Strike news affecting travel abounded last week – including news that flights at Berlin Brandenburg are cancelled today (April 24); there was also big news from Air Canada, Sunwing deals, a Holland America Line milestone, and ACTA revealing Travel Agent Day plans in a couple of weeks.
Berlin Brandenburg airport reports no departures will take place today (Monday) due to a strike by security workers. The German airport warns that arriving flights may be affected as well. The job action follows walkouts in Duesseldorf, Hamburg, Cologne-Bonn, and Stuttgart late last week, which resulted in 700 cancelled departures.
Less than a week before the end of conciliation, WestJet pilots sent “a strong message” to WestJet management with an overwhelming vote of support for a strike, should a negotiated settlement not be reached by May 16. The union representing WestJet pilots, the Air Line Pilots Association, says 95% of its members voted and 93% voted to strike if needed. WestJet said, “A strike authorization vote is a common step by unions in context of the overall labour negotiation process and does not mean a strike will occur.”
Canadian passport renewals were largely halted (except emergencies) when federal public service workers went on strike Wednesday. Employment and Social Development Canada said essential services such as employment insurance and social insurance numbers will be maintained, but passport services are not deemed essential.
A parliamentary committee has recommended sweeping changes to Canada’s air passenger rights framework, stressing tougher enforcement and compensation rules around flight delays. The report comes after chaotic travel seasons over the summer and winter holidays brought on by soaring demand, labour shortages and poor weather. Its 21 recommendations include bigger monetary penalties, smoother processing of compensation claims and automatic payout offers after cancellations, significant delays, or denial of boarding.
Consumers who purchased Interjet Airlines travel services from an Ontario registered travel agency or booking website and did not receive their travel services due to the closure of the airline, may file a claim from the Compensation Fund for reimbursement, reports TICO. The airline ceased operations on Dec. 11, 2020, and was declared bankrupt on April 10, 2023.
BY THE NUMBERS
At US$1.2 trillion, direct spending on travel in the United States in 2022 was on par with pre-pandemic figures, according to new data released by the US Travel Association. Travel accounted for $1.2 trillion in direct spending in 2022, which produced an economic footprint of $2.6 trillion and supported nearly 15 million American workers – 8 million directly employed by the travel industry. Travel-generated tax revenue alleviated an average of $1,270 in taxes per US household.
Air Canada has announced its New Distribution Capabilities (NDC) program, featuring new benefits, expanded content and additional trade support for agencies and travel buyers. The airline says the program will provide a competitive alternative to legacy distribution, giving agents access to Air Canada inventory, fares, ancillary services, ticketing, and digital products.
Porter Airlines is extending a special offer to all frequent WestJet travellers that provides immediate access to its VIPorter loyalty program Avid Traveller membership. The Avid Traveller level granted will be based on the current WestJet rewards level. Travellers interested in matching their status will receive a trial VIPorter Avid Traveller membership for 120 days with the ability to maintain that level through Dec. 31, 2024, based on achieving a reduced qualifying spend threshold. Every dollar spent on Porter, excluding taxes and fees, is applied to the spend goal. The offer expires May 31; details on Porter’s website.
Officials with Vancouver International Airport are promising new real-time weather monitoring equipment, gate protocols and better communication after releasing a review of the travel chaos caused by snow last December. The review, which also took into account direct feedback from over 1,500 passengers and members of the public identified 25 actions that the airport says will be addressed in a $40-million action plan.
New York City Tourism + Conventions has announced the return of ‘It’s Time for Culture’ with offerings at nearly 100 cultural organizations across all five boroughs, available May 9-21. The program, comprising seasonal events, concerts, tours, classes, family-friendly programs and more, kicks off the unofficial start of the New York City summer cultural season. A full list of organizations and offerings are available at nyctourism.com/timeforculture.
Quark Expeditions has announced a brand-new cutting-edge Greenland itinerary constructed around Ultramarine’s two twin-engine helicopters – and brought to life with local Greenlandic partners, enabling guests to experience what Quark is calling the most innovative itinerary in its 32-year history. The 11-day ‘Greenland Explorer: Sail and Soar the Alpine Arctic’ will launch in 2024 and feature such activities as an Inuit culinary experience, camping along the Tasemiut Fjord, northern lights and cultural immersion, and plenty of helicopter flights and activities such as heli-hiking (photo).
Sunwing is aiming to bring the “feel good spirit of summer” to life with new deals, giveaways, as well as social media via content creators Clive Felice and Anthony Tran. “Through thoughtful questions and sharp wit, Clive and Antho will help Sunwing bring feel-good moments from the city streets to paradise in a variety of fun and dynamic ways,” says the tour operator. Check out their first videos at www.instagram.com/p/CrONoXLxNiL/ and www.instagram.com/p/CrOUNJeA0c3/. Sunwing will also feature a lineup of promotions and hot deals to hotter destinations, including deals under $999 deals on packages to Cuba during the tour operator’s ‘Summer Starts Now Sale.’
Going on a Beatles or football pilgrimage to Liverpool? IHG Hotels & Resorts is introducing its Vignette Collection to the UK with the signing of The Halyard at Ropewalks Liverpool in partnership with Molo Hotels. Opening later this year, the 133-key luxury hotel is set in the historic Ropewalks district in the heart of the city, boasting a restaurant, on-site gym, and roof top terrace that will further boost the area’s reputation as a gastronomic hub.
To kick off the 2023 baseball season, the InterContinental Toronto Centre, located beside Rogers Centre, is offering a ‘Stay and Dine’ package to get sports fans fueled for the game. The package offers guests a $100 credit for food and beverages.
St. James’s Club Morgan Bay St. Lucia has closed for extensive enhancements. During this full closure, the resort will undergo a brand change to Secrets St. Lucia Resort & Spa, with a planned reopening date in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Renovations and additions to the Club Med Punta Cana resort will begin in August. Built in 1978, the resort will see 90 newly renovated family rooms, including 48 brand-new Family Superior rooms and 36 Family Deluxe rooms, as well as a complete transformation of the resort’s main oceanfront restaurant, Hispaniola, into a venue that resembles a Caribbean Beach Bistro inspired by Punta Cana’s vibrant art, music, and culture. Additionally, the resort will welcome a new on-site wedding venue that can accommodate up to 250 guests and will feature a covered outdoor terrace ideal for tropical cocktail hours, receptions, and ceremonies.
The MSC Meraviglia arrived at her new homeport in New York City at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. The arrival of the ship marks the first time MSC Cruises has deployed a ship in New York operating year-round sailings with a mix of itineraries, ranging from six-to 11-nights, that were strategically designed to take advantage of New York’s geographic flexibility, so that guests can soak up the sun in the Caribbean during the spring and winter seasons, head to Bermuda during the summer, or go north to see Canada’s natural beauty in the autumn.
Holland America Line’s flagship Rotterdam arrived at the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, April 18, following a 150th Anniversary crossing from Fort Lauderdale. The ship’s arrival on the exact date of Holland America Line’s 150th birthday kicked off all-day celebrations that included royalty, local dignitaries, port officials and guests who commemorated the special day. “The celebration of 150 years is about more than our history, it’s about how we are building on the legacy of a great brand to make it relevant for the next 150 years,” said HAL President Gus Antorcha.
The Global Tourism Film Festival 2023 kicks off this week (April 27-30) in North Bay, Ont. with organizers noting that special programming will take place that recognizes film, accomplishment, and advancement of Indigenous Peoples, People of Colour, and Women in film and tourism. Notable will be the presentation of the the award-winning indigenous feature film ‘Monkey Beach’ by filmmaker L. Sarah Todd. For full details and other festival information, visit HERE.
The Ontario Science Centre will be moving to a revamped Ontario Place on Toronto’s waterfront. Premier Doug Ford unveiled plans for the next stage of a redeveloped Ontario Place that includes the new location for the science centre, an expanded amphitheatre, a public beach, bars, restaurants, a new marina, and a massive spa. Construction on the new science centre will begin in 2025 with its opening scheduled for 2028, the science centre said.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
With its ‘Spring into ’24 Groups Only’ incentive, Goway is offering travel agents a $100 bonus cash on all group bookings for travel in 2024 in addition to regular rewards on group bookings with the GowayPro Loyalty Program. The incentive is available on all group bookings (excluding air only) deposited through May 13, 2023, for travel in 2024.
Agents who book their clients a Blue Diamond Resorts vacation package with Sunwing at participating properties with Royalton Luxury Resorts, Mystique by Royalton, Grand Memories Resorts & Spa, Memories Resorts & Spa and Starfish Resorts in Cuba by April 30, for departures between through Oct. 31, will be automatically entered for a chance to win a free seven-night stay at Memories Jibacoa in Varadero or Villa Caprice in Cayo Largo. Clients are also eligible for special perks during the promotion.
As part of Travel Agent Day events, ACTA is inviting all agents to take part in a session with trained trauma expert and educator Dr. Erin Watson, who has over 20 year’s experience developing and leading psycho-educational programs to support mental, emotional, and inter-personal health of individuals, families, and communities. Those who participate will be eligible to win a four-night stay for two at the new Sandals Dunn’s River Resort, Jamaica courtesy of Sandals Resorts including air for two courtesy of Air Canada. The event takes place May 3 from 3 to 4 p.m. EDT. Register HERE.
Ensemble Summit will take place from June 4-7 at the Forbes Five-Star Stein Eriksen Lodge in Utah. As a high-level executive getaway, the event will host
Ensemble agency management and senior partner leaders to focus on business building, fuel collaboration, and harness the collective knowledge of the participants to support and foster growth within the participants’ respective companies.
Airline and travel industry veteran Adam Wilcox has been appointed Commercial Director Canada and the United States for Plaza Premium Group, responsible for planning, developing, and implementing the commercial strategies in Canada and the US the Group’s portfolio brands, which includes Plaza Premium Lounges.
The glittering world of the Georgian court comes head-to-head with the high glamour of the modern-day red carpet in a new exhibition at Kensington Palace – famously a stage set for historic fashion – in London (photo). ‘Crown to Couture’ sees contemporary couture worn by high profile celebrities including Lizzo and Lady Gaga, displayed alongside historic costume – drawing fascinating parallels between the world of the red carpet and the world of the Royal Court in the eighteenth century. The largest exhibition ever staged at the palace, over 200 fascinating objects are on display across the glittering State Apartments and intimate exhibition spaces. The exhibition runs until Oct. 29.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 1912, the British luxury liner “RMS Titanic” sank in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland at 2:20 a.m. ship’s time, more than 2 1/2 hours after striking an iceberg; 1,514 people died, while less than half as many survived.
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First published at Travel Industry Today