ROUND-UP: June 19-23, 2023

A couple of Canadian carriers scored top marks in prestigious Skytrax World Airline Awards last week, while in other weekly news highlights: Sunwing Vacations reassured the trade; an Indian airline conducted the biggest buy of planes in history, Ottawa announced a major investment in sustainable aviation fuel; and a popular Australian tourist destination took a new name.


With news swirling this week about the future integration of Sunwing Airlines into the WestJet fleet, the company’s tour operator arm reassured the trade that it’s “business as usual” and that the future is “brighter than ever.” Sunwing Vacations said it is fortified by its new status as part of the WestJet Group simply fortifies its standing and that plans for a robust 2023-24 winter season are underway and will include new destinations and routes, along with future plans to leverage WestJet network to provide “even more affordable choices to Canadians.”

The head of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) says businesses are struggling to stay afloat under a pile of debt and a dearth of overseas visitors. In a poll of tourism operators, some 45 percent said they were likely or somewhat likely to shut down within three years unless the government steps in to adjust their loan conditions.

The federal government said it will invest nearly $350 million to support decarbonization if the aerospace industry. In an announcement at the Paris Air Show last week, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the cash will flow to a new fund dubbed the ‘Initiative for Sustainable Aviation Technology.’ The goal is to foster a national network overseen by an industry-led board that backs collaborative research and development projects ranging from aircraft architecture to sustainable fuel.

Virgin Galactic says it will begin regular commercial flights to the edge of space beginning in August. The space tourism company has been working for years to send paying passengers on short space trips and in 2021 finally won the US federal government’s approval.


BC Ferries reported the highest traffic in is 63-history, carrying 9.4 million vehicles and 21.6 million passengers, an increase of 11 and 21% respectively during its fiscal year ending March 31. To meet demand, the company delivered 86,835 round trips, an increase of over 4,000 trips over the prior year.


Singapore Airlines was named the World’s Best Airline at the 2023 World Airline Awards, the fifth time that the airline has scooped the Airline of the Year title in the 23-year history of the prestigious annual Skytrax rankings. Air Canada scooped a new award in 2023 for the World’s Most Family Friendly Airline, while Air Transat was named the World’s Best Leisure Airline.

In a record-setting order that underscores surging demand in India for air travel, IndiGo airline said it is buying 500 passenger jets from European plane-maker Airbus. India’s dominant carrier is buying the A320 aircraft in what the companies said was the single biggest purchase agreement in commercial aviation history.

Porter Airlines is adding Winnipeg to its growing network, with flights between Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (YWG). Service begins on Sept. 7, with two daily roundtrip flights. Meanwhile, Porter has agreed to sale and leaseback for 10 Embraer E195-E2 aircraft. The aircraft will begin deliveries later in 2023 and be operated by the airline as part of a previously announced confirmed order for 50 E195-E2s and the option to purchase 50 additional aircraft. Eleven E195-E2s are flying with Porter today.


Summer deals from Transat and Air Transat present last-minute offers on flights to the South and packages to Cancun and Punta Cana when booked by July 3 for travel before Oct. 31. Best-selling resorts Barceló Maya Tropical in Riviera Maya,

Occidental Caribe in Punta Cana, Bahia Principe Grand Coba in Riviera Maya, and

Dreams Flora Resort & Spa in Punta Cana are among the all-inclusives that are available.

A new offer from Emirates gives travellers access to hundreds of offers via their airline boarding pass. The My Emirates Summer Pass program, in effect through September, includes discounts at top attractions, luxury spas, restaurants and retail stores across Dubai and the UAE.


A new private chauffeur itinerary, the “Legendary Castles Stay” by Brendan Vacations, invites travellers to explore Ireland featuring exclusive experiences and stays at the iconic Ashford and Dromoland castles. Beyond the castles, guests will have a private chauffeur to lead them on a exploration of the island, including a Make Travel Matter culinary walking tour in Galway, plus much more.

A new interactive brochure for Quark Expeditions’ Antarctic 2024/25 season is designed to transport agents and clients to the destination through through instantly accessed videos, imagery and recorded guest testimonials, and well as taking virrtual tours of cabins and suites, requesting a quote directly from the brochure and more.  Featured are 30 departures ranging from seven to 23 days), a variety of booking bonuses, including up to 25% off select voyages. Click here to access.


Marriott International has plans to further expand in the affordable midscale lodging segment in Canada and the US with yet-to-be-named extended-stay brand intended to deliver reasonably priced modern comfort for guests seeking longer stay accommodations. The expansion follows the hotel company’s recent entry into the segment with City Express by Marriott in Latin America and is expected to have openings in late 2024 or early 2025.

The new Embassy Suites by Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Resort is now open for business. Located on the North End of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, the new construction is part of the elegant Cavalier Resort, which also includes the restored Historic Cavalier Hotel and Beach Club, and the panoramic Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront. The Embassy Suites by Hilton brings an additional 157 luxury hotel suites to the Resort, none of which are street-facing but instead offer sweeping panoramic views of the Atlantic coastline. Guests of the new hotel will enjoy the Embassy brand’s daily free Made-To-Order Breakfasts and complimentary evening receptions.


Extensive renovations are in store for Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek. Starting this Fall, the resort will see significant changes to its rooms, reception area, main restaurant, and bar. The all-inclusive property originally opened in 1969, making the property the first Club Med village to open in “the Americas.” Tucked away in the large coconut groves of Martinique facing Diamond Rock, the French Caribbean resort stands out along the beautiful coastline. Air Canada will offer direct flights from Toronto to Martinique beginning on Dec. 16 and clients can receive up to 40% off and get an additional 20% discount with the resort’s air-inclusive offer from Toronto.

With the launch of Impressions by Secrets Isla Mujeres in Mexico, Hyatt Hotels launched its 10th brand within its Inclusive Collection, Impression by Secrets, marking the introduction of an ultra-exclusive, adults-only brand that is “defined by the highest level of luxury all-inclusive service possible.”


GRAMMY-nominated artist Luis Fonsi, best known for the smash hit ‘Despicito’ will serve as the godfather of Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, Norwegian Viva. The ship will be christened in Miami before homeporting in San Juan, Puerto Rico this fall. Fonsi will fulfill the longstanding maritime tradition of blessing and officially naming Norwegian Viva at the Nov. 28, christening ceremony in Miami.

Affirming its long-term commitment to sustainability and conservation, Silversea Cruises has become the first tour operator to gain certification in environmental management in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. The cruise line is the first operator to divert all waste from landfill disposal in the Galapagos to the mainland to be recycled or processed in line with regulatory procedures.


At 136 years old and after extensive restoration efforts, the RMS Segwun, North America’s oldest operating steamship, will set sail again for the summer June 27 on Ontario’s Lake Muskoka. Multiple sailings are available weekly, including lunch and dinner cruises, and there will be a number of speciality departures such as on Canada Day. The vessel sails from the wharf in Gravenhurst, and info and tickets are available at


Through Sept. 30, travel agents who sign up and complete Rocky Mountaineer’s TRACKS Agent Training will be eligible for a chance to win monthly prizes or a grand prize of a complimentary rail journey for two on select Rocky Mountaineer routes in Canada and the US. No purchase is necessary to complete the TRACKS training, which is open to certified retail travel agents and wholesale agents/partners globally. Hint: it takes most people less than an hour to complete! HERE is a flier with more info.


Registration is now open for the ACTA Travel Industry Summits to be held in Toronto, Richmond, BC, and Laval, Que., in September. Travel advisors, managers, senior leaders, consortia, and host agency teams are all invited to attend. The events are complimentary for ACTA members. Non-ACTA members will be asked to provide a $50 contribution to the Advocacy Fund. All those who register before July 31 will be entered into a prize draw of a $250 Visa gift card – one winner per Summit. Details as follows: Eastern Canada – Sept. 14; Register here; Western Canada – Sept 21; Register here; Quebec– Sept. 27; Register here

The Travel Industry Council of Ontario is advising that its annual meeting of members will take place virtually on Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. Only members in good standing are entitled to participate in and vote at the meeting, while members of the public are invited to watch the event. More details and instructions will be provided in the official notice of meeting, which will be released at least 30 days prior to the meeting. Written notice must be received by the Secretary on or before Aug. 11, 2023, of any motions to be made at the Annual Meeting.


HIS Japan has announced a leadership change at TravelBrands, Red Label Vacations, and Merit Travel. Nathalie Tanious will take charge of the companies following the decision of President and CEO Frank DeMarinis to step down from the organization, effective July 21. HIS says the transition will be “seamless” and that the company, which purchased Red Label Vacations Inc. from DeMarinis and his brothers Enzo and Joe in 2019, remains “fully committed to providing you with the exceptional service and support you have come to expect from us.”

After nearly 14 years at Transat Distribution Canada, Kimberley Wood has has resigned from her position of Director, Franchise and Affiliate Members at TDC to take on a new challenge. A recruitment process is under way to replace her; until then her functions will be maintained by Dana Glover and Karine Gagnon and the national support team.

Canadian travel industry veteran Vicki Ioannou-Theophilou has joined JacTravel to boost the British-based destination management company’s presence in North America in the role of regional sales manager. Having recently worked at Blue-Roads Touring/Topdeck as Director of Business Development, The Americas, and with experience in previous roles in sales management with tour operators, retailers, and wholesale companies, Ioannou-Theophilou will work closely with North American partners but focussing on Canada thanks to her roots in the Canadian marketplace.


Canadian fishing aficionados are invited to join the IX International Sport Fishing Tournament 2023 in Cayo Guillermo, Oct. 25-30. “This is a great opportunity to showcase this paradisiacal place, surrounded by virgin keys where Canadians can enjoy memorable experiences and take part in several water-based options like fishing and diving”, says Lessner Gomez, Director of the Cuba Tourist Board in Toronto. The registration fee is US$400 per team (1-4 people), plus $2,000 for boat rental. All gear and licenses, and snacks and drinks are included. Contacts:;

Popular tourist spot Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been renamed K’gari to officially recognize the native Butchulla People’s connection to the Australian island and the creation story that has been passed down for generations.


In 1887, Parliament passed legislation creating Banff National Park, which launched Canada’s national parks system.

Send info to

First published at Travel Industry Today


Related Articles

Back to top button