2021 | The Great Canadian Travel Co.

STAFF PICKS

September 13, 2021 | Shauna Cook

Iceland COVID-19 Regulations – info updated 13 September, 2021. Please note: The information provided is subject to change without notice by the government agencies of Iceland, the US and Canada. We cannot be held responsible for any expenses incurred due to changes in testing requirements either before or during your …

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September 3, 2021 | Sandra Jensen

It is my passion to plan holidays, for myself as well as my clientele. In 2006 that started with a plan to visit Europe while attended a FIFA World Cup soccer match in Hamburg. Match tickets were not that easy to get. They were done on a lottery draw basis, …

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July 6, 2021 | Lois Farley

It might seem a bit odd for us to be talking to you about sun, sand and surf holidays when most of North America is suffering through extreme heatwaves. But, turn your mind back to those days in January and February, when the wind was howling, the air brisk and …

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Newsletters – 2021

September 14, 2021 | Lois Farley

If you want to keep up to date on product news, promotions and specials we send out a newsletter by e-mail every week or two. To be kept in the loop just sign up from our website, at the bottom of each page in the red “footer” or email us to be added to the list to receive updates from us. You can always unsubscribe at any time if you change your mind later on!

Newsletter Archives:

14 September, 2021 – Up2Date – I’m Dreaming of Pt. 3 – Sporting Events
25 August, 2021 – Up2Date – I’m Dreaming of Pt. 2 – World Wonders
28 July, 2021 – Up2Date – I’m Dreaming of – Wildlife Tours
21 July, 2021 – Up2Date – Warm Winter Breaks, pt. 2
14 July, 2021 – Up2Date – Winter Sun Holidays
25 June, 2021 – Up2Date – Heavenly Holidays
09 June, 2021 – Up2Date – At Home Adventures
12 May, 2021 – Up2Date Booking to Travel in 2021 and Beyond
29 April, 2021 – Up2Date featuring Reopened for Travel
15 April, 2021 – Up2Date featuring the Faroe Islands
31 March, 2021 – Up2Date featuring Iceland
17 March, 2021 – Up2Date Happy St. Patrick’s Day
03 March, 2021 – Up2Date featuring Uplift Payment Options and Travel at Home 
17 February, 2021 – Up2Date featuring Polar Bear Prize Trip and International Polar Bear Day
11 February, 2021 – Up2Date featuring Valentine’s Day Wishes and Romantic Travel Locations
03 February,2021 – Up2Date featuring our 40th Birthday Prize Trip Contest, Week 4
27 January, 2021 – Up2Date featuring our 40th Birthday Prize Trip Contest, Week 3
20 January, 2021 – Up2Date featuring our 40th Birthday Prize Trip Contest, Week 2
13 January, 2021 – Up2Date featuring our 40th Birthday Prize Trip Contest, Week 1

Iceland Covid-19 Regulations

September 13, 2021 | Shauna Cook

Iceland COVID-19 Regulations – info updated 13 September, 2021.

Please note: The information provided is subject to change without notice by the government agencies of Iceland, the US and Canada. We cannot be held responsible for any expenses incurred due to changes in testing requirements either before or during your travels.

As of July 27th Iceland have re-introduced domestic COVID-19 restrictions including masking and 1 metre social distancing requirements. For details check here.

 

Who can visit Iceland?

Passengers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection.

Can you visit Iceland? Yes. From April 6, 2021, all travelers – regardless of origin – are welcome to visit Iceland if they can show either:

  • certificate of full vaccination against COVID. Read what certificates are accepted on the official Directorate of Health page. (Mixed vaccinations are accepted ie. Astra Zeneca & Pfizer, Astra Zeneca & Moderna, Pfizer & Moderna. As long as the vaccine is listed on the Directorate of Health page as being acceptable.
  • certificate of previous COVID infection. Read what certificates are accepted on the official Directorate of Health page.

Please note: Iceland is welcoming vaccinated visitors from outside the Schengen zone, but further travel from Iceland to the rest of Europe and the UK may not currently be permitted for non-Schengen residents.

Do you need a PCR test? As of July 27, 2021 you will once again require a negative antigen or PCR test, taken within 72 hours of your flight departure.

Is there arrival testing and quarantine? No, if you hold an appropriate full vaccination certificate or certificate of recovery from a previous Covid infection and a negative antigen or PCR test, you do not have to undergo any Covid-19 testing upon arrival in Iceland. Read More >

What’s New

September 08, 2021 | GCTG Marketing

2021

Our COVID-19 office policy, including hours of operation, is outlined on our Contact Us page. 

Read our current newsletters.

 

 

COVID-19 Resources – Quick Lookup:

IATA Travel Centre
Sherpa Travel Restrictions
Covid-19 Toolkit – Government of Canada (Canada information)
Coronavirus and Travel Covid Checker
Canada Provincial Travel Regulations for Canadians
Re-Open Europe & EU Map
Skyscanner
Travel Bans
World Health Organization and World Map
John Hopkins World Map
Our World in Data
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US information)
Government of Canada
US Department of State and Country Specific Information
Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) – Benefits of Using a Professional ACTA Travel Agent

(Regulations are constantly changing. These resources can assist you in determining current travel requirements but bear in mind these may not be valid by the time your travel date arrives. We will assist you with keeping up to date on the requirements for your planned trip and change your reservations as needed.)

Company Announcements:

  • Introducing Uplift! We have recently partnered with Uplift, a financing partner dedicated to the travel industry, to facilitate time payment options for our Canadian clients’ travel bookings. The plan provides for 12 equal payments spread out over a year and allows all travel and associated costs to be financed. It offers clear and simple financing plans; easy, no-obligation quotes and, once approved, the ability to make lump sum payments for any amount due, without penalty. The minimum amount allowed for financing is $500, maximum $15,000 per person. You must be at least 19 years of age, have a bank debit card or a Visa/Mastercard debit card and a mobile phone to qualify. Read our blog or Inquire for full details of this great new payment option.

Special offers & promotions*:

  • Canada Sevens – World Rugby Sevens is coming to Edmonton, Alberta’s Commonwealth Stadium September 24-25, 2021. 4 day/3 night Edmonton package starts at $530 per person or a 6 day/5 night Edmonton and Jasper program starting at $1,430 per person. Prices are based on two people sharing a twin room.  Contact us and ask for Sandra Jensen in our Edmonton office or phone 780.477.3561 for details and reservations. She’s a passionate rugby fan – read her blog about travelling for rugby matches.
  • G Adventures has introduced a “Vaccinated Tours” program, with each trip having a fully vaccinated chief experience officer (CEO or tour guide) confirmed to lead the tour, on which all travellers must also be fully vaccinated (final dose administered at least 14 days prior to day 1 of the tour). Due to the slower roll-out of vaccinations in some of G Adventures destinations, and to support the CEOs or tour guides in those countries, they will also be introducing ‘Travel-Ready’ tours. On Travel-Ready tours, all travellers and CEOs must have either received a full COVID-19 vaccination, or have a negative PCR test within 96 hours prior to day one of their tour’s departure.
  • Hurtigruten’s Galapagos Islands Expedtion – in Darwin’s Footsteps is on sale for new 2022 reservations made by the September 30, 2021. Save 15% on the cruise portion of the travel programs on offer.
  • Book a “Grand Escape Voyage” of six nights or more on Cunard Lines by September 30, 2021 and receive the Cunard Double Upgrade from Inside to Balcony cabin, Free Onboard Credit up to $600 per stateroom, Hotel and Dining Service Charge included, Reduced Deposit, and Grill Suite guests will also enjoy Free Drinks and Free Internet. For example, sail on an 8-day Atlantic crossing from New York to Southampton one way from US$1,208 plus around $100 in port taxes and fees or enjoy a 14-day East Caribbean itinerary starting from US$2,419 plus about $231 in port taxes and fees. These are inside cabin rates which will be upgraded to Balcony cabins if booked by the end of September, a value of over $400 per person.
  • Book the Bella Coola Explorer or Grizzly Bear Safari package (3 nights or more) before August 1st and receive an extra night of accommodation free. These programs are based out of Tweedsmuir Park Lodge which is honoured to be operating on the traditional territory of the Nuxalk First Nation.
  • G Adventures introduce a relaxed 14-Day rebooking policy on new tour bookings made from July 1, 2021 up until Dec. 31, 2021, for departure dates up until Dec. 31, 2022. The more flexible policy is to encourage travellers to book bucket list trips as soon as possible, knowing the option to change is there. For example, the Inca Trail in Peru will be running at 50% capacity for the balance of 2021, meaning groups will have no more than eight travellers on each departure. It’s bound to sell out fast!
  • Iceland ProCruises have some great offers, subject to availability, on select departures of their Iceland Circumnavigation and Best of Iceland Cruises. Choose the best offer from 2-for-1, Free Airfare or Single Special (applies to new bookings only). Combine this with our exclusive US$150 Onboard Credit offer for even more savings! Book any Iceland ProCruises itinerary with us by the 30 September, 2021 for sailings in 2021 and 2022. and receive a US$150 Onboard Credit per person to be used towards your choice of shore excursions. Itineraries offered include Best of Iceland and Iceland Circumnavigation.
  • Are you 18-29 with your eye on the trip of a lifetime, but need some time to get it together? If you want to get your travel plans put into place and have something to look forward to, book at least 9 months in advance on Intrepid Tours and get 10% off.
  • Insight Vacations has launched a new 12-day itinerary, Venice & The Croatian Coast, a women-only tour, as part of its Wander Women series of journeys created for women, by women. The itinerary will have two departures, June and September, 2022, offering enriching travel experiences that cater to the diverse interests of female clients and introduce guests to inspiring women in communities across Croatia. Email us to receive information on the itinerary and pricing.
  • Exodus is offering a unique program on select tours – Dateless 1st Departures! If you’re tired of just talking about travel, if you want to take action and have something concrete to look forward to, this program might be for you. Reserve your spot for the destination of your choice from the list of 20 small-group trips simply by paying the standard deposit. Once that destination passes Exodus’ stringent 5 Stage Health & Safety Approval Process, you’ll be guaranteed space on a tour within the first month travel resumes. If you can’t get away at that time, you’ll be booked for the first available date that works for you. We can give you full details – just ask!
  • News from Hurtigruten. For many years Canadian residents have received a discount of up to 20% off of published US$ prices to compensate for the weakened CA$, making Hurtigruten cruises more affordable for Canadian travellers. However, this special provision is coming to an end in 2021. The 20% savings booking window is now closed but you can still Save 10% if booked by the 30 September, 2021. As of the 01 October, 2021, full US$ prices will apply for all bookings. So, get in on this great offer before it’s gone! This Canadian residents discount may also be combined with other sales and special offers. Contact us today for information and to make your reservation.
  • Churchill Wild is offering a lower deposit of CA$1,000 and flexible cancellation policies up to 30 days prior to the tour date on all new 2021 tour bookings. Tours offered include The Great Ice Bears at Dymond Lake Lodge, Birds, Bears & Belugas, Hudson Bay Odyssey and more. Ask us for full details.
  • Windstar Cruises 7 for 7 specials are limited-time savings on popular cruises sailing in 2021, 2022 and 2023. These deals on the best in small ship cruising only last for 7 days or until staterooms and suites sell out. So don’t delay, call us for the weekly itineraries, dates and pricing details.

*All sales and promotions posted on this page are subject to the Terms and Conditions of the operator and may be changed or withdrawn at any time, without prior notice. 

Please note: 2021, 2022 and 2023 programs featured on our website are subject to change without notice due to COVID-19 restrictions and depend on the availability of the components of each tour. At the time of your inquiry we will advise you what changes may affect the trip you are looking into and recalculate the price according to the available inclusions. Local COVID-19 restrictions and regulations may change at any time, without advance notice. We cannot be held responsible for such changes, but we will do our utmost to rework your program to give you the best possible experience based on current conditions.


2021 News
:

August, 2021:

  • The UK Government has announced they are adding Canada to their green light list, as of 4am, Monday, August 30, 2021. Travellers from Canada will be able to enter the UK without a mandatory quarantine  A pre-departure Covid test and a repeat test done within 2 days of arriving in the UK will be required. Test providers may be found by visiting the test provider website. As long as both tests are negative no quarantine will be required. Each country in the UK may have different rules in place. Visitors can check what they need to do before arriving in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. All visitors must complete the passenger locator form online, in the 48 hours prior to arrival in the UK. Find out more information on the traffic light system and guidelines on www.gov.uk.
  • Robert Kokonis, President and Managing Director of AirTrav Inc. talks with Financial Post about how the delta variant will affect the recovery of Canada’s air industry and may cause consumers some sticker shock when looking at airfares. “Already looking at some bookings for domestic travel or international trips, the prices are relatively high, and that’s simply a function of supply and demand,” a situation he says could get worse due to dropping demand due to concerns about the Covid variants causing new spikes in infections. “If the airlines are forced to take some of the capacity back off the store shelf, then I expect we’re going to see some kind of increase in pricing. For example, to London, England, before COVID, Air Canada had three or four daily flights, British Airways had two, WestJet one, Transat one or two, from Toronto… if the number of flights (drop to) one third of that, it does impact price, so that’s my concern. That some Canadians that need to travel, for example, around the holiday period, they may be in for some sticker shock.” Watch the full interview here.
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba was recently included in Time magazine’s World’s Greatest Places 2021 due to the recent opening of Qaumajuq (“it is bright, it is lit” in Inuktitut) at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Qaumajuq houses more than 14,000 pieces of Inuit art, the largest collection of its kind in the world. The public collection is housed in a building whose design was inspired by the landscapes of Arctic Canada. “The opening of Qaumajuq highlights the creative side of Winnipeg, a prairie city that is also home to the acclaimed Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Other cultural offerings include the annual Warming Huts contest—in which competitors design and build small, hut-like shelters or installations along the frozen river—and winter’s acclaimed New Music Festival, where subzero outdoor concerts are played on instruments made of ice.” Time magazine, 20 July 2021
  • Italy’s national carrier Alitalia has announced that all of its flights will be cancelled as of 15 October, 2021, as it begins shutting down operations. A new airline, Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA) is set to replace Alitalia, with flights starting the same day Alitalia ceases operations. ITA will inherit 85 per cent of the Alitalia slots at Milan’s Linate airport and 43 per cent at Rome’s Fiumicino hub. ITA will purchase 52 of Alitalia’s aircraft.
  • UNESCO has added 34 more sites to its World Heritage Sites list, from 2020 and 2021 nominations.

July, 2021:

  • The Republic of Ireland has re-opened to fully vaccinated visitors from both Canada and the US who have proof of vaccination at least 14 days prior to their arrival and have completed a Passenger Locator Form. Entry to Northern Ireland (UK) is still restricted to Canadians and Americans as both countries are currently on the UK’s “amber” list, which would necessitate multiple negative tests done before and after arrival and self-isolation for a period of 5-10 days after arrival.
  • Some cruise lines sailing out of US ports have announced they will not accept mixed vaccinations as proof of being fully vaccinated. Carnival, Holland America and Princess have all indicated they will only accept the combination of two vaccinations of the same type eg. Pfizer-BioNTech & Moderna (both mRNA). A first dose of AstraZeneca-Oxford/COVIDSHIELD vaccine with the second shot being Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna would not be accepted. Norwegian Caribbean Lines will only accept single brand vaccinations. These include J&J Janssen, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca/Oxford. Mixed vaccination protocol will not be accepted eg. Pfizer & Moderna or AstraZeneca & Pfizer or Moderna.
  • Canada will re-open its borders in a stepped approach over the summer. Aug. 9th fully vaccinated American travellers will be allowed entry and on Sep. 7th this policy will be extended to fully vaccinated travellers from any country. Providing their vaccine credentials are among those accepted by CBSA officials, and they provide a negative Covid molecular test taken within 72 hours of their flight, they will not need to quarantine upon arrival into Canada. Only randomly selected, full vaccinated arrivals will need to undergo a Day 1 Covid test. All arrivals of any nationality, including Canadians, Americans and international arrivals, will need to pre-register their vaccination status via the ArriveCan app before boarding their flight to Canada. Note: The U.S. have not announced a reciprocal opening of its borders for Canadian travellers at this time.
  • As of July 26th Iceland is re-introducing the requirement for a negative antigen or PCR test, taken with 72 hours of their flight departure for all arriving, fully vaccinated visitors, in addition to proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated visitors will continue to require a PCR test taken within 72 hours of their flight, a test on arrival, quarantine until a negative test result is received and a follow up test on day 5 of their visit. These tests are in addition to any test required to return to their country of origin. For further details you can read Shauna’s blog about Iceland’s entry and testing requirements.
  • Westjet are re-introducing their inflight service and onboard menu in Premium and Executive class on both North American and Transatlantic routes. Their Buy Onboard menu items are also now available in the Economy cabin, as of 06 July, 2021.

June, 2021:

  • Visitors to Rome will now have the opportunity, for the first time ever, to explore the underground hypogea of the Colosseum, the subterranean area where gladiators and animals waited before entering the stadium for combat.
  • Overnight trains are making a comeback in Europe. A new company in France has revealed plans for a new “hotel on rails” night train service from Paris to several destinations in Europe and the UK, starting in 2023. With a much lower carbon footprint, trains are a valid alternative to flying; for example, you would have to make 34 trips by train Paris to Rome to equal the same carbon footprint as one flight. And trains get you from downtown to downtown, cutting out the time and hassle of getting to and from airports.

  • Switzerland reopened its borders to international visitors on June 26th, so fully vaccinated Canadian and American travellers are once again free to visit this stunning country without having to be tested or quarantine.
  • Celebrity Cruises returned to service in the United States on Saturday (June 26), marking an historical moment for the cruise industry as Celebrity Edge became the first ship to sail from a U.S. port in 15 months.
  • The border between Canada and the US will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least July 21st.
  • American Airlines is celebrating 81 years of service between the US and Canada. On June 24th, 1941 the airline operated its first trans-border flight from Buffalo, NY to Toronto, ON, using a DC3 with 21 passengers onboard.
  • Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has become the first North American river cruise line to resume operations in Europe since the start of the pandemic. The newly transformed Super Ship S. S. La Venezia departed on its inaugural sailing from Venice on June 20.
  • The Globus family of brands (Globus, Cosmos, Avalon Waterways and Monograms) introduced updates to pre-trip Health & Safety Protocols, including requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination at least 14 days prior to travel in order to join the company’s upcoming international tours, river cruises and independent vacation packages. This new protocol will take effect for international vacations departing July 15 through October 31, 2021. 
  • European Union lawmakers have endorsed a new travel certificate that will allow people to move between EU countries without having to quarantine or undergo extra coronavirus tests, paving the way for the pass to start in time for summer. The widely awaited Digital Green Pass is aimed at saving Europe’s travel industry and prime tourist sites from another disastrous vacation season. 12 EU countries are already using the certification system with 12 more coming online by the July 1st deadline mandated by the EU. Four non-EU Schengen countries will also be participating.
  • Westjet’s new “Travel Ready” video series have helpful tips for travellers hoping to hop on a plane in the near future. You can watch them here. We’re just a phone call or email away, to assist you with booking your travel plans.
  • Canada will begin to ease entry requirements in early July. The first stage will involve allowing fully vaccinated people currently permitted to enter Canada (Canadians, permanent residents, essential workers, foreign students) to enter without the requirement to stay in a government-authorized hotel. Incoming travellers will have to be fully vaccinated for 14 days or more, will still be required to obtain negative pre-departure PCR test and  undergo a PCR test on arrival, with a “suitable quarantine plan” in place until they receive a negative result to their one-day test on arrival. The changes will apply to only those who are currently eligible to enter Canada who have received a Health Canada approved vaccine. There are no changes yet to the categories approved for entry to Canada.
  • The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has eased its travel recommendations from Level 4 to Level 3 for 61 countries, including Canada and the US, For countries at level 3, the CDC says to “make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling to these destinations” and  “unvaccinated travellers should avoid nonessential travel to these destinations.” Other countries to receive the lowered Level 3 rating include France, Japan, South Africa Mexico, Russia, Spain, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Libya, Panama, Poland, Denmark and Malaysia. An additional 50 countries and territories were lowered to “Level 2” or “Level 1,” including countries with the lowest COVID-19 risks: Iceland, Albania, Belize, Israel, South Korea and Singapore.

May, 2021:

  • Churchill, MB is one of our favourite places to visit and it’s the first product we offered to our clients back in 1980. Travel to Churchill is not easy (unless you live in Manitoba). Typically, you need to fly to Winnipeg, Manitoba’s capital city, stay overnight and then catch a flight north to Churchill the next day. Often, another night’s stay is required in Winnipeg on your way back home. This isn’t all that convenient for travellers, adding on the expense of overnight hotels and a couple of extra days of holiday time. It is one reason why Churchill remains a “bucket list” destination rather than a reality for many. Well, Frontiers North, one of our preferred partners for wildlife adventure tours in Canada, is now offering direct charter flights from Calgary and Montreal for select escorted programs this summer, fall and winter.
  • WestJet and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) recently announced the recipients of 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.
  • Fully vaccinated travellers are now one step closer to getting back into Europe after the European Union (May 19), agreed on measures that would relax restrictions for foreign visitors that have had their Covid-19 vaccinations. EU officials are currently working on the “EU COVID-19 Certificate,” a pass that will enable free movement within the EU by reopening travel.
  • Canada and the US have agreed to keep their mutual land border, the longest in the world, closed until at least the 21 June, 2021. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said that 75% of the population must be vaccinated before the border fully opens, with case numbers down substantially from current levels.
  • EPIC, the Irish Emigration Museum, is celebrating its 5th Birthday and re-opening to visitors this month. Voted Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction in 2019 and 2020 it is a must-see when visiting Dublin.  Watch their celebration video or enjoy a free virtual tour.
  • Air Canada is saying “aloha” to Winter 2022 as it announces the launch of non-stop options from Canada to Hawaii. On sale now are flights , including its first Montreal-Honolulu and Toronto-Maui services. Calgary to Maui and a new non-stop Honolulu service and Vancouver non-stop services to Honolulu, Maui and Kona resume 18 December, 2021. Air Canada’s new refund policy applies to all tickets purchased. It offers travellers the options of a refund, an Air Canada Travel Voucher or equivalent value in Aeroplan Points with a 65% bonus if flights are cancelled or rescheduled by more than three hours.
  • Transat announced on the 12 May, 2021, that it is extending the suspension of its operations until July 29, 2021, due to continued travel restrictions in Canada and its destinations.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line is planning to operate select itineraries in 2021. 7-day Greek Isles cruises out of Athens (Piraeus) starting late July. September & October, 2021: 7-night Western Med itineraries out of  Barcelona and 10 & 11-day Greek Isles voyages from Rome (Civitavecchia). 25, 2021. Week-long Caribbean itineraries from Montego Bay and La Romana, Dominican Republic starting mid-August.

April, 2021:

  • The Canadian and US governments have agreed to extend the closure of the international land border through to the 21 May, 2021. Entry to Canada will continue to require a Covid test and quarantine for 3 days on all air and land arrivals.
  • Rocky Mountaineer is delaying the start of its  Canadian travel season  until July 5, 2021, due to ongoing travel restrictions and the uncertainty around when they will be lifted.
  • A recent poll by Angus Reid Institute covering a variety of Quarantine Questions provided some interesting results. Of note is the differences of opinion between provinces, gender and age groups. If you like statistics you should check it out.
  • The suspension of flights from Canada to sun destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico, due to expire on the 30 April, 2021 is being extended by the airlines. Air Canada is extending its suspension of most sun destination flights through the end of May. Westjet is suspending sun flights until the 04 June. Transat has announced that its flights will resume June 14. Sunwing has said that it was cancelling all southbound sun flights through to the 23 June, 2021.
  • Effective April 6th, 2021, Iceland has re-opened its borders to all travellers who have proof of a Covid-19 vaccine or proof of a previous Covid infection. Read the Government of Iceland information here.
  • As of April 1st, 2021, the Faroe Islands are waiving the mandatory six-day quarantine on entry for travellers who have proof of a Covid-19 vaccine received at least eight days prior to their arrival. PCR tests are still required at a cost of 312 Danish kronur at Vagar Airport or 390 Danish kronur for Smyril Line ferry arrivals (at traveller’s expense, free to children under 12), and self-isolation is required until results are received. A free follow-up test is recommended on the sixth day of their stay. More information is available here.
  • Air Canada and Transat A.T. Inc. said Friday (Apr. 2) that they have mutually agreed to terminate the Arrangement Agreement for the proposed acquisition of Transat by Air Canada. The acquisition was conditional on the approval of various regulatory authorities in Canada as well as by the European Commission (EC).

March, 2021:

  • Happy 25th Birthday Westjet! “You’ve come a long way, baby!” Watch Westjet’s 25th Birthday video here.
  • The G7 countries (Canada, the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Japan) have agreed to co-ordinate a plan for the development of a vaccine passport.
  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) is urging governments around the world to accept rapid antigen tests to fulfill Covid-19 test requirements, after research has shown the tests to be accurate, convenient and cost-effective. The adoption of rapid testing would definitely speed up recovery of the travel industry worldwide.

February, 2021:

  • Strict new rules for anyone travelling to Canada came into effect Monday, 22 February/21. In addition to obtaining a negative PCR Covid-19 test result within 72 hours prior to their scheduled flight to Canada, anyone flying into Canada will now also be required to take a mandatory PCR-style test for Covid-19 upon landing. Travellers must book through a special booking agent, in advance of their arrival, a 3-night reservation at one of the designated quarantine hotels near one of the four designated airports (Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver). All costs associated to this 3-night quarantine, such as transportation, accommodation, meals and security, are at the traveller’s expense.
    Also starting today, anyone entering Canada by air or land must submit their travel and contact information including a suitable quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before boarding their flight or crossing the border. All travellers arriving to Canada must also submit daily COVID-related information electronically throughout the quarantine period.
    Land border crossings will require travellers to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours. Starting February 22, non-essential travellers granted exemptions and allowed into the country at land crossings also be required to take a COVID-19 test at the border as well as at the end of their 14-day quarantine.
    Refer to the Government of Canada website for full information on the regulations.
  • Despite the challenges faced over the last 12 months, one of our preferred tour partners, Intrepid has remained committed on a global scale to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which aim to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice. The Intrepid Foundation supports local communities through partners like MEDLIFE in Peru, where they recently donated over $20,000 worth of food to families in Peru’s Sacred Valley affected by the shutdown of tourism there. They also support ongoing projects all over the world including women’s education in Morocco and food security in Nepal. Way to go, Intrepid!
  • Canada’s Minister of Transportation, Omar Alghabra, issued a new order this afternoon prohibiting cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until the end of February, 2022.
  • Sunwing has extended all Future Travel Credits through to the 31 September, 2026 for all customers who had non-refundable bookings that were cancelled due to the pandemic. The extension is intended to provide Sunwing customers with greater flexibility so they can plan their future vacation to the tropics with peace of mind.

January, 2021:

  • Air Canada, Westjet, Transat and Sunwing will temporarily cease international southbound flights to sun destinations as of the 31 January through to the 30 April, 2021, in response to a request from the Government of Canada. Over the next two weeks the airlines will work to bring guests already in destination back to Canada.
  • Transat is suspending all flights from Toronto for the winter season, effective January 28 through April 30, 2021. Flights from Montreal to six international destinations will continue to operate. These scheduled flights include Cancun (Mexico), Holguin (Cuba), Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Punta Cana and Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), and Paris (France).
  • In one of his first actions as POTUS, Joe Biden signed a mandate requiring face masks be worn on airplanes. Although the majority of U.S. airports and airlines have their own mask rules in place leaders in the air travel industry have been pushing for a federal mask mandate throughout the pandemic.
  • Snowbirds hoping to skip the line in Canada by flying to Florida for COVID-19 vaccines now face a tougher set of rules aimed at snuffing out vaccine tourism. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that anyone who owns property in Florida and lives there at least part-time will qualify for the vaccine, but travellers who aren’t state residents will no longer be eligible.
  • The Government of Canada has extended its ban on non-essential, international air travel to 21 February, 2021, the same as the current ban on non-essential, trans-border, ground travel to the US. This development may just be the first step to a full-out travel ban for Canadians.
  • The European Union Council will debate Thursday the possible introduction of a standardized vaccination certificate for the bloc which would enable vaccinated people to travel freely in all Member States, after the Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called for cohesive measures to be implemented across the continent. If a success in the EU the concept may be adopted by other countries allowing for an easing of restrictions for flights into Europe.
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is suspending its 270 weekly long-haul flights to the Netherlands from Friday due to new health rules by the Dutch authorities requiring passengers and flight crew to present a second negative rapid screening certificate for coronavirus just before departure in order to enter the country. The airline fears flight crews may be stranded abroad due to the new measures.
  • Princess Cruises bid farewell today to the Pacific Princess®. After sailing more than 1.6 million nautical miles, including 11 unforgettable World Cruise voyages she has been sold as the Princess fleet continues to evolve. Two new ships will soon join the fleet, the Enchanted PrincessSM later this year and sister ship Discovery PrincessSM in 2022.
  • Royal Caribbean Group is selling its Azamara brand to Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm. Sycamore Partners will acquire the entire Azamara brand, including its three-ship fleet. The sale is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021. Royal Caribbean Group said the sale lets it focus on expanding its three main brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea.
  • Canada/US border will remained closed until at least February 21st.
  • As of the 26 January the US will require all international travellers arriving by air to show proof of a negative Covid test done in the 72 hours prior to travel prior to boarding their flight to the US, similar to the requirements Canada recently introduced. Great Britain will soon be requiring the same. It is up to each airline to check the documentation prior to allowing anyone to board an aircraft.
  • As of the 07 January, 2021 Canada will require all arriving travellers to show proof of a negative Covid test done in the 72 hours prior to travel in order to enter the country. As this announcement was made with little lead time there is uncertainty over many of the requirements and how airlines are supposed to monitor documentation. And, what happens if a Canadian returning home was not able to have a test done? Many questions remain.
  • Ecuador is using the visitor slump caused by the pandemic to tighten up tourism procedures for the Galapagos Islands. Included will be moves to improve the performance of naturalist guides, raise standards of entry-level accommodation and tours, and perhaps further changes that may affect the region’s cruise market.

Passion for Travel, Sports and Rugby

September 03, 2021 | Sandra Jensen

It is my passion to plan holidays, for myself as well as my clientele. In 2006 that started with a plan to visit Europe while attended a FIFA World Cup soccer match in Hamburg. Match tickets were not that easy to get. They were done on a lottery draw basis, so we picked 3 options in Hamburg and proceeded to plan our vacation around those matches “just in case” we were lucky enough to get tickets.

As it turned out we did get tickets but we didn’t receive confirmation of the game until well into our vacation, only 24 hours prior to the match. We had just checked into our hotel in Copenhagen when the email came confirming the game for the very next day. This meant we had to cut our time in Copenhagen short, but this was the experience of a lifetime! We were to see Czech Republic vs Italy. Italy would then proceed to win the World Cup that year.  Amazing experience and great start to our dreams of travelling for Rugby, which is really our passion.

These dreams took root quickly as in 2007 the Rugby Union World Cup was to be held in France with some games in the UK. We are staunch All Blacks fans(the national team of New Zealand). Taking a good look at the schedule we saw that in 2007 one of the quarter finals was to take place in Cardiff, Wales. With our calculations, the All Blacks should qualify for that game, so we took our chances and put our names in for that game. As with the FIFA World Cup, tickets did not get confirmed until later, but at least it was earlier than 24 hours prior and we could make our travel plans a little easier.

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Sun, Sand and Surf Getaway Vacations

July 06, 2021 | Lois Farley

It might seem a bit odd for us to be talking to you about sun, sand and surf holidays when most of North America is suffering through extreme heatwaves. But, turn your mind back to those days in January and February, when the wind was howling, the air brisk and you were shovelling snow, not sand. Remember how much you wished you could be on a beach somewhere or on the deck of a cruise ship, sipping a cocktail and watching the world go by?

A recent survey of over 4,000 Canadian “snowbirds” showed that 91% intend to head south this winter, to the southern states in the US, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. 83% plan to be away at least 3 months.

Now is the time to be putting your winter holiday vacation plans into place. Travel is re-opening, slowly but surely. The resorts and hotels that are open, the cruises that are setting sail and flights that are taking off to whisk you away, are rapidly selling out for winter 2021-22. This season there will be much more demand than there is supply, especially as a number of tourism suppliers have ceased operations.

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Heavenly Holidays – Auroras and Solar Eclipses

June 25, 2021 | Lois Farley

We were just so excited about the Summer Solstice and Full Moon this week that we forgot to send out our newsletter on Wednesday, which is the usual day. (And by we, I mean me! My bad! 😉)

All the celestial happenings this week got me to thinking about the travel opportunities to witness astronomical phenomena like the auroras and solar eclipses.

The Auroras

Here in Canada, where we’re located, we are most familiar with the Aurora Borealis, that occur in the Northern Hemisphere. There are great opportunities to see the Northern Lights (as the Aurora Borealis are commonly referred to), in Arctic Canada. Places like Churchill, Manitoba, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon are all easy to visit and offer great Northern Lights programs. As well, we can plan a trip for you a bit further afield to Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Norway. Even the north coast of Scotland and Northern Ireland get a light show from time to time in the winter months. Maybe combine a whiskey tour with some treks to hunt for the lights?

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Canada Tourism Week

May 27, 2021 | Allison Silvaggio

Calling all Canadians to take the 2021 travel pledge to travel in Canada.  It has been a difficult year +, to say the least, and we cannot wait to get out there and see one another again.

With over 20 years in travel, the first half was spent mostly travelling internationally.  And then, the exploration became closer to home.

When looking back, some of my favorite memories & experiences happened right here within Canada.  Kayaking with the Beluga Whales in Churchill, experiencing the Floe Edge in Nunavut, and even drinking a Sour Toe Cocktail in Dawson City.  Exploring Peggy’s Cove to Whistler and everything in between.

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Notes on Booking to Travel in 2021 and Beyond

May 12, 2021 | Lois Farley

There has been lots in the news about travel starting up again from the US and Canada, and countries re-opening for international tourism. We featured a couple of these countries in recent newsletters, namely Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

We wanted to update you on a few things regarding booking travel at this time. It’s important to note that, even though a country has decided to accept international tourists again, the availability of accommodations and tours will be limited. And may be for quite a while.

Using Iceland as an example, a good number of the moderate hotels in Reykjavik have been designated as Red Cross quarantine hotels, so are not available for tourism stays. Read More >

What Not to Wear Travelling

April 28, 2021 | Allison Silvaggio

We all remember Stacy London and Clinton Kelly from their 10 seasons of “What Not to Wear”.  In travel, we read quite a few blogs on how to dress in certain destinations for certain types of tours.  Here is how we can expand on this, advising what we shouldn’t wear.

The first item that comes to mind, mainly due to the safety, is a long scarf or camera strap while viewing wildlife.  If you have travelled to Churchill, Manitoba before to view the polar bears from the Tundra Vehicle, you may have been warned about this.  While on the outside viewing area at the back of the vehicle travellers should not lean over the side, as the bears can stand up which puts their front paws quite close to any loose clothing potentially hanging over.

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Iceland’s Explosive Volcanoes

March 31, 2021 | Lois Farley

You’ve probably heard of Iceland being referred to as “The Land of Fire and Ice”. It is, without question, an island of extraordinary, natural beauty and attractions like the volcanoes and glaciers that inspired its moniker; stunning waterfalls; caves made of lava and ice; breathtaking fjords and quaint, oceanside towns and villages. But, for the last few days it’s certainly living up to the “fire” part of its nickname!

Iceland sits on top of the Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates, two of the largest on the planet, which are moving in opposite directions. (You can even snorkel or scuba dive in Silfra Ridge, with the plates on either side of you). This separation of the two plates makes Iceland a seismic and volcanic hotspot!

Since early February, several weeks of nearly continuous earthquakes of varying intensity (more than 50,000, compared to the usual 1,000-3,000 registered each year since 2014), had given scientists at the meteorological office (IMO) in Iceland reason to believe an eruption of a volcano in the Krysuvik volcanic system on the Reykjanes Peninsula was imminent, the first in the area for nearly 800 years. Read More >

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