03 JUN 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:

AIR

WestJet has revealed its winter 787-9 Dreamliner schedule, announcing the state-of-the-art aircraft will now fly between Calgary and Maui and will operate an additional day to London (Gatwick). As part of the schedule release, WestJet also announced the 787-9 Dreamliner will be operate daily service between Toronto and London (Gatwick) starting Oct. 23.

United Airlines officially moved into the Eastern Concourse of Terminal B at New York-LaGuardia Airport on the weekend, following the first phase of the $4-billion (CA$5.41 billion), 1.3-million-square-foot redevelopment project of the facility. The new concourse features ample gate seating, with charging stations throughout the seating area along with free unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi, and a 'park area'; complete with greenery and benches, themed children's play area. As part of the terminal redevelopment, United also opened its newest United Club on the concourse.

A new campaign by Cathay Pacific aims to showcase the Hong Kong airline’s dedication to becoming “one of the world’s greatest service brands.” CEO Rupert Hogg says Cathay is determined to challenge industry norms with a “thoughtful, progressive and can-do spirit” that will provide customers with a “superior experience” at every stage of their journey. Examples of the “Move Beyond” call to action include the introduction of new seats, Wi-Fi across the majority of the long-haul fleet, enhanced food and beverage offerings in all classes, and an upgraded digital platform to give customers more control of their journey with the promise of a new business class, to come in the months ahead.

DEALS

Sunwing’s new Cruise brochure is now available, featuring MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Marella Cruises, as well as flights on Sunwing Airlines from Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Moncton or Halifax; pier transfers, and accommodations. Through June 7, travellers can save up to $200 per couple on all Sunwing cruise packages for travel between Dec. 17 and April 14, 2020.

A host of popular Air Canada Vacations’ packages are on sale today in the tour operator’s Europe August Blowout promotion. Tours such Best of Greece, Taste of Ireland, Wonder of Italy, and London & Paris can be booked for up to close to $1,000 for select dates in August.

Nine resorts on Bermuda are offering guests the opportunity to enjoy the island’s famed pink beaches for extra night, free. The packages are available this summer from the likes of the Fairmont Southampton, Elbow Beach and The Reefs. For participants and full offers, visit HERE

TOURS

Increased interest in Mediterranean small-group sailing adventures to secluded spots in Europe has prompted G Adventures to launch a new itinerary travelling to lesser-known locations between Venice, Italy, and Zadar, Croatia. The new trip travels through the Gulf of Trieste to the Slovenian Coast, then through the Istrian Peninsula and Kvarner Bay Islands in Croatia, highlighting great beaches and seafood. The 10-day “Sailing Italy to Croatia” tour is priced from $1,663 p.p.

The online VisitBritain Shop is now selling tickets to the Buckingham Palace State Rooms, open for a limited period over summer (July 20-Sept. 29). A new exhibition this year highlights the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, a special exhibition will reveal the story of how Queen Victoria transformed the London palace into the magnificent Royal residence it is today.

BC-based Sacred Earth Journeys will reveal the spiritual side of Peru with a fall tour led by traditional Andean medicine man, who guides participants through the spiritual heart of Peru, including a visit to his family home in the Sacred Valley. Guests on the 10-night “Heart of the Pachamama with Puma Quispe Singona” itinerary will hear traditional teachings, participate in ceremonies, and undertake powerful healing and energy work. The tour runs from Sept. 28 to Oct. 8 and is priced from US$3,890 p.p.

HOTELS

four-seasons

The all-new Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas is now accepting reservations for stays beginning Nov. 1. Located away from the tourist zone on the remote East Cape in the 405-hectare east cape resort community of Costa Palmas (45 minutes from Los Cabos airport) and boasting 3.2 km. of swimmable white sand beach, the 141-room, 23-suite hotel (photo rendering) will offer five dining options, seven hectares of organic farm and orchards; spa; four expansive pools; 18- hole golf course; sports complex that includes tennis, volleyball, basketball, and fitness facilities; and teen and kids programs. It will also be the first Four Seasons with its own private marina, lending itself to sunset sails and sport fishing expeditions.

Hilton marked its milestone 100th anniversary May 31. The company was founded by Conrad Hilton in 1919 in Cisco, Texas, and today has 17 distinctive brands across 113 countries and territories, with more than 5,700 properties. The company still continues to grow with a new hotel opening somewhere in the world every day.

My kind of hotel: Maverick brewers Brewdog are opening Britain’s first “craft beer hotel” in Aberdeenshire, Scotland later this year. Features of The Doghouse will include draft beer in the room, beer fridges in the showers, and windows looking into the actual brewery. “If you’re even remotely into to beer, it will be an absolute haven for you,” says VisitScotland’s Michael McCuish.

Open:

One of Texas’s top golf resorts has re-opened after a US$150-million renovation and expansion that began 18 months ago. Enhancements at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa include four new-look championship courses suited to all levels of players. Special re-opening rates in Austin are in effect through Aug 25.

RESORTS

Israel’s Dan Hotels has introduced a new-look Dan Caesarea after a “head-to-toe” US$25-million (CA$33.78 million) remake. Located 50 km. north of Tel Aviv adjacent to the Roman aqueduct and amphitheatre of Judea, the iconic property, opened some 60 years ago by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, features 15 hectares of newly landscaped gardens and offers 116 art-inspired guestrooms and suites in a post-modern style, as well as golf course, spa Greek Taverna, beach shuttle, and Israel's first pool table in a pool.

A new Dreams resort is destined for the Dominican Republic with a scheduled opening in Q2, 2020. Located in El Macao, the all-inclusive Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana will be the 11th AMResorts-branded property on the island, while Macao Beach becomes the company’s fifth destination in the D.R. Once complete, Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana will be comprised of 500 rooms and suites, all with ocean views. On-site amenities will include three pools; waterpark, kids and teens clubs, gaming lounge, batting cage and more.

LWTM-Cunard - Stephen Jones - 2019 Transatlantic Fashion Week - low res
Royal milliner Stephen Jones highlights Cunard’s upcoming 2019 Transatlantic Fashion Week on the QM2.

Cunard has announced a stellar line-up for its fourth annual Transatlantic Fashion Week Crossing, to take place July 28 to Aug. 4 on the luxury liner Queen Mary 2. Headlining the voyage will be royal milliner Stephen Jones, shoe maven Stuart Weitzman, and American model Pat Cleveland, along with other guests. The seven-night crossing will feature runway shows, inspiring talks, bespoke dinners and Q&A’s with the experts on board.

Carnival Cruise Line has expanded its onboard youth programming with an exclusive partnership with Zumbini, which offers high-energy early childhood activities and classes that combine singing, dancing and playing. Created by Zumba and BabyFirst, Zumbini’s mixed-age music and movement curriculum features group sing-alongs, activities and musical instruments to keep children engaged and energized while learning.

In fall 2020, Princess Cruises will return to Tahiti for the first time since 2015. Tahiti and French Polynesia cruises aboard the Pacific Princess are now open for sale. The five- and 10-day Tahiti & French Polynesia departures sail roundtrip from Tahiti (Papeete) and feature Bora Bora, Raiatea. Huahine, Rangiroa, and Moorea. Prices start at $1,999 p.p.

THEME PARKS

The much-anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge attraction at Disneyland in Anaheim, began welcoming guests on Friday (May 31). The Walt Disney World version is scheduled to open in Orlando on Aug. 29.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Following a successful inaugural FAM trip to Italy, solo travel specialist Just You, is launching a second excursion to South Africa. Capped at 18 participants, agents must apply by June 14 for the Aug. 24-Sept. 1 trip, which starts in Johannesburg and incudes visits to Soweto, Kruger National Park, and Cape Town. The price is $750, including all meals, but does not include international airfare. Participants selling 10 Just You tours within a year will get the price of the FAM refunded. Click HERE for details.

EVENTS

LWTM-skal may 2019

Skal Toronto hosted its monthly gathering at the Boulevard Club last week with a host of cross-country guests who were in town for Rendez- vous Canada. It was also an occasion to welcome new member Rose Bilak (shown at right) of Silver Friends, who is joined (photo, l-r) by Joanne Scalamogna of Access Marketing; Sue Webb, president Skal Toronto; and Lynda Falcone, VisitBritain.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

The Travel Agent Next Door has made a trio of executive appointments to reflect its growing membership of close to 800 agents: Shean Carmichael becomes Director of Marketing; Nicola Gowe Director of Finance; and Adina Finatan VP, Finance.

NEWS

June 1 was the official start of “Hurricane Season” in the Caribbean, the time of year storms are most likely to strike. US weather officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have forecast a “normal year” with nine to 15 storms, four to eight of them hurricanes. Peak season starts in early September before petering out at the end of November.

DESTINATIONS

The Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Tournament, one of the oldest big-game fishing tournaments in the world and considered the “highlight of Cuba’s fishing year” is set to cast off June 10-15 at the Marina Hemingway in Havana. Fisherman from around the world are invited to try their luck landing marlin, tuna and other large deep-sea fish with several prizes available. The tournament was established by the iconic author in 1950. For info, e-mail reservaciones@prto.mh.tur.cu.

Florida’s largest Pride Festival kicks off in St. Petersburg June 19. More than 200,000 people are expected to fill the streets of Downtown St. Pete for a weekend-long LGBTQ+ celebration of love featuring the St. Pete Pride Parade, a block party and live music, and a requisite dazzling array of sequins, beads, leathers and feathers.

Surf’s up in Baja, Mexico, with the return of the Los Cabos Open of Surf 2019, a professional surf and music running from June 21-23. Hosted by the five-star Cape Hotel, in partnership with the Los Cabos Tourism Board, the sixth annual event features world-class cuisine, live music, fashion and some of the biggest names in surfing. Organizers are quick to point out that the event is fun for everyone, stating, “Typical surf competitions can be quite tedious for non-surfers (but) this isn’t your typical surfing competition.”


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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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