Industry welcomes Canada’s lifting of global advisory against non-essential travel

CALGARY — The travel industry is welcoming what it calls the federal government’s “long overdue” move to lift a global advisory asking Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country.

“You cannot believe how welcome this move is for us,” said Bruce Poon Tip, founder of Canadian based international tour operator G Adventures. “It’s very late, as far as I’m concerned, given what’s going in the rest of the world. But very welcome, that’s for sure.”

The global travel advisory was put in place in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world.

The government of Canada’s website now shows that advisory is no longer in place, though it continues to list individual advisories for destination countries, as it did prior to the pandemic.

It also urges Canadians to ensure they are fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus before travelling abroad, and to stay informed of the COVID-19 situation at their destination.

Canada has been slower than many other countries to remove its blanket advisory against international travel, and that’s been frustrating for the Canadian travel industry, Poon Tip said. He said his own company has been forced to lay off 1,000 people — more than half of its workforce worldwide — due to the collapse in travel demand.

“It’s been a tough time, making those kinds of decisions. The toughest decisions I’ve had to make in 30 years,” he said.

However, Poon Tip said he’s noticed a significant uptick in travel demand from Canadians in the last couple of months, something he attributes to the growing confidence in the wake of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations.

“We’ve hired 30 people in the last couple of months just to answer inquiries, and we’re continually hiring again, which is a great feeling,” he said.

At The Travel Lady Agency in Calgary, founder and chief executive Lesley Keyter said she’s also noticed a dramatic increase in inquiries and bookings in the last two months. But she said the removal of the federal government’s blanket travel advisory will add an extra layer of comfort for some people.

“I’m sure this will persuade people who were on the fence. They’ll feel a bit safer about doing that,” Keyter said.

The removal of the global travel advisory should also make it easier for Canadians to purchase travel insurance, depending on their destination and its COVID-19 risk profile, Keyter added.

However, the federal government continues to advise against travel on cruise ships, something Keyter said will continue to negatively affect Canada’s travel agency industry.

“I’m desperately disappointed that they’re taking away the blanket ban, but they’re still keeping this Level 4 advisory for the cruises,” Keyter said.

“Honestly, having been on two cruises in the last couple of months, I felt safer on the cruise than I did on my overnight hotel in Toronto.”

Canada opened its borders last month to non-essential international travellers who have received both doses of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine, and to fully vaccinated travellers from the United States in August.

The U.S. government recently announced that its land borders will reopen to non-essential Canadian travellers on Nov. 8.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published October 22, 2021.

© Copyright Times Colonist

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Global Travel Management acquires assets of fellow Focus TMC

Global Travel Management has acquired the clientbase of Buckinghamshire-based Flightline Travel Management.

Surrey-based GTM, ranked 44th in the UK’s Leading TMCs this year, said the deal will enable it to offer continuity of service to Flightline’s clients. Both are members of the UK’s Focus Travel Partnership which largely specialises in serving small and medium-sized businesses.

GTM has not acquired the Flightline Travel Management brand, with Flightline likely to pursue business in other areas of the travel industry.

“It is very sad that the brutal effects of the global pandemic have removed another great name – and a superb SME TMC – from the business travel industry. But we are looking forward to working hand-in-hand with new customers from 1 November 2021,” said Scott Pawley, managing director of Global Travel Management.

Jim McDaid, managing director of Flightline Travel Management, which was ranked 53rd in the UK’s Leading TMCs, added: “I am delighted and confident that our customers will experience a first class service from Global Travel Management’s professional organisation which has the same ethos and work ethic as Flightline.

“In addition, the use of the same products will ensure a seamless transition from Flightline to Global Travel Management”.

In a similar deal, Global Travel Management acquired the assets of Baxter Hoare Travel in May this year.

GTM posted 2019 sales of £23.7 million and Flightline sales of £5.9 million.

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Rosewood appoints former Google exec to head global sales

Lucy Werner
Lucy Werner

Rosewood Hotel Group has appointed Google executive Lucy
Werner to the newly created role of SVP of commercial, overseeing global sales
and marketing, revenue management and digital performance marketing across all
regions of the company’s five brands, Rosewood announced.

Werner has more than 20 years of global experience in
business development, digital, sales and operations. She previously served as
head of cloud for Google Hong Kong, and held senior leadership positions at
Spruce Media, adBrite and JP Morgan. She assumes her new role on 1 November

In addition, Caroline MacDonald will transfer from her
position as group VP of sales and marketing, distribution and business
performance to SVP of operations for the Americas. She begins her new role in
January 2022.

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Breaking Travel News investigates: Dubai leads global tourism recovery | Focus

Dubai was one of the first cities globally to reopen its markets and businesses in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and continues to stay open, while ensuring strict compliance with internationally benchmarked health and safety protocols.

Supported by a solid network of stakeholders and partners, the emirate has now launched a new tourism campaign as it seeks to build on the steady influx of visitors seen since the reopening in July last year.

The move is further evidence of a consistent and calibrated approach since the start of the pandemic to ensure the destination remains resilient and safe for international travellers.

The United Arab Emirates has one of the highest per capita vaccination rates in the world, with close to 85 per cent of residents having received at least one dose of the vaccine, and nearly 75 per cent having received both doses to-date.

So what has been behind the successful relaunch of the tourism sector?

Boosted by demand for staycations in the domestic market and visitation from international markets that are open, hotels in Dubai enjoyed occupancy levels of 61 per cent overall from January-to-July this year.

This has further instilled confidence in this sector and demonstrates its capability to attract guests and provide them with world-class hospitality.

By the end of July, the hotel inventory in the emirate stood at 718 establishments offering 129,318 rooms with RevPAR increasing to AED225 (£50) compared to AED194 for the same period in 2020.

In the first seven months of 2021, the occupied room nights for hotels stood at 16.34 million, compared to 10.74 million for the corresponding period in 2020.

According to data from hotel management analytics firm STR, for the first seven months of 2021, Dubai ranked second globally in terms of occupancy after Singapore and ahead of London and Paris.

For the January-July 2021 period, year-to-date RevPAR in Dubai was highest among the four destinations, followed by Singapore, Paris and London.

Dubai has continued to invest in integrated marketing campaigns, highlighting that the city is open to travellers when they are ready to start holidaying again.

The latest campaign, Dubai Presents, features a series of blockbuster trailers helmed by Hollywood icons Jessica Alba and Zac Efron, and is designed to showcase the diversity of experiences, attractions and events that await visitors this year.

These include Expo 2020, which started on October 1st, and celebrations surrounding the fiftieth anniversary of United Arab Emirates on December 2nd.

Dubai Presents builds on a series of global marketing campaigns developed by Dubai Tourism such as A Story Takes Flight, starring Hollywood celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson and Zoe Saldanha, the award-winning #BeMyGuest featuring Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, as well as many other campaigns led by prominent regional celebrities and influencers, in addition to various digital activations.

The recovery strategy, implemented in close coordination with stakeholders, proved crucial in reinvigorating the domestic hospitality market in May last year, preparing the ground for the return of international visitors to the city in July 2020.

As tourists returned to Dubai to enjoy its iconic attractions, experiences and world class infrastructure including beaches, shopping malls, restaurants, theme parks and golf courses, Dubai Tourism remained firmly focused on delivering an exceptional tourism experience whilst prioritising the safety of tourists at every stage and touchpoint of their travel journey, from arrival to departure.

A variety of safety initiatives were launched, based on the guidelines of the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, including a wide range of precautionary measures, in addition to effective testing and vaccination programmes.

The vaccination campaign also covered employees across hotels, considered the frontline of the tourism industry, starting with a pilot programme that saw more than 10,000 employees of leading hotels on the Palm Jumeirah receiving the vaccines.

The stringent measures are underpinned by the Dubai Assured stamp, a compliance protocol that certifies establishments within the tourism ecosystem that adhere to health and safety protocols.

Inspectors of Dubai Tourism, Department of Economic Development and Dubai Municipality are also taking a zero-tolerance approach towards non-compliance.

In 2020, when the pandemic was at its peak, the joint teams conducted more than 140,000 inspections on establishments across the tourism ecosystem.

Take a look below as Breaking Travel News speaks to Issam Kazim, chief executive of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism & Commerce Marketing, about the reopening of the tourism market in the emirate:

More Information

With the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the leading tourism destination and commercial hub in the world, Dubai Tourism has a mission is to increase the awareness of emirate among global audiences and to attract tourists and inward investment.

The body markets and promotes the commerce sector in the emirate and is responsible for the licensing and classification of all tourism services, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents.

Find out more on the official website.

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Southwest disruptions mirror global supply chain issues

Over the long weekend, Southwest Airlines cancelled over 2,000 flights, causing major disruptions to travel plans for thousands of passengers.

Arthur Wheaton, an expert in airline industries at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, says while the problems at Southwest Airlines mirror the supply chain issues facing the globe, they have not handled the situation very well, reducing consumer trust.

Art Wheaton

Arthur Wheaton

Director of Western NY Labor and Environmental Programs for the Worker Institute

“The problems at Southwest Airlines mirror the many supply chain issues facing the globe today. The push for lean production and just in time delivery is not working in a global pandemic and border issues. The drive to reduce costs without redundant backup systems has caused issues with cars, computer chips, toilet paper, gasoline and many other common goods and services.

“Southwest has not handled the situation very well and using excuses to blame inadequate management safeguards reduces consumer trust.

“Hopefully Southwest will work with their unions and employees to the benefit of the customer and profitability. There are customer choices in purchasing plane tickets and the primary concern is getting to and returning from your trip. Once that is repeatedly threatened, customers can select a different airline to reduce anxiety and frustration. That hurts the company and its employees. Quality and service are important in hospitality and travel.”

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.

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Global Wake Up Call To Social Media Influencers, Small Businesses

It’s time to diversify away from Facebook products and any legacy social media app where you’re making money on content, or using it as a shingle to your business. Last week’s Facebook blackout serves as yet another reminder. It doesn’t matter where you are. These things go down, if you’re reliant on them for revenue, it’s a day off without pay.

It is unclear exactly how Facebook social media platforms went dark for around six (glorious) hours last week, but people from around the world lost money, not just billionaire Mark Zuckerberg.

In India, small online businesses and re-sellers were amongst the worst affected, according to Judy Morris, a travel and lifestyle blogger quoted by India Express.

Neha Puri, CEO and founder of Vavo Digital, an influencer marketing company, said that businesses and social media influencers rely too much on single social media platforms.

“When a store is shut down for a particular period, the shopkeeper incurs losses, (just like) when a major social media platform going down,” Puri said. “Small businesses lost potential customers.”

Instagram is more famously known for its influencers. The risk associated with dependency on a single system that can either demonetize you, or cut your pay drastically at a moments notice, is risky business.

“I’ve always been very aware, especially since the collapse of Vine, that holding your business name and brand on an external social media platform is a risk,” Victoria MacGrath, fashion influencer at In The Frow, warned over a year ago. “To base your livelihood, income and brand on platforms you don’t own, is a huge gamble.”

There are at at least 500 million daily active Stories users on Instagram. Sixty per cent of them seek out and discover new products on Instagram. Brand collaborations have grown 44% between 2018 and 2019, according to Vuelio, a data solutions company serving the public relations and marketing industries.

Instagram’s ‘Creator’ accounts are where short, content creators do their thing as influencers. This is a huge business for some, worldwide. Creator accounts and influencer access to Instagram’s Checkout – in simple terms, Insta’s e-commerce solution — are aimed at keeping creators happy everywhere.

In 2019, even before Instagram’s blackout, influencer marketing expert Scott Guthrie, was saying that as growth flattens at Facebook, the company has been forced to look elsewhere for advertising revenue to prop up the business. “Eyes are now focused squarely on Instagram. The photo-sharing app contributed less than $5 billion to Facebook in 2017. Income nearly doubled in 2018. eMarketer has forecast revenue will exceed $25 billion in 2021,” he says.

“Creator accounts and branded content ads appear, on the surface, to be putting community first but it is surely more about cash than community. The next step will be to kill off organic reach,” Guthrie warns. “Just as Instagram’s parent, Facebook, did with brand pages. If branded content ads currently provide brands with an opportunity to boost influencer content to their pages, what if that opportunity becomes an obligation? What if the only way to reach your audience is by paying to boost your content?”

This sounds like evil genius level business planning. And should be a good reason why those making money off these platforms need to diversify.

“I think creators have many reasons to move over to new platforms,” says Melanie Mohr, Founder & CEO of BULLZ in Singapore. “One reason might be due to certain content restrictions, another reason one might be more innovative creator tools or content approaches. But the driving reason for most creators is going to be better monetization model.”

Regular content creators provide social media platforms with the most value.

Whether they have their own equivalent of a talk show on YouTube, and make money that way, or are selling their fashion sense on Instagram, thousands of creators worldwide are worried about their reliance on Instagram and YouTube.

“It is impossible to monetize solely from those platforms. You have to look out for brand deals or sponsored content to make a living,” says Mohr.

BULLZ is an app that allows for content creators to diversity into crypto, though it is geared to the true crypto gear heads to talk about crypto and new crypto-related startups in short videos. Users share videos of themselves, or others, talking about crypto and blockchain. BULLZ is in the Promote-To-Earn space, where users can find trending projects, discuss them together with other crypto enthusiasts and experts and get rewarded in crypto for their shares.

“Some crypto savvy YouTube creators call it a new TikTok for crypto,” Mohr says. “We have more platforms lined up to integrate the protocol.” They work with two I have never heard of. One is called YEAY. The other protocol is the WOM Authenticator. It’s for branded content promotion. BULLZ pays in WOM tokens.

Rofkin is arguably the pioneer social media platform that came with a crypto component. Content creators on Rofkin earn in the RAE token. Rofkin is for the long-content creator.

Another key alternative to YouTube is the Locals platform. That one pays in fiat. Greg Gutfield is on Locals. And Scott Adams has some of his shows on Locals in order to diversify away from YouTube and reduce demonetization risks for running afoul of the Google

wrong-think police.

This summer, Twitter

chief Jack Dorsey said cryptocurrencies would be “a big part” of the company’s future. Last month, they announced they will roll out a tipping feature in crypto (and fiat), which is another way to diversify income streams for influencers.

“We want everyone on Twitter to have access to avenues to get paid,” staff product manager Esther Crawford posted on September 23.

People can tip with Bitcoin using Strike – a payments application built on the Bitcoin Lightning Network that allows Twitter users to send and receive Bitcoin. Strike is extremely limited. Only El Salvador and the U.S. have it, and not all 50 states. (Hawaii and New York do not have it). People in the eligible markets will have to sign up for a Strike account and add their Strike username to receive Bitcoin tips over the Lightning Network. And Twitter users will need a Bitcoin Lightning wallet to send tips to someone’s Strike account, which might be more of a headache than it is worth.

Twitter’s foray is just another example of crypto becoming a payment alternative for creators.

And BULLZ’s foray is a crypto-centric solution for those looking to diversify income streams and escape the mainstream platforms. Maybe if they are crazy lucky, they become the Twitch of crypto videos. If you’re a fashion influencer, though, better get into fashion NFTs, if that’s a thing. It’s probably a thing. (Oh, God, I was right.)

“You are free to create any kind of content but based on blockchain projects that got you excited or wallets you use to store your assets or crypto exchanges you like,” says Mohr. “The only thing that matters is that the content is authentic, and has value to the audience.”

Instagram wants people piped in all the time, and wants its influencers to be more dependent on it. Last week’s blackout shows what that kind of centralization means.

Still, people are lazy, and idle when it comes to these things. Instagram blackouts would probably have to be a regular occurrence before people really diversified in large numbers.

“We think it is crucial that influencers diversify,” digital legal specialists TLT Solicitor’s head of digital future law, James Touzel, says. There’s just one major caveat. He added that content creators should keeping “using Instagram to their full advantage.”

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Global aviation industry signs carbon pledge

Signatories from the global aviation industry including the
International Air Transport Association and Airports Council International
(ACI) World have joined a pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050
in line with the Paris Agreement goal for climate change.

The aim of the initiative is to avoid global warming
exceeding an increase of 1.5°C.

IATA says the goal will present a “huge challenge” for the
industry, which it says must “progressively reduce its emissions while
accommodating the growing demand of a world that is eager to fly”. According to
the association, to be able to serve the needs of the 10 billion people
expected to fly in 2050, at least 1.8 gigatons of carbon must be abated in that
year alone. Moreover, the net-zero commitment implies that a cumulative total
of 21.2 gigatons of carbon will be abated between now and 2050.

To enable efforts to achieve net zero, the industry will
look to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Carbon
Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). IATA says
this will stabilise international emissions at 2019 levels in the short to
medium term.

ACI World says the goal will be achieved through a
combination of initiatives, including supporting new aircraft technologies such
as hydrogen and electric, as well as improvements in operational efficiency and
infrastructure. The acceleration of the development of sustainable aviation
fuels (SAFs) is expected to play a major role in reducing the impact of
aviation, according to the council. Carbon removal measures will capture any
outstanding emissions.

Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, said around 65 per
cent of the 1.8 gigatons of carbon expected to be produced by aviation in 2050
could be abated by the use of SAFs, while 13 per cent can be avoided through
the use of new propulsion technologies such as hydrogen. A further 3 per cent
will be abated through efficiency improvements, 11 per cent through carbon
capture and 8 per cent by offsets.

“The actual split, and the trajectory to get there, will
depend on what solutions are the most cost-effective at any particular time,”
Walsh added. “Whatever the ultimate path to net zero will be, it is absolutely
true that the only way to get there will be with the value chain and
governments playing their role.”

Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World director general,
commented: “The road ahead will be challenging but aviation is no stranger to challenges.
This historic declaration shows the determination of the sector to work
together to take this important climate action. It is now imperative that
governments support these efforts to make this vital sector sustainable. This
makes it all the more urgent that member states of the ICAO support the
adoption of a long-term climate goal at the 41st ICAO Assembly in

Walsh said: “Governments must be active partners in
achieving net zero by 2050. As with all other successful energy transitions,
government policies have set the course and blazed a trail towards success. The
costs and investment risks are too high otherwise. The focus must be on
reducing carbon. Limiting flying with retrograde and punitive taxes would
stifle investment and could limit flying to the wealthy. And we have never seen
an environment tax actually fund carbon-reducing activities. Incentives are the
proven way forward. They solve the problem, create jobs and grow prosperity.”

A number of airlines have individually pledged to achieve
net zero emissions by 2050, while corporate travel buyers have formed the
Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance to invest in SAFs. The World Travel and Tourism
Council recently released a roadmap for the global tourism industry to achieve
its sustainability goals.

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Shahid calls for global climate action at Expo 2020 | News

A call for immediate action to avoid a “climate tragedy” has been issued by Abdulla Shahid, president of the United Nations General Assembly during remarks at Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Shahid, who is also minister of foreign affairs for the Maldives, was speaking during the second day of the Climate & Biodiversity Week at the event.

Delivering his opening remarks for the People’s Promise for Climate Impact event, said: “When we talk about climate change, we can no longer afford to indulge in the delusion that we are talking about a distant threat that policy-makers can negotiate in their own pace.

“We cannot deny what is happening right in front of us – the effects of human-induced climate change are clear for all of us to see.”

He added: “It is our responsibility to acknowledge the severity of the situation and, having said that, it is also our responsibility not to give in to cynicism or give credence that the climate tragedy is inevitable.

“Hope when combined with action and change, is actually the winning formula – and let us embrace it.”

The event together young change-makers and notable climate leaders to provide a diverse range of perspectives on how to collectively scale positive action.

More Information

Climate & Biodiversity Week is the first of the ten theme weeks running over the next six months, anchoring the Programme for People and the Planet at Expo.

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WIN Global Travel Network rebrands

WIN Global Travel Network, the international network of
which The Advantage Travel Partnership is a 95 per cent shareholder, has been
renamed as The Advantage Global Network with immediate effect.

The Advantage Travel Partnership took a majority share in
WIN Global Travel Network in 2017 and the network now covers 6,000 locations in
81 countries globally.

The organisation said the rebrand was “prompted by the
increased brand awareness and recognition that Advantage has achieved in recent
years and especially during the pandemic”.

The network provides Advantage members and their clients with
local in‐country, and on the ground, support and knowledge without having to
have a physical presence in the destination.

Advantage Travel Partnership’s CEO, Julia Lo Bue‐Said commented:
“Although the rebrand from WIN Global Travel Network to The Advantage Global
Network is in essence a name change, because of the increased awareness and
reputation of the trusted Advantage brand, bringing consistency of name will
strengthen our global business travel offering and better incorporate the
global network into our core business, making it easier for UK members and
international partners to communicate its benefits and facilitate collaborative
enterprises with each other. The rebrand also better reflects the place and
importance our global network has within the Advantage family.”

John Hobbs‐Hurrell, head of the Advantage Global Network
said: “The rebrand will bring additional benefits, not just to our existing
Advantage Global Business Travel members, but also to our international
partners who will find, through the increased brand exposure, more engagement
with Advantage Global Business Travel members bringing about new opportunities
through the networking prospects available to them. The network will continue
to provide a connected community of TMCs around the world which we will
continue to grow following the rebrand.” 

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Travel news: Art exhibitions with a global twist, Osheaga's back with a special edition, and a restaurant worth flying for –

Travel news: Art exhibitions with a global twist, Osheaga’s back with a special edition, and a restaurant worth flying for

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