In last week’s news reel, Disney offered a first glimpse of its new ship, the Treasure; a Qantas scandal led to early retirement for the airline’s boss; Air Canada revealed ambitious plans for its 2004 transatlantic program; a cruise ship returned to Maui; WestJet Encore pilots began preparing for contract negotiations; and Myrtle Beach named a new representative in Canada.
Quebec’s new tourist accommodation law is now in effect, with hefty fines of up to $100,000 for short-term rental platforms listing properties without a proper government certificate. Under a provincial law adopted in June, rental platforms like Airbnb are now prohibited from displaying listings that don’t have a registration number and certificate issued by the province.
Pilots with WestJet Encore are gearing up to bargain their second collective agreement. The Air Line Pilots Association says it’s filed notice to open contract negotiations with the regional carrier for WestJet. The association says WestJet Encore needs to give its nearly 400 pilots drastic improvements on wages, career progression and more to keep them.
The boss of Australian airline Qantas said he would leave his job immediately – two months earlier than planned – following a series of embarrassing revelations about the company, including allegations it sold tickets for flights that had already been cancelled. Chief Executive Alan Joyce said that after 15 years running the national carrier, he was bringing forward his planned retirement date. The airline said Vanessa Hudson would take over as managing director and group chief executive effective immediately.
A new, year-round route between Montreal and Madrid will launch next May as part of Air Canada’s expanded international summer 2024 flying schedule. The airline says it will operate 100% of its peak summer 2019 trans-Atlantic capacity next year, taking full advantage of the robust recovery in its largest international market. Other highlights of the new schedule include expanded service to Italy, including three daily flights to Rome, and earlier seasonal start-ups from Montreal to Amsterdam and Copenhagen, and from Toronto to Brussels and Edinburgh.
Starting in November, Porter Airlines is launching daily service from Toronto to five Florida destinations: Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Fort Myers (RSW), Miami (MIA), Orlando (MCO), and Tampa (TPA); as well as two destinations – FLL and MCO – from Ottawa. All routes begin with one daily, roundtrip flight. They include, from Toronto to Tampa starting – Nov. 1; Fort Myers – Nov. 10; Orlando – Nov. 21; Fort Lauderdale – Nov. 21; and Miami – Dec. 12; and from Ottawa to MCO – Nov. 21, and FLL Nov. 30.
Emirates’ codeshare partnership with Air Canada has extended to include flights to and from Montreal, following the launch of services to the city in July. Emirates customers will now be able to plan travel between 11 of the most popular domestic points beyond Montréal and destinations on Emirates’ expansive network, utilising the services of both airlines conveniently on a single ticket.
BY THE NUMBERS
SATA Group’s airline, Azores Airlines, has just passed the symbolic mark of one million passengers carried in 2023, around three months before 2022 and the scheduled date for this year. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Azores Airlines performed well above Europe and the rest of the world in passengers carried in 2022, showing gains of 14.5% compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic year)
Through Sept. 21, travellers will be able to extend summer travel plans with deals on Transat packages and Air Transat flights. From Montreal or Quebec City, South packages start at $749, while one-way flights to Florida start at $159. Travellers from Quebec also benefit from 25% off seat selection to and from Florida. From Ontario, South packages start at $729, while round-trip flights to the South start at $359. Deals are also available on packages to Malaga and Faro for travellers from both Quebec and Ontario. Plus, travel agents get 3X BONBON per booking, which means $15 per package booking and $3 per flight booking. Travel must be completed by April 30, 2024; more details online or at Agent Direct.
American Queen Voyages (AQV) is getting a head start on the holiday season by launching its ‘Holiday Sailabration’ offer, which is available for booking through Oct. 31. On select voyages in 2023, travellers can embrace the spirit of the holiday season on North America’s rivers while receiving up to US$3,000 in savings, a $600 air credit and a $200 “Your Choice” onboard credit per stateroom.
Collette has launched a revamped loyalty program, designed to reward travellers with more perks. Previously, travellers received a flat rate credit for use within one to two years of their initial tour; now with the “Passport Club,” Collette clients are automatically enrolled into the program as Level 1: Adventurer, offering a 5% loyalty credit that can be used with 12 months, and 3% if used between 13 and 24 months. After a second trip, Level 2 Explorer status includes a $100 credit towards tour components.
Hilton has made its debut in Cannes, France, with the opening of Canopy by Hilton Cannes, further strengthening the Canopy by Hilton portfolio across Europe. Nestled along the French Riviera’s pristine coastline, the hotel, which features 129 guest rooms and suites, along with a further 12 apartments, is perfectly positioned in the heart of La Croisette, Cannes, and effortlessly captures the spirit and elegance of the Mediterranean, including featuring unique artwork in each room curated by talented young artists.
The Dew Drop Inn Hotel and Lounge, on Lasalle Street in New Orleans, will reopen in October. First opened in 1938 by Frank Painia, the Dew Drop was a hotel, music venue and barber shop. Legendary musicians played on its stage including Ray Charles, Little Richard, Deacon John, and Irma Thomas. The boutique hotel will include 17 hotel rooms, a live music venue and a resort style pool.
Canadian-owned Wymara Resort & Villas in the Turks and Caicos has unveiled the ultimate ocean amenity: a 1,580-hectare ocean pool (pool) – said to be the first in the Caribbean and offering the best of both worlds by providing swimmers with poolside comforts while swimming in the sea. The natural swimming pool, which gets replenished with fresh seawater from the Atlantic, is carved out of the coastal rock and lined by an expansive timber deck that spans the entire length of the pool. It also features a tiki bar and sun loungers and umbrellas for shade. Wymara is located on Turks’ famed Grace Bay Beach.
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar is the first hotel in Puerto Rico to partner with El Yunque National Rainforest, the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest System. The partnership will allow guests to donate directly to the national park’s conservation efforts when they book their stay, and the resort will also feature an exhibition in the lobby to educate guests on the unique history of the rainforest and encourage them to experience the wonders of the park. The property is also focusing on families with new expanded family programming such as a daily turtle feeding program which builds upon the ever-popular iguana feeding programs, as well as the introduction of new non-motorized water sports for guests.
Disney Cruise Line unveiled its sixth and newest ship last week in a virtual video reveal that introduced never-before-released details about the vessel, which is set to sail in 2024. Inspired by Walt Disney’s love of exploration, the Disney Treasure will invite guests to step into colourful plazas in Mexico, navigate the many winding rivers of the world, dive below the ocean’s surface, and more. The ship will embark on its maiden voyage, a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral, Fla., on Dec. 21, 2024, followed by an inaugural season of seven-night itineraries to the Eastern and Western Caribbean from Port Canaveral. Bookings open on Sept. 20.
Norwegian Cruse Lines returned to Maui on Sept. 3. The cruise line paused its calls to the island, to avoid stressing local resources due to the devastating wildfires in Lahaina on the island’s west side. ‘Pride of America’ called in Kahului, with NCL president David J. Herrera noting that cruise line’s return took place under the guidance and support of the local community, Hawaii Tourism Authority, and with encouragement Governor Josh Green.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
Next year, Universal Orlando Resort will debut an all-new themed land featuring DreamWorks Animations’ beloved animated characters (photo). Guests will meet favourite characters like Gabby from Gabby’s Dollhouse and explore themed, interactive play spaces and attractions that bring popular franchises like Shrek, Trolls, and Kung Fu Panda to life in the most imaginatively fun ways. The new DreamWorks land, coming to Universal Studios Florida, is part of a collection of new entertainment experiences debuting at Universal Orlando Resort in 2024.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
In celebration of Sunwing Vacation’s newly revamped group quoting capabilities, the tour operator is offering agents the chance to win one of two seven-night all inclusive getaways for two to Riu Latino with every booking made by Oct. 31 using the new Group Booking Request form. The refreshed Instant Group Quotes application includes new features and updates to existing features that are critical to the group booking experience.
Agents are reminded that those completing Rocky Mountaineer’s TRACKS online training by Sept. 30 are eligible to win a monthly prize for a $150 gift card or the Grand Prize of a complimentary rail journey for two on any two-day Rocky Mountaineer route in Canada or the U.S.
TICO will host an informational webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. to provide registrants and stakeholders with an opportunity to learn more, and ask questions, about by-law changes introduced on Aug. 11 by Ontario’s Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery, which served five orders to TICO to make changes to its governance structure. To register for the by-law webinar, click here.
Granite Travel Trade Expos has announced new regional travel trade show dates in the fall, including more Ontario cities plus locations in Western Canada. More than 25 travel suppliers are registered for the events, including Bahia Principe Hotels and Resorts, Porter, Transat, Cuba Tourist Board, Blue Diamond, St Kitts Tourism Authority, and more. The schedule will be as follows: Edmonton – Tuesday, Oct. 3; Victoria, BC – Wednesday, Oct. 4; Surrey, BC – Thursday, Oct. 5; Ottawa – Monday, Nov. 6; Pickering/Ajax, Ont. – Tues. Nov. 7; Vaughan, Ont. – Wednesday, Nov. 8; and Burlington, Ont. – Thursday, Nov. 9. The first 50 agents to arrive will receive a $20 gas gift card in each city. Agents are welcome to attend the presentations, trade show, and dinner reception. Granite Productions will run social media campaigns where twelve $50 gas gift cards will be available to be won by users who like, share, and follow @granite.productions on Instagram during September and October.Register at granitetravelexpos.com/agents/
Newmarket, Ont.-based Canlink Travel Representatives has been named Canadian representative for SunSwept Resorts in St. Lucia, which includes StolenTime and BodyHoliday, the Caribbean’s first wellness resort. Each of the properties offer an all-inclusive experience set on a beautiful beach in St. Lucia.
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Visit Myrtle Beach has named Pulse Travel Marketing as its newly appointed agency of record in Canada. Pulse takes over the account from Kimberly Hartley of Travel Solutions by Design, which has represented the South Carolina destination for the past 14 years. The partnership will include, but not be limited to, the development and implementation of strategic marketing programs to increase the profile for Visit Myrtle Beach in the primary markets of Ontario and Quebec. Pulse has named Rebecca Seeds account manager for Visit Myrtle Beach in Canada. She will lead the account from its Toronto-based office with support from Sylvie Madore in Quebec and the account PR and marketing teams.
Tourist-flooded Venice has approved guidelines for testing a new fee for day-trippers on peak visitor weekends next year. The fee, initially 5 euros ($7.30) per day-tripper (overnight visitors are exempt), is “is to disincentivize daily tourism in certain periods, in line with the fragility and uniqueness of the city, the statement said. The test will last about 30 days and take place in 2024 on spring weekends spanning Italian national holidays and on summer weekends. The exact days of the test will be set by the city in the coming weeks.
The Bua Airport Express a bus service connecting Suvarnabhumi Airport to over 500 hotels, has been launched in Bangkok. The service aims to provide convenient and cost-effective travel options for just 180 baht per trip, covering three routes across the city: Sathorn-Mahanakorn Tower-MBK Center, Yaowarat-China Town-Saochingcha, and Asoke-Sukhumvit-EmQuartier-Thonglor, including various tourist attractions and shopping malls.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 1852, the first controlled airship flight occurred in France.
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First published at Travel Industry Today