Current News

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COVID-19 Resource Centre

We have compiled a list of sources to help you access the latest information regarding COVID-19. Details and information surrounding COVID-19 are constantly changing. We will continue to monitor the situation and post relevant resources as they come in.

 

Current News

February 24, 2021
An Intimate and Restorative Escape Awaits at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa

The award-winning eco-luxury oasis in BC’s Cariboo Region offers a travel experience tailor-made for 2021

Clinton, BC - For 25 years, Echo Valley Ranch & Spa has offered visitors from around the world the opportunity to experience adventure, revitalize their spirit, and connect with nature. Set amidst the pristine wilderness of British Columbia’s Cariboo Region, this family-owned eco-luxury retreat isn’t merely a vacation destination. Hundreds of guests have described their stay at Echo Valley as transformative – a once-in-a-lifetime awakening of their spirit and a rediscovery of their childlike sense of wonder.

Why do they say this? The 160-acre Echo Valley property sits majestically at the convergence of four distinct geographic regions: the Marble Mountains, the Mighty Fraser River and Canyon Desert, Cariboo Plateau Boreal Forest, and the Cariboo Grasslands. Here in this pristine, sustainably maintained* sanctuary, guests are able to achieve a peace of mind and state of relaxation that is all too rare amidst the chaos of modern life. “Soft adventures” such as hiking, cycling and fishing, and activities including morning yoga and forest bathing, stimulate body and soul, while magnificently appointed rooms and cabins, five-star cuisine (much of it made from ingredients grown and raised onsite), and European- and Thai-inspired spa services rival the amenities found at resorts anywhere in the world.

In order to ensure the well-being of its guests during these exceptional times, Echo Valley Ranch will be limiting its capacity to a maximum of 10 guests, and, where necessary, has redesigned its activities to maintain proper distancing. 

For May and October, the Elopement Experience offers the perfect alternative to a big wedding, with every detail anticipated for the happy couple and up to eight guests.
From June 1 to September 30, Echo Valley’s bespoke Signature Experience is available as an individual experience and a property-wide buyout: guests select every detail of their stay, from meals and wine pairings to outdoor adventures and spa treatments.

“The global events of the past year have reminded us of the importance of respecting and honouring nature. At the same time, the stresses of modern life emphasize how much we need nature, to spend time in it and allow it to restore us,” says Echo Valley cofounder Norm Dove. “My wife, Nan, and I founded Echo Valley with the intention that guests could come here to reconnect with nature and let it rejuvenate their spirit. I’m confident that in 2021 and beyond, visitors will leave here with a much-needed sense of calm, as well as memories to last a lifetime.”

*Echo Valley Ranch & Spa has received Gold certification status from Green Tourism Canada.

February 23, 2021
Two of Western Canada’s Elite Event Companies Have Teamed Up to Tackle the Growing Demand for High-End Hybrid and Virtual Events

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about huge changes in how people take in live events, and two forward-looking industry leaders are acting on a massive opportunity to fill a need now, and lead the industry into the exciting future of incredible remote live experiences.

Calgary, AB – The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on countless businesses in Canada, but perhaps no sector has been harder hit than the events industry. With legislation preventing in-person gatherings of any significant size in place across the country since early March 2020, event professionals have found themselves searching for ways to safely and legally stay active and viable through the lockdowns and restrictions.

At the same time, non-profits, festivals, meetings and conferences, and corporations and brands have been left trying to reimagine important fundraising, arts, community engagement, and employee events in a way that will carry their organizations through this time and to the other side. Too often, the options at hand are underwhelming, ineffective, and not in keeping with the legacy these events and brands have built over years and often decades.

But not for long. Two of Western Canada’s events industry heavy-hitters have stepped up to the plate to offer a solution that is not a compromise or a stop-gap, but rather a live event experience on par with the calibre both clients and guests used to expect, and still deserve. Experience Factory – a joint venture by Dustin Westling of OneWest Event Design and Pierre Marleau of Orange Frog Productions – is a 7,000 square-foot private broadcasting studio and hybrid event space fully equipped with both the technology and the talent to deliver a virtual event on par with the streaming services, awards shows, and sports events we all regularly enjoy remotely. The goal is to not only bring experience and quality back to the forefront, but to leapfrog the events industry into a future where live events are routinely offered with highly desirable remote options, alongside VIP and in-person experiences.

Along with live events, Experience Factory will service existing and burgeoning demand for recorded content – a demand that will continue to swell, and last long past pandemic restrictions. Recorded material for meetings and conferences, product launches, even television and commercials are well within the

wheelhouse of Experience Factory’s diverse capabilities, thanks to the high-end, integrated audio-visual, lighting, and design technology in one of the largest studios in Canada, along with the best and brightest talent in both events and broadcasting.

The foundation of everything is, of course, safety. Experience Factory is led and staffed by a fully COR Certified team of professionals, with dedicated Health & Safety Coordinators in place to oversee an exhaustive list of industry-leading protocols and state-of-the-art safety features. In a climate of job insecurity and economical instability, Experience Factory has seized on a way to safely fulfill a real need in the market, keep event and broadcasting professionals active in engaging and creatively rewarding work, and build something that will be relevant and exciting well beyond the eventual end of the pandemic.

More information about Experience Factory can be found at meetxfactory.com. More information about Dustin Westling and One West Event Design can be found at onewestevents.com. More information about Pierre Marleau and Orange Frog Productions can be found at orangefrogproductions.ca.

February 22, 2021
Aloft Tulum Debuts in Mexico’s Bohemian Paradise

New Lifestyle Hotel Marks Marriott Bonvoy’s Entry into Tulum, Ushering in a New Era of Hospitality

Aloft Tulum, a brand-new, boho-chic inspired hotel managed by Highgate Hotels, opened last week near Tulum’s desirable downtown district and its white-sand beaches. The four-floor property features 140 loft-like guest rooms and suites and a variety of vibrant spaces for socialization and music, including: signature Ático Rooftop Lounge & Bar with an infinity pool, teepees for kids, and the destination’s only venue for corporate meetings and events. Aloft Tulum is part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of brands, and its first property to debut in Tulum, Quintana Roo.

“After much anticipation, we are thrilled to welcome visitors to Aloft Tulum,” said the hotel’s General Manager Sergio Parra. “It is the ideal choice for travelers who are in search of a boutique-like hotel with bold design at an approachable price point.”

Aloft Tulum is as impressive as it is expressive. Next-gen travelers enter the hotel’s lobby to be greeted by urban art that changes seasonally, modern furniture and floor-to-ceiling windows. While guest rooms boast 10-foot-high ceilings, plush platform beds and light airy décor infused with natural textiles to deliver the ultimate comfort. Each room includes complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, 55-inch LCD televisions, free signature coffee, Aloft custom toiletries from Bliss® Spa and walk-in showers with rainfall showerheads.

For mingling, Aloft Tulum offers several design-forward spaces including its Ático Rooftop Bar & Lounge. At this hangout spot, guests can take a dip in the infinity pool, experience local cuisine and sip on seasonal cocktails – all while marveling at unrivaled views of Tulum. Additionally, the urban hotel is home to a Re:fuel by Aloft, filled with fresh grab-and-go options; Re:mix lounge, the perfect place to mix, mingle and play a game of pool; and the W XYZ® bar, where guests and locals alike can enjoy live music programming.

Additionally, Aloft Tulum makes doing business and hosting intimate events and weddings a breeze with three multi-functional meeting conference spaces, totaling 2,761 square feet. Meeting rooms can accommodate up to 240 people and are equipped with the latest audiovisual technology, plasma screen televisions, and complimentary Wi-Fi. For guests’ further convenience, the property provides several high-tech features including a Mobile Key program for keyless entry into guest rooms and a concierge tablet.

Guests can stay in shape with access to the hotel’s Splash pool and Re:charge fitness center, which is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment. The hotel also offers special amenities for kids with Camp Aloft and pets with ARF (animals are fun pet program).

Aloft Tulum is situated off-the-beaten-path in a beautiful location on Coba Avenue that is just a short walk or drive away to internationally recognized cuisine, local shopping and recreational activities. Nearby attractions include Playa Paraíso, one of the most spectacular beaches in Mexico, Tulum Mayan Ruins, and the award-winning Xel-Há water park.

Double guest rooms currently start at $150 per night. Aloft Tulum has two welcome offers: Guests will automatically receive a savings of 20% on the hotel’s best available rate and Marriott Bonvoy members staying three or more nights will be awarded 3,000 points. Both offers are valid on bookings made before April 30, 2021 for travel through June 30, 2021. To book, visit www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/tuyal-aloft-tulum

About Aloft Hotels®
Aloft Hotels currently operates more than 185 hotels in over 25 countries and territories. Catering to a tech-savvy, music-loving crowd, the brand offers vibrant, eclectic spaces that thrive off bringing people together. A brand for music lovers and music makers alike, Aloft is best known for its emphasis on innovative music programming through its Live at Aloft platform. Signature brand amenities include WXYZ® bar, Re:mix® lounge, grab-and-go breakfast concept Re:fuel by Aloft®, and pet-friendly program Arf® (Animals R Fun). Aloft moves to its own beat – it is Different. By Design. – using technology and design to enhance experiences and evolve with the needs of its guests. For more information, visit www.alofthotels.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Aloft is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy, the global travel program from Marriott International. The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, exclusive experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments, and unparalleled benefits including free nights and Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit MarriottBonvoy.com.

February 19, 2021
Beth Potter appointed new president and CEO of Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC)
TORONTO - Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) President and CEO, Beth Potter will be leaving the associationafter eleven yearsas President and CEO. Beth has been appointed the new President and CEO of the TourismIndustry Association of Canada (TIAC).
 
Beth’s last day with TIAO will be March 12, 2021 and she will begin her career at TIAC on March 15, 2021.
 
TIAO is pleased to announce, Carol Greenwood, Vice President, Membership & Business Development will become interim TIAO President and CEO on March 15.
 
Beth Potter said:
“I’m excited to be taking on this new challenge as the President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. This is a critical time for the tourism industry. The decisions the government takes in the coming weeks and months will have a significant impact on our ability to bring back the jobs and economic growth that tourism contributed to the Canadian economy before the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
These are undoubtedly challenging and difficult times, but the tourism industry is an innovative and resilient sector. I will harness all of my thirty years of experience in advocacy, shaping government policies and experience in collaboration on the international stage to meet these challenges head on.In the past eleven months, TIAC has made significant progress in winning key economic support programs for the tourism industry. I am determined to build on these achievements and ensure that tourism receives the sector-specific support it requires to rebuild.
 
I’d like to thank TIAO’s past and present staff members and directors for their unrelenting support during the past eleven years.TIAO, like the tourism industry in Ontario, has grown exponentially during my tenure. No more so than in the last eleven months, where TIAO has worked with government, stakeholders and members to provide vital support for our industry.
 
I am invigoratedby the challenge lying ahead at TIAC and look forward to working with my new colleagues and board members to position tourism front and centre of Canada’s economic recovery.”
 
Minto Schneider, Chair of TIAO’s Board of Directors said:
“Beth Potter has been an instrumental part of TIAO’s growth and success during her tenure as President and CEO. Beth has been an inspirational leader who, for over a decade, has ensured tourism has had a seat at the decision-making table in Ontario.
 
There is no greater seal of approval of Beth’s work at TIAO than being chosen from a stellar field of applicants to become a national voice for the tourism industry. Whilst we are sad to see her leave TIAO, as a member of the tourism family, I am thrilled to know that she will be bringing her experience, knowledge and considerable expertise to tourism’s national advocacy efforts.
 
On behalf of the entire Board of Directors I want to thank Beth for her decade of service and congratulate her on this exciting opportunity to join TIAC as their new President and CEO.
 
In the meantime, TIAO’s Vice President of Membership and Business Development, Carol Greenwood will be ably stepping into the interim President and CEO role. Carol has been at the forefront of TIAO’s growth over the past five years and has extensive knowledge of every part of TIAO’s operations. Carol will be assisted by Christopher Bloore, our Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs as the Board of Directors start the recruitment process.”
 
Carol Greenwood, Vice President, Membership and Business Development said:
“Beth Potter is synonymous with the tourism industry in Ontario and has been an integral part of TIAO’s rapid expansion over the past eleven years.
 
During her time as TIAO’S President and CEO, Beth has provided unparalleled leadership for the tourism industry in Ontario, bringing cabinet members, decision-makers and members of our industry together, to help deliver economic policies that have helped the tourism industry continue to grow in every part of our province.
 
This collaborative style has never been more important than during the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our industry like no other crisis before. Beth’s calm and strong leadership has helped deliver key economic support programs for our members.
 
That’s why it has come as no surprise that TIAC has chosen Beth to lead the tourism industry's national advocacy efforts. Whilst we’re sad that Beth is leaving TIAO, she leaves us in a position of strength and we couldn’t be happier to have such a key ally in Ottawa fighting for the tourism industry.
 
TIAO won’t miss a beat in our advocacy efforts during this critical time. We have a comprehensive advocacy, government relations, communications and member development strategy in place and a talented team ready to execute it."

ABOUT TOURISM INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO (TIAO)
TIAO is recognized as the umbrella advocacy organization for leading associations, destination marketing organizations, regional tourism organizations, educators and businesses serving Ontario’s diverse tourism industry. Collectively representing 200,000 businesses and 400,000 employees, TIAO provides a strong and unified voice for the sector and is committed contributing to evidenced-based policy and providing strategic insight on how to create favourable public policy that allows the tourism industry to flourish. Find out more at tiaontario.ca
February 18, 2021
Suzanne Neufang Named Executive Director of GBTA

New leader brings years of optimal experience to helm the unified GBTA and ACTE, and lead business travel out of the pandemic and into the future

Alexandria, VA - The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the worldwide leader in education, research, networking, and advocacy for the business travel industry, proudly announces the hiring of Suzanne Neufang as its next Executive Director, leading the combined GBTA and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE).

Neufang was hired after a comprehensive and exhaustive review of over 130 candidates from around the world. The months-long process was led by an independent search committee of industry leaders and staff. The search was coordinated by leading association consulting firm MCI-USA, which served as a third-party hub to screen applicants and facilitate the extensive interview process.

“The independent search committee has provided GBTA with an exceptional leader for the future of our Association and industry. Suzanne is unquestionably the visionary to lead business travel to a complete recovery in the years ahead,” said Bhart Sarin, President of GBTA, “It will be a distinct privilege to support her as we complete our integration of GBTA and ACTE and build on the momentum of the Ready. Safe. Travel. campaign toward our annual convention in July.”

Neufang, whose diverse executive career has included senior leadership roles with several high-profile travel and technology companies, most recently served as Senior Vice President-Americas for HRS Global Hotel Solutions. Before HRS, Neufang worked for 10 years as an executive leader with Sabre Travel Network, GetThere and Travelocity and later as a divisional Chief Marketing Officer for Fortune 500 software giant Intuit. An active member of GBTA since 2005, Neufang led ACTE as Board President from 2012 to 2014 and as a Board Member from 2014 to 2018. She served as ACTE’s interim Executive Director during summer 2012.

Neufang described the opportunity to lead GBTA as a “pinnacle career opportunity” and an important way to give back to an industry she loves, and which has offered her many opportunities. “It’s not a secret that business travel is at an historic low point as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in crises we find opportunities to be bold and to excel,” said Neufang. “Business travel has been down before and we have recovered – always coming back more technologically savvy, data-focused, and globally connected. The key questions for me are when we as an industry will recover, and how we as GBTA can drive economic and industry recovery to be even faster.

“We need to emerge from this pandemic as a healthier, more transparent association, one with the strongest possible, globally-focused foundation. As an organization, I believe we can work together to provide more value, better education and research, and even more effective advocacy for our members and sponsors. I’m very much looking forward to working with the professional staff at GBTA – and the Board, members, sponsors, and regional partners – who have had a long track record of growth and success serving the business travel community.”

Neufang will take over on February 24 from Dave Hilfman, who since July 2020 has served as the Association’s interim executive director. Hilfman will remain with GBTA in a temporary consulting role to smooth the transition.

“It’s been a privilege serving the business travel industry in this interim role over the past eight months and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said Hilfman, who retired from United Airlines as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales in 2018. “To be entrusted to lead the largest business travel association in the world at a truly consequential moment in our history is a true honor. I’m proud of the work we’ve done together and the significant progress made to date. My sincere thanks to the Staff, Board and members of GBTA for all their support. Stepping aside for Suzanne is easy, because she understands business travel from the buyer and supplier perspectives like few people I’ve ever met.”

About the Global Business Travel Association:
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion in global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, visit www.gbta.org.

February 16, 2021
Marriott International Announces the Unexpected Passing of Arne M. Sorenson, - President and CEO

Bethesda, MD - It is with profound sadness that Marriott International announces that Arne M. Sorenson, President and CEO, unexpectedly passed away on February 15, 2021. In May 2019, the company announced that Mr. Sorenson had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. On February 2, 2021, Marriott shared the news that Mr. Sorenson would temporarily reduce his schedule to facilitate more demanding treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Mr. Sorenson became the third CEO in Marriott’s history in 2012, and the first without the Marriott surname. A visionary leader, Mr. Sorenson put the company on a strong growth trajectory that included the $13-billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. During his tenure as CEO, Mr. Sorenson was tireless in driving the company’s progress, creating opportunities for associates, growth for owners and franchisees and results for the company’s shareholders. Known for his leadership on difficult national and global issues, Mr. Sorenson steered Marriott to make significant progress on diversity, equity and inclusion, environmental sustainability and human trafficking awareness.

“Arne was an exceptional executive – but more than that – he was an exceptional human being,” said J.W. Marriott, Jr., Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board. “Arne loved every aspect of this business and relished time spent touring our hotels and meeting associates around the world. He had an uncanny ability to anticipate where the hospitality industry was headed and position Marriott for growth. But the roles he relished the most were as husband, father, brother and friend. On behalf of the Board and Marriott’s hundreds of thousands of associates around the world, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Arne’s wife and four children. We share your heartbreak, and we will miss Arne deeply.”

When Mr. Sorenson stepped back from full-time management in early February, the company tapped two veteran Marriott executives, Stephanie Linnartz, Group President, Consumer Operations, Technology and Emerging Businesses, and Tony Capuano, Group President, Global Development, Design and Operations Services, to share responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company’s business units and corporate functions, in addition to maintaining their current responsibilities. Ms. Linnartz and Mr. Capuano will continue in this capacity until the Marriott Board appoints a new CEO, which is expected to be within the next two weeks.

About Marriott International
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,500 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 132 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy™, its highly-awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

February 12, 2021
Submissions for the 2021 ILEA Esprit Awards Are Now Open!
The International Live Events Association (ILEA) is pleased to announce that the call for submissions for the 2021 ILEA Esprit Awards are now open!

New this year, the ILEA Esprit Awards are open to our entire events community!
 
Since 1995, the ILEA Esprit Awards program has recognized top talent, events, and initiatives from many facets of the live events industry. From weddings and corporate gatherings, to nonprofit fundraisers and beyond, we honor the outstanding individuals and organizations that make events possible.

The 2021 ILEA Esprit Awards, powered by CORT Events are now open and celebrate the extraordinary work of our ILEA members, events community, and events industry organizations throughout 2020.

There are 5 new ILEA Esprit Award categories that celebrate the extraordinary efforts we have undertaken to adapt to unprecedented circumstances and the impacts of the pandemic to our global events industry.

The New ILEA Esprit Awards Categories Include:
  • Best Corporate Social Responsibility 
  • Best Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative 
  • Best Hybrid Event
  • Best Industry Adaptation 
  • Best Virtual Event
The ILEA Esprit Awards include 34 different categories that honor events of varying types, budgets, and production elements.  
 
ILEA is accepting submissions through Monday, March 15, 2021. The 2021 ILEA Esprit Awards entry fee is $200 per submission, with an ILEA member rate of $100. Late submissions will be accepted from March 16-31, 2021, for an additional $50 fee. 
 
Be recognized for the outstanding events and initiatives that you and your organization produced in 2020. Start your ILEA Esprit Awards submissions today on our awards platform, hosted by Omni Solutions Group, Inc.
 

Have questions? Email ILEA at info@ileahub.com or call 571-685-8010. Watch the video to get inspired!
 
International Live Events Association
571-685-8010
ILEA website
February 10, 2021
Change is Coming at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport

We’re Creating a New Place to Gather

In early 2021, the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport has commenced a transformational journey to join Sheraton hotels’ global rebranding. After acquiring Starwood Hotels & Resorts in late 2016, revitalizing the Sheraton brand has been one of Marriott International’s top priorities, a project that is finally coming to life across the globe. The Sheraton Gateway is proud to be joining this movement of change at a time when it is much needed.

Our owners, Knightstone Capital Management, work to optimize each of their properties by providing exceptional spaces and service offerings that enhance the guest experience. Managing a diverse portfolio of hospitality, academic, commercial, and residential assets, Knightstone Capital Management is an experienced leader in developing and upgrading properties to create unique spaces for people to live, learn and connect.  Knightstone is committed to the Hotel’s long-term success and is excited to be part of the Sheraton brand’s global transformation.

The past year has been a challenging episode for the hotel industry and as we continue to look forward, we continue to prepare for Canada’s recovery and future. Part of this recovery involves bringing a new experience to travelers at the Toronto Pearson International Airport, one that is more aligned with our guests’ evolving needs and where the power of the collective is put forward. We see this time as the perfect opportunity to rethink our offering and come out even stronger from this difficult period.

The new Sheraton experience will be a place to gather, where the community is stronger than the individual, where experiences are shared and differences are unified. Public spaces will be reimagined to invite our guests to come together as a global and inclusive community. Our F&B offering is being redesigned to enable our guests to increase their productivity and create meaningful connections. Our meeting spaces are being rejuvenated and our guestrooms are being elevated to bring an immediate feeling of comfort and belonging from the moment you step in.

These renovations will take place in different stages, all throughout which the hotel will remain open. During this time, to minimize the disturbance for our guests, work will only be conducted from Monday to Friday, between 9AM and 5PM. While these renovations are ongoing at our property, all local safety guidelines regarding COVID-19 are being followed to ensure the health and wellness of our guests, contractors and hotel associates. We are expecting the project to be completed by April 2022.

In the meantime, we look forward to gradually introducing you to the new Sheraton experience at our hotel as the different stages are being completed. The time for change has come and we are excited to soon welcome you again in a place of community, where you belong.

 

Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport

Terminal 3, Toronto AMF, P.O. Box 3000, Toronto, Ontario L5P 1C4

T 905 672 7000 | Marriott.com/YYZGS

February 09, 2021
Marriott International Expects to More Than Double All-Inclusive Portfolio in an Agreement with Sunwing Travel Group

Company plans to add 19 resorts to its robust all-inclusive offering, expanding presence to Antigua and St. Lucia

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) today announced a significant planned expansion of its all-inclusive portfolio through a long-term agreement with Sunwing Travel Group’s hotel division, Blue Diamond Resorts, which has an extensive portfolio of resort properties throughout the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. The agreement is expected to propel Marriott into the list of top 10 global all-inclusive players by adding 19 franchised resorts totaling nearly 7,000 rooms across six destinations and more than doubling the company’s presence in the all-inclusive segment to 33 properties by 2025. The majority of the properties are expected to be converted into Marriott’s Autograph Collection by mid 2021.

“We are thrilled to work with Sunwing Travel Group and expand into two new leisure destinations – St. Lucia and Antigua,” said Tony Capuano, Group President, Global Development, Design and Operations Services, Marriott International. “Blue Diamond’s expertise in the all-inclusive segment and high-quality resorts will help ensure that these properties serve as excellent additions to the Marriott portfolio. Today’s signing is a testament to Marriott International’s scale and loyalty platform, and we look forward to providing travelers seeking an all-inclusive experience with more choices in the Caribbean and Latin America.”

Marriott International launched its multi-brand all-inclusive portfolio platform in August 2019 and has 9 open hotels across Costa Rica, Barbados and Mexico with an additional 5 hotels in the pipeline in Mexico, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Brazil. With today’s agreement, another 19 are expected to join the portfolio. The platform will provide the company’s 145 million Marriott Bonvoy members the option to earn and redeem points for the convenient, pay-one-price concept.

“We are excited to enter into this agreement with Marriott International, and introduce Blue Diamond Resorts’ portfolio of hotels to their Autograph Collection brand,” said Stephen Hunter, CEO, Sunwing Travel Group. “Our luxurious, award-winning hotels will benefit from Marriott’s world-renowned reputation and esteemed travel program, all while bolstering our mission to bring unparalleled vacation experiences to customers.”

The following resorts are anticipated to convert to the Autograph Collection:

Mexico

  • 840-room Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa
  • 343-room Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun
  • 566-room Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Cancun
  • 332-room Planet Hollywood Adults Scene Cancun
  • 457-room Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun Resort & Spa

Dominican Republic

  • 730-room Royalton Bavaro Resort & Spa
  • 320-room Royalton CHIC Punta Cana Resort & Spa
  • 525-room Royalton Splash Punta Cana Resort & Spa
  • 317-room Royalton Punta Cana Resort & Casino
  • 168-room Hideaway at Royalton Punta Cana

Jamaica

  • 352-room Royalton White Sands Montego Bay
  • 228-room Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay
  • 140-room Hideaway at Royalton Negril
  • 407-room Royalton Negril Resort & Spa

St. Lucia

  • 290-room Royalton Saint Lucia Resort & Spa
  • 166-room Hideaway at Royalton Saint Lucia

Antigua

  • 294-room Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa

Costa Rica

  • 294-room Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica

Multi-Brand All-Inclusive Portfolio
Given growing demand for premium and luxury all-inclusive stays, Marriott International previously announced it would leverage eight of its 30 global iconic brands in the all-inclusive category: The Ritz-Carlton, The Luxury Collection, Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels, W Hotels, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio and Delta Hotels by Marriott. Today’s agreement reflects the addition of 19 resorts into Marriott International’s Autograph Collection, a curated collection of remarkably independent hotels hand-selected for their inherent craft and distinct perspectives on design and hospitality. Guests will revel in an elevated all-inclusive leisure vacation experience with a unique design aesthetic, enriching programs and redesigned dynamic dining options, along with enhanced spa and wellness offerings.

Marriott Commitment to Clean Protocols
Hotels in the Marriott portfolio are following Marriott International’s Commitment to Clean protocols created together with leading experts in food and water safety, hygiene and infection prevention and hotel operations. These protocols include mandated mask-wearing for all associates within the hotel, and the use of electrostatic sprayers and disinfectants recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization to sanitize surfaces in the hotels. In addition, the company has modified its food and beverage operational practices creating a newly designed approach to buffets and in-room dining. Measures include but are not limited to contactless and low-touch service, digital menus, pre-plated mini buffet options and a hybrid buffet with elements of self-guided service around individually plated or packaged selections.

About Marriott International
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,500 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 132 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy™, its highly-awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

About Sunwing Travel Group
The largest integrated travel company in North America, Sunwing Travel Group is comprised of Sunwing Vacations and Vacation Express, two of the leading leisure tour operators in North America; Sunwing Airlines, Canada’s premier leisure airline; SunwingJets, a luxury private jet charter service; SellOffVacations.com and Luxe Destination Weddings, two leading travel retail businesses; NexusTours, a full-service destination management company; and Blue Diamond Resorts, the Group’s hotel management company, an innovative organization that operates popular resort brands across the Caribbean and Mexico. Since its inception in 2011, Blue Diamond Resorts has curated an impressive portfolio encompassing 45 properties, exceeding 15,000 rooms in ten countries, including the award-winning All-In Luxury® Royalton Luxury Resorts, adults-only brands Hideaway at Royalton and Royalton CHIC, Planet Hollywood Hotels and Resorts, and Mystique by Royalton. For more information on Sunwing Travel Group, please visit www.sunwingtravelgroup.com.

February 08, 2021
SITE celebrates excellence in incentive travel
Supported by IMEX Group, SITE’s Crystal Award program, the “Oscars” for the Incentive Travel industry, recognises 8 companies who achieved true excellence in incentive travel
 
Chicago - Considered the highest honour in the incentive travel industry, the SITE Crystal Awards recognize creative, practical and truly memorable incentive programs that not only keep employees engaged, but also drive business results and improve the bottom line.
Most Creative Solution Deployed at a Time of Crisis, a new category, was introduced for the 2020 edition to recognise incentive travel professionals and their organizations who display uncommon levels of innovation, creativity and ingenuity in identifying solutions for the continuation, deployment and implementation of incentive travel awards at a time of crisis.

“2020 was the 40th anniversary of the Crystal Awards. For four decades, SITE has championed excellence in the design, implementation and delivery of incentive travel programmes. During that time we have weathered many storms, always returning stronger than ever. While these may be challenging times for our industry, our value proposition is stronger than ever and soon we will travel freely again! These wonderful winners prove the extraordinary value of a well-planned and executed incentive travel program. We salute them all,” said Aoife Delaney, CIS, CITP, Director of Marketing & Sales at the DMC Network and President, SITE.

Chair of Crystal Awards, Ellie MacPherson, CITP, Senior Vice President, Canada Operations, Creative Group and member of SITE international Board of Directors, added “Each year the Crystal Awards provide us with a timely reminder of the transformational power of incentive travel on qualifiers, their companies, the destinations where they travel to and on society at large. This year’s winners from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Israel, Mexico and the United States demonstrate the global impact of incentive travel and underline how incentive travel generates business results, strengthening financial ROI and reinforcing values and company culture”

Key sponsor of the Crystal Awards, Carina Bauer, CEO, The IMEX Group and immediate past president, SITE Foundation stated: “The circumstances this year are significantly different from this time last year when we gathered in person in Vancouver for a very exciting Crystal Awards presentation. But the fundamentals have not changed at all and IMEX Group is delighted to step up, once again, to help SITE acknowledge excellence in Incentive Travel. This year, no less than any other year of our involvement with this programme, I’m astonished by the creativity, innovation and logistical expertise with which incentive travel professionals all over the world help the corporate world to improve business performance, build workplace culture and fulfil CSR and sustainability objectives”.

Awards are given in 4 categories with 5 regional awards for Excellence in Incentive Travel. Winners of the 2020 awards, presented during SITE Hybrid Conference, 2 – 3 February were:
  1. Best Destination-Based Experiential Incentive Travel Program
    ODS Turkey, Turkey
  2. Excellence in Incentive Travel: Africa/Middle East
    Eshet Incentives & Conferences, Israel
  3. Most Creative Solution Deployed at a Time of Crisis
    Creative Group, USA
  4. Excellence in Incentive Travel: Asia Pacific
    Moniker, Canada, Canada
  5. Excellence in Incentive Travel: Europe
    The Conference Room, Australia
  6. Excellence in Incentive Travel: Latin America & Caribbean
    Colombia en Colores DMC, Colombia
  7. Excellence in Incentive Travel: North America
    Creative Group Canada, Canada
  8. Most Impactful Effort Toward Corporate Social Responsibility as Part of an Incentive Program
    Amstar DMC, Mexico
 
For further information, please contact Padraic Gilligan, Chief Marketing Officer, SITE pgilligan@siteglobal.com
 
About Incentive Travel & SITE
Incentive travel, the “I” in MICE, is the fastest growing sector of the Business Events industry with the highest per capita spend and the widest supply chain.

Accounting for about 7% of all Business Events activities, the Events Industry Council’s Global Economic Impact study (2018) estimates the incentive travel industry to be worth around $75 billion globally.
The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) is the only Business Events association dedicated exclusively to the global incentive travel industry.

Founded in 1973, we are a professional association of 2,500 members located in 90 countries, working in corporations, agencies, airlines, cruise companies and across the entire destination supply chain.
We bring value to our members at both global and local chapter level by networking, online resources, education, certification and advocacy. SITE is deeply committed to the new generation and operates a best-in-class Young Leaders program and dedicated annual conference.

SITE Foundation was established by SITE to raise funds and support research, education and advocacy projects on behalf of the incentive travel industry. Monies raised by SITE Foundation enable us to make the business case for incentive travel and highlight the transformational potential of travel experiences on individuals, enterprises and communities.

SITE Foundation has recently funded certification for mid-manager level incentive travel professionals (CITP) and, with our partners Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals (FICP), the Incentive Travel Industry Index (ITII).

The SITE Foundation is a registered charity holding a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization status.
February 03, 2021
JW Marriott Celebrates Opening of 100th Property Worldwide and First in Tampa with the Debut of JW Marriott Tampa Water Street

Milestone Hotel to Redefine Luxury Hospitality in Tampa with Stunning Design and Exceptional Service with a Holistic Approach to Wellbeing

JW Marriott is pleased to announce that its 100th property, JW Marriott Tampa Water Street is now open, bringing a new level of luxury to the Tampa Bay area. Located in the heart of the dynamic Water Street neighborhood, the new property invites discerning guests to take time for themselves, relax, and rediscover a balance in mind and body. A formal grand opening celebration is expected to take place in April 2021.

"The first JW Marriott opened in Washington DC in 1984 and was a tribute to my father, J.W., and a celebration of his love of service and hospitality," explains Bill Marriott, Executive Chairman of the Board at Marriott International. "That tribute has now evolved into a global hotel brand, an incredible testament to the spirit of that first hotel being embraced worldwide. Our family is incredibly proud that my father's name now welcomes guests in over 100 desirable destinations across the globe now, including Tampa."

With the opening of JW Marriott Tampa Water Street, JW Marriott demonstrates its commitment to Tampa, boosting development of its luxury market and supporting the destination’s ability to host larger groups and events, as well as leisure travelers.

“We couldn’t be more proud to introduce JW Marriott’s 100th hotel in a city that has emerged as one of Florida’s most exciting destinations in recent years - Tampa,” said Bruce Rohr, Global Brand Leader of JW Marriott. “With its seamless integration into the vibrant Water Street neighborhood, modern design and luxurious amenities inspired by the principles of mindfulness, JW Marriott Tampa Water Street is a shining example of our brand’s continued excellence and our legacy of exceptional service.”

Thoughtful Design
From locally-inspired dishes to holistic wellness amenities, every aspect of JW Marriott Tampa Water Street is designed with guests’ well-being in mind. This begins with its breathtaking and calming aesthetic, designed by Nicholas Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates, with interiors by Champalimaud Design. Blending modern luxury with the sophisticated energy of Tampa’s Water Street neighborhood, the expansive 519-room property welcomes guests with a moment of architectural awe: a four-story atrium lobby lounge featuring hanging art and a floating conference room dubbed “Skybox,” providing guests with the perfect location to be in the moment and take in the energy of the neighborhood. The downtown Tampa waterfront district has a rich history of arcades, porches and awnings which help create a layered and detailed streetscape. These elements invite physical connections between interior spaces to exterior landscapes.

With custom furnishings and water-inspired design, guest rooms are open and spacious, featuring soft natural color palettes and materials inspired by the surrounding waterfront. Several room categories boast spectacular views from floor to ceiling windows as well as spacious bathrooms with natural light. The property’s expansive 2,230-sq.-ft. Presidential Suite has its own terrace with a wet bar where guests can take in sweeping city views. The 1,190-sq.-ft. JW Suites offers 270-degree city views of Tampa’s vibrant Water Street neighborhood. Spacious and sophisticated, the King Guest Rooms feature elevated amenities and over 400 sq. ft. of comfort including abundant natural light, separate working desks and sliding doors which open to a luxurious bathroom featuring marble vanities and standalone rain showers.

Revitalize the Spirit
JW Marriott hotels around the world encourage guests to take time for themselves, find a sense of balance through travel experiences that are inspiring, rejuvenating them and allowing them to focus on the things in life that matter most. JW Marriott Tampa Water Street is no exception with many locations around the hotel acting as havens for the body and mind. A restorative experience begins with a Vitamin C-infused shower, circadian lighting and air-purification system in the Stay Well™ Premier Rooms located on the 16th floor, ideal for wellbeing-seeking guests. Amenities include a resort-style pool with cabanas on the 6th floor overlooking the area waterways, as well as the brand’s signature Spa by JW® complete with a spa lounge, 10 treatment suites, plunge pool and retail boutique. Providing a holistic approach to wellbeing, treatments are designed to calm, invigorate, indulge and renew, and include an Energy Boost Lift Me Up Massage, Calming Waves Signature Facial and Alluring Bay Manicures and Pedicures.

Meaningful Meetings & Events
Located next door to both the Tampa Convention Center and Amalie Arena (home to the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning), the hotel features 100,000 sq. ft of meeting and event space, including the largest hotel ballroom in Tampa Bay at approximately 30,000 sq. ft. In combination with its sister property, Tampa Marriott Water Street, the complex boasts over 40,000 sq. ft. of additional total event space, with both properties connected by a glass sky bridge located on the third floor. JW Marriott Tampa Water Street is well appointed to become a popular wedding venue in Tampa, offering ultra-modern architecture and expert wedding planners. The luxurious amenities, stunning indoor and outdoor spaces, and breathtaking views underneath the stars will inspire awe among all guests.

Nourish the Body
JW Marriott Tampa Water Street continues the brand’s legacy of authentic dining experiences that are gratifying and refined, always offering fresh takes on beloved, familiar and local favorites. This, combined with intuitive service and reimagined flavors, means JW Marriott Tampa Water Street is poised to become a culinary destination for guest and locals alike. The hotel features two outstanding restaurants, as well as superb dining options available next door at Tampa Marriott Water Street – all overseen by Executive Chef Joseph Pankrath. Located on the main floor of the new hotel, DRIFTLIGHT (a name inspired by the pathways of light cast by the illuminated bridges in Water Street Tampa and connecting people across the region through the shared experience of dining) offers regional farm-and ocean-to-table cuisine served in upscale, yet approachable atmosphere. At SIX (located six floors up), diners can choose from indoor and outdoor dining overlooking the resort pool or bayfront while enjoying a local twist on the traditional Bistro with flavors celebrating Florida’s roots and rich culinary diversity. There is also a grab-and-go concept – TURNTABLE - serving a refreshed food and drink menu every season from our street window, with an ever-shifting showcase of Tampa’s evolving food scene. Guests at both hotels are invited to visit and enjoy the many dining options and amenities across the complex. Additional offerings at the adjacent Tampa Marriott Water Street include the newly re-concepted sports bar Garrison Tavern, as well as the more upscale waterfront restaurant Anchor and Brine.

Enhanced Safety and Cleaning Protocols
In response to current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, JW Marriott Tampa Water Street has implemented a variety of elevated protocols and practices in keeping with the hotel’s high standards of cleanliness and luxury service. Enhanced property standards include:

  • Every guest room is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to guests’ arrival.
  • Face coverings are required for all guests in all indoor public spaces.
  • Socially distanced lobby and restaurant seating is in compliance with local mandates.
  • Plexiglas shields are used at Reception.
  • Signage throughout the hotel reminds guests to maintain social distancing and limit capacities.
  • Staff have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection, particularly in areas with high traffic including restrooms, elevators, and escalators as well as provided more hand sanitizing stations.
  • Staff members will wear PPE (e.g., face coverings, gloves, etc.) based on the activities they are performing and based on direction by the local authorities.
  • Disinfectant wipes are available in the room for every arriving guest as well as upon request.

To book or learn more about the new JW Marriott Tampa Water Street, visit jwmarriotttampawaterstreet.com. Find the hotel on social media on Facebook (@JWMarriottTampa), Instagram (@jwmarriotttampa) and Twitter (@jwmarriotttampa) and follow the conversation at #JWMarriottTampa.

About JW Marriott
JW Marriott is part of Marriott International’s luxury portfolio of brands and consists of beautiful properties and distinctive resort locations around the world. Inspired by the principles of mindfulness, JW Marriott is a haven designed to allow guests to focus on feeling whole – present in mind, nourished in body, and revitalized in spirit – through programs and offerings that encourage them to come together and experience every moment to the fullest. Today there are 100 JW Marriott hotels in more than 30 countries and territories worldwide that cater to sophisticated, mindful travelers who come seeking experiences that help them be fully present, foster meaningful connections and feed the soul. Visit JW Marriott online, and on Instagram and Facebook. JW Marriott is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy, the global travel program from Marriott International. The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, exclusive experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments and unparalleled benefits including free nights and Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit MarriottBonvoy.marriott.com.

February 02, 2021
Business Travel: Full Recovery Expected by 2025

Alexandria, Virginia – The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the world’s largest business travel association – released its annual BTI™ Outlook, a detailed analysis of business travel in 2020, with projections for 2021 and beyond. The BTI Outlook, now in its 12th year, is an exhaustive study of business travel spending and growth covering 75 countries across 48 industries.

The true global financial impact of COVID-19 began in Q2 2020, resulting in an expected 68% decline (to $738 billion USD) from April 1, 2020 to the end of the year. Because of the relatively strong (pre-COVID) first quarter of 2020, global spending on business travel is expected to show a 52% decrease for all of 2020 (to $694 billion USD), down from $1.4 trillion USD in 2019.

Key findings of GBTA’s BTI Outlook include an analysis of 2020 challenges for the business travel industry as well as a recovery forecast.

2020 Losses and Challenges:

  • Global GDP is expected to have declined -4.4% in 2020, an unprecedented decline when compared to the -0.5% decline experienced during the Great Recession of 2008.
  • Global trade is expected to contract by almost 11%, due to lockdowns that temporarily froze the movement of people and goods and forced a review of supply chain networks, resulting in many countries looking to source locally.
  • Job losses in the business travel industry have been extensive. The loss in global work hours during 2020 compared to the end of 2019 was equivalent to 400 million full-time jobs in the hotel, airline, airport, ground transportation, restaurant and other service provider segments.
  • Coming into 2020, business travel had grown for 10 consecutive years, with an average growth rate of 5.1% per year.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on business travel has varied by region.
  • The magnitude of these losses and their impact on travel suppliers is unprecedented: the 2020 business travel spending losses are expected to be 10 times larger than the impact of either 9/11 or the Great Recession of 2008.
  • Understandably, organizations with more exposure to sectors at the epicenter of the crisis are expected to face more volatility moving forward, including leisure and hospitality, ground transportation, retail, food services and energy.

Forecast on Business Travel Recovery:

  • A 21% increase in business travel spending is projected in 2021. Most of this gain is expected to come at the end of 2021 as vaccinations increase globally and consumer confidence returns.
  • In 2022, the BTI Outlook forecasts further acceleration in business travel, including a significant pick-up in group meeting activity and international business travel.
  • While annual business travel spending growth is expected to slow somewhat in 2023, it is projected to remain well above historical average rates of growth of 4.6%. By the end of 2024, annual business travel spending is projected to reach approximately $1.4 trillion, nearly equaling the 2019 pre-pandemic revenue peak of $1.43 trillion.
  • A full recovery to pre-pandemic levels is expected by 2025.

“The pandemic has been devastating for business travel and it’s clear our industry will take some time to recover given the challenges we’re facing on multiple fronts,” said Dave Hilfman, interim executive director of GBTA. “Economic recovery is already underway, although very uneven across countries and sectors.” Added Hilfman, “the continued rollout of the vaccine will be central to recovery globally, as will decisions the new Biden Administration makes regarding global trade and border and quarantine policies. GBTA will continue to work on restoring consumer confidence so travel can come back safely.”

GBTA members can download a full copy of the BTI Outlook on gbta.org. The report was conducted in partnership with Rockport Analytics, a research and analytical consulting firm, and made possible by The Combined Power of Enterprise and National.

Nikki Stimson (EMEA), +44(0) 7764 618199, nstimson@gbta.org

David Leibowitz (NORAM), 602-317-1414, david@leibowitzsolo.com

About the Global Business Travel Association

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, visit www.gbta.org.

February 02, 2021
SITE Canada Chapter wins Excellence Award for Virtual Engagement

This Just In, a Big Win for SITE Canada!
At today’s 2021 SITE Hybrid Conference, it was announced that SITE Canada is the winner of the newly created 2020 SITE Chapter Excellence Award for Virtual Engagement. Gabrielle (Gabby) Spanton, Immediate Past President and Pearleen Mofford, 2021 President, were thrilled to accept the award, virtually of course!

The chapter’s virtual engagement efforts were spearheaded by Gabby who expressed her delight at winning in this first-ever category. “Never to sit on our laurels, when it became apparent in mid-March that we were not going to be able to meet in person, we quickly adjusted our calendar of events to virtual. We were so fortunate to have the support of Peter Katz with Speakers’ Spotlight as our first keynote performer. His inspiring and uplifting story, coupled with his musical performance, wowed the audience and made us feel we were part of something special. With the success of that event we knew our members had an appetite for more, so we carefully curated a series of virtual events covering a variety of subjects from coping with stress, career development, to presenting virtually. Huge thanks to all our speakers who were so very generous with their time and inspiration.”

Speaking live from the award presentation, Jason Thomson of Jigsaw outlined SITE Canada’s activities which brought us the win. “When the lockdowns were announced, SITE Canada’s member engagement program kicked into high gear. The chapter created a multi-pronged approach to virtually stay in touch and support members. Outreach included a newsletter, a gratitude campaign, increase in social media posts, a seeds of hope campaign, and 22 virtual events during the qualification period. Impressive! Events included bi-weekly cocktails that provided a safe haven to connect, support and motivate each other. Congratulations to the home team, SITE Canada.”

“While it’s been a year of radical change and tremendous hardship for many in the SITE community, our strong bond provides a supportive community where we can help and learn from each other. Our amazing sponsor partners supported us where they could, and for that we are most grateful. Thanks to all our members for being present and engaged. We’ve got this Canada!”
 
Pearleen also shared her appreciation of the chapter’s efforts during the tumultuous period. Huge thanks to all of our incredible speakers and sponsors including Speakers’ Spotlight and National Speakers Bureau who were so generous with their time and talent.

This accolade would not be possible without the keen support of our membership, volunteers, sponsors, speakers and board. Learn more about SITE Canada at sitecanada.org.

February 02, 2021
MPI Endorses Travel Again Recovery Framework

Partnership Creates Important Step in Uniting Industry Toward Sustainable Recovery Effort
 
Washington, DC – Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the largest meeting and event industry association worldwide, officially endorsed the Travel Again Recovery Framework. The framework consists of a set of specific priorities and recommendations that provides a robust plan for safely rebuilding the travel industry.
 
“As the association for people who bring people together, we witnessed the tremendously negative impact COVID-19 had on the meetings industry and also understand the need for the travel and meeting industry to come together as one to drive recovery,” said Paul Van Deventer, MPI president and CEO. “We truly believe that our collective passion in conjunction with the priorities and recommendations laid out in the Travel Again Recovery Framework can help fuel the much needed recovery of the travel industry and the global economy as well.”
 
“As the leading association for meetings and events globally, we are thrilled to have MPI’s support in our efforts to drive travel and economic recovery,” said Mike McCormick, Travel Again co-founder. “We know that in order for a sustainable recovery process to begin, all sectors of the travel industry must unite around a concerted effort and we must systematically address the issues facing traveler confidence on a pan-industry, global level.”
 
The Travel Again Recovery Framework reflects the work of the organization’s Policy Advisors, which include 25 senior leaders who represent various sectors of the travel industry, as well as input from leading scientists and policy experts. It lays out eight travel industry initiatives for immediate adoption to drive recovery.
 
About Travel Again: Travel Again unites the global travel industry to restore consumer and corporate confidence in traveling and to encourage responsible government policy. Visit travelagainproject.org for more information. Join Travel Again and support the global recovery of the travel industry. Follow Travel Again on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

January 25, 2021
Hurry! – MPI’s the EVENT Tier 1 Registration NOW OPEN for the 1st 200 Planners or Suppliers

MPI Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal/Québec Chapters: the EVENT 2021

Three Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Chapters bring you the EVENT, April 13-16, 2021 – Stronger, Wiser and Safer (#SWS21) – and all VIRTUAL!

“Although we are apart, there has never been a more important time to stay connected.”

IT’S TIME TO REGISTER and secure your seat at the table!

Why the EVENT?

  • MPI's the EVENT 2021 = An EVENT so great that EVERYONE wants to partake!
  • Guarantee your 2021 will be Stronger, Wiser and Safer
  • Virtually interact with your event community
  • Learn new ideas, share best practices and have some fun!

Information on three of our Main Event Keynote Presenters and the Educational Experience (EDsperience) Framework are online. More education to be added very soon.

DON’T DELAY! … TIER 1 REGISTRATIONS SELL OUT QUICKLY.

Contact: Leslie Wright - leslie@the-event.ca
Web: the-event.ca

January 18, 2021
Tourism: A key sector in planning Gaspé region's economic recovery

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions grants $237,000 to help three tourism organizations invest in their facilities.

GASPÉ, QC, Jan. 18, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

Around the world, tourism was one of the first industries affected by the pandemic; it will also be one of the last to be able to return to full working order. A pillar of the Canadian economy that generates $102 billion a year and represents 4% of all jobs (or the equivalent of 1.8 million workers), tourism is a major vector to diversify and develop the economy.

Entrepreneurs in this sector— composed mostly of SMEs—have demonstrated resiliency, creativity and adaptability since the crisis began. To support them, the Government of Canada, through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), is signalling its presence with investments totalling $237,000 to boost tourism in the Gaspé region.

Investing in tourism attractions on Gaspé peninsula

Once conditions are favourable, the country's economic recovery can only happen with the support of the tourism sector. To be ready to welcome tourists, we must continue to invest in regional attractions and establishments. With this in mind, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Member of Parliament for Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Minister of National Revenue, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, today announced Government of Canada financial support for the Coopérative de solidarité de développement touristique, économique et social de Mont-Saint-Pierre, the Municipalité de Grande-Vallée and Cime Aventure. Details on the CED assistance provided under the Quebec Economic Development Program are as follows:

  • Coopérative de solidarité de développement touristique, économique et social de Mont-Saint-Pierre, $112,000. The project aims to plan the development and promotion of the municipality's tourism assets through feasibility studies to define concepts, plans and estimates as well as a cost analysis of each tourism development axis chosen by the community. CED's contribution focuses on professional fees of professional resources charged with completing the study on the "mountain." 
  • Municipalité de Grande-Vallée, $75,000. The project aims to develop the Grande–Vallée tourism offering by establishing new interactive multimedia installations on the Pont Galipeault. It includes developing the concept, recording the audio tracks and acquiring and installing multimedia and lighting equipment. 
  • Cime Aventure, $50,000. The project aims to expand and enhance the accommodation offering at Cime Aventure. It involves building and installing 32 mobile three-season ready-to-camp units and will lead to the creation of six jobs.

Helping tourism organizations make it through the crisis

Since the start of the crisis, the Government of Canada has been supporting organizations in the tourism industry, including through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), deployed in Quebecby CED and its collaborators. As a reminder, the RRRF has made it possible to provide funding and technical support to businesses and organizations to help them maintain their activities. In this way, with the help of Sociétés d'aide au développement des collectivités (SADCs), Centres d'aide aux entreprises (CAEs) and PME MTL, 1167 organizations in Quebec's tourism sector have received contributions through the RRRF totalling over $44 million. Thanks to this measure, some 9400 jobs have been maintained.

The tourism industry, which plays a crucial role in the economic, social and cultural life of communities, represents an essential link in regional economic development. Through this support, the Government of Canada is attesting to its commitment to prepare the field for after the pandemic with a view to rebuilding a stronger, more resilient and more just economy for all.

Quotes

"The tourism industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and the Government of Canada is committed to accompanying key players as they prepare to rebound vigorously after the economic crisis. We have been here since the start of this unprecedented situation, with concrete measures, and we will be here to support tourism as the health situation evolves. We must plan the economic recovery, which can only happen with the contribution of players in the tourism community, so that we can get off to a new start together and be stronger and more resilient."

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Member of Parliament for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for CED

"The CED assistance announced today highlights our willingness to support the tourism industry and our commitment to Canadian businesses, organizations and citizens in these difficult times. The financial contributions granted to the Coopérative de solidarité de développement touristique, économique et social de Mont-Saint-Pierre, the Municipalité de Grande-Vallée and Cime Aventure represent very good news for the Gaspé region and its attractiveness. Thanks to Government of Canada investments in the tourism industry, we are ensuring we will be ready to receive tourists from home, and then from around the world!"

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Member of Parliament for Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Minister of National Revenue

"Despite a surprising summer, the Gaspé region's tourism industry was greatly affected by the pandemic. Businesses in the region had to adjust, establish health measures and ensure they were followed to continue their operations. They will need all possible leverage to recover economically and return to pre-pandemic activity and revenue levels."

David Dubreuil, President, Tourisme Gaspésie

Quick facts

  • CED is a key federal partner in Quebec's regional economic development. With its 12 business offices, CED is present to accompany Quebec businesses, supporting organizations and regions into tomorrow's economy. 
  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, is the minister responsible for the six regional development agencies (RDAs), including CED. 
  • Recognizing the importance of the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) in supporting local tourism businesses, the Government of Canada proposed as part of the Fall Economic Statement (November 2020) an additional $500 million for RDAs. 
  • Total funding for the RRRF sits at over $2 billion, and at least 25% of this amount will be granted to boost local tourism businesses, representing over $500 million in support to kickstart tourism by June 2021.
SOURCE Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
January 18, 2021
Tourism: A key sector in planning Mauricie and Lanaudière regions' economic recovery

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions grants $852,950 to help two tourism organizations invest in their facilities.

TROIS-RIVIÈRES, QC - Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

Around the world, tourism was one of the first industries affected by the pandemic; it will also be one of the last to be able to return to full working order. A pillar of the Canadian economy that generates $102 billion a year and represents 4% of all jobs (or the equivalent of 1.8 million workers), tourism is a major vector to diversify and develop the economy.

Entrepreneurs in this sector— composed mostly of SMEs—have demonstrated resiliency, creativity and adaptability since the crisis began. To support them, the Government of Canada, through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), is signalling its presence with investments totalling $852,950 to boost tourism in the Mauricie and Lanaudière regions.

Investing in tourism attractions in Mauricie and Lanaudière regions

Once conditions are favourable, the country's economic recovery can only happen with the support of the tourism sector. To be ready to welcome tourists, we must continue to invest in regional attractions and establishments. With this in mind, the Member of Parliament for Saint–Maurice–Champlain and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, today announced Government of Canada financial support for the Société de développement des parcs régionaux de la Matawinie (SDPRM).

The SDPRM project involves launching a nautical excursion service to the Lac Taureau regional park, requiring the purchase of a boat and improvements to the marina's welcome infrastructure. The non-repayable financial contribution of $352,950 from CED, granted under the Quebec Economic Development Program, will enable the boat to be purchased.

Helping tourism organizations make it through the crisis

Since the start of the crisis, the Government of Canada has been supporting organizations in the tourism industry, including through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), deployed in Quebecby CED and its collaborators. As a reminder, the RRRF has made it possible to provide funding and technical support to businesses and organizations to help them maintain their activities. In this way, with the help of Sociétés d'aide au développement des collectivités (SADCs), Centres d'aide aux entreprises (CAEs) and PME MTL, 1167 organizations in Quebec's tourism sector have received contributions through the RRRF totalling over $44 million. Thanks to this measure, some 9400 jobs have been maintained.

Baluchon Eco-Villégiature (Concept Éco-Plein-Air Le Baluchon inc.) was able to count on $500,000 in support through the RRRF, enabling it to maintain an employment connection with over 125 employees and plan the rehiring of 15 people in the short term.

The tourism industry, which plays a crucial role in the economic, social and cultural life of communities, represents an essential link in regional economic development. Through this support, the Government of Canada is attesting to its commitment to prepare the field for after the pandemic with a view to rebuilding a stronger, more resilient and more just economy for all.

Quotes

"The tourism industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and the Government of Canada is committed to accompanying key players as they prepare to rebound vigorously after the economic crisis. We have been here since the start of this unprecedented situation, with concrete measures, and we will be here to support tourism as the health situation evolves. We must plan the economic recovery, which can only happen with the contribution of players in the tourism community, so that we can get off to a new start together and be stronger and more resilient."

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Member of Parliament for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for CED

"The CED assistance announced today highlights our willingness to support the tourism industry and our commitment to Canadian businesses, organizations and citizens in these difficult times. The financial contributions granted to Baluchon and the Société de développement des parcs régionaux de la Matawinie are very good news for the Mauricie and Lanaudière regions and their attractiveness. Thanks to Government of Canada investments in the tourism industry, we are ensuring we will be ready to receive tourists from home, and then from around the world!"

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Member of Parliament for Saint–Maurice–Champlain and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

"The tourism industry has shown exceptional resiliency since the start of the pandemic. Already looking to the future, our entrepreneurs have many projects in mind to quickly help with the economic recovery, which will come soon. The nautical excursion project proposed by the Société de développement des parcs régionaux de la Matawinie is one of these projects which, thanks to the financial support to start up, will be able to be realized quickly, thus adding content to the Lanaudière region's tourism offering and fostering increased visits and overnight stays in the region."

Denis Brochu, Chief Executive Officer, Tourisme Lanaudière

Quick facts

  • CED is a key federal partner in Quebec's regional economic development. With its 12 business offices, CED is present to accompany Quebec businesses, supporting organizations and regions into tomorrow's economy. 
  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, is the minister responsible for the six regional development agencies (RDAs), including CED. 
  • Recognizing the importance of the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) in supporting local tourism businesses, the Government of Canada proposed as part of the Fall Economic Statement (November 2020) an additional $500 million for RDAs. 
  • Total funding for the RRRF sits at over $2 billion, and at least 25% of this amount will be granted to boost local tourism businesses, representing over $500 million in support to kickstart tourism by June 2021.
SOURCE Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
January 18, 2021
Tourism: A key sector in planning Abitibi-Témiscamingue's economic recovery

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions grants over $1.6 million to help three tourism organizations maintain their activities and invest in their tourism facilities.

AMOS, QC - Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

Around the world, tourism was one of the first industries affected by the pandemic; it will also be one of the last to be able to return to full working order. A pillar of the Canadian economy that generates $102 billion a year and represents 4% of all jobs (or the equivalent of 1.8 million workers), tourism is a major vector to diversify and develop the economy.

Entrepreneurs in this sector— composed mostly of SMEs—have demonstrated resiliency, creativity and adaptability since the crisis began. To support them, the Government of Canada, through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), is signalling its presence with investments totalling $1,689,770 to boost tourism in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region.

Investing in tourism attractions in Abitibi-Témiscamingue region

Once conditions are favourable, the country's economic recovery can only happen with the support of the tourism sector. To be ready to welcome tourists, we must continue to invest in regional attractions and establishments. With this in mind, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, today announced Government of Canada financial support for the Refuge Pageau (Centre des marais et ses habitants inc.), the Festival des guitares du monde en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (Festivals illimités) and the Ville d'Amos. Details on the assistance provided by CED through the Quebec Economic Development Program are as follows:

  • Ville d'Amos, $1,200,000. The project aims to create the Anisipi park, a new tourism attraction in the RCM of Abitibi that includes a thematic trail on the region's water resource. CED's contribution will focus on the cost of scenographic equipment and installations, as well as design, sound production and content fees for the "Le Puits" thematic station in the Ville d'Amos. 
  • Refuge Pageau (Centre des marais et ses habitants inc.),$400,000. The project aims to refurbish and modernize the animal infrastructure and welcome and service facilities. CED's contribution will focus on constructing new buildings, expanding, improving and refurbishing activity areas, as well as developing an immersive experience and establishing a web platform. 
  • Festival des guitares du monde en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (Festivals illimités), $89,770. The project involves organizing the 2021 and 2022 editions of the event and enhancing the experience offered. CED's contribution will focus on establishing new experiences for festival goers, completing a study on the origin of visitors and marketing the event outside Quebec. It will also cover marketing fees for the 2020 edition, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helping tourism organizations make it through the crisis

Since the start of the crisis, the Government of Canada has been supporting organizations in the tourism industry, including through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), deployed in Quebecby CED and its collaborators. As a reminder, the RRRF has made it possible to provide funding and technical support to businesses and organizations to help them maintain their activities. In this way, with the help of Sociétés d'aide au développement des collectivités (SADCs), Centres d'aide aux entreprises (CAEs) and PME MTL, 1167 organizations in Quebec's tourism sector have received contributions through the RRRF totalling over $44 million. Thanks to this measure, some 9400 jobs have been maintained.

The tourism industry, which plays a crucial role in the economic, social and cultural life of communities, represents an essential link in regional economic development. Through this support, the Government of Canada is attesting to its commitment to prepare the field for after the pandemic with a view to rebuilding a stronger, more resilient and more just economy for all.

Quotes

"The tourism industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and the Government of Canada is committed to accompanying key players as they prepare to rebound vigorously after the economic crisis. We have been here since the start of this unprecedented situation, with concrete measures, and we will be here to support tourism as the health situation evolves. We must plan the economic recovery, which can only happen with the contribution of players in the tourism community, so that we can get off to a new start together and be stronger and more resilient."

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Member of Parliament for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for CED

"We are going through a difficult period. However, we see the light at the end of the tunnel with today's announcement and the hope it brings. Let us salute the innovation of our promoters! We thank Minister Joly for supporting the development and recognizing the quality of our tourism destination. Our industry's recovery is promising with these three beautiful projects!"

Émilien Larochelle, President, Tourisme Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Quick facts

  • CED is a key federal partner in Quebec's regional economic development. With its 12 business offices, CED is present to accompany Quebec businesses, supporting organizations and regions into tomorrow's economy. 
  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, is the minister responsible for the six regional development agencies (RDAs), including CED. 
  • Recognizing the importance of the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) in supporting local tourism businesses, the Government of Canada proposed as part of the Fall Economic Statement (November 2020) an additional $500 million for RDAs. 
  • Total funding for the RRRF sits at over $2 billion, and at least 25% of this amount will be granted to boost local tourism businesses, representing over $500 million in support to kickstart tourism by June 2021.

SOURCE Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

January 15, 2021
Hard Rock Hotels® Partners with Historic London, Ontario Property with Plans for New Hotel Development

Newly Signed Agreement with Dora Hotel Company and The Cribbage Group Advances Hard Rock Hotels' Expansion of its North American Portfolio 

LONDON, Ontario - Hard Rock Hotels today announced plans to locate a new property in London, Ontario, as the iconic global brand continues to expand its reach with another world-class hotel and entertainment venue in North America. Working in tandem with managing partners at Dora Hotel Company and The Cribbage Group, Hard Rock will transform the historic site of the former Kellogg's Canada Factory into a unique location that brings the brand's world-renowned music and entertainment offerings to the region. Hard Rock Hotel London, Ontario will greatly complement existing tourist activities in the region and create a wide variety of educational, cultural and historical experiences for guests of all ages to enjoy. 

Located at 100 Kellogg Lane, the planned 353-room hotel will be completed in two phases, with an initial 163-room opening planned for late 2022 and final site completion in 2025. Embracing historical aspects of this site, the design will embody luxury industrial elements that preserve the original atmosphere and charm of the site. This includes the original courtyard that is highlighted by a building developed by Albert Khan, widely acknowledged as the foremost industrial architect of his time and the "Architect of Detroit." 

"We are thrilled to partner with the Dora Hotel Company and The Cribbage Group on this project, bringing Hard Rock's world-class entertainment experiences to an already-bustling area in Ontario," said Todd Hricko, SVP of Hotel Development at Hard Rock International. "This property will provide a multitude of local attractions and unique on-property activities sure to create lasting memories for all who visit." 

"Signing the agreement for the creation of Hard Rock Hotel London, Ontario is the beginning of what is sure to be an extraordinary partnership between The Dora Hotel Company, Hard Rock International, The Cribbage Group and the city of London," said Tim Dora, President of The Dora Hotel Company. "We are excited to begin work on this property and bring to life the unparalleled energy of Hard Rock. There is no doubt this hotel will be a game changer for Canadians and those traveling from around the globe to Ontario for this Hard Rock Hotel experience."

Located on the property are a plethora of delicious restaurants and fun attractions for guests of all ages. The property features the future home of London Children's Museum, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, the highest indoor ropes course in North America, 145-foot ziplines, a 75-foot freefall and more than 20,000 square feet of trampoline park at The Factory, as well as food and beverage offerings such as Powerhouse Brewery, Paradigm Spirits Co., The Canteen and The Club House. Close in proximity to the hotel are local attractions such as Budweiser Gardens, RBC Place London and other sports and entertainment facilities.

The hotel will feature Hard Rock's signature amenities such as The Sound of Your Stay® program, a three-part offering that gets guests in the groove with an in-room Crosley vinyl player delivered to their door, a Heritage guitar delivery complete with amp and headphones for jam sessions and a choice of carefully curated playlists that are available for guests to stream or download. Other signature Hard Rock amenities on-property include Body Rock® Fitness, a cutting-edge workout with innovative training systems just steps away from all rooms, and The Rock Spa®, which welcomes guests to treat themselves to rest and relaxation in various forms. 

Through music appreciation and an imaginative environment, Hard Rock Hotels delivers products for the varied aspects of life – work, play and personal sanctuary. For more information or to book a stay at any of the Hard Rock Hotel properties, please visit www.hardrockhotels.com.

About Hard Rock Hotels®

Hard Rock Hotels is an award-winning internationally recognized leader in the hospitality industry – offering world-class entertainment, contemporary designs, incomparable service and one-of-a-kind brand amenities, catering to modern travelers who seek a reprieve from traditional, predictable properties. Driven by integrity, philanthropy and unparalleled guest experiences, the brand adorns 33 distinctive hotels in the world's most enviable destinations. Hard Rock Hotels continue to provide amazing live music, dining options that make guests' taste buds sing, head-to-toe wellness services and many more amenities, all while practicing social distance guidelines and adhering to SAFE+ SOUND protocols. For more information on Hard Rock Hotels, please visit www.hardrockhotels.com.

January 11, 2021
Porter Airlines updates tentative restart of flights to March 29

TORONTO - Porter Airlines is establishing March 29 as a revised tentative date for restarting flights based on the continuing surge in COVID-19 cases and corresponding public health measures.

"With the introduction of vaccines, we are more optimistic about determining a date in the near-term to reintroduce flights than at any point since the pandemic began," said Michael Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines. "More time is needed to assess the vaccine's influence on current travel restrictions and when it is appropriate to begin operations again. We expect to establish a timeline for this to happen in the first part of 2021."

A further update will be provided this winter based on the status of the pandemic and the evolution of government measures that may promote greater freedom to travel.

Porter temporarily suspended operations on March 21, 2020, due to COVID-19.

About Porter Airlines

Porter Airlines has revolutionized short-haul flying with a warm and effortless approach to
hospitality, restoring glamour and refinement to air travel. Porter is an Official 4 Star Airline®
in the World Airline Star Rating®.

Visit www.flyporter.com or follow @porterairlines on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

January 11, 2021
CSAE Ottawa-Gatineau Presents Tête-à-Tête -- a Free Day of Learning and Connecting For Event Planners and Association Professionals on February 10, 2021

CSAE Ottawa-Gatineau is rolling out its most popular event, Tête-à-Tête, in a new virtual format on February 10, 2021. Meeting and event planners, association and not-for-profit leaders, and government procurers from across the country can attend this event – free!

“This year’s program has been carefully created to provide attendees with many unique opportunities to explore best practices and learn about products and services that will help them succeed in the year ahead, despite some unique challenges they’re facing,” says CSAE Ottawa-Gatineau network chair, Christine James M.A, CAE.  “We’re really excited that with a virtual format, the event will be easily attended by professionals from across Canada.”

Immerse yourself in “all things association” at Tête-à-Tête, now in its 31st year. The schedule is packed with informative roundtable discussions, expert panel presentations and engaging speakers. And, of course, you’ll get to know more than 75 exhibitors with products and services that can help you meet your goals.

Dr. David Fisman, renowned Toronto epidemiologist, wraps up the event as the closing keynote speaker. He’ll discuss how upcoming vaccinations will affect the path of the disease through 2021. Don’t miss this chance to learn how you can prepare for an uncertain future. 

Register now for Tête-à-Tête >

ABOUT CSAE

Incorporated in 1962, the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) is Canada’s only member-based not-for-profit organization committed to delivering the knowledge, resources and environment to advance association excellence. CSAE, also known as an “association of associations,” offers robust networking and learning opportunities, including an education program leading to the Certified Association Executive (CAE®) designation. With a current membership of approximately 3,000, CSAE has central operations in Toronto and seven regional networks in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, the GTA/Golden Horseshoe, Ottawa-Gatineau, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Visit www.csae.com and follow CSAE on Twitter @csaeconnect.

January 11, 2021
Sadly announcing IMEX cancellation, May

It is with regret that we announce the cancellation of IMEX in Frankfurt 2021, due to take place at Messe Frankfurt from 25 – 27 May.

We know the timing of our announcement comes as a blow so early in 2021. More than anything, and like you, we’re eager to deliver some good news and mark a fresh start.

When we were compelled to cancel IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America last year we hoped 2021 would see the early recovery of the industry and the IMEX shows. We still believe wholeheartedly that a resurgence will come, but sadly we do not believe it will happen in time for us to deliver a strong and successful event in May.

IMEX in Frankfurt is a hugely global event – our exhibitors and buyers represent 150+ countries – and we are, therefore, reliant on international travel routes being open in the coming weeks to allow our buyers and exhibitors from across the world to confirm their participation.

All that said, we are genuinely positive about the future.

Industry prospects

The vaccine roll-out and improvements in rapid testing programmes give us great confidence for the prospects of our industry and of travel in general. We are very confident that we’ll be able to deliver a successful IMEX America in Las Vegas from 9-11 November; as well as the 20th anniversary edition of IMEX in Frankfurt in 2022 (26-28 April). The IMEX Team is already working hard with our partners in both locations to create and deliver successful shows that will drive the future growth and prosperity of our industry.

In the meantime, we remain committed to value creation. We’ll be working with industry partners on digital activations and experiences that deliver on our mission of uniting and advancing the business events industry – doing everything we can to educate, innovate and help you to make powerful connections with the right people.

You can count on IMEX

We remain at the service of the industry and cannot wait to see all our industry friends again in person. When we do deliver another IMEX show – you can count on it being one worth waiting for.

Ray Bloom, Chairman, IMEX Group

Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group

January 08, 2021
WestJet Slashes Capacity in Response to Rushed Government Testing Regime

WestJet Group to stand down equivalent of 1,000 employees and reduce capacity by a third

CALGARY, AB - WestJet today announced further cuts to its schedule as the airline continues to face volatile demand and instability in the face of continuing federal government travel advisories and restrictions.

As a result of the reduction in capacity, the equivalent of 1,000 employees across the WestJet Group of Companies will be impacted through a combination of furloughs, temporary layoffs, unpaid leaves and reduced hours. There will also be a hiring freeze implemented.

"Immediately following the federal government's inbound testing announcement on December 31, and with the continuation of the 14-day quarantine, we saw significant reductions in new bookings and unprecedented cancellations," said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. "The entire travel industry and its customers are again on the receiving end of incoherent and inconsistent government policy. We have advocated over the past 10 months for a coordinated testing regime on Canadian soil, but this hasty new measure is causing Canadian travellers unnecessary stress and confusion and may make travel unaffordable, unfeasible and inaccessible for Canadians for years to come." 

"Regrettably, this new policy leaves us with no other option but to again place a large number of our employees on leave, while impacting the pay of others," continued Sims. "This is a cruel outcome for loyal and hardworking staff who have been diligently working through the pandemic."          

With today's announcement the airline will remove approximately 30 per cent of its currently planned February and March capacity from the schedule, a more than 80 per cent reduction year over year. In addition, the airline will reduce domestic frequencies by 160 departures as frequently evolving advisories, travel restrictions and guidance continue to negatively impact demand trends. Any impacted guests will be contacted directly.   

Network impact by the numbers:

  • With the planned reductions, WestJet will operate at a more than 80 per cent reduction year over year.
  • Specific to international markets, capacity will be down 93 per cent year over year where the airline will be operating only five daily flights compared to 100 last year
  • Elimination of more than 230 weekly departures (including 160 domestic) and removal of more than 30 per cent of capacity versus prior months.
  • Suspension of 11 routes (Edmonton-Cancun, Edmonton- Puerto Vallarta, Edmonton-Phoenix, Vancouver-Cancun, Vancouver-Phoenix, Vancouver-Puerto Vallarta, Vancouver-Cabo, Vancouver-Los Angeles, Vancouver-Palm Springs, Calgary-Las Vegas, Calgary-Orlando).
  • Seasonal suspension of 13 international and transborder destinations (Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Huatulco, Ixtapa, London (Gatwick), Mazatlán, Nassau (Bahamas), Port of Spain, San Jose (Costa Rica), Tampa, and Turks and Caicos.
  • The airline will operate approximately 150 daily departures, returning to levels not seen since June 2001.

About WestJet 
Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline's Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com.

January 06, 2021
Vancouver Convention Centre awarded 2020 Clean Air Award for excellence in air filtration

The Vancouver Convention Centre has been awarded a 2020 Clean Air Award by the National Air Filtration Association. The NAFA Clean Air Award recognizes excellence in air filtration as well as outstanding effort in maintaining a clean and healthy indoor environment.

With a comprehensive approach to maintaining and improving air quality throughout the facility, the Convention Centre received this award for attributes that include maintaining a comprehensive record-keeping program around the regular replacing of air filters, installing gaskets between air filters to prevent bypassing, installing instrumentation to measure pressure drop across air filters and more.

Notably, the upgrading of air filters to extend their lifespan from yearly to every two years provided additional benefit resulting in significant energy utilization savings for the building’s operation. This is in line with the Vancouver Convention Centre’s commitment to sustainability as the world’s first double LEED® Platinum certified convention centre

“We are proud to receive this award from the National Air Filtration Association and be recognized for our efforts towards creating a safe environment for our guests and staff,” said Craig Lehto, General Manager, Vancouver Convention Centre. 

“2020 has shown us that there is no limit on the need to prioritize air quality when striving to create clean and healthy environments within facilities like ours. We will continue to look for ways to further these efforts as air filtration becomes even more foundational to hosting events and visitors in the future.”

After extensive consultation with health authorities and other partners, the Convention Centre has implemented a comprehensive safety plan to inform the execution of business activity held at the facility. This includes a wide range of protective measures, including set-up designed to adhere to physical distancing; enhanced cleaning and sanitization procedures; use of protective barriers where necessary; specialized training for Convention Centre staff; availability of hand sanitizers throughout the facility; educational signage throughout the facility and more.

About the Vancouver Convention Centre

Located on Vancouver’s downtown waterfront with a dramatic mountain backdrop, the world’s first double LEED® Platinum certified convention centre offers one of the most beautiful settings in the world. The award-winning Vancouver Convention Centre features two connected buildings with a combined total of 466,500 ft2 (43,340 m2) of flexible meeting, exhibition, ballroom and plenary space. The facility is committed to environmental sustainability as well as unparalleled service, technology offerings and culinary excellence.

January 06, 2021
WestJet announces 737 MAX return-to-service plan

First guest flight set for January 21 pending Transport Canada opening of skies

CALGARY, AB - WestJet today announced its intent to return its fleet of 737 MAX aircraft to passenger service in a phased and transparent approach. The airline's plans follow an announcement from Transport Canada (TC) on December 17, 2020 where TC safety experts validated the aircraft design changes and outlined requirements for Canadian carriers.
Transport Canada's validation followed that of the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) on November 18, 2020.

"As we continue working with Transport Canada on the additional Canadian requirements, our first MAX will be ready to return safely to service as of January 21," said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. "While we don't have final confirmation on when TC will open Canadian airspace to the 737 MAX aircraft, in the interest of transparency we are sharing our intent to fly once this confirmation is received."

"The FAA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and numerous other regulatory bodies around the world have spent more than a year examining the MAX aircraft to provide recommended changes to software, pilot training and maintenance requirements. We are confident with the changes they have mandated," continued Sims. "In particular, the deliberate, detailed and independent scrutiny applied by Transport Canada's National Aircraft Certification team, which prescribed additional requirements to pilot procedures and training, provides further confidence in the aircraft and its safe return."

WestJet will take a phased approach to re-entry for its MAX aircraft beginning with non-commercial test flights that are anticipated to start in mid January. On January 21, pending Transport Canada's reopening of the Canadian airspace to commercial flights for the 737 MAX, the airline plans to operate three roundtrip flights, per week, between Calgary and Toronto. The schedule will remain in place for four weeks, while evaluating further routes and additional frequencies. WestJet currently operates six daily flights between the two cities.

“We are dedicated to restoring guest confidence in this aircraft through our safe operation, while providing the transparency and the flexibility that some of our guests may still require," concluded Sims. "We will be forthcoming with our guests on where the MAX aircraft are flying, and we will be flexible with our change and cancel policy to ensure our guests can make their travel plans confidently."

WestJet has created a variety of resources to assist guests in feeling comfortable, including a behind-the-scenes video looking at the pilot and maintenance team efforts that went into safely returning the aircraft to the skies. Details can be found on the website: www.westjet.com/maxinfo.

About WestJet
Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline's Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com.