15 JUL 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:


New Sunwing service between Moncton, NB and Miami will make it a little easier for Maritime residents to reach the beaches of South Florida starting Feb. 8, 2020, through to May 2. The flights will be ideal for those connecting onto a Sunwing cruise package from the Miami port, notes the travel company.

Starting Nov. 5, WestJet will operate nonstop between Victoria International Airport (YYJ) and Los Cabos Mexico International Airport (SJD) with weekly service designed to get guests to the beach by the afternoon of the same day. In addition, the airline has announced a new weekly nonstop between Calgary International Airport (YYC) and Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ), Dominican Republic on its Boeing 767 aircraft starting Dec. 13.

A decade of flying to Toronto was celebrated at an event July 11 by Turkish Airlines. The carrier now serves Canada in both Toronto and Montreal.


Proclaiming it the travel company’s “best incentive ever,” Sunwing is encouraging Canadians to get a head start on booking their winter holiday with complimentary Price Drop Guarantee (up to $600/couple), reduced deposits ($50) and other free perks, along with savings representing up to 25% on select winter vacation packages. Bookings must be made by Aug. 2 for travel Nov. 1-April 30, 2020.

Savings are at hand with Transat’s ‘Fall for the South’ promotion, with sun packages available for $999 or less when booked by July 19 for travel between Sept. 1 and Dec. 14.

Goway’s Summer Sale offers savings of up to $1,750 on 27 travel options to five continents, as well as early bird deals on Goway’s Holidays of a Lifetime. Sample options include a nine-day air-inclusive pairing of Melbourne and Sydney for $2,069 or a five-day luxury cruise through the Galapagos Islands for $3,105. For bookings through the end of July, agents earn double rewards.

Guests can save at least 20% on InterContinental Hotels Group properties when booking by July 31 for travel through Sept. 15 courtesy of the company’s Global Sale.


Citing unprecedented demand for podcasts, Trafalgar has launched its own version for agents. The five-part e-learning program Travel Unlocked is designed to “provide behind-the-scenes access to the brand in a way that has never been done before in travel” by revealing “never-before shared information” from a variety of guests within the business, such as Travel Directors, Sales Managers, Product Developers and CEO Gavin Tollman. Among the topics covered will be FAQs, JoinTrafalgar sustainability efforts, and the ‘Be My Guest’ program. Each episode has an associated quiz, which can be accessed through TTC Academy, either via a desktop or the Litmos App.

Collette reports that it has adopted the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism as a sign of its commitment to social responsibility and the responsible care of animals. By May 2021, the American tour operator, which has a Canadian headquarters in Streetsville, Ont., will align all its tours with the guidelines, which are considered industry-best practices.

A new Contiki campaign is designed to encourage agents to promote Europe in the off season to their 18 to 35-year-old clients, when prices are cheaper, crowds fewer, and temperatures (especially this year) more bearable. There are also Christmas markets galore for holiday season travellers. The Europe Winter campaign offers savings of 15% off 21 Winter Europe adventures when booked by July 31 for travel from October to April.


A new partnership with Mountain Park Lodges has brought seven unique hotels to the Pursuit collection, which includes the Columbia Icefield Adventure, Columbia Icefield Skywalk and Glacier View Lodge at the Columbia Icefield, dining and boat tour adventures at Maligne Lake, and the recently launched Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen near Jasper, Alta. Mountain Park Lodges properties include: The Crimson Hotel, Chateau Jasper, Lobstick Lodge, Marmot Lodge, Pocahontas Cabins, Pyramid Lake Resort, and the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre. “At Pursuit we are focused on connecting guests to iconic places through unforgettable and inspiring experiences,” said Pursuit president David Barry, while MPL president John Day added, “This is a partnership of two great companies with deep roots in these mountain parks.”

The first Sofitel in Mexico will open in Mexico City in September, more than a decade since the last opening of a luxury hotel in the capital city. Ideally located in the heart of the city on Paseo de la Reforma next to the Angel of Independence, Sofitel Mexico City Reforma will have 275 rooms, including 50 suites, a rooftop lounge and dining with spectacular views of Mexico City.

Simon Property Group has begun construction of a new hotel adjacent to The Colonnade Outlet at Sawgrass Mills shopping mall – the largest of its kind in the US – in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The 174-room AC Hotel by Marriott is expected to open in late 2020


After 18 months of renovations and rebuilding post Hurricane Irma, the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa in St. Maarten is showing off new upgraded facilities, amenities, and entertainment. In addition to a new contemporary look throughout the resort, The Beach House Kids Club and popular Aqua Park returns, with two new waterslides for ages 10-15, a new cast of Beach House characters along with the new Teen Zone, offering a state-of-the-art, media-equipped crash pad for young adults. At the heart of the entertainment program is a Carnival parade that marches through Maho Village on Friday nights.


Deerhurst Resort has opened the new Lakeside Lodge, a $60-million addition to the historic Ontario cottage-country resort. Featuring cottage-inspired interior design, and one-, two- and three-bedroom units with spectacular views of the 300-hectare property and Peninsula Lake, the project is being promoted as “nothing short of the rebirth of an iconic Muskoka Waterfront.” Deerhurst Resort is located in Huntsville, about 2.5 hours drive from Toronto.



The port of Hamburg will come alive Sept. 13-15 during the German city’s 7th annual Hamburg Cruise Days festival (photo), which caters both to the cruise industry and cruise fans. A record 12 participating cruise liners are scheduled to take part with diverse program of on- and off-shore activities including a parade of cruise liners, fireworks, harbour illuminations, culinary experiences, special promotions, ship presentations, music, and harbour cruises. The event follows the annual Seatrade Europe convention.

A new redesigned ‘GoCCL Navigator’ has been launched by Carnival Cruise Line, the first overhaul of the travel agent booking engine in a decade. Phase 1 enhancements, based on feedback from users, includes enhanced search function with one-step filtering; interactive deck plans; improved quick-quote and pricing functionality that enables advisors to personalize Carnival-branded emails to clients in just a few steps; easier price comparisons on different stateroom categories; and improved booking flow for individual reservations. Work is underway on the upcoming rollout of Phase 2, which will include booking management, payment, and group booking features.

Starting on July 16, agents will be able to reserve suites for clients aboard Silversea's new ship, Silver Origin, designed especially for the Galapagos Islands. The cruise line says the all-suite, 100-guest vessel will be the most elegant ship to ever sail the region when it launches in summer 2020.


The newest mega attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood, Jurassic World – The Ride – officially opened last week, replacing Jurassic Park – The Ride, which closed last year after a 22-year run. Based on the popular Jurassic film series, the rebooted attraction features the new stars of the films, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, and, of course, lots of daunting dinosaurs.


A full complement of golfers braved uncertain weather in Milton, Ont., for a day of golf, networking and dinner at the 31st annual ACTA Ontario golf tournament on July 11. Despite a few drops in the morning and a mid-afternoon delay due to a passing storm, the event was an unqualified success. Shown here are the gang from Hole 16, including Collette’s Ron Lonsdale (green shirt) and George Christakis (l), showing off their sponsorship sign, along with Jeromy Wilhelm, Peggy McKnight and Denise Luciani of Marlin Travel, and Lora Hamre of Trafalgar Tours.

Hailing the success of its inaugural Change Makers Summit in Peru in May, G Adventures says it will reprise the event in a new location in 2020. Designed to encourage and incentivize agents to “change people’s lives through travel,” the Change Makers Challenge is now live and runs until Jan. 31, 2020, culminating in a “mystery” summit next April that features a week-long fam trip to see first-hand the positive impact community tourism has for local people and destination. For more information on how to qualify, visit HERE.


Air Canada Vacations has a new Area Sales Manager for Quebec. Based in Quebec City, Jean-Luc Tremblay has over 20 years of experience in the travel industry, including, most recently, as an area sales manager at Transat.

The Nevada Division of Tourism (Travel Nevada) has named Reach Global Marketing Ltd. as its agency of record in Canada. Reach Global will develop and execute communications, sales, and marketing activities across Canada, promoting overnight stays and tourism activities within the State of Nevada. Reach also handles Las Vegas among it’s other accounts. At the same time, Reach has been selected as a regional partner of UK-based travel consultants Hills Balfour to represent Puerto Rico in Canada.


Alberta’s Writing-on-Stone monument has been granted UNESCO world heritage status. Described as an “ancient and sacred cultural landscape where indigenous peoples have created rock art for millennia,” the site, which contains thousands of rock carvings and paintings, some of which chronicle historical events such as the first contact between local indigenous peoples and Europeans, is located in Writing-on-Stone provincial park 100 km. southeast of Lethbridge.


International overnight arrivals to Canada hit a new peak in April and over the first four months of the year (4.4 million, +4.4%). Canada saw new monthly arrivals peaks from Mexico (46,000, +102%), China (40,000, +1.4%), France (40,000, +13%), and India (27,000, +27%). The same markets also set new arrivals records for the first four months of the year, as did Australia (71,000, +5%).


The Palace of Grand Dukes of Lithuaniua.

Apparently, it only takes 1,969 steps to take in the main sightseeing attractions of Vilnius, Lithuania. The number may seem small, but Vilnius’ UNESCO-listed Old Town is one of the most walkable in Europe, and is rich with history, astonishing Baroque architecture, green parks and artistic spaces. Since Vilnius’ most beautiful places can be discovered on foot, Go Vilnius, the city’s official development agency, has compiled a list of 23 new walking routes for travellers to explore on their own. Filled with commentaries, approximate walking times and even step counts, the Walkable Vilnius web site is available (in English) HERE.

Nearly 400 diverse restaurants in 40 neighbourhoods across five boroughs are taking part in NYC Restaurant Week, the Big Apple’s 21st annual foodie extravaganza, July 22-Aug. 16, which serves up two-course prix-fixe menus for $26 and three courses for $42. A partnership this year with Mastercard offers select benefits to cardholders. Check out the NYCgo website for a list of participants.

Hard Rock International has debuted its new flagship location in London's Piccadilly Circus providing a look into the new brand vision for Hard Rock Cafés globally. The brand's newest café marks the first Hard Rock location to showcase its modern image. Hard Rock Café Piccadilly Circus includes a new design style, the world's largest Rock Shop, contemporary memorabilia and the brand's recently launched new menu innovation, which is headlined by the 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger. The location was strategically selected for its position in the heart of Piccadilly Circus, London's entertainment hub, and complements the classic Hard Rock Café Old Park Lane, the brand's first location.

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Michael Baginski

Editor at Large, 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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