Quebec City rocked to Rendez-vous Canada last week, while in other round-up news, there was more tech trouble for Air Canada, BC assessed its COVID support, ACV unveiled its winter sun season, and the flip of the calendar to June marked the official start of hurricane season.
Quebec City welcomed more than 1,500 participants from 29 countries to Rendez-vous Canada 2023, dubbed this country’s “Olympic Games” of the tourism industry. Organized by Destination Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, with support from Quebec’s Minister of Tourism, the annual event concluded June 2, fostering commercial partnerships that will raise the profile of Québec attractions and tourism experiences across Canada and around the world while showcasing the Bonjour Québec brand. Edmonton has been named next year’s site.
Air Canada experienced more troubles Thursday and Friday causing flight delays for the second time in a week. The Montreal-based airline was advising travellers to check the status of their flights online amid delays caused by an IT issue. Close to 75% of both mainline and Rouge flights had been delayed and dozens cancelled on Thursday and a quarter on Friday.
BC’s auditor general said the province’s COVID-19 support program for the devastated tourism industry followed most required guidelines, though he raised some concerns about the way it was documented and monitored. Michael Pickup said there were “minor inconsistencies” with the otherwise well-designed and implemented destination development grant program that handed out more than $41 million in 2021 and 2022. He added that the grant came at a time when nearly two-thirds of people in the tourism industry lost their jobs in 2020 and was launched under a compressed timeline, raising the risk of applications being inconsistently assessed.
Canada’s official languages commissioner says Francophone travellers are struggling to access services in their language. And it’s only getting worse. Raymond Theberge’s report shows some 495 complaints were lodged against federally regulated travel institutions between April 2022 and the end of March, with 276 of those complaints singling out Air Canada – a 10-year high.
Hurricane season officially began June 1, and forecasters are predicting a “near-normal” season.
BY THE NUMBERS
VIA Rail announced a 106.5% increase in ridership (451,200 passengers), and $50.9 million increase in revenues (147.1%) for the first quarter of 2023, reflecting a strong resurgence of interest in train travel. Approximately 874,700 passengers travelled with VIA Rail between January and March as the Corporation has reintroduced more frequencies across the network.
WestJet celebrated the launch of its first-ever service between Calgary and Washington on Friday. The carrier also commenced inaugural service between Edmonton and Minneapolis.
Also on Friday, Air Canada inaugurated two strategic non-stop routes from its Montreal global hub with the start of year-round service to Toulouse, France, and seasonal service to Copenhagen to complement its year-round services to the Danish capital from Toronto. The airline also completed its inaugural Montreal to Amsterdam flight with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner using sustainable aviation fuel.
American Airlines has signed a new lease at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport – the world’s second busiest airport – that will include US$4.8 billion to build a new terminal and renovate one of the five existing one. The $1.63 billion new Terminal F would include 15 gates. The deal also calls for $2.72 billion to renovate Terminal C and add nine gates in “piers” that will extend from terminals A and C. American will control those gates.
Clients can score up to 38% off Fiji Airways flights to Fiji, Pacific Islands, New Zealand, and Australia with new sale airfares available until June 7. Fiji’s national airline currently flies twice a week between Nadi, Fiji, and Vancouver.
Through Sept. 20, kids, adolescents, and teens travel free with their families on all Quark Expeditions Arctic 2023 voyages.
The US Travel Association and Brand USA awarded TravelBrands a prestigious Chairman’s Circle Honor for 2023 at the recent IPW event in Texas. On hand to accept the award, given to top-producing tour operators, was TravelBrands’ exec Elvi Cal (photo).
With a lineup of key seasonal sun destinations throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America, Air Canada Vacations unveiled its 2023/24 offerings aimed at early planners for the winter season. Clients can vacation in Grenada, Aruba, Los Cabos, Huatulco, Ixtapa, St. Vincent, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Great Exuma, Cayo Santa Maria, Holguin, Belize, Panama and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and will also benefit from additional frequency and capacity to Cancun and Punta Cana. New options this winter include La Romana, Dominican Republic; Los Cabos, Mexico; Fort-de-France, Martinique; and Monterrey, Mexico – all bookable through ePackages, ACV’s shopping tool.
Hard Rock Cafés, Hotels, and Casinos worldwide will be hosting a variety of Pride Month activations, including partnering with notable LGBT figures in local communities to create exclusive experiences like one-of-a-kind curated suites, unique food and beverage offerings, entertainment experiences, Pride playlists, and community fundraising events. To kick off Pride 2023, Hard Rock has announced a partnership with genre-bending artist Halsey and pledged a minimum of $250,000 to the Human Rights Campaign and Outright International.
Bookings are now being accepted for Raffles Boston, the much-anticipated luxury property, which will open Sept. 1. The property will mark the first mixed-use development in North America for the renowned 136-year-old Raffles Hotels & Resorts brand. Located in the heart of the city’s Back Bay, the 35-storey, 147-room/21-suite hotel promises “a sense of adventure and style, gracious and intuitive hospitality, and thoughtful, locally inspired design, all while enhancing the cosmopolitan charm of the Back Bay.” The first Raffles property opened its doors in 1887 in Singapore.
The Inclusive Collection, part of World of Hyatt, reports that its social groups program, ‘Social Stays That Pay,’ is now live for travel distributors in Canada. The program advances policies to meet market conditions and offers enhanced amenities, such as complimentary rooms and upgrades as well as other inclusions to further improve the social groups experience. For example, groups now have the ability to request specific bedding types at select resorts (for an additional charge).
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of the Ajul Luxury Hotel & Spa Resort, its first Registry Collection Hotel in Europe. The 171-room, 5-star resort is located in Halkidiki, Greece, known for its pristine beaches, forests, and unique views of the Aegean Sea and Mount Olympus.
TravelBrands’ Encore Cruises is now partners with Virgin Voyages, a cruise line known for its playful yet sophisticated atmosphere. The cruise line offers an extensive array of amenities and entertainment options onboard stunning ships, catering to the travellers seeking a contemporary cruise getaway. In addition, travel agents booking Virgin Voyages sailings throughout June will earn a $100 bonus commission.
Carnival Cruise Line has announced that comedian Jay Leno will serve as its first- ever godfather to one of its ships, Carnival Venezia, at a celebratory event on June 14 when the ship is blessed and enters service from New York. In addition to serving as the Godfather, Leno will perform a special comedy show exclusively for guest.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
Canadians heading to Universal Orlando Resort can now get five days access for the price of two on the two-day, two-park ticket). The offer is in effect until Dec. 9 for travel in 2023. Meanwhile, agents booking a two-day, one park ticket by June 30 will earn 5% extra commission.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
This year, from June through August, over 20 hotels throughout New Orleans are offering travel advisor rates, which agents can supplement with a VIP pass to make the most of their visit to the Louisiana city. Starting at US$69 (plus taxes) per night through New Orleans & Company’s Summer Travel Advisor FAM, many hotel packages include discounted parking, free Wi-Fi, and discounts at hotel bars, available for qualified travel advisors (some blackout dates apply).
To register for the FAM rates, click HERE.
Air Canada Vacations reminds that it offers a 20% discount for agents to use for their personal travel. The agent discount can be applicable to packages to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe throughout the month of May with a travel window through Dec. 18.
The 2023 series of Sandals and Beaches Resorts’ exclusive Canadian Masterclass online sessions continue in June and throughout the summer, designed to inform travel advisors on the all-inclusive chain’s latest developments while offering monthly prize trip opportunities for all attendees, as well as helping achieve certified Sandals status and earning CTC and CTM accreditation (four ACTA credits). Remaining dates are as follows (all 10 a.m.-noon, local time): June 07 – Ontario; June 14 – Alberta; June 20 – BC; June 21 – Saskatchewan; June 28 – Ontario; July 12 – Alberta; Sept 20 – Saskatchewan; Sept 21 – BC. For information and to register, call your local BDM or Inside Sales at 1-800-545-8283, or click HERE:
ACTA held its annual general meeting on May 30, at which its new Board of Directors for the year 2023-2024 was announced: Liz Fleming, BC/Yukon and Treasurer; Peter Keyter, Alberta/NWT; Karen Schabel Saskatchewan; Melanie Carter, Manitoba/Nunavut, and Vice Chair; Monica Johnstone, Ontario; Geneviève Dupuy-Duplessis, Québec; Gary Gaudry, Atlantic; Zeina Gedeon, Director at Large; Brian Robertson, Director at Large/Secretary; Appointed Directors – Shalene Dudley, Mary Jane Hiebert (also Board Chair); and Rocky Racco. Several long-time director left the board with thanks: Patrick Doyle, Mike Foster, Louise Gardiner, and Richard Vanderlubbe.
Visit Orlando has announced AVIAREPS as destination’s trade sales rep (for project work) in Canada.
In Nevada, Reno, (photo) has a new-look downtown. The Reno Experience District (RED) features a new Element Hotel, artisan shops, dining, and curated entertainment, as well as a market hall and .8-hectare public park. This year, the city opened the new Reno Public Market, and several downtown hotels, including Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Grand Sierra Resort, Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, and Whitney Peak Hotel, are in the midst of renovations. New properties are also in the works, including a new Hyatt Place slated to open at the end of 2023 and a Kimpton, which is slated to open in 2025.
After three years of construction and a cost of $300 million, the reimagined Nassau Cruise Port has opened its doors to cruisers (and land-based guests), not only offering enhanced service for cruises to the Bahamas’ capital city, but ushering in a regeneration of the city’s downtown core. Including the repair and the expansion of Prince George Wharf, Phase 1 of the revitalized cruise port features a sixth berth and new terminal building, and host of other amenities, including a Junkanoo Museum event and entertainment spaces including an art gallery and 3,500-seat amphitheatre; living coral exhibit; new food and beverage facilities; and 40 retail space.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 1911, the British liner RMS Titanic was launched from its building berth at the Port of Belfast.
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First published at Travel Industry Today