ROUND-UP: June 5-9, 2023

Last week, in a case of battling acronyms, ACTA and CATO were miffed at TICO; Canada also eased visa restrictions on 13 countries, Air Canada doubled its dose for a Caribbean island, Marriott boosted agent incentives, and Mexico welcomed a new adults-only all-inclusive.


Fearing additional financial burdens on travel agencies and other registrants in Ontario, ACTA and CATO charged that they are largely being “kept in the dark” over the Travel Industry Council of Ontario’s ongoing review of its funding framework and fee structure, specifically worrying that their call for a consumer ‘insurance’ contribution model is not being considered. TICO counters that the review has been transparent, all funding options are on the table, and that stakeholders have and will continue to be engaged throughout the “broad consultation process.”

Transat AT Inc. saw revenues double – and losses shrink by more than two-thirds – in its latest quarter amid a major sales boost propelled by solid leisure travel demand on top of higher prices. And with more than 60% of capacity sold, “the stage is set for a dynamic summer,” says Transat CEO Annick Guerard.

Thirteen countries were added to Canada’s the electronic travel authorization (eTA) program, enabling eligible travellers from these countries who have either

held a Canadian visa in the last 10 years, or who currently hold a valid United States non-immigrant visa, to now apply for an eTA instead of a visa when travelling to Canada by air. The full list of newly eligible countries includes Antigua/Barbuda, Argentina, Costa Rica, Morocco, Panama, Philippines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.


Britain continues to be a favourite for Canadians with visitors from this country surpassing pre-pandemic travel levels in 2022. VisitBritain says Canadians topped arrivals and spend figures last year, with the former increasing 3% to 897,000 arrivals over 2019, and the latter registering a record-breaking £934 million ($1.57 billion), a whopping +27% up on 2019. The average length of stay for inbound Canadians grew by two nights to 11 nights.


The second collective bargaining agreement between WestJet and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) was officially certified by the union representing WestJet and Swoop pilots was ratified.

Air Canada plans to double its frequency to the Grenada to four weekly flights when the carrier’s seasonal flights to the island resume on Oct. 29. Flights will operate on will operate on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, departing at 9:30am from Toronto Pearson.

Meanwhile, Air Canada customers departing from Toronto’s downtown airport now have dedicated access to the only airline lounge at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ), Designed in collaboration with Aspire, Swissport’s premium lounge brand, Air Canada Café marks the 27th lounge in the airline’s lounge network and the sixth Canadian location for Aspire.

For the first time since the 1980s, access to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is getting much easier with daily nonstop service from Miami to Beef Island/Tortola, via American Airlines. The three-hour flight offers an alternative to connecting in Puerto Rico or St. Thomas.


A new sales event from Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers savings of up to $4,000 for customers that purchase cruise and air together on select 2023 itineraries. This offer is valid on new bookings made now through July 31 for travel through 2023. Almost all Uniworld itineraries are included in the offer, with the exception of select departure dates.

The US Travel Association month-long Daily Getaways features starts June 12 with exclusive offers for travellers – including Canadians – from major travel brands that include discounts up to 50% off loyalty points, theme park tickets, vacation packages and hotel stays. Visit

Through June 30, Viking is offering a 25th Anniversary Sale, with a $25 deposit, special savings, and up to free international airfare on river, ocean and expedition voyages.


For a limited time only, Canadian travellers who book Goway’s ‘Hong Kong World of Winners’ package will receive three free nights in Hong Kong when flying from Toronto or Vancouver with Cathay Pacific. The package includes first-class accommodation at the Park Hotel Hong Kong, private airport transfers, and a shared Hong Kong Island Tour, which includes a dim sum tasting at a Michelin-starred restaurant. The offer must be booked by June 23 (5 p.m.). More details on the website.

Kensington Tours is expanding its Beyond Villas by Kensington Tours offerings with several new itineraries in destinations ranging from Croatia to Jamaica, and Spain to Coast Rica. This private villa portfolio is geared towards travellers who seek the ultimate privacy in the form of a luxury villa, along with tailor-made customized itineraries with unique in-destination experiences; it first launched in February with an initial collection of more than 760 properties in the Caribbean, Europe, and South Africa, and includes more 1,000 villas, many featuring white-glove service and privately guided experiences.


The doors to the InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace (photo) have now opened, offering “a refined oasis of discreet luxury in the heart of Rome.” Located on the Via Veneto, the glamourous hotel is steeped in history, occupying a landmark building originally constructed in 1900 to host ambassadors staying in Rome, before serving as the American Embassy Library in 1946. The hotel has 160 rooms and luxury suites in a style that combine neo-classical details with chic contemporary design. The hotel is a short walk away from many notable landmarks, including the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon.

The five-star InterContinental Bangkok has re-opened after a multimillion-dollar renovation. Located in Bangkok’s Central Business District directly adjacent to the BTS Chidlom Skytrain, the prominent property walking distance to the capital’s main lifestyle shopping locations and major business addresses.


On June 6, MSC Cruises officially named its newest flagship, MSC Euribia, at a ceremony in Copenhagen, featuring Godmother of MSC Cruises’ fleet and globally recognized screen legend, Sophia Loren. The ship is believed to have the most energy-efficient cruise ship design in the world and during her maiden voyage, completed a net zero GHG emissions journey from St Nazaire to the Danish captial. MSC Euribia begins sailings in Northern Europe this summer with seven-night sailings from Kiel, Germany, and Copenhagen to the Norwegian Fjords.

Citing strong demand, Viking has added additional 2024 departure dates on Viking’s newest Nile River ship. Set to debut in 2024, the Viking Hathor will join the company’s growing fleet of purpose-built ships on the Nile, which sail the popular 12-day ‘Pharaohs & Pyramids’ itinerary. Viking notes that it’s 2023 season is sold out and some sailings into 2025 already selling out.


Royalton Cayo Santa Maria

Sunwing is reporting that its Blue Diamond and RIU resorts partners have received a host of accolades from both TripAdvisor and Forbes. Forty-five properties were recognized under the following brands: Royalton Luxury Resorts, Planet Hollywood Hotels & Resorts, Mystique by Royalton, Memories Resorts & Spa, Grand Memories Resorts & Spa, Starfish Resorts, RIU Hotels & Resorts and RIU Palace Resorts brands, some of which earned the Best of the Best Award, the highest honour from TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice. Resort destination spanned from Mexico to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Cuba.

Margaritaville Beach Resort Riviera Maya opened June 1 as the first adult-only resort within the Margaritaville all-inclusive Island Reserve collection. Located in Riviera Maya, Mexico, the luxury resort features the first oceanfront LandShark Brewery, 355 premium suites, nine world-class restaurants and bars, a 930-sq.-m. spa, and unforgettable wedding and event venues.


During the month of June, Silversea is celebrating travel advisors with a new incentive, as part of its Travel Partner Appreciation Month. When travel advisors make a new confirmed booking on any expedition cruise during June, they will be automatically entered into a weekly prize draw for a chance to win a gift card. One winner will be selected each week of June. In addition, following the introduction of kicker commissions in early 2023, Silversea has doubled the kicker commission point from 1% to 2% on all expedition bookings made in June.

Marriott International has launched a new incentive program that enable agents to earn Bonvoy points on every booking logged with up to 1,000 points available per room, per night that can be used to redeem points for travel and experiences (like concerts). In partnership with My Bookings Rewards (MBR), the All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy Incentive Program is designed to boost agent member rewards on qualified bookings logged at and give global scope to offerings. Agents can also use their points to add value to a client’s stay by redeeming them against upgrades and other added value extras.


After a hiatus of three years due to the pandemic, PATA Travel Mart 2023 will return Oct. 4-6 in New Delhi, India. The annual trade show of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) will be hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. For information email

The 55th annual IPW will take place May 3-7, 2024, in Los Angeles. The event is US Travel’s signature travel trade event, which recently concluded in San Antonio, Texas.


Familiar face Richard Todd has returned to Sandals and Beaches Resorts in Canada in the newly created role of Senior Sales Consultant. He worked in Canada from 1999 to 2005 and later held other roles with the company. In his new position as Senior Sales Consultant, Todd will serve as a high-level resource to both Barnes-Smith and Director of Sales C.J. Smith on overall sales strategy and execution for the Canadian market and will also service and support travel advisors in the Southwestern Ontario region. He can be reached at, 416-573-4165 or 1-800-545-8283 ext. 4963.

Goway Travel has named Jason Stratford as a new account manager. He previously served as APT’s Sales and Marketing Manager for North America for nine years, driving revenue growth and spearheading sales and marketing strategies in the region. Boasting three decades in the industry, he also worked as Director of Sales for Australia, New Zealand, and Iceland at The Travel Group in Vancouver, and as a Supervisor and travel consultant at ANZA Travel Vancouver, and at Travel Alberta in Edmonton.


The Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans re-opened June 8 after completing its renovation of the Audubon Aquarium of Americas and Insectarium, the biggest renovation of the Aquarium since it opened on Canal Street in 1990. In 2020, Audubon announced it would be moving Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium from the US Custom House on Canal Street to the Aquarium campus on the river, building a combined experience that re-envisions Audubon’s downtown guest experience and educational programming.

Chicago recently announced a historic investment in neighbourhood tourism to drive visitors to its unique communities. Thanks to a US$5.5 million grant, Choose Chicago says it has the largest and most comprehensive neighbourhood program at any destination marketing organization in the country. The program includes advertising and promotions.


In 1683, the first public museum, The Ashmolean, was opened in Oxford, England; and in 1861, the “Maid of the Mist” became the first ship to navigate the Niagara whirlpool rapids.

Send info to

First published at Travel Industry Today


Related Articles

Back to top button