27 MAY 2019: In case you missed it, and even if you didn’t, here’s a quick look at some of last week’s need-to-know travel news:


Canada’s new Air Passenger Protection Regulations will come into effect on July 15, the federal government says. The “robust” new regulations from the Canadian Transportation Agency require all carriers to “proactively offers standards of treatment” to passengers that are “clear, consistent and transparent,” and, where warranted, issue compensation within strict timelines. The new regs are designed so that passengers will not have to complain to the CTA first about such issues as communication, tarmac delays, denied boarding, lost and damaged luggage, and the transportation of musical instruments. Non-complying airlines will be fined up to $25,000 per incident. Full details on the regulations can be found on the CTA website.

WestJet has announced that WestJet Encore flight dispatchers, represented by the Canadian Airline Dispatchers Association (CALDA), have successfully ratified a three-year agreement.

Canadian nationals aged 18 and over, and who are travelling using a biometric or ‘chipped’ passport, can now use the automated e-passport gates when arriving in the United Kingdom. Visitors aged 12 to 17-years-old, and who are accompanied by an adult, are also able to use them. Britain is also removing the need for travellers from Canada and all other non-EEA countries to fill in landing cards upon arrival in the UK, making for a smoother entry to the country. ePassport gates use facial recognition technology to compare the passenger’s face to the digital image recorded in the passport.


Through Sept. 2, 2019, Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ loyalty program members will receive a $20 Best Western Travel Card after their first stay in the BW Rewards Rush promotion.

The newly revamped Las Vegas Pass now includes admission to a choice of more than 20 different shows as well as tours, attractions and activities, ranging from Cirque du Soleil shows to helicopter flights and a bus tour to the Grand Canyon. The digital pass is priced from $299 (CA$402) per adult, $269 (CA$361) per child aged three-12 years for a two-day pass, $419 (CA$563) for three and $569 (CA$765) for four, resulting in savings of up to $450 (CA$605) on just six experiences.

To celebrate is 80th anniversary as a hotel, spectacular 800-year-old Ashford Castle in western Ireland is offering guests a special 80th-birthday hotel experience available until Dec. 23. A two-night stay includes accommodation, a one-hour Hawk Walk at the Ireland School of Falconry, horseback-riding lesson for two, dinner for two in the George V dining room, and a tour with a local historian. The price? €1,939 the year the hotel opened, (CA$3,311). Rate is per night, based on two people sharing a Corrib Room.


Avalon Waterways is planning to tip toe through the tulips in the Netherlands with two new Tulip time cruises that will sail in April and May 2020. Guest will be able to take in the spectacle of more than seven million blooms in the region, including at the legendary Keukenhof, on five cruises – including three new itineraries: the eight-day Tulip Time in Holland & Belgium, eight-day Tulip Time Highlights and 15-day Grand Tulip Cruise of Holland & Belgium itineraries. Other Tulip-focused itineraries include the Tulip Time Cruise and Tulips of Northern Holland itineraries.

Trafalgar knows Africa. As the home of company owners, the Tollman family, the tour operator’s 11 itineraries across nine countries in 2020 “have been curated with family memories and connections front and centre [and] each inclusion, optional, meal, and accommodation has been hand-selected” to ensure guests “not only see, but truly feel the true soul of the continent.” Tour titles include “Namibia Adventure,” “Wonders of Kenya,” and “Cape Town Explorer.”

Canada-based women-only adventure travel outfitter Wild Women Expeditions (which also only employs women), will celebrate its 30th anniversary year in 2020 with trips in 30 separate countries. “We’re riding high on a global tidal wave of interest in women-only adventure travel,” says Jennifer Haddow, owner and director. “In just a decade we’ve gone from hosting Canada-only trips to having multi-day programs in 30 countries!” Featured in 2020 will be two new trips to Nepal and Peru.


Choice Hotels and AMResorts have entered into a strategic agreement that will allow the former’s loyalty club members to earn and redeem points at AMR’s 40 all-inclusive sun resorts in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

Copenhagen’s hotel scene has seen a significant increase in capacity in the last few years with new hotels opening steadily across the city. And so far, there are no signs of the building boom slowing down. The latest in a string of hotel chains to announce a new project, Comwell Hotels, has just begun the construction of a new 484-room hotel in the city’s Nordhavn area, taking the overall number of hotel rooms being built in the Danish city over the next four years to approx. 8,500. This amounts to more than a 40% increase in Greater Copenhagen’s rooms capacity, which is on track to reach nearly 30,000 rooms by 2021.

A new Nobu Hotel will open in London, UK, in spring 2020. The property in Portman Square W1, steps from Mayfair's vibrant restaurants and independent boutiques and on the edge of the theatres of Soho in London's West End will have 239 guest rooms and suites, a Nobu restaurant, ballroom and meeting facilities.


The JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort in southwest Florida has completed its comprehensive $320-million transformation project, featuring the new Lanai Tower with more than technologically integrated meeting and event space, new culinary concepts entertainment centre, reimagined Lanai Suites and the debut of the “Paradise by Sirene” experience, a curated escape exclusively for adults.


LWTM-Silversea - new ship rendering

Silversea has unveiled new details of Silver Origin, the cruise line's first ever destination-specific ship, which will sail in the Galapagos Islands from the summer of 2020. One of the most environmentally friendly cruise ships ever, the 100-passenger, all-suite vessel offer guests Ecuadorian culture on board, through insightful content, including daily briefings, lectures, videos, and scientific information; authentic local cuisine, prepared by expert Ecuadorian chefs; and various other luxurious enhancements. Every aspect of guests' cruise experience will be tailored to take them closer to the authentic beauty of the Galapagos Islands in luxury, says the cruise line.

Carnival Cruise Line hosted a naming ceremony for the “totally transformed” Carnival Sunrise in New York on May 23. The ship will spend the summer in New York operating four- to 14-day voyages before repositioning to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a winter schedule of Caribbean and Bahamian cruises beginning in October. Carnival Sunrise then heads back to New York for another season of cruises in spring 2020.

July 1, 2020 will mark the debut of AmaSiena, the newest ship in the AmaWaterways fleet. The 156-guest ship will sail a variety of seven-, 10- and 11-night itineraries, visiting iconic cities, historical villages and spectacular vineyard regions along the Rhine, Main, Moselle and Danube rivers. The vessel AmaSiena will feature 78 staterooms, the majority with AmaWaterways’ exclusive twin balconies – offering panoramic views from both a French and outside balcony. She also has four suites, six pairs of connecting staterooms and 12 triple occupancy staterooms designed for multi-generational families. Additional amenities include a heated Sun Deck swimming pool with a swim-up bar, fitness room, fleet of bicycles and massage and beauty salon services.


SeaWorld San Diego can now feel the power of the ocean this summer with the launch of the park's all-new Tidal Twister roller coaster. The horizontal, figure-8, duelling coaster – the first of its kind in the world –opened to park guests on May 24.

2019 has seen the largest expansion ever for Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, an attraction in suburban London (Watford), UK, that showcases original movie sets from the Harry Potter film series. This year the studio has opened Gringott’s Bank, renovated the entrance area with a huge mural and 22-metre hanging dragon overhead, and introduced several new dining experiences including a chocolate café. “In 2012, when we first opened the doors, I don’t think that anyone really imagined that one day Watford would be welcoming more day-trip visitors than either Stratford-upon-Avon or Manchester, but apparently that is now the case,” says Geoff Spooner, VP & GM.

Universal Orlando Resort has announced that its Holidays celebrations will kick off Nov. 16 this year and continue through Jan. 5.


LWTM-g adventures - Egypt Abu Simbel Temple

This fall G Adventures will host a series of FAMs exclusively for Canadian travel agents to Northern Peru, Turkey, Egypt (photo, Abu Simbel), Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. The trips are eight to 12 days in length and are priced from $399 to $599 p.p., land only. Dates and details are: Explore Northern Peru – nine days, $599, departing Oct 16; Best of Turkey – eight days, $399, departing Oct 26; Mayan Encounter (Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico) 12 days, $399, departing Nov 2; Egypt Upgrade - 12 days, $599, departing Nov 27. Interested agents can contact their local G rep for more info. Applications can be submitted until June 16 and qualified agents will be notified in July.

To close out Agent Appreciation Month, Trafalgar is offering agents 50% off select 2019 Europe and Britain summer trips for themselves and a companion. Destinations include Ireland, Scandinavia, Iberia, France, and more. Space is limited. For details, call a Trafalgar BDM or go to the agent web site.

Agents that pass the three-module course to become a Hong Kong specialist by June 26 will qualify to win a five-day trip to the city courtesy of the Hong Kong Tourist Board and partners.


ACTA is accepting registrations for its annual Ontario golf tourney, scheduled to tee off at the Royal Ontario Golf Course in Milton on July 11. Non-golfers can also attend the after-tourney cocktail reception and dinner. Premier sponsor for the event is Air Canada. Access the registration form HERE.


Seven visitor experience operators were celebrated at the inaugural Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Awards earlier this month. The awards recognize excellence in sustainable visitor experiences in the areas of adventure, accommodation, relaxation and off-the-beaten-track activities in diverse regions. The award winners are: Camp Glenorchy – Eco Retreat (Queenstown); Franz Josef Glacier Guides – Glacier Heli Hike (West Coast); Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa – Adult Experience (Canterbury); Kaitiaki Adventures – Raft the Kaituna (Rotorua); Real Journeys – Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise (Fiordland); Redwoods Treewalk – Redwoods Treewalk and Nightlights Experience (Rotorua); and Rotorua Canopy Tours – The Ultimate Canopy Tour (Rotorua).

The Pan American and Parapan American Games will take place in Lima, Peru, from July 26 to Sept. 1 with approximately 150,000 visitors and 8,000 athletes expected to attend the event. The Pan-Am Games will bring together 41 nations to compete in 39 sports this year, including, for the first time, bodybuilding and surfing. The Parapan-Am Games will feature a record 1,850 athletes competing in 17 sports, which makes this the biggest Parapan-Am Games ever.

The Wave Bristol, a new inland surfing lake powered by the latest wave-making technology, capable of generating up to 1,000 quality waves per hour, is set to open this fall in Bristol, England. The lake will have three surf zones for different abilities and a high-performance surf centre for elite athletes and aspiring pros. Meanwhile, still fresh in the southwestern English city is Aerospace Bristol, which offers a lofty diversion to the city’s ubiquitous maritime heritage. The new industrial heritage museum, which opened in late 2017, is located on the 3.6-hectare Filton airfield site and boasts over 8,000 artifacts, including several vintage aircraft. The prize exhibit, however, is Concorde 216, the last supersonic jet to be built and be flown.

Send your news to: baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

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Michael Baginski

Editor, Mike Baginski is well known and well respected within the industry across Canada, the US, in the Caribbean, Mexico and numerous other destinations outside North America.

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