two-category suite upgrade on selected voyages, for selected suite categories

and a US$1,000 shipboard credit per suite. The offer applies to new bookings made through May 31, and provides exclusive benefits on select voyages departing before May 31, 2024.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings brands, including NCL, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas, has announced a plan to improve Internet connectivity, speed and reliability at sea by offering SpaceX’s Starlink high-speed internet on its ships. The company is currently testing Starlink on the Norwegian Breakaway with the intent to rollout the “game-changing” technology across its entire world class fleet in a phased manner.


A total of 331 cruise ships visits are expected to visit Vancouver in 2023 bringing more than a million visitors to the city. Just one less ship will deliver at least 850,000 passengers to Victoria, and 43 more ships and nearly 80,000 passengers are bound for Prince Rupert. Vancouver’s cruise traffic this year will be an increase of approximately 8% compared to 2022.


The finalists for the 2023 BC Hotel Association Awards of Excellence, to be announced at the BCHA Summit on May 1-2 include, for Hotel of the Year: Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa (Vancouver Island); Oswego Hotel (Victoria); The Parkside Hotel & Spa (Victoria); Robin Hood Inn & Suites (Victoria); and Versante Hotel (Richmond).

The Inn at Diamond Cove in Portland, Maine, has been inducted into Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Inn at Diamond Cove is one of more than 300 hotels and resorts throughout the country that is recognized for preserving and maintaining its historic integrity, architecture, and ambiance. The Inn opens for the season on May 25 and is currently accepting reservations through Sept. 30.


Sam Lord’s Castle Barbados

Sam Lord’s Castle Barbados, a Wyndham Grand Resort is due to begin welcoming this Spring. The resort is located on the former site of Sam Lord’s Castle, a legendary mansion on Barbados’ south-eastern coast, notorious for the pirating exploits of its 19th century owner, Sam Lord. Buccaneers long gone, the dazzling, 5-Diamond resort will boast over 400 luxury rooms and suites. In addition, the luxury property will offer three on-site restaurants, state of the art meeting spaces and an extensive luxury spa and fitness centre.


The Global Tourism Film Festival 2023, to be held in North Bay, Ont., April 27-30 has announced special programming segments recognizing film, accomplishment, and advancement of Indigenous Peoples, People of Colour, and Women in film and tourism. Among them: a cultural workshop on medicine pouches that educate on the four main medicines recognized and used by many Indigenous communities in prayers and as protection; an Australia Tourism Board presentation on Aboriginal Guided Experiences; and a workshop by PR expert Marie Lemelle that focuses on and engages minorities and women. For tickets and travel info, visit

Fan-favourite nighttime spectacular “Happily Ever After” has returned to Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World, featuring all‑new projections down Main Street, USA. And in September, an all‑new nighttime spectacular is planned to debut at EPCOT.


Travel advisors and meetings/events planners can enter to win prizes with every new Club Med group booked according to the following conditions: minimum of 20 adults; selected resorts – Québec Charlevoix, Punta Cana (DR), Michès Playa Esmeralda (DR), Cancún (Mexico), Ixtapa Pacific (Mexico), Columbus Isle (Bahamas), Turkoise (Turks & Caicos), La Caravelle (Guadeloupe), Buccaneer’s Creek (Martinique); travel dates – July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023. Prizes include and all-inclusive one-week stay package for two at Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda, plus an iPad, AirPods, and Apple Watch. The higher the booking total, the more entries are activated (up to four for over $100,000). Direct bookings through the Exclusive Connection doubles the entries. The contest is until Dec. 31.

The Jamaica Tourist Board’s recently launched ‘Jamaica Cooking Challenge’ invites travel advisors to recreate a taste of the island at home. Each month, the JTB Canada sales team releases a new cooking video featuring an authentic Jamaican recipe prepared with step-by-step instructions by Chef Latoya Fagan. Agents are encouraged to prepare the recipe at home and share a photo of their finished dish for a chance to win monthly prizes. Find out more HERE.


Agents are invited to learned about Portugal’s Azores Islands in a series of webinars being held in conjunction with SATA Azores Airlines. The webinar will cover the nine islands of the Azores, general information, flights, and more, including the chance to win a trip for two. Agents can register for the webinar on April 18 by clicking HERE.  Additional dates will be April 28 and June 21.


Visit Detroit has selected of Toronto-based Moreno + Company as its public relations agency for the Canadian market as the US destination looks to make new overtures to Canadian visitors. The boutique communications company that also published luxury travel magazine, Bold Traveller. “Moreno + Company are fantastic storytellers, which is why Visit Detroit selected them to help share our story directly to our Canadian industry partners and travel advisors,” said Jennifer Ollinger of Visit Detroit. Contact .

Canadian travel company Lujure has announced travel veteran Nadia Guinci has joined the leadership team as Managing Partner. She will develop strategic marketing and partnership initiatives to continue growth and expand the villa sector.


Budapest is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the unification of Buda, Pest, and Old Buda this year. Plans for the 150-year celebrations in 2023 include the Budapest 150 Marathon (Oct. 14-15); Confectioners will be competing to create an iconic cake with special ingredients that will be served in most dessert shops and cafés later in the year; The Lions of Budapest will be creatively decorated by local artists and will serve as great photo spots all around the city; and renovations for the city’s iconic bridge are expected to finalize by the end of the year so that pedestrians may walk across the first bridge of Budapest.

Mark your calendar! The Toronto Waterfront Festival, formerly Redpath Waterfront Festival, has announced the huge news that the World’s Largest Rubber Duck will finally return to the annual festival, Sept. 16-17. In 2017, the World’s Largest Rubber Duck made a splash in Toronto when it floated in to celebrate Canada’s 150 anniversary. Drawn to the Duck, more than 750,000 people attended the three-day celebration and the Waterfront Festival. The festival announced the six-storey, 13,600-kg. Duck’s return in 2020 but had to cancel due to the pandemic.


In 1513, explorer Juan Ponce de Leon claimed Florida for Spain.

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First published at Travel Industry Today


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