A week of drama ended with an 11th-hour deal between WestJet and its pilots averting a strike before the long weekend. In other news last week, the WTTC reported that Canada’s travel and tourism sector is within site of 2019 numbers; ACTA’s 2023 award nominations opened; and a fraudulent Ontario travel agent received 30 days in jail resulting from TICO charges.
WestJet and its pilots union reached a last-minute deal, averting a strike ahead of the May long weekend. Some 1,800 pilots at WestJet and Swoop had been poised to walk off the job as of 3 a.m. mountain time after the ALPA served a strike notice earlier in the week. The airline had grounded the bulk of its fleet Thursday, including for Swoop, parking their 130 planes at airports from Vancouver to Halifax and leaving thousands of travellers in limbo across the country.
Lost in all the strike talk, the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents WestJet workers, approved a merger with the Air Canada Pilots Association, bringing the country’s two biggest flight crew labour groups under one roof. The move means 95% of professional Canadian pilots are represented by a single union.
A new report by the World Travel and Tourism Council finds that Canada’s travel and tourism sector is poised for major recovery this year and is within sight of its previous peak in 2019. If achieved, the activity would furnish some 90,000 more jobs to reach 1.64 million this year, recovering nearly all the travel and tourism positions scrapped during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After being charged by TICO, Libia Ysabel Guerra Paez and Representaciones Neward Inc. were convicted of one count each of operating as a travel agent without being registered – the former receiving a sentence of 30 days in jail and a two-year probation. Paez was also convicted of one count of being an officer or director and failing to take reasonable care to prevent the corporation from committing an offence. Representaciones Neward Inc. was fined $12,500, inclusive of a victim surcharge.
Nominations for the annual ACTA Awards – including a new Lifetime Achievement Award – for 2023 are now open. The honours will be bestowed at the annual ACTA 2023 Eastern Canada Travel Industry Summit in September in Toronto. Anyone can nominate a person, but nominees must be ACTA members. Nominations will close on Friday, June 23, 2023. For details, click HERE.
BY THE NUMBERS
More than 74 million people visited Orlando in 2022, making the destination the most visited in the US, according to Visit Florida. Among them were over 860,000 Canadians, representing the Florida city’s top international market. While falling just short of pre-pandemic levels (98%), the number of tourists was 25% greater than it was in 2021. In 2022, international visitation recovered to 75% of pre-pandemic, reaching 4.9 million. Following Canada, the top markets were the UK (809,000), Brazil (575,000), Mexico (394,000), and Colombia (287,000).
Ottawa-Charlottetown service was inaugurated by Porter Airlines on May 17, with the carrier also announcing it plans to serve the route year-round.
Air Canada and flydubai announced a new partnership that will see the carriers codeshare on nine markets and interline on more than 60 others beyond Dubai. Pending final regulatory approval, Air Canada’s marketing code will be placed on nine routes operated from Dubai by flydubai that include Medina, Dammam, Bahrain, Jeddah, and Muscat, as well as flights to Colombo, and Karachi on the Indian Subcontinent.
Emirates and Etihad Airways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand their interline agreement and provide travellers additional itinerary options when visiting the UAE. This first of its kind agreement between the two UAE carriers aims will enable customers of each airline to purchase a single ticket to fly into either Dubai or Abu Dhabi, with a seamless return via the other airport, as well as providing the flexibility of one-stop ticketing and convenient baggage check-in.
Tauck has unveiled its 2024 portfolio of European river cruises, including six new itineraries – the most the company has ever added to its portfolio in a single year. Several of the trips incorporate included pre or post-cruise hotel stays in new-to-Tauck cities including Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany and Montreux and Geneva Switzerland. The new river cruises will be highlighted by an included dinner ashore in a lavish setting, with venues ranging from an elegant Viennese palace to a Dutch castle on its own private island, to an Italian Renaissance-style mansion in a small commune in northern France.
Eurail has added new routes in Italy and Denmark. Lokaltog, a Danish railway company, has been added to Eurail’s Pass network, while two new overnight routes through Italy, specially designed for the summer season, offer a “slow travel” experience through the Italian countryside. Travellers can depart from either Vienna, Austria, or Monaco, and arrive in Ancona, Italy (and vice versa) the next morning with stops in Bologna, Rimini, Riccione, Cattolica and Pesaro.
Marriott International, Inc. has completed its acquisition of the City Express brand portfolio from Hoteles City Express. With the acquisition, Marriott International has entered the affordable midscale segment and is launching its 31st brand, City Express by Marriott. The existing City Express hotel portfolio, consists of approximately 150 properties that offer urban, suburban, and extended stay offerings in Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Chile, makes Marriott largest hotel company in Caribbean, Latin America.
Inspired by Steve Irwin’s life, legacy and love for wildlife and wild places, The Crocodile Hunter Lodge in Queensland, Australia, offers eight deluxe cabins surrounded by wilderness and native fauna, helping guests reconnect with nature. With family-friendly rustic cabins and spacious decks overlooking the bushland and wildlife habitats, guests receive complimentary breakfast and a gift pack, along with unlimited entry to Australia Zoo. Amenities include a pool, restaurant and a multi-species habitat that is home to red kangaroos, emus and koalas. More than 3,000 native trees and shrubs are planted throughout the grounds, creating natural wildlife corridors for animals, along with purposefully placed nesting boxes.
The Inclusive Collection, part of World of Hyatt, reports that effective June 1, the Sunscape Akumal Beach Resort & Spa in Mexico will no longer be affiliated with the brand’s portfolio. Guests with existing reservations at Sunscape Akumal Beach Resort & Spa from June 1 will have their stays accommodated at another Inclusive Collection branded property in the destination.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced plans for a new luxury resort in Saudi Arabia as part of the NEOM master project, located on Sindalah Island. The resort will feature 225 guest rooms and suites with terraces overlooking the beaches of the Red Sea, as well as 52 villas with one to four-bedroom configurations with plunge pools and beach views.
This year’s Global Tourism Film Festival recently wrapped up in North Bay, Ont., having provided attendees (above), including travel professionals, to “four days of worldwide destination discovery” through cinema screenings, and in-depth seminars, tourism insight and professional development. GTFF 2023, held this year in Canada, shone a spotlight on the country with ‘Cinema Canada,’ a segment of Canadian produced film promoting the destination’s heritage, along with a host of international offering, including the world premiere of ‘Closer to Heaven’ by director Zara Janjua, who attended with cast members. The Australian produced ‘Blueback,’ with Radha Mitchell and Eric Bana, was awarded Best Feature.
Ensemble Summit, a high-level executive getaway, will take place from June 4-7 at the Forbes Five-Star Stein Eriksen Lodge in Utah followed by the Ensemble Beyond event for top performers from Aug. 1-8 in partnership with Explora Journeys. The summer culminate with Ensemble Horizons – the gathering for the entire Ensemble community – which will take place from Nov. 2-6 at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.
Departing Nov. 30, 2024, Seabourn Sojourn will debut its first-ever “Grand Africa Voyage,” circumnavigating the continent during a 90-day roundtrip from Barcelona, Spain. The journey will visit 44 marquee and off-the-beaten path ports and cities throughout 26 countries, with six overnight stays on the itinerary. The cruise is open for sale.
Cunard has announced its Winter 2025 program, offering over 133 voyages, with stops at 159 unique destinations around the globe. The luxury cruise line also revealed that its highly anticipated Queen Anne will be the only one of vessels to offer a full World Voyage in 2025. Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, flagship liner Queen Mary 2, and the brand’s newest vessel Queen Anne will call at 57 countries, with six maiden calls for the fleet in Alaska, Australia, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Japan.
Celebrating its relaunch on June 2 after refurbishments, Margaritaville at Sea’s ‘Summer Sail-A-Bration’ is offering a Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO) special on its, 3-day/2-night cruises from Palm Beach, Fla., to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. The offer must be purchased by May. 31 and is valid for sailings in 2023.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
Opening soon is SeaWorld San Diego‘s all-new kid-friendly play area, Rescue Jr., which allows kids to learn about animal rescue and rehabilitation through hands-on, active, and engaging experiences, as well as offering play elements such as splash pad, water features, climbing structures and rides, along with real rescue vehicles, an obstacle course, puzzles, fun animal facts, and tips on how to help conservation every day.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
Agents who book their clients with Sunwing on a Hyatt Inclusive Collection vacation package at select Dreams Resorts & Spas and Secrets Resorts & Spas properties by May 31 (for departures by Dec. 15) will be automatically entered for a chance to win a free seven-night stay at Dreams Sands Cancun Resort and Spa or Dreams Aventuras Riviera Maya. Additionally, agents will earn 5X STAR Points on eligible bookings.
Through June 12, agents booking a minimum of three cruises with TravelBrands’ Encore Cruises will earn 15,000 bonus Loyalty Rewards points. Additionally, agents who book a cruise during the eligible period will be entered into a draw to win a 250,000 Loyalty Rewards points – “enough points to cover a very nice vacation in paradise!” Go to travelbrandsaccess.com for more.
TravelBrands has also launched three new games – Quiz, Treasure, and Casino – to reward agents with bonus Loyalty Rewards Points and extra commission. The games are accessible on Access+ through June 9. Plus, agents who complete all three games earn a chance to win a $2,500 TravelBrands future travel voucher. TravelBrands is also giving 2% bonus commission for bookings made on Access+ through the same date, valid on TravelGenie packages, hotel only, and add-ons such as tours, transfers, and attractions.
Toronto-based Reach Global Marketing has been named agency of record for Visit Virginia Beach. Kelli Norman, Interim VP of Tourism Marketing & Sales, at the Virginia Beach CVB said, “Canada is an extremely important market for us. We have been in the market for 30 years now and we are extremely excited to partner with Reach Global Marketing to elevate brand Visit Virginia Beach to the next level.”
The millennium-and-a-half-old St. Nicholas Church in Antalya, Turkey, has reopened to the public after an 18-month restoration. Located in the Mediterranean resort city’s Demre district, the church, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, is built on the burial grounds of the Turkish-born saint now known today as “Santa Claus.” Built in 520 CE, the church’s extensive wall paintings and floor mosaics, are considered essential works in Byzantine art and architecture and were also restored. New gallery space was installed on the second floor, and accessibility enhanced among other improvement and protections.
The 33rd edition of the Malta Jazz Festival will be from July 10 to 15. Known for its philosophy of creating a synergy between upcoming and headlining musicians, the jazz fest is a national and international highlight in the portfolio of festivals produced by Festivals Malta. The event launches on July 10 at the Embassy Hotel with an opening concert by Daniel Sant, William Smith, and Dean Montanaro and festival week proceeds with evening concerts at the Valletta City Theatre featuring hard bop band, The New York Blue Quintet.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 1930, registered nurse Ellen Church, the first airline stewardess, went on duty aboard an Oakland-to-Chicago flight operated by Boeing Air Transport (a forerunner of United Airlines).
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First published at Travel Industry Today