Current News

Check out the latest news from around the world by the industry's movers and shakers.

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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

June 14, 2021
WestJet introduces service to Amsterdam from Calgary

CALGARY, AB/CNW/—WestJet today announced that it is expanding its international network to include one of the world's most connected cities, Amsterdam, Netherlands. As the airline with the most flights from Calgary, the new service from WestJet's hub will operate on the 787 Dreamliner, starting August 5, 2021.

"We are committed to putting international investments in place, as leaders of the travel and tourism industry, to support a safe restart to international travel and further Canada's economic recovery," said John Weatherill, WestJet, Chief Commercial Officer. "With flights set to begin later this summer, we look forward to helping connect Canadians to their loved ones in Europe, while continuing to provide affordable options for those who want to visit or reconnect with friends and family across our great country."

WestJet's service between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) and Calgary International Airport (YYC) will operate two-times weekly beginning August 5, 2021 and will increase to three-times weekly as of September 9.

"Alberta is ready to be open for summer, and this announcement from WestJet shows how close we are to having international travellers come back to Alberta," said Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy, Innovation, Government of Alberta. "New routes will boost our tourism industry when it needs it most and once again showcase Alberta to the world with safe travel."

"This year, our guests will have another direct option from Calgary to a bustling centre of commerce and culture," said Bob Sartor, President & CEO, The Calgary Airport Authority. "WestJet's new route from their home and hub at YYC to Amsterdam, will connect Calgarians to Europe and Europeans to Alberta through one of the best connected airports in the world."

The route will be operated on WestJet's 787 Dreamliner, featuring the airline's lie-flat seats available in the business cabin along with on-demand dining and entertainment. The new service is timed to ensure that transatlantic flights departing from Calgary to Amsterdam are scheduled to support late-day departures and daytime arrivals. Convenient connections are available via Amsterdam to dozens of world-class destinations, including Athens, Berlin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Vienna, Venice and more.

"We are excited by the return of important international air routes to Alberta," said David Goldstein, CEO, Travel Alberta. "While we have had a long, warm relationship with Dutch travellers looking to explore our part of the world, Amsterdam is also a key feeder hub for travellers from all across Europe.  We look forward to working with WestJet as they broaden their global routes to Alberta."

787 service to London, Gatwick returns in July

As of July, WestJet will be operating to London, Gatwick (LGW) from Calgary International Airport (YYC) and Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ). Service from Calgary will operate two-times weekly, while flights from Toronto will depart three-times weekly.

With Safety Above All, WestJet launched its Travel Ready Series aimed to welcome guests back to travel. Travel Ready was created to ensure guests are equipped and prepared with the information they need to enjoy a smooth and safe return to the skies.

Details of WestJet's service between Calgary and Amsterdam:

Route

Frequency

Start Date

Calgary – Amsterdam

2x weekly

Aug. 5 – Sept. 5, 2021

 

3x weekly

Sept. 9 – October 31, 2021

Amsterdam – Calgary

2x weekly

Aug. 6 – Sept. 6, 2021

 

3x weekly

Sept. 10 – November 1, 2021

 

Details of WestJet's service to London, Gatwick:

Route

Frequency

Calgary – London, Gatwick

2x weekly

Toronto – London, Gatwick

3x weekly


About WestJet 
In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

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

Connect with WestJet on Facebook at facebook.com/westjet
Follow WestJet on Twitter at twitter.com/westjet
Follow WestJet on Instagram instagram.com/westjet/
Subscribe to WestJet on YouTube at youtube.com/westjet
Read the WestJet blog at blog.westjet.com 

June 14, 2021
Canadian Travel and Tourism Leaders Call on Federal Government to Release Comprehensive Reopening Plan, Clear Border Measures, and a Program to Certify Vaccinations

G7 alignment on international vaccination certification sets the stage for government to announce clear travel policies for Canada.

Ottawa/CNW/—The Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable (The Roundtable) is today calling on the federal government to immediately release a comprehensive, national plan to reopen our economy, ensure the free movement of Canadians across the country, reopen the U.S.-Canada border, and put in place a clear vaccination certification program to allow entry to international travelers. These are critical measures that will enable the recovery of the travel and tourism sector and the Canadian economy.

Despite receiving advice from the federally appointed COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel (the Expert Panel), the federal government has yet to publish a comprehensive reopening plan for international and domestic travel, particularly around the admission of fully vaccinated foreign nationals into  Canada.

This past weekend, Prime Minister Trudeau attended the G7 Summit where the leaders' communique recognized "the importance to the global economy of safely restarting international travel, by land, air and sea, and multilateral efforts to achieve this," and stressed the need for "a set of common standards for travel including interoperability and mutual recognition of digital applications, testing requirements, recognition of vaccination status including exemptions and comparable criteria for when responsive measures may be required." Canada remains a clear outlier among its G7 peers, having yet to announce a comprehensive reopening plan. Though international discussions are important, Canada needs a plan of its own, and needs it now.

The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020. As more and more people continue to get vaccinated in both countries and cases decline across the continent, it is time for the federal government to put in place an evidence-based plan to reopen the border.  

The sector is also calling on the federal government to announce clear travel policies for Canadians and foreign nationals travelling to Canada. Canadians deserve a single national policy approach to travel that clarifies the country's policy on vaccination certification, our international border, unvaccinated minors, and other critical details that require national leadership. In the absence of a nation-wide plan, we are seeing a patchwork of policies roll out provincially that are difficult to reconcile.

Last week, the federal government announced its intention to remove the mandatory hotel quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated Canadians and reduce quarantine upon the results of an arrivals test. Though this was a step in the right direction, more policy changes are needed to support the travel and tourism sector recovery.

Canadians are doing their part in getting vaccinated; now it is time for the federal government to provide clear, timely, and safe guidance on reopening Canada for travel. Recent announcements have shown some progress but much more clarity is needed. Canada's policies should be rooted in science, which justifies a renewed approach to border measures, ongoing testing requirements, and quarantine restrictions for partially vaccinated Canadians and fully vaccinated foreign nationals.  There is no science-based reason to further delay the implementation of the government's own Expert Panel recommendations.

"It is imperative that we have logical, clear measures in place to facilitate travel within Canada and internationally. A piecemeal approach to policy announcements on travel will only raise more questions and create confusion," said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

"The Canadian travel and tourism industry – and the Canada-U.S. border – has been effectively closed since March 2020. A holistic Canada-wide plan is needed to provide certainty to businesses and Canadians. We are seeing provinces fill in the gaps that have been created by the absence of a federal reopening plan and this will create confusion for travellers," stated Beth Potter, President & CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

"Canada cannot afford to be left behind as other countries around the world begin to reopen," said Susie Grynol, President and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada. "Without a clear plan in place, our vibrant tourism industry is at risk and people's livelihoods are in jeopardy. Fully vaccinated travellers should be afforded the same opportunities, regardless of their nationalities."

"There is significant demand across Canada to travel. We urgently need the federal government to lay out a plan so that Canadians, and those seeking to safely travel to Canada, are not left behind. Other countries have done this. Our sector depends on this. Canadians are expecting this," stated Daniel-Robert Gooch, President of the Canadian Airports Council.

"Countries that successfully implement a science and data–based testing and quarantine policy will not only protect public health, they will drive their overall domestic recovery and take jobs and investment from countries that do not," said Mike McNaney, President and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents Canada's largest airlines (Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation, and WestJet). "We have tens of thousands of employees that are relying on government to release a plan," he continued.

About the Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable
The Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable is a cross-Canadian coalition of leaders in the tourism and travel sector – including representatives from airports, airlines, hotels, and chambers of commerce across the country – committed to working together to restart the sector smoothly and safely. Travel and Tourism is a $105 billion sector, employing millions of Canadians across the country and accounting for 2.1% of the country's gross domestic product. It advocates for a safe and prosperous tourism and travel sector across Canada. 

SOURCE Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable

June 11, 2021
Switzerland will be welcoming fully vaccinated North American guests again as of June 28, 2021

The Swiss government has outlined the return to normality after the global pandemic including the complete opening to international guests and the full opening of tourist infrastructures (restaurants, events, leisure facilities).

New York/San Francisco- The Swiss government announced today that it is opening the country’s borders to fully vaccinated travelers from North America from June 28, in time for the summer holidays. Switzerland Tourism is already actively present in North America to provide information about existing protection measures and rules, as well as travel opportunities in Switzerland for the summer and autumn 2021. “I’m not only thrilled but also feel quite emotional that we finally can go back to what we do best; host guests from North America in our magnificent country. I have long believed that Switzerland, with its small boutique towns, rustic villages dotted along picturesque valleys, and wide-open alpine landscapes is the natural choice for a post-Covid holiday. Now that the borders will be open, together with everybody in the Swiss Tourism Industry, we can’t wait to welcome each one of you.” says Claudio Zemp, Director Americas for Switzerland Tourism.

North Americans, who can proof that they are fully vaccinated will be able to travel without quarantine or PCR tests as early as June 28th. The law will be ratified by the Swiss government on June 23.

myswitzerland.com

Maximum protection concepts.

Over 4,000 tourism businesses use the Swiss "Clean & Safe" label to document the application of comprehensive protection concepts. Guests can get information on the current various protection concepts on the corresponding website mutual safety. Guests appreciate - especially after the pandemic - Switzerland's values such as reliability, cleanliness, safety and naturalness.

June 10, 2021
GBTA Calls for Action as World Leaders meet at G7 Summit

Consistent International Travel Protocols Needed for Global Economic Recovery

Alexandria, VA – The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s largest business travel association, is calling for world leaders of the G7 countries to lead conversations for a seamless return of international travel to boost the global economic recovery.

Aviation and business travel are critical factors in the success of the global economy and international relations. As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, an international approach to recognized standards is crucial to re-start travel.

“We need strong political impetus and decisive action at an international level to develop a roadmap to safely re-open travel and restore confidence. The G7 summit provides that platform,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO – GBTA, adding: “The business travel industry – as many other sectors of our economies – has suffered from the various lockdowns and restrictions on free movement of people. Since April 1, 2020, global spending on business travel plummeted 68% over the same period from 2019. Global recognition of Digital Health Certificates is required for a safe and effective restart of business travel.”

To restart international business travel, GBTA is calling for governments to take immediate steps to align on how health certificates for Covid-19 test results and vaccines will be accredited and mutually recognised by country authorities around the world. “Defining an internationally agreed- upon framework for the regulation of secure, trusted digital Covid-19 health certificates will remove complexity for travelers and airlines, and accelerate the safe return of international business travel. Facilitating a global travel framework is an opportunity for G7 countries to show leadership while championing international trade and economic growth,” said Neufang.

To further the point of a need for a single universal approach, GBTA’s latest poll reveals that three out of four buyer and procurement respondents think issuing government issued COVID 19 health certificates is either ‘very effective’ or ‘effective’ in aiding the restart of business travel.

The European Union is finalizing a framework for member states to follow a single set of rules and protocols. Countries, companies and other organisations are already developing platforms and apps, but the critical factor is that governments must agree on what will be mutually recognised for cross- border travel.

The G7’s aim, therefore, must be to agree upon a common approach to:

a. Verifying and sharing Covid 19 Health Certificates across

b. Ensuring that these validated Covid 19 Health Certificates flow seamlessly into existing processes undertaken by airlines and border forces around the world.

The global business travel industry is committed to finding a common position at both an individual company level and through wider industry association engagement. Governments need to support these efforts and agree upon a common approach.

June 08, 2021
Hosts Global Unveils New Additions to Hosts Global Alliance

Hosts Global (Hosts), announced today that seven new DMCs have joined the Hosts Global Alliance (HGA).  Since March of this year, Hosts has been rapidly expanding its international footprint and now offers meeting and event solutions in over 200 destinations worldwide.

“We are thrilled to unveil this next phase of our growth plans.  Our clients are ready to meet again, and we are quickly growing our team and our Hosts Global Alliance to create best in class event experiences around the world,” said Jennifer Patino, CEO for Hosts Global.

Joining the Hosts Global Alliance today are:

 Compass Tours Incoming

  • Germany

Spaintacular

  • Spain

World Events Consulting SA

  • Switzerland 

Alaska Destination Specialists

  • Alaska
  • Vancouver 

Portfire Events

  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont

 Experience Holy City

  • Charleston, SC


We’re proud to add these industry leaders and local experts to the alliance.  Stay tuned for many more announcements in the coming weeks and months as we continue to grow,” said Marty MacKay, president of global alliance event and operations for Hosts.


Contact Hosts Global for more information. 

 
About Hosts Global: Hosts Global is a strategic partner for meeting and event planners worldwide. We help visionary planners deliver meaningful, memorable and motivating group experiences in destinations around the globe. Across our destinations, Hosts' DMCs are known as the local experts, weaving ferocious creativity and intention into every moment, from event design and production to team building programs and everything in-between. For more information about Hosts Global solutions visit www.hosts-global.com.


Global Reach. Local Experts.
 
www.hosts-global.com

June 08, 2021
SITE Foundation releases White Paper on the Future of Incentive Travel
Based on responses from a qualitative survey of 50 US corporate buyers, SITE Foundations sets out the future face of Incentive travel
 
CHICAGO – SITE Foundation today launched a White Paper on the future of incentive travel that confirms corporate America’s commitment to incentive travel, indicates a sooner-than-expected return to travel and highlight how safety is now the number one priority for corporate organisers.
 
Following a qualitative survey that elicited 50 submissions from US Fortune 500 corporations, SITE Foundation commissioned a full White Paper to analyse and interpret the results of the survey, explore the extensive verbatims provided by the respondents and provide niche perspective and commentary from 4 key sectors of the incentive travel spectrum.
 
VP of Content & Research, Selina Sinclair, CITP, and CEO, Realm, Singapore said “The United States as a source market and destination is very much a bell weather for the future of incentive travel. With responses from 15 key sectoral users of incentive travel in the US, including Finance & Insurance, Information & Communications Technology, Automotive, Pharma and Direct Selling, Corporate inSITEs brings us to the heart of corporate America and channels a compelling story of confidence, following almost 18 months of uncertainty. Incentive Travel is highly prized as the ultimate reward and recognition tool, it’s recovering much quicker than originally expected but there are changing priorities too, with safety and risk mitigation ranked as the ultimate considerations”.
 
Terry Manion, CIS, CITP, President, SITE Foundation added “As the only industry association dedicated exclusively to incentive travel, SITE and SITE Foundation have earned a reputation as the indisputable, indispensable go-to resource for quality data, information and content on incentive travel in all its myriad guises.

Our Corporate inSITEs series, which will be issued three times in 2021, delivers on our mission to support research, education and advocacy projects on behalf of the incentive travel industry. Since 2017 SITE Foundation has invested over $1.25million to drive the business case for incentive travel and support professional development within the industry.”
 
Corporate inSITEs: White Paper Edition 1 is available for download free of charge on SITEGlobal along with a PDF of the actual survey results.
 
 
 
About Corporate inSITEs
Corporate inSITEs is a qualitative survey series undertaken by SITE Foundation in 2021 with responses provided exclusively by professionals in corporations whose remit includes the approval, oversight, design, planning, execution or delivery of incentive travel programs. It was undertaken in April 2021 and will be undertaken twice more in 2021 with a database of US based professionals working in Finance & Insurance, Automotive, FMCG, ICT, Pharma, Direct Selling, Consulting and 10 other industry verticals. These have been personally approached by SITE Foundation, and have agreed to participate in the survey.
 
8 - 10 questions are posed for each survey, the core set of questions remaining the same for each edition to provide vital insights around emerging trends. Questions ask for the corporate perspective on:
  • Types of incentive travel and their likely increase or decrease in frequency over the next 3 years;
  • Impact of the pandemic on incentive, reward and recognition programs;
  • Time frame for resumption of domestic or international in-person meeting/event and incentive travel experience;
  • Changes being made to design of incentive travel program in light of the pandemic;
  • Attitude of corporate C-suite toward the resumption of incentive travel programs;
About SITE & SITE Foundation
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 2,000 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.
June 04, 2021
As Stay-at-Home Order is Lifted, Hyatt Place Ottawa-West Opens

Stolat Hotels Opens First Hotel with Highest Green Key Rating

Ottawa/CNW/—As the Ontario stay-at-home order is set to be lifted on June 1, Hyatt Place Ottawa-West, managed by Crescent Hotels & Resorts, announced the hotel is now open for Ottawans to get out and enjoy a safe staycation, essential workers and for other travellers to enjoy a safe visit to Ottawa.

The new, 140-room hotel officially opened on May 27 with the prestigious Five Green Key rating from Green Key Global and will offer business and leisure travelers an open, intuitive design, casual atmosphere with practical amenities, such as free Wi-Fi, 24-hour food offerings and the 24-hour fitness center.

"Ottawa is a world-class city and a key business and leisure destination, and Hyatt Place Ottawa-West will add a wonderful new option for business and leisure travelers. The hotel is located just down the road from the new Department of National Defense Headquarters with easy access to Kanata and Barrhaven," said General Manager Alison Hunter.

Key sustainable features include:

  • Earth Energy is used to heat and cool the hotel
  • 225 Solar Panels on the roof resulting in an annual offset = to planting 38,255 trees
  • Honeybee Pollinators living on the roof
  • Commitment to eliminate single-use plastics
  • Commitment to buy and source local
  • On-site EV Chargers

Hyatt Place Ottawa-West will offer:

  • 140 spacious guestrooms with separate spaces to sleep, work and play, as well as a Cozy Corner sofa-sleeper
  • Breakfast Bar featuring hot breakfast items, fresh fruit, steel-cut oatmeal, Greek yogurt, and more
  • The Placery serving freshly prepared meals anytime, day or night
  • The Bar featuring specialty coffees and premium beers, as well as wines and cocktails
  • Necessities program for forgotten items that guests can buy, borrow or enjoy for free
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout hotel and guestrooms
  • Event Spaces offer 1,200 square feet of flexible, high-tech meeting/function space
  • Fitness Center featuring cardio equipment with LCD touchscreens

"Crescent is excited to partner with Stolat Hotels to open this unique Hyatt Place hotel in Ottawa," said Tony Cohen, Executive Vice President and Partner of Crescent Hotels & Resorts. "As an experienced Hyatt operator, Crescent will maximize upon the potential of this great hotel."

For more information, please visit hyattplaceottawawest.com.

Guided by its purpose of care, Hyatt's multi-layered Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment further enhances its operational guidance and resources around colleague and guest safety and peace of mind. More information on Hyatt's commitment can be found here: hyatt.com/care-and-cleanliness.

The term "Hyatt" is used in this release for convenience to refer to Hyatt Hotels Corporation and/or one or more of its affiliates.

About Hyatt Place
Hyatt Place hotels combine style, innovation and 24/7 conveniences to create an easy to navigate experience for today's multi-tasking traveler. Guests can enjoy thoughtfully designed guestrooms featuring distinct zones for sleep, work and play, and free flowing social spaces that offer seamless transitions from work to relaxation. With more than 380 locations globally, Hyatt Place hotels offer freshly prepared food around the clock, efficient service and differentiated experiences for World of Hyatt members. For more information, please visit hyattplace.com. Join the conversation on Facebook and Instagram, and tag photos with #HyattPlace and #WhySettle.

About Crescent Hotels & Resorts
Crescent Hotels & Resorts is an award-winning, nationally recognized operator of hotels and resorts. Crescent currently operates over 100 hotels & resorts in Canada and the United States. Crescent is one of the few elite management companies approved to operate upper-upscale and luxury hotels under the brand families of Marriott, Hilton & Hyatt. Crescent also operates a collection of lifestyle independent lifestyle hotels and resorts under the Latitudes Collection umbrella. Crescent's clients include premiere REITs, private equity firms and major developers. For more information, please visit www.crescenthotels.com and www.latitudesbycrescent.com or connect with Crescent on LinkedIn.

About Stolat Hotels
Stolat Hotels is a locally owned hotel ownership group with a broad business portfolio in the Ottawa area. Stolat Hotels prides itself on investing as a company with environmental sustainability and community support integral to every corporate initiative.

The Hyatt Place Ottawa West is their first hotel investment with the long-term intention of broadening the portfolio in the Canadian hotel industry, focussed primarily on the business and corporate market. Stolat Hotels wants to redefine and raise client expectations on health, safety, sustainability and earth energy in their hospitality properties. In every market that Stolat Hotels will operate, they will ensure the continuation of these core corporate principles as they become one with the community they have invested in.

Media Contact:
Alison Hunter, General Manager
Hyatt Place Ottawa-West
613-702-9800
Alison.Hunter@Hyatt.com 

SOURCE Crescent Hotels & Resorts

June 03, 2021
Ottawa Extends Programs For Hardest Hit Businesses

Meetings Mean Business Canada applauds the federal government’s intention to extend support programs for businesses hardest hit by COVID-19.

Ottawa is extending the Wage Subsidy, Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support programs to September 25, 2021, and extending the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) and Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) to December 31, 2021.

The government also released details of the proposed Canada Hiring Recovery Program, an initiative that was first announced in the April 19, 2021 federal budget.

“The extension of existing federal support programs is good news for the meetings and business events industry... Continued federal support is crucial given the long sales cycles for business events and the fact that recovery for our industry will take longer than other businesses within the visitor economy,” says Clark Grue, chair, MMBC.

“And while we’re pleased with the support offered to employers as part of the Canada Recovery Hiring Program, we would also like to see support for independent businesses within our industry, which include meeting and event planners who do not employ full-time staff, as well as the many industry professionals who work on a contract basis.”

Included in Ottawa’s June 2, 2021 announcement:

  • Wage Subsidy, Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support programs are extended to September 25, 2021.
  • The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) and Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) are extended to December 31, 2021.
The government said the extended timeline for the Wage Subsidy and Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support programs would see a gradual decrease in the rates, beginning July 4, 2021, in order to ensure an orderly phase-out of the program as the economy reopens. Employers accessing the Wage Subsidy program would shift to the Canada Recovery Hiring Program as they transition to recovery and hire new workers.

Canada Recovery Hiring Program
Ottawa also released details of the proposed Canada Recovery Hiring Program, first announced in the April 19, 2021 federal budget. Designed to help hard-hit businesses hire the workers they need to recover and grow as local economies reopen, the program:
  • provides a subsidy of up to 50% of eligible salary or wages
  • is available to eligible employers that have experienced qualifying revenue declines so they can hire more workers, increase workers’ hours or increase wages
  • is available to support active employees only
  • is available from June 6, 2021 to November 20, 2021
Both the Canada Recovery Hiring Program and proposed extensions are part of Bill C-30, the Budget Implementation Act, which is currently before Parliament.
 
For more details about the programs, read the June 2 press release.
June 01, 2021
Urgo Hotels Canada Announces Major Expansion

Serge Primeau nominated Managing Partner and President

QUÉBEC/CNW Telbec/ - Urgo Hotels Canada (UHC), the Canadian business unit of Urgo Hotels & Resorts, today announced a major expansion project. The hotel's current pipeline is extensive and includes the opening of six hotels in the province of Quebec in 2021 alone, bringing the company's portfolio, along with other projects under development, close to 20 Canadian hotels under contract by the end of 2021 with over 2600 rooms.

Several hotel openings this summer
The first new hotel is already open for business, with the fully renovated Delta Mont-Sainte-Anne, Resort and Conference Center, a 211 rooms and suites located at the base of Mont-Sainte-Anne ski and mountain biking resort, with outdoor activities year-round and located just east of Québec City.

In June, UHC will open Montreal's newest lifestyle luxury hotel, the 193-room Humaniti Hotel as part of Marriott Autograph Collection. Shortly following in the same month, a 290-room combination of Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites Midtown on Decarie Boulevard will open, paving the way for a new destination in Montreal situated in a vibrant, fast-growing neighbourhood.  

The busy summer will wrap up with the addition of another Hilton combo, Hampton Inn and Suites and Homewood Suites, of 270 rooms in downtown Montreal as part of its strategic alliance with SPBL Hotels.

Nomination as managing partner and president
UHC also announced that Serge Primeau has been nominated as its Managing Partner and President to continue to support the company's rapid growth in the hotel management sector across Canada. Mr. Primeau has over 25 years of experience with UHC and is committed to driving the company's vision as being an innovative hotel management business that is committed to the utmost customer and employee satisfaction.

"I am immensely proud of our team accomplishment as well as the successful completion of our summer 2021 expansion projects," explained Mr. Primeau. "The fact UHC is opening brand-new hotels amidst a pandemic is a testament to both our organization's North American reputation for performance as well as our confidence for the coming years."

Originally founded in 1995, UHC is carrying out a very dynamic growth plan to become the country's leading hotel management company from coast to coast. These hotel openings are just the start of a roadmap to add even more hotels in several provinces in the upcoming months and years.

"Our strategy remains unwavering: to stimulate local Canadian economies thanks to the global hotel brands we manage," Mr. Primeau added. "Over the years, the team has grown together—and will continue to grow together leveraging what makes UHC one of the best in the industry: our vision of hotel management leadership and proximity to our clientele. The future of UHC looks very bright indeed."

SOURCE Urgo Hotels Canada

May 31, 2021
Vancouver Convention Centre welcomes Phil Adams as new Director of Sales

Vancouver, BC—The Vancouver Convention Centre is pleased to welcome Phil Adams as its new Director of Sales following an extensive recruitment process.

Phil joins the Convention Centre with over 20 years of leadership experience in business development and sales, including a comprehensive background as part of Canada’s major events, sports and entertainment industries.

“We are thrilled to have Phil join our organization and lead our Sales team as we look towards the rebuilding of British Columbia’s meetings and events industry,” said Craig Lehto, General Manager, Vancouver Convention Centre. “This is a critical time for our organization, and as we move closer towards the end of the pandemic, our work with our industry partners as well as ongoing and prospective clients have never been more important. Phil brings a strong reputation for cultivating successful relationships along with deep roots in the Vancouver community that will be a great asset as part of our efforts.”

Most recently, Phil served as Senior Director, Western Canada Operations at Canadian Soccer Business. Prior to that position, he served as the Director of Corporate Partnerships with the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Director of Corporate Partnerships with the BC Lions and as Olympic Project Manager for RBC.

“I’m incredibly excited to join the Vancouver Convention Centre at such a dynamic time in its history. A global leader with a talented team already in place, the organization is poised for growth and I hope I can bring a unique and fresh perspective to the sales team as we look to rebuild our business and put Vancouver back on the global events map,” said Phil.

After extensive consultation with health authorities and other partners, the Convention Centre has implemented a comprehensive safety plan to help inform current and future business activity held at the facility. Recently the facility also earned the Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery, further strengthening its commitment to the health and safety of its staff, clients, and guests.

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 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.

The Convention Centre is a part of BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), a Provincial Crown Corporation of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.

May 26, 2021
WestJet and Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) roll out support for Indigenous tourism businesses

TREATY 7 TERRITORY AND HOMELAND OF THE METIS, CALGARY, AB, May 26, 2021 /CNW/—WestJet and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) are providing nine, $10,000 grants to Indigenous tourism businesses across Canada that have been devastated by the shutdown of the tourism industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants were originally earmarked through the WestJet/ITAC strategic national partnership, signed in November 2019.

The recipients of these grants were given the news in March 2021 and their reactions were captured in a new WestJet/ITAC video, WestJet & ITAC: supporting Indigenous tourism in Canada. The Indigenous tourism businesses that received the grants will be spotlighted on WestJet's social channels and its newsroom over the next year.

"We are pleased to be able to support these Indigenous businesses as they work their way to recovery," said Angela Avery, WestJet Executive Vice President. "WestJet is a proud partner of ITAC, and is committed to advancing reconciliation by growing opportunities for indigenous entrepreneurs and sharing with the global travel industry the importance of Indigenous tourism, a unique, important and developing sector of Canadian tourism."

"WestJet has been an amazing partner for ITAC and a true advocate for Indigenous tourism in Canada, championing and collaborating on marketing campaigns, which provide much needed support to Indigenous tourism businesses during this difficult time," says Keith Henry, President and CEO of ITAC. "WestJet has effectively engaged with Indigenous tourism businesses and communities and fully understands the importance of reconciliation and the layered, but necessary, path to achieve it."

The WestJet/ITAC strategic national partnership is a three-year commitment that outlines how the airline will foster opportunities for Indigenous tourism by showcasing Indigenous People's culture and history while bringing global audiences to take part in Indigenous tourism experiences.

This summer, WestJet and ITAC are encouraging Canadians to support local tourism organizations, including local Indigenous tourism businesses from coast to coast to coast, while following all public health and safety guidelines. Destination Canada has stated that if Canadians shift two-thirds of their planned spend on international leisure travel towards domestic tourism, it will make up for the estimated $19 billion shortfall currently facing our visitor economy and will help sustain 150,000 jobs while accelerating recovery by one year.

"The situation facing the travel and tourism industry overall has been devastating," continued Avery. "We encourage Canadians to support Indigenous businesses in their communities and across the country when it is safe to do so."

Recipients of the 2020/2021 WestJet/ITAC grants:

Feast Café Bistro: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Moonstone Creation: Calgary, Alberta 
Talaysay Tours: Vancouver, British Columbia
Moccasin Trails: Kamloops, British Columbia 
Indigenous World Winery: Kelowna, British Columbia
North Star Adventures: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories 
Aurora Village: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Indigenous Experiences: Gatineau, Quebec
Miqmak Catering Indigenous Kitchen: Roxboro, Quebec

For more information about the nine recipients, please visit: www.westjet.com/en-ca/best-of-travel/indigenous-travel.

For more information about indigenous experiences across the country: visit http://www.destinationindigenous.ca/

About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada 
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is a national non-profit Indigenous tourism industry organization established in 2015. ITAC is the lead organization tasked with growing and promoting the Indigenous tourism industry across the country. Inspired by a vision for a thriving Indigenous tourism economy sharing authentic, memorable and enriching experiences, ITAC develops relationships with groups and regions with similar mandates to enable collective support, product development, promotion and marketing of authentic Indigenous tourism businesses in a respectful protocol.

For more information about Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, please visit: DestinationIndigenous.ca 
Facebook.com/DestinationIndigenous 
Twitter.com/CAN_Indigenous 
Instagram.com/DestinationIndigenous 
YouTube.com/DestinationIndigenous

About WestJet 
In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. Starting with 250 employees, five destinations and three aircraft, by 2019 the airline had grown to 14,000 employees, 180 aircraft and served more than 100 destinations in 23 countries.

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.

May 25, 2021
Experience The Best Out West: The Westley Hotel In Downtown Calgary Invites Individuals to Plan Now and Travel Later

The first Hilton Tapestry Collection hotel in Western Canada will introduce a new standard of approachable luxury to Calgary, and Thank You Hospitality launches its latest restaurant concept, Fonda Fora

CALGARY, AB - In advance of its official opening on Thursday, June 24, 2021, The Westley Hotel - Calgary's newest boutique hotel is now accepting reservations on Hilton.com. Part of Hilton's Tapestry Collection Hotels, The Westley Hotel invites future guests to plan ahead and be among the first to enjoy the hotel's distinctive character and offerings including Fonda Fora, the newest dining concept by Calgary's Thank You Hospitality. 

Centrally situated near the city's Eau Claire neighbourhood on 4th Avenue between 5th & 6th Street SW, The Westley will bring a fun, spirited energy to downtown Calgary. With an open transition from the restaurant to the hotel lobby, two functional meeting spaces, a sunlit fitness facility, the pet-friendly hotel will serve as a versatile destination where discerning locals and guests can meet, work and play. 

"Guests of The Westley Hotel can expect genuine, personalized service that balances cool sophistication and down-home hospitality," says Ian Jones, The Westley Hotel's General Manager. "Our talented team is ready to welcome visitors and the local community into our vibrant boutique atmosphere." 

The hotel's interior has been completely reconstructed and redesigned from its former office building layout, resulting in 104 fresh, modern guest rooms, an open-concept lobby lounge area and an outdoor patio. Calgary's Frank Architecture infused personality and character into the interior design inspired by the theme "Proper Wild", a playful tribute to Calgary's deep connection to the oil industry and its wilderness roots. Contemporary art is featured throughout the hotel with custom pieces by local artists Maya Gohill and Tanya Klimp displayed in the restaurant and lobby. A custom light installation by renowned New York artist, Danielle Trofe, hangs above the entrance welcoming each guest. Nodding to the building's 70s heritage, accents of velvet, fringe and brass throughout both public and private spaces creates a comfortable yet chic aesthetic that embraces a modern-meets-vintage setting. 

The Westley Hotel is also set to be a must-visit dining destination as notable Calgary restaurateur Cody Willis of Thank You Hospitality launches Fonda Fora, his newest contemporary Mexican concept located on the hotel's ground floor. At the helm of the kitchen is Chef Rafael Castillo, born and raised in the Yucatan Peninsula. His fresh and ever-changing menu will be guided by seasonality and quality ingredients. An impressive beverage program further enhances each dish making Fonda Fora the ideal spot to enjoy a crafted cocktail alongside expertly prepared cuisine. The hotel's in-room dining menu will also feature Fonda Fora's signature approach. Breakfast and all day café-style menus will be complemented with coffee roasted by local Monogram Coffee. Private dining options are also available for up to 20 guests. 

"This is an exciting moment for Thank You Hospitality as we prepare to launch our first dining concept within a boutique hotel, taking the next step of integrating travel into our culinary offerings," notes Cody Willis, President of Thank You Hospitality. "We can think of no better partnership, as both The Westley Hotel and Fonda Fora strive to be destinations where locals and guests can enjoy great food and cocktails in an unparalleled and inviting atmosphere." 

To mark the upcoming opening, The Westley Hotel and Fonda Fora are hosting a giveaway on Instagram via @thewestleyhotel. Locals can take to the comment section to nominate the person in their lives who they feel is deserving of a two-night staycation at The Westley. The prize also includes dinner for two at Fonda Fora and a curated gift basket. 

Pre-booking is now available. To book your stay, please visit www.hilton.com.

The health and safety of every guest of The Westley Hotel is paramount. To learn more about the Hilton CleanStay program, please visit www.hilton.com/cleanstay

About The Westley Hotel:
The Westley Hotel, part of Hilton's Tapestry Collection Hotels, is the first of its kind in Western Canada. The unique boutique hotel, offering the utmost in comfort and customer service, is conveniently located on 4th Avenue between 5th & 6th Street SW. Situated near the heart of Eau Claire neighbourhood in Calgary's downtown core, the hotel is within walking distance to Prince Island's Park and the vast infrastructure of over 1,000 km of pathway following the Bow River.  The Core Shopping Centre and the famous Stephen Avenue dining district are just a few blocks south. The hotel is defined by two functional meeting spaces and 104 comfortable rooms in six room categories featuring intriguing design and contemporary artwork. www.thewestleyhotel.com.

Instagram: @thewestleyhotel
Twitter: @westleyhotelyyc
Facebook: The Westley Hotel

About Thank You Hospitality:
Founded in 2015 by Cody Willis, Thank You Hospitality owns and operates some of Calgary's most innovative and influential restaurants including the award-winning Native Tongues Taqueria and Calcutta Cricket Club, and the A1 Family of Restaurants (A1 Cantina, A1 Burrito and A1 Bodega and Café). Thank You Hospitality now welcomes its newest dining concept, Fonda Fora, a contemporary Mexican restaurant located on the ground floor of The Westley Hotel in downtown Calgary. Fonda Fora will transport its guests to Mexico City with a chef-driven menu focusing on lightness, seasonality and quality ingredients. To learn more about Thank You Hospitality, please visit www.thankyouhospitality.com.

Instagram: @fondafora | @thankyouhospitality

About Silver Hotel Group:
Silver Hotel Group (SGH) is a fun-loving, family-owned hotel company. Growing fast but never forgetting its roots, SHG understands that hospitality is all about people. SHG strives to excel in caring for its guests and offers the best in accommodation, food, service and hospitality. Guests make the hotel what it is, and it is SHG's mission to make them feel welcome in every sense of the word, all while consistently emulating the corporate vision of Passionate People, Exceptional Experiences. To learn more, visit silverhotelgroup.com.

May 25, 2021
Jennifer Sloan retires after 45 years serving our industry

Please join us in congratulating Jennifer Sloan, Senior Account Executive, on her well-deserved retirement! Small in stature but big in heart, Jennifer’s devotion to her clients and peers, her hard work, and her larger-than-life personality have gained her the admiration of many in the industry. She’s dedicated over 45 years to serving clients of varying industries and her love for building relationships is what’s made her such a resounding success. We are truly sad to see her go; her expertise and fun-loving attitude will be greatly missed around Creative Group and within the industry.

May 24, 2021
St. Regis Hotels & Resorts Heralds a New Beacon of Beachfront Glamour with the Debut of The St. Regis Bermuda Resort

The iconic luxury brand introduces hallmark butler service and celebrated traditions to historic St. George's

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts today announced the opening of The St. Regis Bermuda Resort. Extending the legacy of St. Regis from New York’s finest address of 55th and Fifth, the resort blends the timelessness of a bygone era with avant-garde Bermudian design and cultural influences. Situated in the historic Town of St. George’s, an UNESCO World Heritage site, and nestled among the soft sands and turquoise water of St. Catherine’s Beach, the resort is the first Marriott International luxury brand property to debut on the island. Drawing upon the celebrated spirit of leisure travel, The St. Regis Bermuda Resort seamlessly brings together elegant accommodations, exceptional amenities, and the brand’s signature Butler Service to create an enchanted island escape.

“Bermuda has long served as an exclusive destination for the global luminaries, making it the ideal location to debut a glamorous new St. Regis resort. Much like the island, St. Regis is steeped in rich history, offering a storied past and exciting future,” said George Fleck, Vice President and Global Brand Leader for St. Regis Hotels & Resorts. “The St. Regis brand’s founding family, the Astors, spent time on this beautiful island more than a century ago. Now, the House of Astor’s celebrated traditions and rituals will bring this visionary spirit, avant-garde style and impeccable service back to Bermuda where our address is your muse.”

Spanning St. Catherine’s Beach in a gentle arc, the OBMI designed architecture and interiors of The St. Regis Bermuda Resort draw inspiration from the destination’s notable local geography, heritage and traditions, beautifully weaving the island’s legacy together with the glamourous spirit and sophistication of St. Regis. The resort features 120 elegant guestrooms, including 21suites and an ultra-luxury residential development offering two and three-bedroom residences. Each guestroom features a private balcony and is designed to immediately draw the eye to expansive ocean views and stunning vistas of Bermuda’s celebrated Fort St. Catherine. Speaking to the island’s bold fortitude, stone foundations and formations inform texture and patterns, while the purposeful irreverence of Bermuda’s fashion is brought in through saturated colors and striking geometry.

“The St. Regis Bermuda Resort promises to be an enchanted beachfront oasis for guests and local luminaries alike,” said Jan Vanhaelewyn, General Manager at The St. Regis Bermuda Resort. “With bespoke service, exquisite design, outstanding culinary venues, the historic Five Forts Golf Course, and more than a dash of glamour, we hope to inspire and contribute to the local hospitality landscape and help elevate luxury in this iconic leisure destination.”

The resort’s sophisticated food and beverage offerings include Lina, a flavorful all-day restaurant whose name is a playful nod to the nickname of St. Regis’ founding patroness Mrs. Caroline Astor. This venue features a delectable, light and fresh menu that leans into Bermuda’s coastal offerings and is inspired by the irreverent glamour of yachting clubs of the past. In the evening, the signature blackboards of famed BLT Steak NY will share daily specials, offering guests the finest in modern steakhouse fare. At the iconic St. Regis Bar, guests can socialize and celebrate while enjoying champagne, libations and light bites. The resort will also debut the Gates Bay Mary, its unique twist on the brand’s signature cocktail – the Bloody Mary. The Gates Bay Mary is named for the turquoise bay bordering the resort and infuses native fennel, Goslings Gold Seal Rum, Outerbridge’s Original Sherry Peppers Sauce, and a special spice mix created on the island.

Overlooking azure waters, the resort features both an adult and a family pool where guests can lounge luxuriantly or enjoy a private cabana for an exclusive retreat. Indulgence and relaxation awaits at the St. Regis Spa, which offers a comprehensive menu of unique personalized treatments using natural and precious elements and featuring products by Sothys. Additionally, a 24-hour fitness center offers state-of-the-art equipment. Younger guests will be able to enjoy unique amenities and enriching activities at The St. Regis Children’s Club, while Family Traditions programming offers meaningful excursions and experiences for the whole family.

True to the Astors love for sports and speed, both guests and locals can relax with a day on the links or a night at the casino. Breathing new life into a historic landmark, the scenic Five Forts Golf Course is a marvelous and challenging 18-hole course. Named for the five notable forts that surround it, leisure seekers will tee off near Fort Victoria and enjoy captivating ocean views as they make their way through the 4,436-yard course, concluding at Fort St. Catherine. State-of-the-art, GPS-enabled golf carts will ensure the brand’s bespoke service reaches guests no matter where they are on the green. For a dazzling evening of sophistication and glamour, the resort proudly features the St. Regis brand’s first casino, slated to open later this year. This 5,500 sq. ft. gaming floor offers a variety of options for guests looking to roll the dice, in addition to a salon privé with two private tables.

As the finest address for truly bespoke events and celebrations, the resort also features 10,989 sq. ft. of event space. Perfect for executive retreats, family gatherings, or enjoying milestone moments, offerings include a state-of-the-art boardroom, an exceptional ballroom that can host up to 150 people and a stunning terrace for oceanside events. The resort can also create a personalized, private set up on the beach while an additional event lawn located at the 18th hole of the Five Forts Golf Course offers spectacular sunset views overlooking both the ocean and Fort St. Catherine. Informed by the brand’s legacy of celebration from the Gilded Age to the present day, each event at The St. Regis Bermuda is thoughtfully curated and complemented with exceptional service.

For more information or reservations, please visit: stregisbermudaresort.com.

About St. Regis Hotels & Resorts
Combining classic sophistication with a modern sensibility, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International, Inc., is committed to delivering exceptional experiences at more than 45 luxury hotels and resorts in the best addresses around the world. Since the opening of the first St. Regis hotel in New York City over a century ago by John Jacob Astor IV, the brand has remained committed to an uncompromising level of bespoke and anticipatory service for all of its guests, delivered flawlessly by signature St. Regis Butler Service. For more information and new openings, visit stregis.com or follow Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. St. Regis 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.

About Marriott International
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 133 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.

May 21, 2021
Destination Canada Highlights the Faces and Places of Travel to Mark Tourism Week
VANCOUVER, BC - Today, to mark national tourism week (May 23-30), Destination Canada has launched two new initiatives to inspire Canadians to travel domestically as restrictions allow. The domestic campaign efforts highlight the faces and places that make travel in our country so important and unique.  
 
Produced by Canadian director, Mark Zibert, the industry anthem video spotlights the makers, performers, business owners, and staff who make up Canada's tourism sector. The people featured are not actors; they are tourism workers and among the one in 10 Canadians whose jobs are tied to the sector. Canadian drummer Sharon Rose Ransom is central to the video, and delivers a powerful drum solo that's full of energy, symbolizing hope and a desire for rebirth. The prominence of drums in the video reflects Canada's spirit and "heartbeat", as an instrument of celebration and motivation—representing an industry that, despite facing hardship, remains positive. Download the video here.

Destination Canada is inviting Canadians to send a postcard to the family and friends they have missed during the pandemic. The initiative was inspired by Destination Canada's research, which shows that 39% of Canadians expect their first trip will be to visit loved ones and friends. The series of postcards are inspired by destinations from coast to coast to coast and can be sent in French and English. Canadians can access the postcards online, then have them printed and mailed anywhere in Canada. This effort is meant to inspire Canadians to explore and enjoy travel in our country, when restrictions lift. You can view and complete a postcard here.

"We have seen the strength and resilience of the tourism sector shine through in what has been an incredibly challenging 14 months. Tourism is central to our quality of life offering rich social, economic and cultural benefits to all Canadians. The Government of Canada is proud to have invested $15 billion towards tourism, culture and arts, since the onset of the pandemic with an additional $1 billion announced for tourism in the 2021 Federal budget. In recognition of tourism week, I encourage all Canadians to embrace our magnificent country and consider the endless potential of the new and familiar destinations waiting to be discovered.
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
 
"From baristas and brewers to designers and festival directors to historians and hotel owners, the richness of our diversity—and the heartbeat of this country—can all be found in Canada's tourism industry. Tourism week is a great opportunity to remind Canadians about the impact of our industry—supporting tourism means enhancing the quality of life for all Canadians. Despite the enormous challenges faced by the sector, we have a resilient industry that is ready to welcome Canadians back into our hotels, airplanes, tour buses, museums, restaurants, and beyond, once restrictions are lifted."
Marsha Walden, President and CEO, Destination Canada

  • Tourism week: the national event organized by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada recognizes Canada's tourism economy, and the impact it has on every community across the country. In 2021, it is being celebrated from May 23-30. 
  • Canadians are key to supporting the recovery of the tourism sector: If Canadians shift two-thirds of their planned spend on international leisure travel towards domestic tourism; it will make up for the estimated $19 billion shortfall currently facing our visitor economy, help sustain 150,000 jobs and accelerate recovery. 
  • Canadian tourism businesses are ready to host travellers as restrictions allow: Canadians can feel confident in making travel plans as tourism businesses throughout Canada have made huge investments in new hygiene protocols. The health and wellbeing of tourism employees and guests is paramount. 
  • Tourism improves the quality of life for all Canadians: One in 10 Canadian jobs is tied to tourism, which represents over 1.9 million jobs. Tourism is the only sector that employs Canadians in every province, territory and electoral riding. 
  • View all of Destination Canada's Key Messages.
About Destination Canada: Destination Canada believes that tourism enhances the quality of life of Canadians and enriches the lives of visitors. Its mission is to influence supply and build demand for the benefit of locals, communities and visitors through leading research, alignment with public and private sectors, and marketing Canada nationally and abroad. Destination Canada is a Crown corporation wholly owned by the Government of Canada. For more information visit www.destinationcanada.com
May 20, 2021
Destinations International Announces Destinations International Canadian Alliance

Washington, D.C. - Destinations International, the global trade association for destination organizations today announced the Destinations International Canadian Alliance, a newly formed organization of Canadian members of Destinations International.

“Destinations International is committed to providing our members around the world with the resources they need to be successful,” said Don Welsh, President and CEO of Destinations International. “This strategically-formed organization will enable our team to provide our Canadian members with important education, research and tools.”

“By aligning with Destinations International, Canadian destination organizations are laying the foundation for a strong recovery of the tourism industry and working together to strengthen Canada to be one of the top destinations in the world,” said Kathleen Trainor, President of the Destination Marketing Association of Canada.

Currently, 23 Canadian destination organizations are members of Destinations International, the most of any country besides the United States. Those destination organizations will benefit from being part of this newly formed organization that will create educational content that is relevant to Canadian members and make recommendations on topics, themes and issues that are important to Canadian destination organizations.

To learn more about the Destinations International Canadian Alliance, please visit destinationsinternational.org/canadian-alliance.
 
About Destinations International:
Destinations International is the world’s largest resource for official destination organizations, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) and tourism boards. Destinations International is about serving destination marketing professionals first and foremost. Together with almost 6,000 members and partners from nearly 600 destinations in approximately 15 countries, Destinations International represents a powerful forward-thinking, collaborative association; exchanging bold ideas, connecting innovative people and elevating tourism to its highest potential. For more information, visit www.destinationsinternational.org.

About the Destinations International Canadian Alliance
The Destination International Canadian Alliance is comprised of destination organization executives from across Canada. The alliance provides a forum for Canadian destination organization executives to meet regularly throughout the year to coordinate on key industry issues including advocacy, resourcing, policy, and marketing.

The alliance represents Canadian membership within Destinations International and provides strategic guidance to the association and recommendations for how the Association can best serve its Canadian members. This includes developing content and programs that are valuable to Canadian destination organizations.

May 20, 2021
DC opens without restrictions for meetings and conventions May 21

Local hospitality alliance commits to facilitating successful in-person meetings

Washington, DC – Starting tomorrow, Friday, May 21, Washington, DC fully reopens for in-person meetings, conventions, trade shows, groups and special events. The hospitality alliance, comprised of Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, Events DC, the Hotel Association of Washington, D.C. and Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, is leading an industry-wide effort to support customers meeting in the nation’s capital. The Still Connected approach is two-fold: first, is a focus on health standards, and second is a focus on DC’s exclusive benefits that facilitate commerce thriving in the city.

“After more than a year of navigating the pandemic together, it’s clear that nothing replaces face-to-face meetings. As a city, we take protective measures against COVID-19 seriously, and beyond that, meeting in Washington, DC provides many benefits,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, DDC. “DC is walkable and accessible, and our hospitality partners across venues and event spaces, restaurants and hotels are dedicated to providing an experience that will lead to client success.”

“This year has tested our resilience and demonstrated the incredible strength of our community,” said Greg O’Dell, president and CEO of Events DC. “As we emerge from the pandemic, we know there is a pent-up demand for travel and a return to word-class meeting and event experiences in Washington, DC. We’ve spent the last year implementing the latest health and safety protocols to position Events DC as an industry leader and to put the safety of our guests and staff as our highest priority for reopening.”

Health Standards 

  • DDC is a one-stop resource to provide customers with all the health information across transportation, venues, hotels and more on washington.org/meetings
  • Events DC, operators of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, has created a comprehensive plan focused on cleanliness and health. Because of the dedicated efforts, the center, along with other Events DC venues, was awarded GBAC STAR™ certification. New safety equipment includes Kogniz and Certify, both thermal scanner systems to monitor temperature, and FujiTec Ionful, an air purification system.
  • Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington provides resources for its eatery members to guide operators on best practices.
  • The Hotel Association of Washington, D.C. also provides updates and guidance to its hotel members.
  • View a copy of the Hospitality Alliance letter to customers on washington.org/meetings.

Still Connected

After a hiatus of face-to-face meetings and conventions, events come back stronger in DC because of the reasons that set the city apart.

  • Connected Capital: Focused on top industries in DC, organizations benefit from DC’s strong sectors including biotech/pharma, technology, transportation, sustainability, advocacy, education and medical. Newly added videos from DC experts provide insights on effective virtual advocacy meetingsaccessible virtual meetings and how associations can impact climate change
  • Connected Campus: Planners may choose to spread their meetings across several venues, for both health and experiential reasons, and DC is situated to provide walkable opportunities for groups using multiple central locations. 
  • Local Meetings: DC is home to numerous associations. Local planners opting to meet in the city support DC’s hospitality community that has been severely impacted during the pandemic. Meeting locally impacts sustainability and budget by minimizing excess resources and travel costs.
  • Hybrid Capabilities: during the ramp-up of in-person meetings, DC is poised to provide the best in virtual and on-site experiences at a variety of interesting venues.

 

“DC is connected in many ways that benefit customers and add value. Our strongest sectors include the people and companies impacting our nation’s biggest challenges today: medical, technology and bio-tech and pharma,” said Melissa A. Riley, vice president, convention sales and services. “Meeting in DC attracts more exhibitors, attendees and sponsors with the strong content and programs that only experts in the region can provide and positively impact commerce.” 

The DEI District – New Meetings Content

DDC has launched The DEI District, a content hub to help showcase Washington, DC as a global destination that promotes and validates diversity, equity and inclusion. Within the Meet section, event planners discover unique venues such as women-owned hotels, active community hubs and sustainable spaces. Leading corporate social responsibility programming creates a natural alignment with an organization’s social impact goals. Meetings professionals can understand DC’s commitment to diversity and create lasting change in DC beyond the immediate economic impact of their event.

New in DC

  • Seven Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo have reopened throughout May. Also coming back online: Ford’s Theatre (May 12), National Gallery of Art (May 14), Rotunda of the National Archives Building (May 15), and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (May 17). For the latest, visit washington.org.
  • Recently opened and forthcoming hotels: Hotel Madera opened mid-February in Dupont Circle; Cambria Hotel Washington D.C. Capitol Riverfront opened mid-February in Capitol Riverfront; The Ven at Embassy Row opened mid-March in Dupont Circle; Lyle opened in April in Dupont Circle; Kimpton Banneker Hotel opens late spring in Logan Circle.
  • Anniversaries: DC celebrates the 175th anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution, 100th anniversary of The Phillips Collection and 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2021.  
  • New on the National Mall: Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial opened Sept. 18, 2020; National Native American Veterans Memorial opened Nov. 11, 2020

DC Forecast and Current Pandemic Economic Impact

Looking ahead[1], domestic visitation to DC is estimated to be between 14-15 million in 2021, up about 50 percent over 2020 (estimated at 10 million domestic visitors). Domestic visitation could rise to between 18-19 million by 2022, up about 90 percent over 2020. DC hotels can expect 5.7 million rooms in demand in 2021, which is more than double 2020. Due to the pandemic, total visitor spending in DC is down 68 percent or $6.1 billion[2]. DC hotel revenue is down 84 percent, or $2.1 billion[3].

About: DDC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities. washington.org

May 17, 2021
July 20 set as new tentative date for restarting flights by Porter Airlines

Toronto/CNW/ - Porter Airlines is resetting its tentative date for resuming flights to July 20.

"It's encouraging to see the recovery of the aviation industry in the U.S.," said Michael Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines. "As vaccination rates in Canada increase, we are hopeful travel restrictions and public health measures will ease, so we can recall our team members, welcome back our passengers and begin to rebuild the airline."

Porter previously set June 21, as its tentative restart date. Operations were temporarily suspended 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 Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE Porter Airlines

 

May 13, 2021
Four Seasons Unveils Additional 2022 Itineraries Aboard the Four Seasons Private Jet Including a New 'Uncharted Discovery' Journey to Explore Antarctica, Machu Picchu and More

Toronto/CNW/—For discerning travellers planning ahead, leading luxury hospitality company Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts unveils an all-new Uncharted Discovery Private Jet itinerary for 2022, exploring the wonders of Antarctica, the majesty of Machu Picchu, the booming arts scene of Bogotá, and the vibrant flavours of Buenos Aires, alongside the return of the beloved World of Adventures journey.

"Late last year, we announced three awe-inspiring 2022 itineraries aboard the new Four Seasons Private Jet. The response was overwhelming, with record sellouts and extensive waitlists, signaling considerable pent up demand for travel," says Christian Clerc, President, Global Operations for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. "Now, more than ever, guests are planning bucket-list trips to far corners of the world to make up for lost time. To meet this demand, we've introduced two additional opportunities to explore new and remote destinations with legendary Four Seasons service in the sky."

Clerc continues, "Equally as important as the incredible destinations and experiences, we know that travellers are looking for a seamless service experience where their health and safety is a priority. The Four Seasons Private Jet offers the best of both worlds. From takeoff to landing and at every destination in between, we adhere to the highest standards of health and safety, allowing guests to embrace the wonders of travel in a truly unique way with the utmost comfort and peace of mind."

A truly one-of-a-kind adventure, the expertly curated itineraries available as part of the Four Seasons Private Jet experience allow passengers to seamlessly cross off a collection of bucket list destinations, leaving the stress of multiple commercial flights, layovers and delays behind.

Introducing Uncharted Discovery, An All-New 21-Day Expedition Featuring Seven Captivating Destinations
Uncharted Discovery - November 28 to December 18, 2022 – New Orleans, USA – Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica – Machu Picchu, Peru – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Antarctica – Bogotá, Colombia – Paradise Island, Bahamas 

The journey begins in the Big Easy, where guests will enjoy welcome cocktails and dinner at the upcoming Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans, a five-star oasis on the banks of the Mississippi River. Early arrivals can explore the one-of-a-kind city renowned for its live jazz scene, spicy Creole cuisine and colourful festivals. Next stop is the serene paradise of golden shores and tropical jungles in Costa Rica. Travellers can experience Peninsula Papagayo's lush scenery on a thrilling zip line circuit, play a round on the Arnold Palmer-designed championship golf course, or gaze at stars in the southern sky through a powerful GPS-guided telescope while enjoying cocktails and treats infused with meteorite dust at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo.

From Costa Rica, guests will venture into the Peruvian Highlands to Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, boarding a privately chartered train to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Machu Picchu, an astonishing testament to the might of the Inca Empire. Travellers can visit the historic city of Cusco, offering a wealth of archaeological ruins and Spanish colonial architecture to discover. In Argentina, guests will stay at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, enjoying a day trip to Iguazú Falls, one of nature's most magnificent spectacles, named for the place where the Iguazú River plunges over a lava cliff into 275 interlinking waterfalls. Music lovers can take a private behind-the-scenes tour of Buenos Aires' magnificent opera house, acoustically considered to be one of the five best concert venues in the world.

For the first time ever, the Four Seasons Private Jet will then deliver guests to the Earth's southernmost continent, Antarctica. Guests will fly over the infamous Drake Passage by charter plane, landing at King George Island before boarding a luxurious polar ship for four nights as they embark on an unforgettable expedition to the seventh continent. While enjoying seamless Four Seasons service in one of the most remote locations on Earth, daily excursions will allow guests to observe incredible wildlife and enjoy scenery of iceberg-dotted bays, brilliant blue glaciers and snow-blanketed landscapes.

Then, in Colombia's lively capital city, a local artist will guide guests through traditional galleries, open-air displays and neighbourhoods splashed with vibrant street art before a private concert from the world-renowned Bogotá Philharmonic, Colombia's national symphony orchestra. Four Seasons Hotel Bogota offers a welcome home base in the energetic Zona Rosa, where the city comes alive with high-end boutiques and popular restaurants. Legendary Caribbean hideaway The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas is the final stop of an unforgettable journey. Guests will enjoy soaking in the sun-drenched beauty of the Bahamas, lounging on the pristine private white-sand beach, or a relaxing treatment at the private Balinese-style spa for before a final farewell dinner.

Back by Popular Demand: World of Adventures, a Trailblazing Voyage Across Four Continents
World of Adventures 2022 - May 3 to 26, 2022 - Seattle, USA – Kyoto, Japan – Bali, Indonesia – Seychelles – Rwanda – Marrakech, Morocco – Bogotá, Colombia – Galápagos Islands – Miami, USA

A proven favourite expedition, World of Adventures is back in 2022, offering a tour of eight countries over 24 days for an around-the-world journey like no other. In Seychelles, an expert yogi will guide guests in an evening mediation with a stunning view of the sunset over Petite Anse Bay as the backdrop. In Rwanda, a hike through the lush bamboo forests of Volcanoes National Park offers the chance to witness mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. In the Galápagos Islands, guests will spend three unforgettable nights aboard a private ship to explore the unique archipelago. In Japan, travellers can explore Kyoto's tranquil temples, colourful shrines and exquisite gardens, while in Marrakech, a myriad sights, sounds and flavours are on offer.

Both Uncharted Discovery and World of Adventures 2022 journeys are complement to three sold out Private Jet itineraries including African Wonders, a 13-day family friendly journey designed for travellers of all ages, Timeless Encounters, a 24-day itinerary exploring vibrant city centres and tranquil islands, and Ancient Explorer, a 24-day around the world journey.

The Reimagined Four Seasons Private Jet
All 2022 itineraries will take place aboard the new Four Seasons Private Jet, an enhanced, enriching and interactive flight experience with meticulous construction and thoughtful Four Seasons design. The new Airbus A321neo-LR aircraft has been fully customised to Four Seasons exacting specifications, with input from previous journey passengers. Offering the widest and tallest cabin in its class, the 48-seat interior has been configured for even greater comfort with as much space as possible for guests to spread out and makes themselves at home.

Anticipating every detail, the Guest Relations team works closely with each passenger from initial inquiry until their safe return home. On board the Four Seasons Private Jet, an experienced flight crew includes a dedicated Concierge, Executive Chef and Journey Physician. While visiting remote destinations, guests will stay at luxury accommodations selected by the Four Seasons team.

Safety First
As conditions continue to evolve, guests can take comfort in the peace of mind that comes with travelling with Four Seasons. In partnership with TCS World Travel and in adherence with Four Seasons on-the-ground enhanced global health and safety program Lead With Care, in place at all hotels, resorts and residences worldwide, Four Seasons works closely with leading global experts and local authorities to protect the health and safety of every Four Seasons guest and employee. This will include medical pre-screening of each passenger, Four Seasons employee and flight crew member prior to embarking on each itinerary, with a Journey Physician accompanying guests throughout the trip.

Booking Information
Travellers interested in booking the luxury adventure of a lifetime are invited to click here for a closer look at the exclusive journeys on offer in some of the world's most captivating destinations.

Guests who book a Four Seasons Private Jet journey can take advantage of flexible cancellation options. * Conditions apply – for details, inquire here - fourseasonsjet@fourseasons.com.

About the Four Seasons Private Jet Experience
Learn more about the Four Seasons Private Jet Experience and follow the #FSJet hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and to continue exploring the Four Seasons Private Jet.

The Four Seasons Private Jet is operated by TCS World Travel, dedicated to delivering immersive, worry-free travel experiences for the globally curious and modern luxury traveller. For more information from the industry leader in private jet journeys, click here.

About Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Founded in 1960, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is dedicated to perfecting the travel experience through continual innovation and the highest standards of hospitality. Currently operating 119 hotels and resorts, and 44 residential properties in major city centres and resort destinations in 47 countries, and with more than 50 projects under planning or development, Four Seasons consistently ranks among the world's best hotels and most prestigious brands in reader polls, traveller reviews and industry awards. For more information and reservations, visit fourseasons.com. For the latest news, visit press.fourseasons.com and follow @FourSeasonsPR on Twitter.

Media Contact:
Matthew Levison 
fourseasons@kwtglobal.com
646-274-3631

SOURCE Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

May 03, 2021
EMA Marketing adds Artemia Group of Companies to its Roster

EMA Marketing is thrilled to announce that more strikingly beautiful sunny destinations have been added to its roster.

Artemia Group of Companies has appointed EMA Marketing to be its Canadian Sales and Marketing Office. Artemia is the largest and longest-standing destination management company on the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin. It’s a full-service management company providing all aspects of an outstanding program or VIP experience. Artemia prides itself on strong partnerships with its suppliers and partners in St. Maarten/St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Barths.

100 years of combined experience, Artemia will provide the utmost in luxury travel, anticipating every client’s need. The list of experiences and offerings to visitors is endless on the islands of St. Maarten/St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Barths, from stunning accommodation boasting the highest standards of hospitality to effortless transportation and gourmet dining.

St. Maarten/St. Martin is one of the highest-ranking world destinations, known for having two distinct identities within one island, thanks to its French side and its Dutch side. This provides guests the opportunity to experience two cultures, both equally friendly and memorable.

The white, sandy beaches are unparalleled and plentiful. Visitors can explore a variety of beaches and quickly find a favourite, allowing them to bask in the sun and leave all those pesky worries behind. A dream afternoon spent soaking up the rays at a deserted island can easily be arranged.

Visitors have a variety of accommodations from which to choose including hotels, all-inclusive resorts, condos and private villas. Just imagine gazing at the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea from the comfort of your room.

Each meal is an adventure in St. Maarten/St. Martin, the culinary capital of the Caribbean, with many restaurants, bistros and beachside eateries from which to choose.

Visitors looking for adventure won’t be disappointed, with plentiful attractions and activities available — from flying down the steepest zipline in the world to a more leisurely exploration of historic forts or a visit to a bird sanctuary. Taking to the many hiking trails is one way to explore the island’s hidden gems, or visitors can experience the thrilling world of sailing.

The island boasts an exciting, cosmopolitan night life. Of course, shopping is always a travel highlight, and St. Maarten/St. Martin has much to offer, from chic shopping centres to charming local shops. Suggested – from the famous Front Street in Philipsburg offering an eclectic range of shopping ideas and Marigot offering “La Mode” French shopping.

Special occasions and weddings celebrated on the island are sure to be memorable, with Artemia able to arrange the finest of details.

Day trips to the neighbouring islands of Anguilla and St. Barths are a must. The Greg Norman 18-hole championship golf course is a popular choice, or perhaps a catamaran trip to Prickly Pear deserted island. The America’s Cup sailing challenge is another favourite.

There have been many new developments in St. Maarten/St. Martin, with new resorts and exciting new, fabulous restaurants. Artemia Group of Companies’ Founder and CEO says, “The island has never looked better.”

Artemia is waiting to showcase and work with you to provide lasting and unforgettable memories!
Artemia and JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa are perfect additions to EMA Marketing’s portfolio of luxury hotels, resorts and destination management companies. For more information, please contact EMA Marketing at 416-420-6084 or liz@emamarketing.ca.

April 28, 2021
First IMEX BuzzHub ‘Buzz Day’ presents stellar line-up of global community builders

CEOs of Daybreaker and Count Me In joined by marketing and events experts from LinkedIn

The first event to take place on the new IMEX BuzzHub on Wednesday 12 May brings together an exceptional line-up of speakers and panellists who are all experts in building global communities.

Taking its programming theme from one of IMEX’s 12 Commitments, ‘Collaboration, Connections and Community’, the Buzz Day programme, which is open to all and free of charge, opens with a short introduction and welcome by IMEX Chairman, Ray Bloom and CEO, Carina Bauer.

Shortly after in “Leadership Passport: Building Community to Move Beyond Competition and Scale Impact”, Shane Feldman, Founder of Count Me In, will recount how an idea that started as a 2008 high school project grew into a global social entrepreneurship incubator that has impacted more than 10 million people in 104 countries.

By spearheading the world’s largest millennial-led movement, Feldman has decoded frameworks that enable individuals and teams to connect more authentically and perform at their highest levels. Feldman will share the universal strategies that make teams click and businesses thrive using his research into community leadership and human behaviour in over 25 countries.

Daybreaker CEO and author of ‘Belong’

In a session sponsored by MPI, Radha Agrawal, founder of Thinx and morning dance and movement community, DAYBREAKER, which serves 500,000 people in 28 countries, will reveal “How to create deep belonging and joy for yourself and others”. Agrawal will show that the science of belonging and collective joy is more critical than ever in a post-covid world and that both are not just experienced in the mind but in body and mind. She’ll also talk about labels and how the way we label ourselves can move us further away from ‘belonginess’. 

Described as a ‘force of nature’, Agrawal is the author of ‘Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life’. She and her team famously supported the WW presents Oprah Winfrey 2020 Vision Tour in the US.  

Community building insights from the world’s largest professional network

From what started as a kitchen table project in 2002, LinkedIn is now the world’s largest professional network with nearly 740 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. In the third session of the day, Marketing Manager, Content & Social Media, Steve Kearns and Senior Executive Producer, Strategic Events at LinkedIn, Rena McGrath, will examine the definition and importance of community for any brand. They will discuss the overall impact of the pandemic on business planning and reveal how LinkedIn approached both community building and its events strategy over the past year. The duo will also cover the pros and cons of using influencers.

The Buzz Day’s programme will wrap up at 5.45pm London time with a no holds barred panel discussion, led by Julius Solaris, Head of Engagement for Swapcard, the platform that powers the IMEX BuzzHub. 

Joining Solaris to debate “Events are not enough anymore. Why is everyone betting on communities?” will be ‘Tribes and Trust’ expert, Kiki L’Italien, who’s also CEO of Amplified Growth and host and producer of the Association Chat podcast; Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer at SXSW and Miguel Neves, Editor in Chief of EventMB.

Talking about the IMEX BuzzHub concept and the first Buzz Day, IMEXCEO, Carina Bauer, says, “I’m delighted with the programme we’ll be delivering on 12 May. We’ve stretched ourselves to bring in new, entrepreneurial speakers who can bring fresh perspectives to the global events industry while having the privilege of tapping into the knowledge and expertise of some ‘insiders’ who fully understand the challenges our industry is facing. Our theme of ‘Collaboration, Connections and Community’ speaks to the times we’re living in. Old competitive, anti-trust business models are fading away as we start to realise the only way to build back better and create more prosperity and global harmony is through community and collaboration, not competition.”

The prime directive of the new IMEX BuzzHub is to get people talking and connecting, using both professional and personal interests to find common ground. The digital platform will be open from May to September and will offer a variety of structured activities and learning opportunities together with informal moments of human connection. Powered by Swapcard and designed by award-winning creative agency, Smyle, the IMEX BuzzHub is designed to help individuals in the global meetings, events and incentive travel industry to connect, learn and share experiences for the benefit of themselves, their organisations and the industry. 

To take part in the IMEX BuzzHub all visitors must register, which is free of charge. Registration goes live on Wednesday 5 May when the IMEX team will share details across all social feeds and by email.

#IMEX21

April 27, 2021
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada is close to insolvency and the industry is at risk of collapse

While the 2021 federal budget includes historic recovery investments for national tourism and Indigenous communities, Indigenous tourism has been completely neglected in both categories

COAST SALISH TERRITORY, VANCOUVER, BC - Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience, released last week, suggests that there has been federal investments allocated for rebuilding and recovering the tourism industry as well as for Indigenous communities, yet it remains unclear how the Indigenous tourism sector is specifically being supported, during a critical time for its survival.

"There's a discrepancy with the government saying that they are investing into Indigenous tourism versus funding solutions that we and the industry actually have access to," says Keith Henry, President and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC). "Separate from ITAC's operational budget, we need to see another line item in the federal budget that recognizes Indigenous tourism as a separate sector within the overall tourism industry, where dedicated financial support for recovery is allocated to the industry and business owners, and managed through an Indigenous-led solution. This is the most effective way to provide direct support to Indigenous tourism operators who are barely hanging on as they wait for tourism's recovery."

Currently, it remains extremely vague whether the proposed budget allotments will be further broken down to provide previously promised direct support for Indigenous tourism businesses. What is clear is that past national efforts through government-led relief programs or mainstream banking institutions have not been effective and not accessible to the Indigenous tourism businesses, and that government officials are not listening to the needs of the Indigenous tourism industry.

ITAC shared their Strategic Recovery Plan ($50M), which asked for a four-year commitment to ensure the stability of the sector, as well as their COVID-19 Second Wave Response ($18.3M for emergency relief) proposals with their federal liaisons multiple times during the past months. The organization was shocked to find that despite their efforts and positive conversations with Indigenous Services Canada, the agency only recommended that $2.4M be allocated to ITAC – a 20% reduction in core funding year-over-year – and only committed to one year of support. Without this directed funding of $68.3M and the reduction in operating budget, ITAC will be incapable of meeting its contractual obligations to directly support its members, provincial and territorial partners as well as national programs and will not be able to help lead the industry toward recovery. The organization's plea is for the federal government to commit to longer-term funding and solutions that will protect Indigenous jobs and businesses in the long run.

Already several elected members of Parliament have come out in support of ITAC, raising concerns in the House of Commons that Indigenous tourism businesses have been abandoned in Budget 2021:

  • "Are they (the Government) going to watch thousands of Indigenous jobs that are critical… and fund this organization adequately so they can be a part of the critical recovery in the tourism sector, the hardest hit sector in our country?" asked Gord Johns, NDP Member of Parliament in this video.
  • "They've (Indigenous tourism businesses) been begging this government for over a year for some kind of a plan to get a sense of when they're going to be able to do that (welcomes back visitors) and how they're going to be able to do that and this government has ignored them for over a year. The prime minister promised them over a year ago that there would be a plan for them, and that promise has not been kept," shared Blake Richards, PC Member of Parliament in this video.

"ITAC's programs are much more effective than government-led programs because we know and understand the community's reality, we speak the same language and we connect with members where they are comfortable. ITAC offers a more human approach without barriers and with a timeliness and urgency that's missing from traditional approaches," shares Henry.

Henry also points out a seeming lack of cultural understanding from public servants. The applications for relief programs are lengthy, rife with corporate jargon and complicated business processes, and are very challenging to navigate even for Indigenous tourism experts; not to mention that millions of Canadians are trying to access the same supports at once. Also, many Indigenous business operators only speak either English or French as a second language, making it even more complicated to understand the applications, and they often have poor phone and internet connections due to the lack of infrastructure in their communities. That's where having an Indigenous-led organization like ITAC becomes essential. ITAC provides administrative, marketing, training and financial support. They identify existing gaps and offer specialized services at a much higher success rate and at a much lower cost than traditional government bodies, saving taxpayer dollars.

"It's so shocking to me that governments in New Zealand, Australia and the United States are all increasing investment into their Indigenous Tourism yet our government is decreasing ours. Previously, Canada led the world in our development of Indigenous tourism experiences; we not only raised the bar, but set it. It's a shame and a pity that we're falling behind. It will be nearly impossible to get back on top after this giant step back, which is the equivalent of losing 30 years of progress and development," says Henry.

To arrange an interview with Brenda Holder, Chair of the ITAC Board of Directors, or Keith Henry, President and CEO of ITAC, please contact nicole.amiel@beattiegroup.com.

For more information on the federal budget, click here.
To view ITAC's 2020-24 Strategic Recovery Plan, click here.
To view ITAC's Second Wave Response, click here.
To watch ITAC's reaction to the federal budget webinar, click here.

About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is a national non-profit Indigenous tourism industry organization established in 2015. ITAC is the lead organization tasked with growing and promoting the Indigenous tourism industry across the country. Inspired by a vision for a thriving Indigenous tourism economy sharing authentic, memorable and enriching experiences, ITAC develops relationships with groups and regions with similar mandates to enable collective support, product development, promotion and marketing of authentic Indigenous tourism businesses in a respectful protocol.

April 25, 2021
Swoop Returns to Winnipeg

Airline brings more choice and ultra-low fares back to Manitoba

WINNIPEG, MB - Today, Swoop marked its return to Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG). The airline's reintroduction of its ultra-low fares now connects Winnipeg with Hamilton's John C. Munro International Airport (YHM) and Abbotsford International Airport (YXX), with operations to Kelowna International Airport (YLW) set to begin in June. 

"We are thrilled to reaffirm our commitment to Manitoba through our return to Winnipeg," said Shane Workman, Head of Flight Operations, Swoop. "Our affordable fares are now available to those travelling for essential reasons and Swoop will be here to support the economic recovery of the region and connect Manitobans to their family and friends when the time comes."  

Today's announcement marks another milestone for Swoop as the airline continues its recovery efforts in conjunction with partners like Winnipeg's James Armstrong Richardson International Airport to bring affordable and accessible air travel to all Canadians. The airline remains optimistic that as Canada continues its vaccine rollout, a safe restart of domestic air travel is on the horizon. 

"We are pleased to welcome Swoop back to Winnipeg as we continue to plan for the safe return of domestic travel as vaccination levels increase across the country," said Barry Rempel, President and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority. "Swoop's return is an important milestone in our plan to rebuild the region's connectivity and provides a low-cost option for essential travel today while helping to drive Manitoba'seconomic and social recovery when the time is right for further travel." 

For flights from Winnipeg and to learn more about Swoop visit  FlySwoop.com  or connect with Swoop on  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

About Swoop: Established in 2018, Swoop is Canada's leading ultra-low-cost airline, independently operated as part of the WestJet Group of companies, offering scheduled service to destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Swoop offers completely unbundled products and services, creating the unique opportunity for travellers to control their costs and customize their experience by purchasing only the extras they desire.   

Swoop operates a modern fleet of nine Boeing 737-800 aircraft, equipped with in-seat power and Wi-Fi connectivity. Flyswoop.com allows travellers to quickly and easily book flights, manage bookings, check-in, view boarding passes, track flights and access Wi-Fi service in-flight.

April 23, 2021
TAP Air Portugal receives four-star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating from Skytrax
Airline’s ‘Clean&Safe’ Program Recognized for Measures to Protect Customers from Covid-19 Throughout Their Journey

New York, NY – TAP Air Portugal has received a four-star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating, in recognition of its Clean&Safe program, ensuring the safest travel environment for its customers, following a global audit conducted by Skytrax, the international air transport rating agency.

This audit evaluates airlines’ safety protocols, primarily the effectiveness and consistency of safety and hygiene measures implemented to protect costumers and staff from Covid-19. These measures include the cleaning and disinfection procedures at the airport and on-board aircraft, special signage, physical distancing recommendations, wearing of masks, and provision of hand sanitizer. 

Skytrax currently conducts the world’s only assessment and certification of COVID-19-related airline health and safety measures that are based on both professional and scientific investigations on standards being provided by airlines. The inspection and analysis of TAP Covid-19 hygiene and safety protocols include references to ICAO, EASA, IATA, and ECDC Covid-19 Aviation Health Safety guidelines, with ATP testing to verify cleanliness. 

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, TAP has adjusted its routines and implemented new procedures to ensure a healthy and safe environment for all customers during their travels.  Measures including deeper cleaning and disinfection, simplified onboard service and new measures at the airport combined with an already sterile and safe onboard environment given the existing air quality and cabin configuration.

 

More information on TAP’s Clean and Safe program can be found at:  https://www.flytap.com/en-pt/recommendations-covid-19.

April 20, 2021
Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Supports Federal Budget Measures that Promote Re-Opening Borders – Continues to Advocate for a Detailed Plan to Improve Post-Pandemic Recovery via Air Travel

Toronto, Ontario – The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the world’s largest business travel association and worldwide leader in education, research, networking, and advocacy for the industry – supports the Government of Canada’s recent budget that directs over $800 million to increase safety and improve facilitation for all travellers coming to Canada, or travelling within, for business or leisure as part of its plan for a post-pandemic recovery. This confirms that the federal government recognizes the critical role that air travel plays in facilitating trade and commerce, not only between countries but between Canadians from coast to coast.

“Yesterday’s federal budget recognizes that air travel is a critical component of Canada’s post-pandemic recovery and the growth of its economy,” said Nancy Tudorache, Regional Vice President Canada of the GBTA. “Nearly one billion dollars is being directed to the CBSA, CATSA and border infrastructure to improve safety during travel, as well as aid facilitation for frequent fliers, largely represented by business travellers.”

While the federal government’s investment in travel safety and facilitation improves the conditions that will make Canada a more attractive place to do business, GBTA encourages the government to continue to examine other measures that will ease entry into Canada post-pandemic. In addition, a detailed plan outlining the easing of border restrictions would be welcomed by all travellers: domestic or foreign, and for business or leisure, in the coming weeks. 

“As pandemic conditions improve, we also expect the government to outline a detailed plan and timeframe that would allow us to safely re-open our borders, to both international and domestic travellers.” added Tudorache.

The travel and tourism industry is recognized as among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a significant contributor to the economy, the sooner this industry recovers and individuals are able to resume travelling safely for business and leisure, the sooner the Canadian economy will improve and return to pre-pandemic levels.

About the Global Business Travel Association

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s largest business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations across four 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.