ROUND-UP: Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2023

Among last week’s news highlights, ACTA launched a loan relief campaign, tropical storm Idalia ravaged Florida and Georgia, China finally dropped COVID testing for arrivals, Air Canada slashed routes from Calgary, and Transat completed a deal to sell land it owned in Mexico.


ACTA has launched a letter writing campaign calling on the federal government to provide more time for federal loans to travel agents/agencies to be repaid. The association is urging agents to send a letter to their Member of Parliament and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland by Sept. 29. A recent survey by ACTA on Debt and Government Pandemic Loans conducted in July reveals that 27% of travel businesses owe at least $100,000, 56% owe at least $50,000 and 80% owe at least $10,000 – and that a majority of travel agencies and independent travel advisors are not confident they can repay principal and interest on CEBA, RRRF and HASCAP loans by Dec. 31.

Tropical Storm Idalia left a trail of flooding and destruction across the US Southeast, stretching back to its landfall as a hurricane in Florida. Still, it was far less destructive than feared, providing only glancing blows to Tampa Bay and other more populated areas as it came ashore with 201 kph winds in rural Florida.

China no longer requires a negative COVID-19 test result for incoming travellers, representing a milestone in its reopening to the rest of the world after a three-year isolation that began with the country’s borders closing in March 2020. The new measure (or lack thereof) came into effect Aug. 30.


According to WTTC’s Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2023 Global Trends Report the GDP contribution of the US Travel & Tourism sector grew by 16.9% in 2022 to reach $2 trillion. Additionally, the sector also created 2.7 million more jobs compared to 2021. The impressive growth was fuelled by a strong resurgence in demand from international visitors – including Canadians – whose spending increased by more than 150% year-on-year, to reach $115.7 billion in 2022.


Beginning Oct. 30, WestJet will double its daily service Calgary and Ottawa, adding seven additional weekly flights during peak travel periods. In addition, five weekly flights have been added between Calgary and Los Angeles. Flights can be  booked as of Sept. 5.

 Air Canada is eliminating six major routes out of Calgary this winter, in part due to an industry-wide pilot shortage. The airline confirmed that it will no longer offer non-stop flights from Calgary to Ottawa, Halifax, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Cancun, or Frankfurt as of the end of October.

Canada Jetlines has released an expanded winter flight schedule featuring service between Toronto and Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Orlando – in addition to increased frequencies to Cancun and Las Vegas. Flights to Orlando start Oct. 30 and to Mo’ Bay on Nov. 5.

Porter Airlines is launching a mobile app that includes the ability to check-in, access booking details, select seats, add bags, manage flight changes, access boarding passes, and receive real-time flight notifications.


Canadian outdoor enthusiasts will receive 20% off their stay at AutoCamp California properties in Joshua Tree, Yosemite and Russian River for the rest of the year if they use the code VISITCALIFORNIA while booking. The three glamping/airstream sites offer a unique way to visit the state and offer such amenities as heated pool, yoga, sea kayaking, wellness classes and more. AutoCamp is also launching a new location in Sequoia National Park in mid-2024.

Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) has launched the Barbados ‘World of Difference’ Experiences Campaign, where each approved traveller will receive BBD$200 (CDN$135) in a digital wallet format, to be spent exclusively within Barbados. In effect until Oct. 15 for travel through Oct. 31, travellers are invited to book a holiday to Barbados through their preferred booking mechanism and stay at an approved accommodation partners. Some conditions apply. For details. Visit


“Sea, Safari, South Africa” is the latest South African tour from Contiki. Encompassing nine safari parks (photo), plus Cape Town and Johannesburg, the two-week trip combines the diverse Garden Route with popular wildlife viewing spots Isimangaliso, Hluhluwe and Kruger National Park – where guests will get to sleep ‘under the stars’ on an exclusive Contiki campsite. The trip is live and available to book in 2024.

The second edition of Air Canada Vacations’ Travel Agent Toolkit will be made available as of Sept. 6 during the #ACVDreamMakers Tour. This toolkit includes a step-by-step guide to using the tour company’s new digital Sun brochure, the most recent flight schedule for winter, an overview of available hotels and cruises, as well as Air Canada Vacations promotions and offers.


Transat A.T Inc. completed the sale of its land in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, for US$38 million to Finest Resorts, a luxury resort group, part of the Excellence Collection. Initially announced on July 10, the transaction is designed to enable Transat to pursue its strategic plan of refocusing on its airline activities. Proceeds from the sale will be used to repay a portion of the Corporation’s debt.

In 2024, Nobu Hotel New Orleans and restaurant are set to open within the newly created Caesars New Orleans, following a multimillion-dollar transformation of Harrah’s New Orleans.


Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau in the Bahamas has launched a new Navigator Experience, an exclusive butler service catering to guests staying in the One Particular Harbour residences section of the resort. Upon booking, guests are matched with a personal Navigator who will be their point of contact even before they arrive in The Bahamas. From arranging seamless airport transfers to securing the best dinner reservations, the Navigator’s mission is to deliver an extraordinary and unforgettable stay.

The “In The Kitchen Summer Series” is the newest culinary offering at Rosewood Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas. For US$285 p.p., guests can now book intimate cooking sessions with the renowned resort chefs to learn the craft of international cuisines, dish plating and wine pairings.


Carnival Cruise Line announced the name of its new exclusive cruise port destination on Grand Bahama Island: Celebration Key. Carnival ships will begin to call in July 2025.

New five and six-day itineraries will be launched by American Queen Voyages in February 2024. These voyages will allow travellers to explore the natural beauty and rich history of the Lower Mississippi River during shorter voyages on the contemporary riverboat American Countess. The five and six-day itineraries are round trip New Orleans sailings, beginning on Feb. 17 including St. Francisville and AQV exclusive port, Nottoway, Louisiana. EBBs are available.


The Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans has re-opened after its completed renovation of the Audubon Aquarium and Insectarium. The project was the biggest renovation of the Aquarium since it opened on Canal Street in 1990. The renovation makes the Audubon campus the only aquarium/insectarium under one roof in the world.


Riviera River Cruises is celebrating the announcement of its new ship on the Douro River in Portugal with a promotion for travel advisors. Advisors who make new bookings for five cabins (10 guests, excludes groups) on 2024 departures of the MS Porto Mirante through the end of November will be entered into a drawing for a complimentary cabin of their own aboard the ship and a US$2,000 airfare credit. The Porto Mirante will sail 10 departures of the new ‘Highlights of the Douro Valley and Salamanca’ itinerary from July to October next year. Visit


In the pink: Santa Monica Tourism (represented in Canada by Pulse Communications) recently treated some members of the trade to a private screening of the Barbie movie in Toronto (photo), which was largely filmed in the beachside enclave of Los Angeles. Attendees were encouraged to channel their inner Barbie or Ken by dressing in pink.

Back for the 12th time, Goway will host its gala Africa and Middle East event in Toronto on Oct. 24 featuring close to 30 suppliers from across all of Africa and the Middle East for a full-day of training, events, meals, cocktails, and a free-flow trade show. The event will take place at the Hyatt Regency Toronto, 370 King St. W. from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Click HERE to register.


Transat Distribution Canada (TDC) has announced the appointment of Canadian travel agency veteran Dianne Jackson as Director, Franchise and Affiliate Members at TDC, effective Sept. 11. Jackson will be part of the leadership team and will report directly to General Manager Karine Gagnon. Jackson will be responsible for the success and growth of the TDC Network’s franchise and affiliate travel agency program for all provinces, except Quebec. She will also be responsible for the renewal and recruitment process of new franchises and affiliates, as well as maintaining strong business relationships with TDC members and key players in the industry.


This week, Berlin becomes a capital of literature. Around 200 authors from over 40 countries are expected at the 23rd International Literature Festival, Sept. 6-16.

A new website has been launched by Discover The Palm Beaches, the official tourism marketing organization for Palm Beach County, Fla. With stunning visuals and intuitive navigation, the enhanced digital design provides a user-friendly experience for users looking to discover the destination’s 39 various towns and cities. Information includes accommodations, attractions, dining, events and more, including an improved official partner listing guide, real-time hotel rates, plus booking referrals to multiple top hotel sites. The website will be updated once more to include two new menu sections focused on Meetings and Trade Travel.


In 1872, the world’s first “Wild West Show” was staged at Niagara Falls, Ont. The main attraction was American frontiersman James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickock who appeared in “Buffalo Bill’s” show until 1874. Hickock’s reputation as a marksman made him a celebrity in the travelling show.

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First published at Travel Industry Today


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