Airline accessibility took the spotlight last week, as did a host of other airline news, including new Lynx service to Tampa. Other round-up items feature Florida rail service Brightline announcing commissions for agents, Sandals preparing for its last masterclass of the year, and a visit by Martinique Tourism officials ahead of the island’s forthcoming and much-anticipated Air Canada service from Toronto.
Air Canada says it is speeding up a three-year accessibility plan after recent reports of passenger mistreatment. The measures range from establishing a customer accessibility director to consistently boarding passengers who request lift assistance first. Air Canada also aims to implement annual, recurrent training in accessibility – such as how to use a lift – for its 10,000-odd airport employees and include mobility aids in an app that can track baggage. Statistics Canada found that 63 percent of the 2.2 million people with disabilities who used federally regulated transportation in 2019 and 2020 faced a barrier.
NexusTours has announced it will be the official Destination Management Company (DMC) for WestJet Vacations, providing transfer services and local experts across all destinations featured by the tour operator, including Cancun, Punta Cana, and Cuba. NexusTours has more than more than 25 years of experience in tours, transfers, and excursions and has a presence in 19 countries and 52 destinations serving 3 million travellers annually.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Emirates Group announced its best-ever six-month financial result. The Group is reporting a 2023-24 half-year net profit of US$ 2.7 billion, surpassing its record half-year profit of US$ 1.2 last year by 138%.
Starting in June, Air Canada will offer new summer seasonal service to Stockholm, with three weekly flights from Montreal (from June 14) and two weekly flights from Toronto (from June 12). The strategic expansion of its route network in Scandinavia will also see increased capacity on its year-round Copenhagen flights from Toronto (daily from May 1) and an earlier seasonal start from Montreal (May 2).
Lynx’s inaugural flight to the Tampa Bay area took off from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to Tampa International Airport (TPA). The carrier launched Orlando service from Montreal on Nov. 2 and will soon add Tampa as well.
With Air Malta set to cease operations early next year, the country’s government has announced the establishment of a new national airline to serve the Maltese Islands. Announced by Prime Minister Robert Abela, the new company will be called KM Malta Airlines and will start operations on March 31, 2024.
Fareportal has announced the full integration of New Distribution Capability (NDC) between the Singapore Airlines and Fareportal’s online travel agency brands, including CheapOair. The NDC provides CheapOair and OneTravel customers access to the full range of Singapore Airlines products and services, as well as special content.
Taking place from Nov. 20 to Dec. 4, Intrepid’s annual Cyber Sale will offer discounts of up to 20% off trips in more than 100 destinations worldwide plus an exclusive 30% discount on Intrepid’s Best of Antarctica: Wildlife Explorer trip departing this December.
Through Nov. 30, guests can take advantage of a special opening offer of 20% off stays at the new Wyndham Grand Barbados, Sam Lord’s Castle Resort & Spa for stays until June 19, 2024 (subject to availability and blackout dates).
G Adventures and National Geographic Expeditions have announced a lineup of eight new trips to be added to the ‘National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures’ collection, which encompass elements of hands-on exploration on every trip. The new lineup also includes four new trips geared for parents, children, and extended families who are travelling together. Trips will include Scotland, Turkey, and Wyoming in the US, plus a new tour joins the two previous Peru and Bolivia departures together. The four new Family Journeys will take explore Belize, Greece, Ireland, and the Southwest US.
Along with the Lares and Salkantay treks, the 26-km Quarry Trail has emerged as an alternative to the Inca Trail for hikers looking to explore the Sacred Valley around Machu Picchu. Intrepid Travel has been offering Quarry Trail itineraries for several years, but starting in 2024, will include a new section of the trail previously unseen by travellers. Intrepid has worked with local communities in the area to develop this new section, and for every guest booked on a Quarry Trail trek, the company will donate to local organizations to ensure the ongoing protection and conservation of the historic area. Quieter than the Inca Trail and not requiring permits, highlights of the Quarry Trail include the Perolniyoc Cascade waterfall, the 4,450 metre-high Kuychicassa Pass, and a sun gate overlooking Ollantaytambo.
Following a multi-million-dollar transformation, the historic British Colonial Hotel in Nassau, Bahamas, is set to reopen this winter, with a renewed sense of island-inspired sophistication. Guests will discover a redesigned lobby, seven food and beverage outlets and 288 completely renovated guest rooms and suites.
Germain Hotels’ 20th property, Alt Hotel Ottawa Airport, will open in 2025 with construction set to start this fall. First announced in 2019, the project was halted due to the pandemic. The new scaled-down version of the hotel will consist of 178 guest rooms, meeting rooms, and gym as well as a full-service restaurant. A pedway will connect the hotel directly to the airport terminal. The hotel will be Germain Hotels’ third establishment in Ottawa and the third airport property for the chain, having terminal hotels at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
Jawakara Islands Maldives (photo) is the latest opening in the Crown & Champa Resorts portfolio, which includes Kudadoo Maldives Private Island, Hurawalhi Maldives, and Kagi Maldives Resort & Spa in its luxury collection. Jawakara is a five-star, family-friendly 290-villa resort comprising two separate islands – Mabin and Dheru – connected by an oversea walkway. Guests can choose activities from surfing, diving, kayaking and snorkelling to golf, paddle and football tournaments on a full-sized pitch. Alternatively, there are two Suhla spas, a yoga retreat and two infinity pools. The resort is reached via 40-minute speedboat from Madivaru domestic airport in Lhaviyani Atoll or by seaplane from Malé International Airport.
Cunard has started the clock on the six-month count-down to the debut of its fourth vessel, Queen Anne, which will launch into service in May 2024. The 113,000-ton vessel will have 14 decks and 15 dining venues, holding up to 3,000 guests. In her maiden season, Queen Anne will be sailing in Europe with itineraries including the Canary Islands, British Isles, Norwegian Fjords, Western Mediterranean, and more. Queen Anne will be the first Cunard ship to launched in 13 years.
Royal Caribbean‘s private island in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, will debut an adults-only beach club in January. The exclusive experience, known as Hideaway Beach, will feature an acre of white sand beaches, seven bars and restaurants, poolside cabana rentals, live DJs and more.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
Florida’s intercity passenger rail company Brightline has announced a new travel professional program that includes commissionable bookings for travel advisors, including those in Canada. Qualified agents can now book clients’ travel on Brightline between Orlando and South Florida (Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach) with access to the lowest published fares and earn commissions of up to 10% for both Premium and Smart services.
During the month of December travel advisors can take advantage of special hotel rates and exclusive offers courtesy of New Orleans & Company’s Holiday Travel Advisors independent familiarization trip. The annual program, which has been running for over a decade, enables travel advisors to opportunity to experience the city firsthand, while enhancing the city’s visibility and accessibility, and benefiting the travel industry. To register for the 2023 holiday travel advisors FAM, click here.
One final “masterclass” for Canadian travel advisors will be hosted by Sandals on Nov. 16. The series has been running May and September and will conclude on Thursday, with the two-hour session to take place between 1 and 3 p.m. EST. Hosted by Lorna Richards, National Training Manager – Sandals notes the event is available live and will not be recorded. Participants will have a chance to wine a three-night stay at Sandals Dunn’s River or Sandals Royal Curaçao and will earn points towards Sandals specialist certification, four CTC or CTM credits. To register, click HERE.
The Martinique Tourism Authority brought a welcome dose of the Caribbean to Toronto’s Hotel X last week at the 2023 edition of ‘Martinique Sensation.’ On hand was an extensive delegation of Martinique tourism stakeholders (photo) headed by director and deputy directors of tourism, Muriel Wiltord and Karine Roy-Camille, along with dozens of invited attendees from the Canadian travel trade for a showcase of everything the destination has to offer, including news that Air Canada will begin flights from Toronto to the “The Isle of Flowers” starting Dec. 16.
The Reno Experience District (RED) is a new community development in Reno, Nevada, that includes accommodation, artisan shops, dining, rooftop lounges, and entertainment, featuring the Reno Public Market – opened earlier this year with 18 food vendors – and a public park with amphitheatre and LED display system. RED has been opening in phases since 2021, with the Element Hotel scheduled to open by the end of this year. It joins the following three hotels as Reno’s newest properties: Whitney Peak Hotel, completing a major guest room renovation expected to finish this Fall; Legends Bay Casino, opened last summer as the first ground-up casino built in over 25 years complete with food truck hall; J Resort, rebranded from the Sands Regency Hotel and the first phase of its remodel including an upgraded casino with more than 600 new gaming positions, two new restaurants, and 24/7 digital art wall.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 1977, West German commandos stormed a hijacked Lufthansa airliner at an airport in Somalia and freed all 86 hostages aboard.
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First published at Travel Industry Today