Travelweek MAY 15 2024

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Industry shows love for travel agents and A.I. at Travelweek’s latest virtual conference

TORONTO — When you’re hosting a conference about artificial intelligence, who better to kick off the show than an avatar that looks just like you?

That’s exactly how Travelweek’s latest ‘Future of Travel’ conference began, with a ‘Devatar’ made in the likeness of Travelweek’s Publisher, Devin Kinasz, welcoming viewers to the show.

To watch the conference, click here.

“Artificial Intelligence is such a hot topic these days and Travelweek has attempted to take the lead in getting agents the information they need to use this technology,” the ‘Devatar’ says in its opening remarks.

Kinasz – the real Kinasz – then appears on screen to officially open the show, the latest in Travelweek’s long-running, hugely popular virtual conference series, which fi rst launched in 2020. Airing May 1, the conference featured a double theme: A.I. and Travel Agent Appreciation, coinciding with Travel Agent Appreciation Day, which takes place each year on the first Wednesday in May.

Acknowledging that her avatar looks “great,” despite not sounding exactly like her, Kinasz invites travel agents to register for Travelweek’s brand new A.I. webinar series, launched in partnership with TravelBrands.

“Next month I’m going to be teaching you how to do these A.I. avatars, which might work for training or social media videos. And today, my avatar is going to be helping me during the show, taking over some of the hosting duties,” says Kinasz. “As we mentioned, today we’re doing two things: talking about A.I. and showing appreciation to travel agents. So thank you, thank you so much travel

agents for all that you do.”

‘Future of Travel: A.I. Agent Appreciation’ featured a stellar lineup of keynote speakers. Here’s an overview of what each had to say:

Dan Christian, Host, Executive and Entrepreneur, Travel Trends Podcast

Speaking on the hot topic of artificial intelligence and how its many uses can benefit the travel industry, Christian, a travel industry veteran who held previous positions at Carlson Wagonlit, G Adventures and The Travel Corporation, says it’s essential to embrace A.I. and not fear it, a key message that he delivered at this past February’s Travel Trends A.I. Summit 2024.

“It’s not that A.I. is going to take your job; it’s that someone who knows and understands A.I. is going to take your job,” he says. “If we all look back just 20 years ago with the evolution of the Internet, and when you look at travel agencies now and see how our business has grown and adapted, I think that’s an important comparison to look at. And hence, the reason to embrace and understand these tools like ChatGPT.”

When asked which A.I. tools he would recommend to enhance businesses, Christian highlights three:, “an incredible tool for marketing uses”;, which creates studio-quality videos with A.I. avatars and voiceovers in over 130 languages; and lastly, Canva, which through prompt engineering, allows users to be their own designers and create marketing materials.

Fresh off the announcement of TravelBrands’ new A.I. partnership with Travelweek, Tanious says that the company is 100% all about technology, in particular, A.I.

“There’s so much buzz around A.I., it becomes a question of, ‘Alright, what’s next? How can I implement A.I. in my environment, in my work structure?’ So now, the goal is for us to help the travel industry create more tools with A.I.”

In addition to a monthly webinar series, ‘Unleashing A.I.’s potential for Travel Agents,’ and an A.I. manual for agents, both launched in partnership with Travelweek, TravelBrands has been reaching out to agents directly

May 16, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 3 TOP NEWS
ON THE COVER, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Nathalie Tanious; Guy Young; Brian Joseph; Dan Christian; Armando Mendonça; Allan Brooks

with Agent Appreciation events last month in Toronto and Montreal, as well as a new booking incentive called ‘The Amazing Agent Race.’ All these recent initiatives, says Tanious, has paid off big time, with a 30% pickup immediately following the Appreciation events.

Guy Young, Chief Trade Engagement

Officer, The Travel Corporation

The Travel Corporation, which recently unveiled its ‘Always’ promise to travel agents, is also dipping into the A.I. space, which Young says offers “huge opportunities” to enhance the customer experience and streamline the company’s operations. TTC has developed an A.I. committee that has come up with an overall strategy, which includes analyzing chat data to better gauge customer sentiments by way of Genesis, the company’s Contact Centre’s communication software. TTC is also using A.I. to enhance its chatbot for internal questions for Contact Centre employees, increase functionality of its websites, and assist with copywriting.

“Our view is, we want to continue to use technology and A.I. to enhance the guest experience, make the lives of our employees easier, and make them more efficient. We think A.I. can be a great tool for us as long as we’re using it in a responsible way,” says Young.

Brian Joseph, BDM, Ontario for Hyatt Inclusive Collection

Comprising 10 brands (Secrets,

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Write to Cindy Sosroutomo at

Dreams, Impression, Hyatt Ziva, Hyatt Zilara, Zoëtry, Breathless, Alua, Sunscape and the brand new Hyatt Vivid), Hyatt Inclusive Collection is ensuring that travel agents stay informed at all times through Confidant Collective, an advisor-exclusive website launched a year ago. Here, says Joseph, agents can submit their bookings to earn rewards, which can be redeemed for free nights, cash and more. The website also includes Confidant Learning, a series of modules that agents can complete to be certified experts and gain access to special agent rates and benefits, an Offers tab where all current consumer and agent offers are listed, as well as agent resources and tools such as downloadable logos, images and videos.

“I used to be a travel agent myself, so travel agents are close to my heart,” says Joseph. “I thank you for being strong and resilient. We always get affected by things globally and somehow, we come back stronger. I appreciate every agent and I’ll take every opportunity to celebrate travel agents, so thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Armando Mendonça, Trade Liaison, Vienna Tourist Board and President, AMpm Canada

Vienna, Austria has seen a significant increase in Canadian visitors in the last five years, says Mendonça, thanks to Air Canada flights out of Toronto and Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines service out of Montreal. When asked what products are available to travellers from tour operators, Mendonça notes that Air Canada Vacations, by way of Vienna’s partnership with Air Canada, offers a “one-stop shop” for tours and packages. But as far as new tour operators, MyEscapades, part of the Kensington Group, is one to watch.

“They’re going to be introducing

Austria into their European portfolio, and I’m assisting in the curating of tours into Vienna and beyond. That’s going to be coming soon, sometime in early summer,” says Mendonça, adding that Kensington Tours specializes in customized bespoke travel.

Other tour operators to book Vienna with, he adds, include Globus family of brands, Trafalgar and Collette, G Adventures and Goway, all of which offer various trip styles to suit all types of travellers.



Director of Sales, Canada, Celebrity Cruises

According to Brooks, it’s been another great year for Celebrity Cruises, with 2025 already looking strong. Out of the Canadian market, the cruise line is seeing a significant amount of Europe bookings through the summer, thanks in large part to the Celebrity Infinity sailing year round in the region. In the Caribbean, the cruise line has increased its presence with three ships sailing year-round, including its newest Edge-class ship, Celebrity Beyond. And in Asia, which Brooks says has been very popular this year, product has “pretty much sold out and people are already looking at 2025 and eagerly awaiting our 2026 deployments.” As for ongoing offers and promotions, Brooks is reminding agents of Celebrity’s 75% off offer for second guests, and thirds and fourths sail free, “one of the richest offers I’ve seen in a long time.” For agents, “we’re always trying to find that commission with a comma,” he adds, noting the cruise line’s recent bonus commission offer of $1,500 as well as ongoing contests.

To watch ‘Future of Travel: A.I. Agent Appreciation’ in its entirety, click here.

TRAVELWEEK Tel: 416.365.1500 Toll-free: 1.855.392.8820


4 | TRAVELWEEK | May 16, 2024 TOP NEWS
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Who to book with? Vienna is easily accessible for Canadians

When it comes to travel, location is everything, which is why Vienna makes for an ideal starting point to explore some of Europe’s most treasured destinations.

Bordered by eight countries (Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein), Vienna, Austria offers Canadian travellers an all-in-one destination that’s not only centrally located, but easy to get to.

Since the 2019 launch of Air Canada’s nonstop, yearly service to Vienna from Toronto, in tandem with yearly service from Montreal with Lufthansa Group/Austrian Airlines, tours to Vienna and beyond have seen a significant growth.

Air Canada, for example, recently announced its new air-to-rail booking options for customers to connect from Vienna and beyond with a direct link with ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railway) rail transport provider, in collaboration with AccesRail, an IATA travel partner. Through new railway and distribution partners, Air Canada customers, when purchasing flights, can now also book onward rail trips to a multitude of destinations throughout Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France.

Canadians looking to travel to Vienna can book with a growing list of tour operator partners, including Air Canada Vacations. In conjunction with Air Canada and Aeroplan, ACV offers

a selection of six multi-city and border country tours, DIY à la carte options and more. Kensington Tours, which specializes in customized bespoke travel, offers a selection of organized escorted tours that can be modified and personalized, while Globus family of brands has 15 multi-country escorted tours in addition to independent sightseeing tours. Canadians can also book Trafalgar Tours’ 15 multi-country escorted itineraries and independent tours, Collette’s nine multi-country escorted tours plus a new ‘Europe: The Grand Tour,’ Goway’s five multi-country itineraries and shortstay independent tours, and G Adventures’ 15 multi-country escorted departures. Plus, MyEscapes will soon be launching product in Vienna.

Travel advisors can join the Vienna Experts Club International for free to stay up to date on product and destination information. As a member, advisors can enjoy such benefits as reduced or free entrance to museums and concerts, and restaurants and sightseeing offers.

For more details go to www.vienna. info or



Vienna celebrates 200 years of Johann Strauss, born October 25th, 1825 with celebrations to premiere every week throughout the year both indoors and open air at venues such as; the Musikverein & Konzerthaus – traditional concert halls in Vienna, Theater an der Wien –historic theatre dating back to 1801, Volksoper –opera house in Vienna and the grand-dam State Opera – opened 1869 and home to Vienna State Ballet, Opera Balls and Vienna Philharmonic.

Vienna’s 23 districts will host various events in some of the most unlikely of places, such as; the Central Cemetery, Danube Island Festival or at the Open-air cinema in Vienna’s Museum Quartier (MQ).


Visit: johann-strauss-walk

Vienna Experts Club International

Join today, just a click away!

Join the Vienna Experts Club International complimentary online membership as an educational and learning portal to assist you with current product updates and destination information.

As an industry insider you can enjoy the wide range of benefits that Vienna Experts Club International (VECI) membership brings. We invite you to explore Vienna privately and offer reduced or free entrance to Viennese museums & concerts, restaurants & sightseeing offers, & fantastic events to all our members. All of these offers are also extended to an accompanying person.

Note: Only members get a free Vienna City Card. Visit:

© WienTourismus/Gregor Hofbauer
Visit the most livable city in the world! Yearly service from Toronto & Montreal to Vienna © WienTourismus/Julius Hirtzberger © WienTourismus/Mafalda Rakoš © WienTourismus/Paul Bauer Fly non-stop from Toronto to Vienna with Air Canada Up to 5 times per week this winter season
Fly non-stop from Montreal to Vienna with Austrian Airlines Up to 3 times per week this winter season.
Daily service this summer season Up to daily service this summer season

‘Nothing Comes Close’ to Celebrity Cruises’ new brand positioning

Celebrity Cruises has launched a new campaign that highlights how ‘Nothing Comes Close’ to its elevated experiences and unmatched offerings on board.

Called ‘Nothing Comes Close,’ the new brand positioning and brand identity rolled out on a global scale on April 8, 2024, on the heels of the successful debut of Celebrity Ascent in late 2023 and ahead of the highly anticipated arrival of Celebrity Xcel in 2025. It highlights the inherent promise of a premium vacation, capturing Celebrity’s unique offering that combines the thoughtful service of a small ship with the variety and excitement of bigger ones.

“Our guests tell us that Celebrity vacations are unparalleled. From the thoughtfulness of our crew, to the excitement of entertainment and activities, guests tell us that ‘Nothing Comes Close’ to the way we make them feel,” said Laura Hodges Bethge, President of Celebrity Cruises. “Our new brand position packages this feeling in a memorable and compelling way.”

The brand positioning is brought to life in a playful, creative style that captures the essence of a Celebrity vacation from the perspective of guests, employing a technique coined ‘True Eye View.’ The visual approach is designed to elevate the audience’s curiosity through their point of view and make them feel like they’re in the moment.

“This isn’t just a brand campaign. This is who we are. It embodies the spirit of what sets a Celebrity Cruises

vacation apart,” said Michael Scheiner, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “The creative direction captures and conveys the elevated emotions and transformative experiences that guests enjoy from the moment they step onboard Celebrity Cruises, where every detail is elevated beyond their expectations.”

‘Nothing Comes Close’ content is available on the official Celebrity Cruises YouTube channel at www.


Hyatt Inclusive Collection celebrates Travel Advisor Appreciation Month with tons of rewards

Hyatt Inclusive Collection is celebrating Travel Advisor Appreciation Month this May with a ton of rewards and special perks.

Throughout the month, travel advisors can enjoy outstanding offers and giveaways, including over 100,000 Confidant Rewards points, social media exclusives, resort stay giveaways, bonus commissions and special Certified Confidant rates for travel through October 2024.

Plus, advisors can win a four-night stay for two to Zoëtry Mallorca Balearic Islands with roundtrip airfare courtesy of United Airlines, just by attending Hyatt Inclusive Collection’s May 15 webinar. Advisors can register and attend the Amazing May 2024 webinar series to experience live virtual tours of the resorts, receive informative updates, a chance to win free stays and so much more.

With Confidant Collective, Certified Confidants not only have the tools and resources available to grow their business, but they also get rewarded

with Confidant Rewards. For more details go to


Hyatt Inclusive Collection is shining the spotlight on Jamaica, one of its destination spotlights for Amazing May. When travellers book an all-inclusive vacation to Jamaica with Inclusive Collection, part of World of Hyatt, they’ll see why so many people return to the island year after year. Jamaica resorts include: Zoëtry Montego Bay Jamaica,

Secrets St. James Montego Bay, Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, and Breathless Montego Bay Resort & Spa. When booking by July 10, for travel through Dec. 30, clients can enjoy up to 40% off while travel advisors can earn up to 18% commission and Double Confi dant Rewards Points. Plus, every registered booking earns a chance to win a three-night stay at any Inclusive Collection resort in Jamaica plus headphones.

Visit confidant.hyattinclusive for more details.


Celebrate Every Moment™

The Inclusive Collection, part of World of Hyatt, delivers an immersive, elevated experience for your clients where everything is seamlessly included. Our array of ten best-in-class brands provide unlimited experiences, endless hospitality and thoughtful touches that exceed expectations on what it truly means to stay all-inclusive. Whether you’re planning a dream vacation, a social group, or the ultimate destination wedding, Inclusive Collection caters to every need, allowing your clients to connect with those who matter most and turn moments into lifetime memories.

Visit Inclusive Collection at BOOTH #115

DISCOVER THE ALL-NEW © 2024 Hyatt Corporation


Visit the Iraq-Al Amir Women’s Cooperative and learn about how their work improves the communities by providing employment and preserving local culture.

Experience on Insight Vacations.


Join Mahikan Trails on a Guided Medicine Walk and explore the world of plant medicine from an Indigenous lens.

Experience on Costsaver.


Go behind the scenes at the National Kiwi Hatchery and meet New Zealand’s intriguing and endangered national bird.

Experience on Luxury Gold.

for all our Make Travel Matter® Experiences
When you book your clients to travel with us, you can do so knowing we take responsibility to ensure our impact
our planet, its people and wildlife is a positive one.

TTC Tour Brands has four key tips for travel advisors ahead of busy summer season

To help travel advisors ahead of the year’s busiest travel window, TTC Tour Brands is offering its top four tips on how to succeed in the ever-evolving travel industry.

Guy Young, Chief Engagement Officer, TTC Tour Brands, provides the following four tips for travel advisors: Embrace the shorter booking window. The travel demand is there but guests are taking longer to make a decision. There’s been a noticeable uptick in bookings closer to the departure window with travellers booking a month to two months out from departure date. Advisors shouldn’t give up on a sale as it gets closer to the departure date and should continue to nurture open leads and seek new opportunities to secure a sale. With TTC Tour Brands, the space is pre-contracted – meaning it’s available to book no matter how close to the departure date and the reservations team can help secure competitive airfare prices to fulfill late booking requests. Advisors can use the Travel

Advisor Portal (TAP) to help find the best travel style and budget for their clients from a selection of over 1,000 itineraries. Remind past guests of the Global Tour Rewards program, which offers 5% off an itinerary.

European summer is always in season.  Travel to Europe this summer remains in high demand. As the top market for TTC Tour Brands and with enhanced investment in onthe-ground resources, advisors have peace of mind booking their clients during high season. While travellers may be concerned about overcrowding and in destination challenges, advisors can confidently sell to Europe knowing that the TTC Tour Brands’ have 24/7 support and 100+ years of experience in the region.

Consider “secondary” destinations.  While summer is the most popular time to go to Europe and demand for the destination remains strong, there is a noticeable increase in bookings to North American destinations and other markets including

Latin America, Japan and more. For travellers looking to check a new region off their bucket list, advisors should take advantage of TTC Tour Brands’ extensive itineraries outside Europe, from Trafalgar’s Classic Japan to Insight Vacations’ new Yellowstone Discovery itinerary.

Work smarter, not harder. Advisors’ time is valuable and TTC Tour Brands is committed to offering as much support as possible to their advisor partners. With one phone call to a sales agent, travel advisors can book an entire trip with airfare and transfers for their client. Best of all, advisors have huge earning potential because they earn commission on every component of the tour. TTC’s Travel Advisor Discount Program (TADP) offers discounts for advisors on TTC Tour Brands itineraries based on the advisor’s gross sales.

For more information go to www.


G Adventures adds 17 new trips to Geluxe Collection

G Adventures has added 17 new trips in 10 countries to its new collection of Geluxe premium active adventures.

Calling it its most successful launch to date in terms of speed to book and number of bookings, The Geluxe Collection focuses on physical activity in the great outdoors and features one-of-a-kind accommodation and elevated dining experiences. Like all G Adventures trips, it’s centered on community and culture.

With the additional trips, the collection now includes 45 itineraries across 26 different countries, up from the 28 trips offered when it launched in November 2023. New destinations include Argentina/Chile (Patagonia), Ecuador (Galapagos), Iceland, Ireland, India, Kenya, Portugal, Spain, Tanzania and Turkey, with departures available from October 2024. The maximum group size is 16, with an average of 10-12 people per departure.

“We’ve taken a lot of care with this collection, curating every experience in a way that provides a balance of activity and cultural immersion,” said Yves Marceau, VP of product for G

Adventures. “Meals refl ect the history and tell the story of the place and its people, with accommodation unique to the location. Travellers will come away feeling personally rejuvenated, as well as connected to the world around them.”


On who the typical customer would be for The Geluxe Collection, Marceau added: “The travellers who are booking these trips are slightly older than our usual demographic, with the majority of travellers being aged above 40. It’s especially appealing to female travellers, a high proportion of whom are travelling solo, showing us there was a niche in the market that wasn’t being fulfilled. We’re also seeing a lot of couples looking to connect with other like-minded travellers.

“We’re delighted to be able to provide even more Geluxe options around the world, and at the same time give back to more local people and communities with this new style of travel.”


Each Geluxe trip includes at least one ‘Your OMG Stay’ and one ‘Your OMG Day’.

‘Your OMG Stay’ is a style of accommodation selected for its history, design or surrounding experiences. These include: stone cottages at Narsingh Bagh in Dholpur, India; a stay at Il Ngwesi, Nanyukia, a Maasai community-owned and operated lodge in Kenya; the Exedra Hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey; and the Luxé Hotel, Guatapéin Colombia with its sweeping views over the Guatapé reservoir.

‘Your OMG Day’ gives travellers the opportunity to personalize one of their days by picking between two different experiences on each trip. Examples include: a yoga class on an organic farm in Pushkar, India; a river cruise with port tasting in Porto, Portugal; exploring the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia in Turkey by e-bike; and a half-day horseback ride in Los Glaciares National Park, Patagonia.

For more information go to www.


G Adventures Introduces

The Geluxe Collection

Perfectly paced itineraries. One-of-a-kind accommodations. Meaningful connections with local communities. You in?

World, meet the grandest adventures on Earth. Featuring 45 trips across 26 different countries, get moving and go deeper into your destination with our new line of premium active adventures expertly curated to keep you feeling oh-so comfortable.

This is adventure at its finest. Discover the collection


There’s something for everyone in Atlantic City

When visiting Atlantic City, the question isn’t what should you do, but rather how do you fit everything into one visit? Located on New Jersey’s Atlantic coast, the famed resort city is known for its many casinos, wide beaches and iconic boardwalk. But beyond that, travellers will quickly discover that Atlantic City offers a dazzling array of activities and attractions suitable for all ages.

Perfect for a girls trip, Atlantic City is home to hundreds of retail and luxury shops inside its casino properties and on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, not to mention the open-air Tanger Outlets Atlantic City featuring high-end

brands like Coach and Michael Kors. After a day of retail therapy, visitors can pamper themselves at one of the city’s many world-class spas, including Ocean Casino Resort’s Exhale Spa, which offers heated pools and a Himalayan Salt Grotto.

When it comes to nightlife, Atlantic City is hard to beat. Not to be missed is The Hook at Caesars Atlantic City Hotel & Casino, a live adult-only show that blends comedy with edge-of-your-seat acrobatic performances. Those looking for an after-dinner experience can head to New Jersey’s only bean-to-bar, Bar 32 Chocolate & Cocktails, where they can sip on chocolate martinis while indulging in decadent desserts. And for a bit of dancing, swing by Nola’s Bar & Lounge for live music and specialty cocktails, or Ocean Casino Resort’s HQ2AC, voted #16 in the International Nightlife Association’s World’s 100 Best Clubs of 2023.

For families, there’s plenty of fun to be had in Atlantic City, most notably on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, recognized as the United States’ first boardwalk. Must-see attractions include the historic Steel Pier featuring classic amusement rides and the third largest observation wheel, Atlantic City Miniature Golf, Lucky Snake Arcade and, of course, the beach. Also not to be missed is ISLAND Waterpark at Showboat Hotel, the largest indoor beachfront waterpark in the world and home to lazy rivers, several water slides, and interactive adult and kid-friendly areas.

And no visit to Atlantic City would be complete without climbing the 240 steps of Absecon Lighthouse, New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse at 171 feet tall. Groups can book a variety of tours, overnight experiences and more.

For more information go to www.

Atlantic City has all your travelers’ needs covered for an amazing summer getaway!

Happy Travel Agent Day 2024!

As a thank you to our valued travel advisors, we invite you to join one of our 2024 guided vacations to Ireland and Save 50% when you book in May. Space is limited and available on a rst come, rst served basis. Book today or learn more at

CIE Tours celebrates Travel Agent Appreciation Month with gift cards and 50% savings

CIE Tours, a specialist in guided vacations to Ireland and Britain, is celebrating Travel Agent Appreciation Month this May by offering travel advisors as much as 50% savings on tours to Ireland and beyond.

From May 1-31, 2024, travel advisors can save 50% when booking any CIE Tours guided vacation to Ireland, for departures between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2024. For advisors inviting

a non-agent to share a room, the companion will save 30%. All other CIE Tours destinations are offered at 30% savings for both agents and their companion sharing the same room.

The company’s All-In Inclusive Advantage means the discounted price includes everything noted on itineraries in one upfront price, such as all excursions and most meals.

In addition, specific to Canadian advisors, CIE Tours is offering one advisor and their guest a chance to win a seven-night ‘Taste of Ireland’ guided vacation plus airfare. For every booking deposited between May 1 and Nov. 30, advisors will earn one entry into the drawing. Each month, one random entry will be selected and awarded a piece of luxury Waterford crystal. Plus, for every new guided holiday or private driver booking deposited between May 1 and June

30, Canadian advisors will earn a $50 gift card.

For travellers, CIE Tours is extending the celebration by offering savings of up to $1,200 per couple for popular guided vacations to Ireland, Scotland and beyond. When booking from May 1-31, 2024, travellers can receive up to 15% off select 2024 guided vacations, for departures between July 1 and Dec. 31. Eligible tours include the six-day ‘Scottish Daytripper,’ which includes visits to Edinburgh’s famed castle, Brodick Castle and Gardens and Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford House, and the nine- or 10-day ‘Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way,” during which guests will enjoy views of Donegal, Westport, Adare and Tralee, plus excursions to Strokestown Park at the cliffs at Slieve League.

For more information go to


Collette launches new Travel Advisor Reward Program

Collette is putting travel advisors first with the launch of its new Travel Advisor Reward Program.

As North America’s longest-running tour operator, Collette is encouraging advisors to get out and explore the world in the same way that their clients do. With the new program, advisors will be rewarded for booking more travellers on Collette tours.

Starting with reduced rates of 50%, advisors will receive bigger savings on land tours the more travellers they book within a single year.

They’ll have the opportunity to increase that number all the way to 100% if they book over 40 travellers.

Advisors will also receive reduced rates for companions, starting at 25%.

“Our advisors are such a big part of what we do each and every day,” said Jaclyn Leibl-Cote, president and chief customer experience officer at Collette. “We want to give them the opportunity to get out and explore the world, just like their travellers do. By offering this reward program, we not only allow them to do that, but also encourage them to share the gift of travel with more travellers.”

Discounts earned are based on the following levels: with 0 to 8 travelled guests, 50% off land up to $2000/25% off companion up to $1000. 9 to 19 travelled guests, 50% off land up to $2500/25% off companion up to $1500. 20 to 39 travellers, 75% off land up to $3000/25% off companion up to $2000. 40 to 49 travelled guests, 100% off land up to $3500/50% off companion up to $2500. 50+ travellers, 100% off land up to $5000/50% off companion up to $2500. Air

discount is 10% for both the travel advisor and companion at all discount tier levels. Discounts earned are per travel advisor and cannot be accrued across multiple travel advisors within a single office location.

Discounts are applicable to the full land-only tour & extension price and not combinable with any other promotions or discounts. Not applicable for use with a group departure, where comps and/or commission are earned and applied by the same travel advisor. Earning period is based on one calendar year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31) for travelled guests and will re-set at the start of each calendar year. Travel advisors who qualify for a discount amount will have the remainder of the sales year in which the discount was earned, plus an additional calendar year to redeem. If the qualified discount has not been utilized by the Travel Advisor in accordance with these terms, the discount will be forfeited.

For more information visit www.

Sell More, Save More

The best way to experience Collette is on tour alongside our travellers. See what they see, share in that experience, and save big.

Plus, the more you sell, the more you’ll save. You could even be rewarded a free tour.*

IT’S SIMPLE. Fill out our online form, telling us where you want to go and when. Hear back from our team within 3 business days Pack your bag Scan to access the Travel Request Form *Terms and conditions apply For more information, contact your local BDM

Wyndham Alltra opens its newest resort in Samaná, Dominican Republic

Guests looking for a low-stress, family-friendly getaway can now book an all-inclusive escape at the newly opened Wyndham Alltra Samaná.

Located in the town of Las Galeras in the Samaná province of the Dominican Republic, the hotel – managed by Playa Hotels & Resorts – marks the Wyndham Alltra brand’s debut in the country, where it is expected to be joined later this year by the newly signed Wyndham Alltra Punta Cana. The 404-room resort offers

guestrooms and suites with private balconies and garden views, equipped with flatscreen TVs, free Wi-Fi and stocked minibars. Additional room types, including Club Rooms with ocean views, will be available to book later this year. Other resort highlights include a variety of restaurants and lounges ranging from an international buffet to farm-to-table Italian cuisine, four pools, and a wide array of excursions and activities such as whale watching, horseback riding and exploring nearby waterfalls.

Meanwhile, when Wyndham Alltra Punta Cana makes its debut later this year along Uvero Alto Beach, it will offer a pool, spa, world-class fitness centre, a dozen dining options, daily performances and themed nights and a brand new water park. Located one

hour from Punta Cana’s airport, it will feature 620 suites spanning rooms with Kings and two Doubles, private swim-outs with furnished balconies and two-bedroom spaces perfect for families.

First launched at the end of 2021, Wyndham Alltra has already made its mark in destinations like Cancun, Freeport, Bridgetown and Montego Bay. From Wyndham Alltra Cancun and Viva Fortuna Beach by Wyndham, A Trademark All Inclusive (midscale), to the recently opened Wyndham Grand Barbados Sam Lords Castle (upscale) or Ajul Luxury Hotel & Spa, A Registry Collection Hotel (luxury), Wyndham offers stunning resorts at a wide variety of price points.

For more information go to www.

AGENTCASHPLUS.COM | 833.349.2090 or Contact Your Preferred Tour Operator Book Early & Save up to 45% SUN-KISSED SAVINGS Save on new bookings made from January 4 through April 3, 2024 for stays through June 30, 2024. Reservations are subject to availability and must be made in advance. A limited number of rooms are allocated to this offer. Offer not combinable with other consumer saving promotions. Not valid with groups, conventions, tour packages or special rate programs. See website for full terms and conditions. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time. Not responsible for errors or omissions. Other restrictions may apply. ©2024 Playa Management USA, LLC or its affiliates. Wyndham Alltra® trademark and related marks are trademarks of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, LLC. All rights reserved. PLA04690324

Saint Lucia to build momentum in 2024 following a stellar 2023

The island of Saint Lucia had a stellar year in 2023, particularly from its three major source markets – Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Last year, the destination welcomed 36,175 Canadian visitor arrivals, up 9% from 2022. By the end of 2023, the recovery index for Canadian arrivals to Saint Lucia was at 89% of 2019, which was the strongest year for Canadian arrivals (40,872 visitors).

This year will also likely end on a high note, thanks to direct nonstop fl ights on Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing. WestJet operated 3 days/ week through April, dropping to 2x/ week in May and 1x/week from June. Air Canada operated 5 days/week

from Toronto in April, and 2x/week in May and June. And Sunwing’s weekly winter service ended on April 20.

Once on the island, Canadians have a wide array of activities and sights to enjoy, including chocolate making at Rabot Hotel from Hotel Chocolate, the world-renowned chocolatier. Along with staying at a boutique hotel and dining at a superb restaurant, visitors can walk around the cocoa farm and experience first-hand how cocoa is grown and harvested to create their very own chocolate bar.

Water enthusiasts can not only discover stunning marine life underwater, but also help preserve the corals. Scuba St. Lucia, the dive centre run by Jade Mountain, has partnered with REEF Rescue Network and Perry Institute for Marine Science to launch two coral nurseries in front of Jade Mountain Resort. Divers have the chance to participate in coral planting, maintenance and even out-planting the corals on the reef.

For wildlife enthusiasts, the Millet

Bird Sanctuary Trail is home to over 30 species of birds including five endemic ones: Saint Lucia Parrot, Saint Lucia Black Finch, Saint Lucia Oriole, Saint Lucia Pewee and Saint Lucia Warbler. The trail also offers breathtaking views of the Roseau Dam, the largest in the Eastern Caribbean.

A truly authentic experience is taking a dip in volcanic mud, which can be done at Sulphur Springs near Soufriere. The steaming pools and bubbling mud are said to have therapeutic properties and are regularly enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

And no visit to Saint Lucia would be complete with climbing a Piton. The ultimate physical challenge, the four-hour climb up one of Saint Lucia’s iconic mountains is done with a local guide, as the area is considered protected land. The views at the top across the entire island are well worth the effort.

For more information on travel to Saint Lucia, go to


If you’re looking for the ultimate in high-end style and sheer natural beauty, Saint Lucia is the Caribbean destination that soars above all others. For more information visit

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Riverside Luxury Cruises’ 2025 portfolio now open for booking

Riverside Luxury Cruises has unveiled its portfolio of new 2025 voyages.

The river cruise line will offer more than 170 departures on 52 distinct itineraries, ranging from 3 to 23 nights, aboard Riverside Debussy, Riverside Ravel and Riverside Mozart.

New for Riverside in 2025 are itineraries that combine cruises aboard both Riverside Debussy and Riverside Ravel for extended vacations, ranging up to 19 nights, exploring the Rhine and Rhône rivers, respectively.

Riverside Debussy will also cruise the Main and Moselle rivers and join Riverside Mozart on the picturesque Danube River.

On all voyages, Riverside Debussy, Riverside Ravel and Riverside Mozart stay late or overnight in some of Europe’s top towns and cities, so guests can immerse in authentic cultures and the destination’s social life.

“No other line delivers Europe like

Riverside Luxury Cruises,” said CEO Jen Halboth. “Our 2025 portfolio delivers more opportunities for luxury travellers to delight in the adventure of exploring new destinations, while being pampered with exceptional cuisine, high-touch service, and spa. These are all aboard Riverside’s most spacious and beautiful fleet cruising the rivers of Europe.”

Riverside offers all-inclusive vacations along the Rhine, Rhône, Danube and Main rivers aboard the allsuite Riverside Mozart, Riverside Ravel, and the newly inaugurated Riverside Debussy. Guests enjoy

butler service in every suite, included premium wines and spirits, complimentary StarLink broadband WiFi, and unlimited shored excursions. Winner of Cruise Critic’s 2023 Editor’s Pick for Best Dining the River Category, Riverside features round-the-clock food options and gourmet fare, made à la minute with high-quality, fresh ingredients.

Riverside Luxury Cruises new 2025 voyages are now open for booking. Travel advisors can register and book their luxury clients through the brand’s dedicated partner portal at

FULL-PAGE AD RELAX IN LUXURY AND ENJOY EXCLUSIVE MOMENTS ON THE RIVERS OF EUROPE. Offer your clients an unparalleled travel experience with the first 6 star slow luxury cruises. For details, simply drop us a line at or call 778-994-1833


Why Railbookers Group?

From our suggested best sellers to customizing your client’s perfect trip from scratch, we do it all. Train, hotels, sightseeing, transfers and more.

We take the complexity out of independent vacations by train.

Connecting the Dots

We are the one-stop shop for trains, hotels, sightseeing, transfers, and more

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No more waiting days for a pricewe give you back your time so you can earn more money

Hotel Selection

Your clients can choose from 3-, 4-, and 5-star hotels throughout their trip

Extensive Product Collection

Independent itineraries including multi-country, multi-city, pre- and post-cruise, rail and sail, luxury, and more

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Book and travel from today to two years out - secure space and lock in the best rate!

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We know the best routes and connections including luxury, scenic, and overnight rail

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We simplify booking for travel advisors by offering 3-way calls with your clients, ensuring expert assistance

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Global staff across five countries to handle any unplanned disruptions such as train delays, strikes or emergencies

Scan for your Travel Advisor Toolbox! Enjoy a variety of resources that we have curated for you to help promote and plan your customers' next rail journey.

Railbookers CA Amtrak Vacations

Book New Zealand with Railbookers

New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most stunning landscapes, and there’s no better way to soak up all its beauty than by rail.

Railbookers has reintroduced New Zealand to its portfolio with the addition of six itineraries ranging from 8-19 days. Itineraries feature four scenic train and ferry journeys along with hotels, sightseeing and more. Guests will explore the sights while onboard iconic trains like The Northern Explorer, TranzAlpine and The Coastal Pacific.

Featured itineraries include the eight-day ‘Essential New Zealand’ during which guests will uncover the maritime history and indulge in the home of the ‘Flat White’ coffee in Auckland. They’ll also marvel over volcanic peaks aboard The Northern Explorer, spot majestic whales and sea lions on the Coastal Pacific, and traverse the Southern Alps via the TranzAlpine. They’ll also experience

one of the world’s most scenic ferry crossings with the Interislander ferry. While on the 11-day ‘Kiwi Explorer,’ guests will explore Auckland’s city sights, learn about Rotorua’s Maori history, and enjoy scenic rail journeys aboard the Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine. Other highlights include cruising through Doubtful Sound and marveling over views of Mount Cook and the Southern Alps.

Also available is the 19-day ‘Ultimate New Zealand’ during which guests will explore many of New Zealand’s wonders, including Bay of Islands, Rotorua and Franz Josef Glacier. They’ll also enjoy scenic train rides, encounter wildlife in Kaikoura, cruise Queen Charlotte and Milford Sounds and visit Dunedin’s penguin colony.

To learn more about Railbookers’ New Zealand product, travel advisors are encouraged to register for an informative webinar hosted by Gareth Jones, Director of Product Development. Available on demand, the webinar provides an overview of Railbookers’ carefully curated packages, allowing advisors to gain essential insights and selling tips. To register click here.

Travel advisors can also access a variety of resources to help promote and plan their clients’ next rail journey via Railbookers’ Travel Advisor Toolbox. Benefits include travel agent exclusives, promotional materials, indepth training webinars, digital maps and three-way calling with clients. For more information click here.



Nestled between Bahia Petempich beach and the Caribbean Sea, Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun welcomes guests of all ages into a world of luxury. Ignite your senses with dramatic ambiance, vibrant cuisine, local culture, state-of-the-art amenities and heartfelt service in a refined resort atmosphere where everything is included.


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• Nine sparkling pools

• A sprawling water park and kids’ pool

• KidZ Club with special supervised activities for children

• An over-water elegant wedding gazebo and picture-perfect beach wedding venues

• Excursion options to archeological sites, golf and more

Discover Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun:


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Jamaica is celebrating its strong visitor numbers, hitting the 1.7 million mark as of May 7. Based on preliminary data, the island recorded 1,016,185 stopover arrivals and over 700,000 cruise passengers, earning roughly US$1.8 billion in revenue. This represents a 4.6% increase in stopover arrivals and a 23% increase in cruise passengers compared to the same period in 2023. Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett noted that the island is on track to welcome 5 million visitors and earn US$5 billion by 2025. “To hit the 1.7 million arrivals mark is an outstanding feat and speaks to the commitment and hard work of our tourism team led by the heart of our industry – our workers,” said Minister Bartlett.

Orlando welcomed 6.13 million international visitors in 2023, an increase of 25% over 2022 numbers. Canada remains Orlando’s top international market, with more than 1.2 million visitors travelling to Orlando last year, the highest number from this market in the city’s history. The 2023 international visitation numbers represent 94% of pre-pandemic levels (2019), with Canada, UK and Brazil remaining the top three international origin markets. Contributing to this growth were new direct airlift, a more streamlined visa process, and Visit Orlando's 'Unbelievably Real' marketing campaign in key markets during the colder months.


Princess Cruises' 2026 European cruise and cruisetour season will be its biggest ever, with five Princess cruise ships sailing the region, including the new Sun Princess. Running March through November 2026, the European season features 59 itineraries, visiting 101 destinations across 29 countries, ranging from 5-42 nights. Highlights of the season include viewing the 2026 total solar eclipse, the return of roundtrip cruises from Copenhagen, and new itineraries from Rome. Plus, new for 2026 is a 28-night Northern Europe and Mediterranean itinerary sailing roundtrip from Southampton, and roundtrip Med itineraries aboard the Enchanted Princess from Rome ranging from 5, 7, 8 and 14 nights. And for the first time ever, Majestic Princess will sail roundtrip from Southampton on British Isles and Northern Europe itineraries ranging from 11, 12 and 14 nights. The season goes on sale May 23, 2024.

Silversea's brand new Silver Nova has arrived in Alaska for the first time, embarking on a series of seven-day voyages from May 9 until Sept. 5, 2024. The ship's inaugural season in Alaska comprises 18 voyages, with a duo of itinerary options available for summer and fall bookings. Example voyages include Vancouver to Seward (June 20-27, 2024) and Seward to Vancouver (July 25-Aug. 1, 2024). The season also marks the introduction of Silversea's award-winning culinary program, S.A.L.T. (Sea and Land Taste), to the region. The S.A.L.T. Kitchen will offer local dishes like Alaskan Salmon Pie and Venison Ravioli with Wild Mushroom.

Riviera River Cruises' MS Lord Byron has undergone a refurbishment of its public areas and cabins, as well as a full renovation of its stern restaurant. New furniture was added to the ship's lounge, restaurants and cabins, plus new carpeting was installed throughout. Built in 2013, the 360-foot ship sails on France's Rhône River and accommodates 140 guests in 74 cabins and suites.


Air Transat unveils winter 2024-2025 flight offer from Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes

MONTREAL — It will be a jam-packed winter season for Air Transat, which has just unveiled its winter 2024-2025 flight offerings from Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.

At the peak of the season, Air Transat’s overall schedule will include nearly 300 nonstop flights per week from seven Canadian cities, including Toronto, Ottawa, London, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax and Moncton.

“For the 2024-2025 winter season, we are favouring growth focused on our flagship destinations,” said Sebastian Ponce, Chief Revenue Officer of Transat. “Leveraging our partnership with Porter Airlines and our annual routes to Europe, we are able to take advantage of their expansion into the domestic market to reach a wider audience.”


From Toronto, the airline is increasing flight frequencies to key markets such as Cancun and Punta Cana, while adding capacity on high-potential routes such as San Jose. Air Transat also maintains its routes to other popular destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico, and will once again offer flights to its

most popular sun destinations from Ottawa and London.

As for transatlantic connections, Air Transat maintains its commitment to Europe by offering nonstop flights from Toronto to six key destinations. The route to London-Gatwick will benefit from an additional frequency, offering a daily service and strengthening the connection with the United Kingdom. Other European routes include flights to cities such as Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Glasgow and Manchester.


At the peak of the winter 2024-2025 season, more than 170 nonstop flights per week will be offered from Montreal and Quebec City to more than 30 destinations covering the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, Florida, Europe and North Africa.

From Montreal, the airline is increasing flight frequencies to key markets such as Cancun and Punta Cana, while adding capacity on high-potential routes such as Fort-de-France, Saint Martin and Lima.

From Quebec City, Air Transat is increasing its flight frequencies to Holguin and offering a total of nine sun destinations.

As for transatlantic connections, Air Transat will serve a total of seven transatlantic destinations nonstop from Montreal. From Montreal, routes to Lisbon and Malaga will

see an increase in frequencies, plus, routes to Marseille and Lyon will benefit from improved capacity, thanks to the use of larger aircraft to meet growing demand. The annualization of the Montreal-Marrakech service will also allow for continuous exploration of Morocco throughout the year.

On the Quebec City side, an additional frequency will be added to Paris, offering three direct flights per week.

For Florida lovers, flights from Montreal to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will benefit from one and two additional frequencies per week, respectively. These two destinations will continue to be accessible from Quebec City, with four flights per week to Fort Lauderdale and two flights per week to Orlando. These strategic adjustments make it easier to access Florida for all types of vacations, including cruises, thanks in part to optimized flight schedules.


At the height of the winter 2024-2025 season, Air Transat will offer nonstop flights from Halifax and Moncton to 10 destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Florida.

From Halifax, the airline is adding an additional frequency to Puerto Plata. Other destinations such as Cancun, Cayo Coco, Holguín, Montego Bay, Punta Cana, Santa Clara and Varadero remain accessible.

From Moncton, Air Transat flies to popular destinations including Cancun, Punta Cana and Varadero.

Air Transat is also optimizing its routes to Florida, with an additional frequency from Halifax to Fort Lauderdale. Flights to Orlando from Halifax and Moncton remain.


May 16, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 31

WestJet Group enhances winter 787 schedule out of Calgary

CALGARY — The WestJet Group has announced significant enhancements to its transoceanic and leisure travel offering with its winter 787 schedule out of its Calgary hub.

Among the enhancements are expanded year-round service between Calgary International Airport (YYC) and Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT), as well as an increase to daily connectivity between Calgary and Paris Charles-de-Gaulle International (CDG) and London Heathrow International (LHR) Airports. The airline is also enhancing its 787 presence on popular leisure routes with service between Canada, Mexico and Hawaii.


Building on the existing summer seasonal service, WestJet is investing in year-round service between Calgary and Tokyo. Through its longstanding codeshare agreement with japan Airlines, guests will also have access to seven destinations beyond Tokyo.


“This winter, WestJet will fly more than 60,000 seats between Asia and Alberta, creating a catalyst for year-round collaboration between our two unique economies and tourism hubs,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Group Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer. “This route has proven to be an exceptional conduit for transpacific leisure and business travellers connecting to Calgary and Alberta.”

Calgary-Tokyo will run 3x/weekly starting Oct. 27, 2024.


This winter, WestJet is bolstering its European winter service offering with daily connectivity to both London and Paris from the airline’s global hub in Calgary. While these routes were previously served throughout the winter, frequency to Paris has been increased to daily to match London, and to meet the unprecedented demand for business and leisure travel between Western Canada and Europe. Guests will also benefit from WestJet’s codeshare agreement with Air France, which unlocks 53 additional European destinations beyond Paris. Calgary-London will run 7x/weekly starting Oct. 27, 2024. Calgary-Paris will run 7x/weekly, also starting Oct. 27, 2024.

Ultimate Jet Vacations ramps up North America sales team

Ultimate Jet Vacations (UJV) has announced new North America appointments. Andrew Rein has been named Director of Business Development, overseeing the Northeast and Canada regions. He previously served roles with Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts.

Katie Lindblad joins UJV as Director of Business Development overseeing the Southeast region. She previously spent eight years at Singita, overseeing sales in the United States and Canada.

Leading the West Coast as Director of Business Development is Kevin Peyrache, who joined UJV in 2018. Hailing from Lyon, France, Peyrache will exclusively focus on the West Coast region and British Columbia


This winter, the airline is deploying its 787 aircraft on some of its most in-demand leisure routes, including doubling its capacity between Calgary and Cancun to twice daily and increasing to daily service between Calgary and Puerto Vallarta. Additionally, the airline will continue to offer daily 787 service between Toronto and Cancun and three times weekly service between Calgary and Honolulu.

• Calgary-Cancun, 13x/weekly, starting Oct. 28, 2024

• Calgary-Puerto Vallarta, 7x/ weekly, starting Nov. 11, 2024

• Calgary-Honolulu, 3x/weekly, starting Nov. 16, 2024

• Toronto-Cancun, 7x/weekly, starting Oct. 28, 2024

Porter announces its largestever summer schedule from Toronto

TORONTO — Porter Airlines has just unveiled its largest-ever summer schedule out of Toronto.

During the summer season, the airline will offer up to 176 daily flights to 27 destinations across North America from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ).

By August, Porter will be the third-largest carrier flying from YYZ , with up to 74 daily flights to 16 destinations across Canada and the United States. Every flight from YYZ is flown by the brand new, 132-seat Embraer E195-E2.

Routes from YYZ feature destinations in the United States such as Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, plus Canadian cities like Halifax, Quebec City, St. John’s, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Victoria, Winnipeg and Saskatoon.

32 | TRAVELWEEK | May 16, 2024

From YTZ, there’ll be up to 102 daily flights to 15 destinations, all operated by the 78-seat De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft. Porter exclusively provides nonstop service from Billy Bishop to popular destinations like New York-Newark, Chicago-Midway, Boston, Halifax, Washington D.C.-Dulles and Thunder Bay.

“Porter is offering passengers a level of generous economy service they will not receive from any other carrier serving Toronto and we’re continuing to provide passengers with more choice from both of the airports that serve the Greater Toronto community,” said Kevin Jackson, president, Porter Airlines.

“It was only last February that Porter started flying out of Toronto-Pearson, so to have grown to become the third-largest carrier this summer reinforces the fact that once passengers try our style of economy travel, we are seeing them choose to fly us again and to more destinations. We will continue to expand the number of destinations served as we take delivery of more of our Embraer E195 aircraft,” Jackson added.

Connecting flights within Porter’s own network, and globally through its partners are also available using Billy Bishop and Pearson. Through YYZ, there is access to European cities like London, Paris and Amsterdam through the airline’s partnership with Air Transat.



Porter offers an elevated economy experience on board, with a two-bytwo configuration on every aircraft, ensuring no middle seats on any flight. Free premium snacks and free beer and wine, served in glassware, are included in every fare. Passengers flying on routes served by the Embraer E195-E2 enjoy free, fast WiFi and access to fresh, healthy meals.

Full schedule details are available on

Royal Caribbean Group launches its newest automation tool, Rallio

MIAMI — Royal Caribbean Group has launched Rallio, a new tool for travel advisors, as the cruise company marks Travel Advisor Appreciation Month.

According to RCG, Rallio will give travel partners access to ready-to-use


RIU Hotels & Resorts’ CEO to retire by the summer

RIU Hotels & Resorts has announced the retirement of CEO Carmen Riu. RIU, who currently shares the position with her brother Luis Riu, will retire her executive and institutional representation roles at the company before the summer of this year. Luis will continue as the company’s sole CEO. Moreover, Carmen Riu has now assumed the role of Chair of the Group’s Governing Board. All members of the fourth generation of the Riu family have now also joined this body, marking the beginning of generational handover at RIU Hotels, a process that will be led by the family through the Group’s governing bodies.

social media content that has been developed by Royal Caribbean’s inhouse, dedicated trade marketing team.

The posts are customizable and shareable across all major social media platforms to help travel partners boost their visibility, enhance their engagement, and keep their clients informed in real-time. Plus, says RCG, it’s easy to use.

The free tool is now available on in Canada and the U.S. under Sales & Marketing > Social Media and is available to use across Royal Caribbean Group brands (including Celebrity Cruises and Silversea).

As an extra token of appreciation, travel partners will also have a chance to win up to US$500 for their co-op marketing spend when they register for Rallio (offer good through May only).   Other agent-friendly automation tools and services from Royal Caribbean Group include:

• FlexPay: Travel partners can take care of their client’s final payment with up to 10 pre-pre-scheduled automatic payments that can be arranged by date, amount and across more than one payment method. Plus, there are zero fees and interest.

• Cruise Planner: Travel partners can browse and book the best onshore and onboard experiences for their clients, in addition to specialty dining to spa, fitness experiences and more. By booking ahead, travel partners can secure the best pricing.

• Flight Finder: Flight Finder works in tandem with the Espresso experience to allow travel partners to modify and cancel flights, change and add seat selections, manage transfers and more, while their clients get benefits like lowest Airfare Guarantee, Assured Arrival and Pay Later.

May 16, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 33 33 | TRAVELWEEK | May 1, 2024

Visit Seattle’s new Perks Pass digital savings passport is ideal for cruise clients

Visit Seattle has launched a digital Perks Pass for Alaska-bound cruise passengers, a new offering available via Bandwango.

The free platform highlights local attractions, retail outlets, and restaurants that offer discounts to convention and cruise visitors, inspiring them to experience more of what the Emerald City has to offer during their stay.

Current discounted offerings include some of Seattle’s most popular destinations such as Seattle Art Museum, Kenmore Air, Smith Tower, the Seattle Symphony, and more.

In addition to those big-name attractions, there are plenty of smaller local gems taking part too, including Bite Society, Aerlume, FRS Clipper, Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), Theo Chocolate, Underground Donut Tour and Atrium Kitchen.

More information about Perks Pass partners can be found at cruise-information/perks-pass/

Before or during their trip to Seattle, visitors can access the digital savings passport by providing their name, e-mail address, and phone number. Bandwango will then send a passport link to the user’s phone, providing convenient access to local deals and discounts during their trip. Once a visitor is ready to redeem the pass, they show their savings passport to the vendor to claim their discount.

Following a record-breaking Seattle cruise season in 2023, the introduction of this program seeks to stimulate cruise passenger spending before and after their trip.

With two centrally located cruise terminals and easy access to the airport, Seattle is one of the West Coast’s premier points of departure for Alaska, West Coast, or Pacific Northwest cruises. Pier 66 is in the heart of the downtown core, while Pier 91 is just a 5-8 minute Uber ride from the downtown core.

The Port of Seattle has 277 sailings to Alaska from Seattle on seven different cruise lines in 2024. The season kicked off April 6 and closes Oct. 28, during which time an estimated 1.7 million passengers will sail out of Seattle.

Cruise passengers can easily explore Seattle’s major attractions before or after their sailing. Whether they have two hours or two days in town, there’s plenty to see and do just steps from their cruise ship. With the downtown core spanning just a compact and walkable mile and a half, visitors are never too far from the piers or easy transit to the airport, and it’s easy to pack a lot of adventure into a couple of hours in Seattle.

Visit Seattle’s Perks Pass is available now. For more information see cruise-information/. And for pre- and post-cruise sightseeing ideas, check out cruise-information/pre-post-cruise-activities/.

TRAVELWEEK | 35 Photo courtesy Rachael Jones

TTC Tour Brands expands discount tiers for travel advisor partners

CYPRESS, CA — TTC Tour Brands –with brands including Trafalgar, Contiki, Brendan Vacations, Costsaver, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold – is showing its appreciation for travel advisors by expanding the participation tiers of its Travel Advisor Discount Program (TADP).

The travel company is also introducing a new incentive for travel advisors just beginning their careers with TTC Tour Brands.

With the newly revised Travel Advisor Discount Program (TADP), advisors can begin earning personal travel discounts up to 25% on gross sales starting at Cdn$35,000.

In addition, new advisors to TTC Tour Brands will receive a Cdn$100 e-gift card on their first booking when they take the TTC Tour Brands Masterclass and complete the brand.

Advisors who sell TTC Tour Brands can take advantage of the expanded discount tiers based on their gross

TTC Tour Brands sales.

For more information about the revised Travel Advisor Discount program and to apply for a discount on an upcoming TTC Tour Brands departure, go to

Porter Escapes no longer available, as Porter eyes reboot for warm weather destinations

TORONTO — Porter Airlines has stopped selling Porter Escapes packages as of last week.

A spokesperson from the airline confirmed the news to Travelweek on May 10 that “no new packages are being sold through this channel, effective immediately” but that “all trips currently booked for future travel will be honoured.”

A new version of vacation packages that includes Porter flights will be sold in the future, with a focus

on warm-weather vacation markets that appeal to Canadians. According to the spokesperson, “Porter is refocusing its vacation packages offering on sun destinations that Canadians traditionally visit in locations such as Mexico and the Caribbean.”

“These will become available at a later date in conjunction with Porter flights, although no specific timeline is confirmed,” said the spokesperson, who added that the decision to suspend Porter Escapes is part of the airline’s current evolution from a regional carrier to one that has presence throughout North America.

Nothing is required for existing bookings. Travel advisors are also being directly communicated with. For questions regarding existing reservations, contact Porter’s Travel Planners at 1-855-372-1100 or

Porter Escapes fi rst launched in December 2012 with flight and hotel packages to Porter Airlines destinations. Porter Escapes were available in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Moncton, Halifax, St. John’s, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, Windsor, New York (Newark), Chicago (Midway), Boston, Washington (Dulles) and seasonally to Mt. Tremblant, Myrtle Beach and Burlington, Vt.

Globus family of brands launches new travel advisor portal, education platform

TORONTO — Globus family of brands has got travel advisors’ backs with the launch of a brand new Travel Advisor Portal (TAP).

Part of the company’s new business-to-business brand marketing

36 | TRAVELWEEK | May 16, 2024


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platform, the new portal shines the spotlight on ‘U,’ the travel advisor, who Globus family of brands considers the ultimate hero.

Phase 1 of the platform has already been rolled out and can be accessed here.

The new TAP includes the following:

• Marketing: Introducing the capability for advisors to share itineraries, co-branded with their contact information, enhancing communications and sales opportunities.

• Navigation:  The new portal’s updated design and user interface make for an improved and more intuitive advisor experience.

• Search: The new TAP makes it easier than ever for advisors to search for the perfect itinerary for a client’s specific interests and needs.

• Reservation Management:  Advisors can book travel experiences and manage client reservations –including accessing all necessary documentation – in real-time, as available.

• Resources: Advisors also have access to a wealth of marketing materials and product information, readily available for promotion and use.

• Partners for Profit: In addition to a national sales force behind advisors, they are invited to enjoy new training tools to empower success. Travel advisors who are not yet

registered on the Globus family of brands’ TAP, login is quick and easy. Advisors can also sign-up for bi-weekly emails or join the company’s dedicated trade Facebook group.

In addition to the Travel Advisor Portal, Globus family of brands launched a ‘GFOB U’ education platform this week, which allows advisors to learn, grow and garner even more success. To celebrate Travel Advisor Appreciation Month, the company is also offering the chance to earn up to a $100 booking incentive on new bookings made in May.

WestJet Vacations

Québec now accepting bookings to 20 sun destinations

MONTREAL — Brand new from Sunwing Vacations Group, a new tour operator called WestJet Vacations Québec will specialize in all-inclusive vacations to some 20 sun destinations

exclusively for Quebec travellers. Departures will start in November, with package vacations available from three Quebec gateways to hundreds of resorts, serviced by 13 sun destination airports.

Featured resort partners include Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts in the D.R., Jamaica and Mexico, soonto-be-available Barceló Hotel Group properties in destinations including Cuba, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, and select Princess Hotels & Resorts properties, including Grand Riviera Princess All Suites and Spa Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Great news for travel advisors: the new tour operator is offering bonus commission on client bookings made until July 31.

WestJet Vacations Québec is part of Sunwing Vacations Group’s ongoing commitment to providing more value and choice to its customer base in Quebec, said Sunwing Vacations Group’s Vice President, Québec, Lyne Chayer.

Sunwing Vacations Group is the vacation division of the WestJet Group.

“Québec residents can reach out to their local travel advisor to book all-inclusive packages to a number of great properties in destination, including Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts which are available to book now, and Barceló Hotel Group properties which will be available to book in the coming weeks. We cannot wait for travel advisors and clients to uncover the exceptional value and variety on all-inclusive packages available through WestJet Vacations Québec, and look forward to helping them embark on their well-deserved getaways to the sun,” said Chayer.

Chayer noted that WestJet Vacations Québec will be offering bonus commission to agents. “We are thrilled to offer an additional 2% commission to travel advisors as a special, introductory offer to celebrate this important launch and thank them for their ongoing dedication to supporting our mutual clients,” said Chayer.

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Luxurious waterfront resorts

Indulge in pure luxury at Paradisus by Meliá resorts, where the destination is now included! Enjoy a range of Destination Inclusive® activities included in your package at no extra cost and immerse yourself in the culture of the destination. Participate in workshops, private cooking classes, personalized yoga classes and more! Enjoy local entertainment and culinary delights that will enrich your vacation experience. From natural beauty to flawless service, Paradisus by Meliá has it all!

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Québec clients can start booking WestJet Vacations Québec packages starting today. Departures will operate from from Montréal–Trudeau International Airport, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport and Saguenay-Bagotville Airport.

WestJet Vacations Québec is currently offering 20 destinations across Cuba, the D.R., Jamaica, Mexico, St. Maarten, Costa Rica and Panama.

New destinations will be added in future based on customer demand.

The new tour operator noted that Tulum is a brand-new airport and a must-visit for Mexico-bound travellers.


WestJet Vacations Québec is offering 8% commission for all WestJet Vacations Québec client bookings made through travel advisors’ booking engine or through WestJet Vacations Québec’s Reservations Sales Centre.

As an added incentive, the tour operator is providing an additional 2% commission on WestJet Vacations Québec client bookings made May 14 - July 31, 2024 for travel Nov. 1, 2024 - April 30, 2025, for a total of 10% commission during the promotional window.

Agents can contact the WestJet Vacations Québec Sales Centre at 1-877665-6045 for specific questions or guidance, with fees waived for Sales Centre support until August 14, 2024, if the inquiry is specific to WestJet Vacations Québec bookings.

Travel advisors will also find up-todate information on flights for the 2025 winter season, along with destinations and resort partners available to clients online at and on the Sunwing Vacations Group Agent Portal, along with Frequently Asked Questions to assist them in the research and booking phases.

Saint John Airport announces new regional air service


JOHN, NB — The Saint John Airport has announced new regional air service providing weekday flights between Saint John, Halifax and Bathurst – providing much-needed air connections for New Brunswick travellers.

Quebec-based PASCAN Aviation will launch the new regional service Sept. 9 with two daily return flights Monday to Friday between Saint John and Halifax along with one same-day return flight between Bathurst and Saint John every weekday.

The flights mark the re-establishment of regional air service in New Brunswick after it was halted due to the pandemic.

Saint John Airport President and CEO Alexander (Sandy) Ross calls the new PASCAN service “absolutely critical” to reviving regional air connectivity, adding that it positions the Saint John Airport well for future expansion in the region and connections with other carriers that operate service from Saint John to elsewhere in Canada.

“Prior to 2020, the route between Saint John and Halifax alone supported 24,000 passengers annually and

was one of the most viable commercial routes in Atlantic Canada,” Ross says. “This is all about getting back to business as usual.”

Marie Manning, VP Business Development & Chief Commercial Officer at the Halifax International Airport Authority, said: “We welcome the return of regional air service between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This new connection will provide much-needed flexibility and efficiency for those travelling between our communities and will further strengthen our region’s air transportation network.”

Fares start at $445 return and, as of June 1, can be booked through or by calling 1-888-313-8777.

PASCAN will use SAAB 340B aircraft that carry about 30 passengers. Ross said the size of the plane is the right fit for regional air travel. He expects the daily routes between northern New Brunswick, Saint John and Halifax will be particularly well-received by the business community.

It will also enable leisure travellers a fast and efficient connection to the world through Halifax and allow New Brunswick families needing medical care in either Saint John or Halifax to have same-day service.

The airport currently offers regular service to Toronto and Montreal via Air Canada and Flair Airlines, and has concluded a successful first year of service to Orlando.

For Bathurst, which has seen regular service dwindle from three flights a day pre-pandemic to four flights per week

40 | TRAVELWEEK | May 16, 2024

now, the new PASCAN service is a daily lifeline to major centres, and allows for opportunities for further growth.

“This makes the Bathurst airport sustainable again,” says Jamie Degrace, CEO of the Bathurst Regional Airport. “We’re going to have more options for the travelling public, the business traveller and the rotational worker.”

RIU opens its seventh hotel in Jamaica: the Riu Palace Aquarelle

PALMA DE MALLORCA — Riu Palace Aquarelle, now open, is RIU Hotels & Resorts’ first property in Falmouth, Jamaica, just 35 minutes from Montego Bay airport and two hours from Kingston.

The new 5-star, 24-hour all-inclusive hotel has a total of 753 rooms and is ideal for families or groups of friends thanks to its 180 triple rooms and 26 family suites.

The swim-up suites on the first floor offer unbeatable panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea. Not only that, but just about every room has sea views.

Six restaurants offer a wide range of dining options: the main buffet ‘White Bay’, the gourmet restaurant ‘Krystal’, the Italian restaurant ‘Napoli’, the Asian restaurant ‘Kyoto’, the grill ‘Steakhouse’ and the jerk style grill ‘Pepe’s food’. There’s also five bars: the lobby bar ‘Daiquiri’ that serves the best cocktails, the patisserie and ice cream parlour ‘Capuchino’, the pool

bar ‘Marley’, the swim-up bar ‘Kingston’, the lounge bar ‘Ska’ and the new sports bar, ‘American country’, featuring a new ‘All-American favourites’ menu available 24 hours a day.

Under the sun, guests will be able to enjoy up to four pools in addition to direct access to White Bay beach. Wellness and beauty services are available at Renova Spa. Riu Palace Aquarelle also has a children’s pool with slides and the Splash Water World water park.

Riu Palace Aquarelle is RIU’s first hotel in the Caribbean to use solar energy, and the chain has plans to implement the initiative in other destinations in the region, after having invested in similar systems at its hotels in Spain, Cape Verde, Senegal, the Maldives, Zanzibar and Mauritius. Thanks to the solar power system installed on the roof, the hotel will be able to generate up to 470,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy per year. This green initiative will cut down the hotel’s energy consumption by 5-10%, which will in turn reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 221,482 kilograms per year.

Jardines del Rey shines in the spotlight at FITCuba 2024

JARDINES DEL REY — Cuba’s annual tourism fair FITCuba, the biggest travel show on the island, took place last week in one of the new tourism hotspots, Jardines del Rey (Gardens of the King) at the Hotel Gran Marena (now Melia Cayo Rey).

Cuba gathered hundreds of delegates and media from around the world to showcase the destination’s tourism potential and promote new products and services, including new hotels, attractions, sustainable projects, and enhanced travel policies.

At the 42nd edition of the International Tourism Fair, the Minister of Tourism of Cuba, Juan Carlos García Granda, discussed Cuba’s aspirations to transform into a distinguished, unique, and easily accessible travel destination.

“Jardines del Rey is a true paradise of beaches, natural greenery, and biodiversity,” said the Minister. “The archipelago includes the Coco, Guillermo, and Paredón keys and offers a total of 1,867 rooms. Jardines del Rey is a unique space which is linked to the big island from the Ciego de Avila

May 16, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 41

city of Morón through a 17 km causeway built over the sea; it is the first engineering work of its kind in Cuba.”

The province of Ciego de Ávila has 13,300 rooms, 68% of which are managed by foreign management: Meliá Hotels International, Blue Diamond Resorts, MGM Muthu Hotels & Resorts, Iberostar Cuba Hotels & Resorts, Kempinski Hotels, Archipelago International, Swandor Hotels & Resorts, and recently incorporated, Vila Galé.

Canada continues to hold the top position as the primary market for Cuban tourism, prompting the destination to focus on enhancing the supply chain and elevating the quality of the products available.

In the next few months, the Minister of Tourism of Cuba will be visiting Canadian travel agents to present a roadmap designed to solve the issues Canadian travel professionals are facing.

“Thank you, Canadian market, for all the support that you give to us every day,” he said. “We know it’s a difficult time, but we will do everything in our power to fix our problems and become the number one destination in the Caribbean.”

Several new initiatives and offerings were highlighted at the fair, including the following:


Last week, Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduced a new electronic visa system to replace the current tourist card distributed to travellers onboard. The application process can be easily accessed from any device.


“I am pleased to announce Cuba’s membership in the International Code for the Protection of Tourists, aligning with the principles of peace, health, and safety that we advocate for as a tourism destination,” said the Minister of Tourism.


The star of the show was the newest hotel in the area, the Vila Galé Cayo Paredón Grande, an all-inclusive property with 638 rooms. It is the first hotel on the island from the Portuguese brand Vila Galé. The resort offers four pools, seven restaurants, free WiFi, a separate section for families with a kids’ club, wedding venues, a nautical centre and more.

The other surprise was waiting for attendees during the opening of FITCuba 2024. The hotel hosting the Tourism Fair, Hotel Gran Marena, is now operated by Melia and has a new name, Melia Cayo Rey (previously Pullman Cayo Coco) as of May 1.

“We’re opening doors to new possibilities”: ACV’s new India tours

MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations has new India tours, with connecting flights available from 60+ Canadian airports.

“With the launch of our India Tours program, we’re opening doors to new possibilities,” said ACV’s Vice President, Nino Montagnese. “This is not just about travel; it is about embarking on a journey of discovery. We invite travellers to join us as we immerse ourselves into the heart of India’s vibrant culture and stunning landscapes, promising experiences that will leave an indelible mark on our hearts and minds.”

He added: “With more tour destinations offered than ever before, Air Canada Vacations will continue to broaden horizons by adding leisure products everywhere that Air Canada operates.”

The India tours program offers eight year-round packages with private transportation in key destinations

such as Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Agra, Goa, Ladakh, and Nepal. Tours feature a variety of hand-picked durations and activities.

Plus, ACV’s fully-guided tours work with most travel styles, and include breakfasts and dinners, along with four to five-star accommodation. The exception is the off-the-beaten-track Ladakh region, where properties in Leh, Stok, and Nubra offer comfortable accommodations whose star ratings may differ slightly as compared to those elsewhere.

ACV’s new India Tours include Classical India (11 nights); Classical India with Nepal (14 nights); Golden Temple and the Taj, (eight nights); Quintessential North India (11 nights); Road to Ladakh (10 nights); Romancing the Taj (seven nights); Sun, Surf, and Sea (nine nights); and The Taj Express (four nights).

Tour packages also include domestic flights with train tickets (where applicable) between cities.

Agents, travellers invited to explore the world of Scenic and Emerald Cruises

VANCOUVER — Emerald Cruises and Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours are hosting exclusive yacht events in Ontario this spring, for both travellers and travel advisors.

These sessions provide a preview into Emerald Cruises’ modern luxury and Scenic’s ultra-luxury river and ocean sailings from 2024-2027, featuring wide-ranging experiences dedicated to opulent travel in over 60 countries and every continent, from Europe to Southeast Asia, Australia, the Mediterranean, Antarctica, the Arctic, Americas, and Caribbean.

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Of note, this month both Scenic and Emerald Cruises will also be holding ocean-specific travel agent only sessions, an opportunity for travel professionals to enhance their expertise in luxury and ultra-luxury cruises from Scenic Group’s teams.

Events will take place in Ontario, B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, on various dates starting May 28 and wrapping up June 27.

Space is limited and registration is open for both travellers and travel agents. To register go to: Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

• 20 River Information Sessions:

• 10 Scenic Eclipse Yacht Events: sceniceclipseevents Emerald Cruises

• 20 River Information Sessions:

• 10 Yacht Events: emeraldyachtevents

Attendees are welcome to join multiple sessions as Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises information sessions will be held consecutively on the same day and at the same location.

Railbookers to launch Italian itineraries featuring new La Dolce Vita Orient Express train

TORONTO — Railbookers has unveiled a selection of new itineraries that include the debut of the La Dolce Vita Orient Express train, launching in 2025.

Each itinerary showcases the brand new luxury train, with one or two nights on board. In addition to luxury accommodations, itineraries include

food, beverage, offboard experiences throughout Italy, all transfers from airports, hotels and train stations, along with sightseeing and tours in key destinations.

Departures featuring the La Dolce Vita Orient Express begin April 4, 2025.

“We’re excited to bring our expertise and wide product collection to travellers who want to experience the new La Dolce Vita Orient Express beginning next year,” said Gareth Jones, Director of Product Development at Railbookers.

“Customers and travel agents who are looking to blend a luxurious train vacation with all that Italy has to offer will find the perfect solution with Railbookers. And like all of our industry-leading itineraries, these trips can be combined with other destinations and activities to tailor-make the Italian journey of a lifetime,” Jones added.

Canada’s airports take part in federal government accessibility summit

OTTAWA — Canada’s airports participated in the first National Air Accessibility Summit hosted by Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez, and

federal Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, Kamal Khera.

The summit included representatives of Canada’s air sector and the nation’s disability community.

“Air travel plays a vital role in our economy and society, fostering connectivity and driving growth,” says CAC President Monette Pasher. “The CAC is committed to going beyond regulatory requirements with initiatives to improve accessibility in Canadian airports. We want all passengers to feel that they belong in Canada’s airports.”

She adds that the CAC is developing a five-year roadmap aimed achieving barrier-free travel by 2040. As part of this work, CAC recently launched a new national training program for airport employees.

According to Pasher, a challenge facing smaller airports is the cost to change the physical built environment in the older infrastructure they currently operate. The association sees federal government funding as being critical to achieving this.

“The government of Canada has a funding program, the Airports Capital Assistance Program, where eligible funding includes support for barrier-free infrastructure projects at small airports. But unfortunately, no projects have been funded in this area for nearly two decades as there is simply is not enough funding to address barrier free projects for small airports,” she says.

From Pasher’s perspective, a major challenge with the small airport

May 16, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 43

program is that it is underfunded at $38 million a year. She says small airports have requested $95 million annually to help meet infrastructure needs across the country, which would include barrier-free projects.

“Canada’s airports want to contribute to the development of concrete action items and outcomes that are achievable sooner rather than later,” says Pasher. “We can be more proactive and the summit is a great opportunity to identify tangible improvements possible in accessibility within the air travel sector and what resources are needed to make these improvements possible.”


Masterclass 2024 now open for registration

TORONTO — Registration is now open for Sandals Masterclass 2024, created by Unique Vacations Canada exclusively for Canadian travel advisors.

The two-hour sessions are live –and will not be recorded – and take place 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (local times) across Canada.

Canadian advisors are invited to join Lorna Richards, National Training Manager, Unique Vacations Canada, as she talks about driving growth in Sandals sales and shares key strategies including:

• Discovering how one Sandals booking can translate into multiple over the span of a client’s lifetime.

• Learning how niche markets like weddings and groups equal growth

Richards will be joined by the respective Sandals BDM for that region, however travel advisors can register for any session that works best with their schedule.

Participation in a Sandals Masterclass also allows Canadian travel advisors to:

• Fulfill the educational component required to maintain (or acquire) Certified Sandals Specialist status

• Earn four ACTA credits towards their Certified Travel Counsellor or Certified Travel Manager accreditation

Travel advisors can register by clicking on the links below or contact their local BDM or Inside Sales 1-800-5458283 for additional information.

The Sandals 2024 Canadian Masterclass series includes:

• Wed. May 22: Ontario – hosted by BDM Robert Smith

• Wed. May 29: B.C. – hosted by BDM Winston Chang

• Thurs. May 30: Atlantic Canada – hosted by BDM Sandra Brousseau

• Thurs. June 6: Quebec – FRENCH – hosted BDM Guy Archambault & Sandra Brousseau

• Thurs. June 13: Saskatchewan –hosted by BDM Winston Chang

• Thurs. June 20: Ontario – hosted by BDM Robert Smith

• Thurs. June 26: Ontario – hosted by BDM Robert Smith

• Wed. July 10: Ontario – hosted by Richard Todd, Senior Sales Consultant

• Wed. July 24: B.C. – hosted by BDM Winston Chang

• Wed. Aug 14: Alberta – hosted by BDM Jordon McGrowder

• Thurs. Aug 29: Ontario –

hosted by Richard Todd, Senior Sales Consultant

• Tues. Sept 10: Manitoba – hosted by BDM Jordon McGrowder

• Wed. Sept 18: Alberta – hosted by BDM Jordon McGrowder

• Wed. Sept 25: B.C. – hosted by BDM Winston Chang

To register for any ENGLISH Masterclass, click here.

To register for the June 6 FRENCH Masterclass, click here

United States forms new commission to streamline travel procedures

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Travel Association has announced the formation of a special commission tasked with ensuring seamless and secure travel into the United States.

Speaking at IPW 2024, which took place in Los Angeles from May 3-7, Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, shed light on the ongoing challenges and potential opportunities facing the U.S. travel industry today.

Noting a significant drop in international visitors since the pandemic’s onset, Freeman said: “At the end of

44 | TRAVELWEEK | May 16, 2024

2019, we had 79 million visitors internationally; at the end of 2023, we had 67 million, only 84% of pre-pandemic levels.”

According to Freeman, the U.S. has experienced a stark reversal in its trade balance, from a US$12 billion travel trade surplus pre-pandemic to a $50 billion deficit at the end of last year. He identified uncontrollable factors impacting these numbers, including the strength of the U.S. dollar and limitations on flight routes over Russian airspace, which are “a major inhibitor for bringing Asian travelers to the United States.”

However, Freeman pointed out several areas where proactive measures could boost the U.S. travel sector, including visa processing and customs procedures. Highlighting the disparity in visa wait times, he noted: “If you’re in Colombia and want to come to the United States, the wait times are over 600 days. If you’re in Mexico, the wait

time’s over 800. If you’re in India, wait times have been reduced to between 50 to 200 days.”

Emphasizing that these issues are addressable, Freeman is calling on the U.S. administration to “set a goal of 30 days or less to process all visas at any consulate around the world.”

He also criticized the U.S. customs experience, with travellers often having to wait more than two hours to enter the country after their flights, as well as the inefficient process of re-screening baggage for travellers making domestic connections.

In response to these challenges, Freeman announced the formation of a commission comprised of former government officials and private sector experts that’s aimed at proposing reforms to enhance the U.S. as a travel destination. Following recent meetings with high-ranking government officials, including at the White House, he said he is “cautiously optimistic

that the administration, others in government are waking up and heeding the call to address these issues.”

New technologies, he added, would help streamline travel processes, which will be crucial ahead of major international events like the 2026 World Cup and the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles on the horizon.

May 16, 2024 | TRAVELWEEK | 45

TRAVELSAVERS Canada survey highlights importance of training

TORONTO — The latest survey of TRAVELSAVERS Canada travel advisors shows that there’s agreement on the importance of training new consultants – but different opinions on best practices for that training.

Advisors from TRAVELSAVERS and Affluent Traveler Collection affiliate agencies in Canada took the survey from March 21 to April 14.

The vast majority of respondents (96%) said training is essential or important for new entrants to the profession. Most-cited training methods included job shadowing with

colleagues (67%) and supplier training programs (38%), while just over a third (36%) provide industry webinars.

“Although there’s a phenomenal amount of job shadowing made available by our agency partners, which is terrific, there is still an element of structured yet flexible online instruction required to round out the training process," said Jane Clementino, Senior Vice President and General Manager, TRAVELSAVERS Canada.

“We’re delighted that KORE is now available here as we really believe it’s the best-in-class training platform, and we encourage all of our agencies to enroll new recruits into the program.”

KORE is now available to TRAVELSAVERS Canada travel advisors, as announced earlier this spring. In the survey, 20% of respondents said their agency offers a specialized program for new advisors. So far 18% use KORE and 16% use an industry program

such as The Travel Institute.

When asked about the most important elements advisor training should cover, the top three were customer service (58%), sales (47%) and booking travel (44%). Some 31% opted for top-notch communication skills, and 29% went with customer service. And about a quarter of respondents cited passion for travel and sales savviness as keys to being successful.

Finally, when it comes to the tangible and intangible perks, 47% of respondents said they value the flexibility to work as much as they like from wherever they are, while 47% also love making people’s travel dreams come true. Meanwhile over one-third appreciate the opportunity for continuous learning and development, and 27% love travel discounts and other benefits of working in this industry.

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