29 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:


Sunwing is offering travellers in the Hamilton and the Greater Golden Horseshoe area more tropical destination options than ever, with a total of six flight services available this coming winter. Cayo Coco, Cayo Santa Maria and Cancun are new destinations, along with returning favourites Montego Bay, Punta Cana, and Varadero, the latter boosted to twice-weekly flights on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Air Canada will resume daily, non-stop Toronto-Delhi flights on Oct. 1, 2019 (eastbound) and Oct. 3, 2019 (westbound) with additional capacity added beginning Oct. 27 with Boeing 777 aircraft. Vancouver-Delhi flights resume usual flight times starting Aug. 1 and Toronto-Mumbai seasonal flights return on Oct. 27.

As part of its 2019/20 seasonal winter schedule, WestJet announced increased frequency and improved connectivity from its hubs to more destinations across its network, including more flights from Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto to domestic, transborder, international and sun destinations and seasonal service to both Paris and Nashville from Calgary, commencing earlier than past years on March 12 (Paris) and March 16 (Nashville). WestJet's daily summer seasonal service between Calgary and Portland (PDX) will also extend through winter.

LWTM-fort lauderdale - spa, westin diplomat

Westin Diplomat

Spa month is now Spa Months in Greater Fort Lauderdale. The destination’s popular annual promotion in September now includes August, with dozens of the destination’s top spas offering special packages and services starting at $99, including signature full body massages, exfoliations, facial massages, masks and eye and lip treatments. The event coincides with Restaurant Months, where top restaurants offer three-course meals from $35. Fore more, click HERE.

Until Aug. 31, clients who make new and individual 2019 bookings on a selection of 17 of Uniworld’s most popular sailings will be able to save from $1,500 to $2,200 p.p. courtesy of the boutique river cruise line’s “Last Call for 2019” campaign. Sample discounted cruises include European Jewels, Alluring Amsterdam & Vienna, and Danube Holiday Markets.

Aug. 2 is the deadline for clients to book a Sunwing vacation for $1,295 p.p. including taxes and fees. More than 10,000 packages to resorts like the Iberostar Selection Bella Vista Varadero or Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya resort are available to Canadians who book with a $50 deposit. The company’s Price Drop Guarantee is also complimentary during the promotion and travellers can choose from one of two complimentary perks: a $50 p.p. Sunwing Experiences excursion credit or advanced seat selection.


A new Contiki USA & Canada program for the 2019-20 travel season has been released featuring five brand new trips in the US including Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, California and the Deep South, along with 13 improved trips across North America. The new trips will be joining the ranks of 32 existing covering popular hotspots, including New York, Las Vegas, Miami, Toronto, Vancouver, Montréal, Los Angeles and New Orleans, plus “hipster” cities like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Asheville, college towns like Boston and Richmond, the mountain towns of Whistler and Anchorage, and Deep South cities of Fort Worth, Memphis and Nashville, as well as the ‘Wild West’ towns of Jackson Hole, Cody and Kamloops. The new program also features glamping accommodation on select itineraries.

Two new tours by Tauck next year featuring Egypt will be highlighted by an after-hours tour of the Valley of the Kings that includes a private visit to the tomb of King Tut. Each of the tours, the 13-day Jordan & Egypt: Petra to the Pyramids,” and “Egypt: Jewels of the Nile” will also feature a multiple-night cruise on the Nile aboard a luxury Oberoi riverboat. The tours are Tauck’s first in Egypt since 2011.

As part of Adventures by Disney's expansion of adult-exclusive departures, new programming will be added to select itineraries in 2020 to further tailor the experience for adults. Examples include a behind-the-scenes museum tour in Egypt; a ceviche cooking class and artisan beer tasting in Costa Rica; a culinary walking tour of Athens' central market in Greece; a behind-the-scenes experience at a Sichuan "face-changing" opera in China; a premium five-course meal with cocktail pairings in Australia; mango-carving and coffee-tasting activities in Laos; and a private night time excursion in search of the Northern Lights in Iceland, among others.


LWTM-red carnation - 100 princess st.

Room with a view

The company that restored Ireland’s iconic Ashford Castle has set its sights on Scotland. The Red Carnation Hotel Collection has announced plans to renovate 100 Princes Street and transform it into an exclusive retreat on Edinburgh’s most famous street. Expected to open in 2020, the company’s 19th worldwide property will boast uninterrupted views of Edinburgh Castle (photo) and replicate the boutique atmosphere of five-star sister property Hotel 41 in London.

The JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District hotel is set to open Aug. 1. Located within walking distance of Rogers Place Arena and the convention centre, the hotel will boast four restaurants and bars; health coaching and lifestyle amenities; spa; and extensive meeting space.

Vegas mainstay Treasure Island will become a Radisson later this year. Treasure Island - TI Hotel & Casino, a Radisson Hotel, as it will be officially called, will be the brand’s first property on The Strip.


Braemar Hotels & Resorts has officially opened The Notary Hotel in the heart of downtown Philadelphia. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the former Courtyard by Marriott Philadelphia Downtown underwent a rebranding and renovation in excess of $20 million. Located at 21 North Juniper St., the property now features 499 guest rooms plus extensive conference space. It joins Marriott International's Autograph Collection of approximately 180 independent hotels around the world that reflect unique vision, design and environments.


July 11 marked the official inauguration of Secrets Mallorca Villamil Resort & Spa – the first AMResorts-branded property in Europe. As part of a wide-ranging $5.1-million renovation, the luxury all-inclusive property now offers 162 rooms and suites, renewed food and beverage program, four restaurant, five bars, heated pool, gym, and spa, amongst other facilities. “Opening the first branded property in Europe, under the Secrets Resorts & Spas brand which is strongly positioned in Mexico and the Caribbean, is a key milestone in our European expansion and a decisive pillar of our global business strategy,” said company executive VP Javier Coll, Executive VP of ALG.

The fifth edition of Festival Gourmet Barceló will take place at Barceló Maya Grand Resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya from Sept. 8 to 15. The event will feature eight gala dinners and a line-up of 21 renowned Mexican and international chefs, along with Mexican wineries, premium local distilleries and more.


LWTM-Pacific Princess - australia

The 2020-21 summer line-up for the Pacific Princess in Australia has been announced, with the 670-passenger boutique ship offering cruisers a number of unique itineraries during its four-month deployment. Prior to arriving in Sydney (photo), the ship will also sail on an additional 10-day Tahiti voyage. Princess Cruise Lines will have five additional ships – one third of its fleet – in the region along with Princess Pacific. EBBs are available through Nov. 30.

Academy Award winner Helen Mirren has been appointed as the Godmother for its first “discovery yacht,” Scenic Eclipse. The maiden voyage of the ultra-luxury vessel is scheduled for Aug. 15, departing Reykjavik Iceland on a 13-day sailing ending in Quebec on Aug. 27.

Two top explorers have been lined up by Cunard to appear on Queen Elizabeth cruises in Alaska in 2020. Sir Ranulph Fiennes – called the ‘World’s Greatest Living Explorer’ by the Guinness Book of Records – headlines the sailing between Vancouver and Juneau on June 2-4, 2020. Meanwhile, while top mountaineer Kenton Cool, who has summitted Mount Everest 14 times and is the only person to have climbed all three Everest peaks, will board the ship on June 12 and sail on voyages through July 2, 2020.


Halloween season kicks off Sept. 6 at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Ca., running through to Oct. 31. Both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park will feature seasonal attraction overlays, Halloween-themed décor and food and beverage offerings, plus encounters with assorted “dastardly Disney villains.” New this year is the after-hours, separate-ticket event, Oogie Boogie Bash.


Carnival Cruise Line premiered its “Why Use A Travel Advisor” campaign – a five-part video series featuring travel advisors and their clients sharing travel tales that tell the “WUATA Story” – in Toronto on July 24 to an audience of more than 300 travel advisors, clients and potential clients. In addition to the premiere of the video series, the Toronto WUATA Party featured industry executives sharing their insights into the advisor-client relationship.


Toronto-based NARAT’s “Ultimate Vietnam and Cambodia FAM” will take place Oct. 7-14. The 11-day program visits Hanoi, Saigon, Saigon, Siem Reap and Angkor Wat and includes such features as cruises on Halong Bay and the Mekong River, and experiencing the Full Moon Lantern Festival in Hoi An. Cost is US$2,175 plus $700 flight taxes and includes domestic and international flights (from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver), accommodation and most meals. One companion per agent is permitted and single supplements are subject to availability. An optional three-day post-FAM extension to Hong Kong can also be added. One companion per agent is allowed. For info, e-mail fams@narat.org


Jennifer Zammit is the Globus family of brands’ new Business Development Manager for Southwestern and Northern Ontario. An industry veteran, Zammit was most recently travel trade manager for Timezoneone, but has also worked at Total Stay/Beds Online, Travel Bound and Thomas Cook. Along with the other BDMs of the Globus team, she will be promoting all members of the Globus family of brands. She can be reached at jzammit@globusfamily.ca.


TravelBrands is now directly connected to the Walt Disney World Resort booking system for hotels and tickets creating a simplified booking system that will give both travellers and travel agents instant availability for the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii. TravelBrands will also have access to all room categories for all Walt Disney World Resort hotels as well as theme park tickets. At Disneyland Resort in California, TravelBrands now has the capability to automatically generate a barcode and e-ticket enabling clients to go directly to the theme park turnstiles for entry instead of exchanging a voucher for their park ticket.


Given that birding consistently ranks as one of the top activities amongst travellers, it’s worth noting that a third Camp Verde Important Bird Area (IBA) designation has been approved in Arizona. The IBA designation acknowledges the biodiversity of the area and the value it has to bird conservation. The recognized area includes the 30-km. corridor of the Verde River, plus West Clear Creek and Wet Beaver Creek. The Verde River's vast watershed is habitat for one of the largest concentrations of resident and migratory birdlife anywhere in the Southwest US. This new area brings a total of six IBAs to Yavapai County.

More than 100 of Central Florida's top restaurants will feature three-course, prix fixe dinner menus for $35 during Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, which kicks off Aug. 23 and runs until Sept. 30.

The Augustinian monks on the Great St. Bernard Pass in Switzerland have been breeding St. Bernard dogs since the late 17th century with the gentle giants having become renowned as avalanche rescue dogs. Nowadays, the dogs can be viewed all year round in Barryland, a museum dedicated to the breed, down in the valley in Martigny. A few dogs spend their summers at the historical hospice by the pass and visitors can go on mountain hikes with the dogs twice a day. Visitors are also able join the dogs for a walk in spring or fall near the museum in Martigny, or in winter by Champex Lake. For info, click HERE.

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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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