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June 14, 2021 | GCTG Marketing

2021

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

Read our current newsletters.

 

 

Company Announcements:

  • Learn about expedition cruises in Atlantic Canada by joining our upcoming webinar, presented by Adventure Canada. Register here to participate in the June 15th session, 12 noon CT.
  • Join our Iceland expert Shauna Cook for her Wanderlust Wednesdays Webinars featuring Iceland, June 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd at 1:00pm CT. Email us to register and we’ll send you a Link to join. Sessions will also be recorded and we’d be happy to send you the recordings if you miss out on the live session.
  • World Travel Awards 2021. Who Will Win? You Decide! We’re so excited to have been nominated for Canada’s Leading Travel Agency 2021. Please Register on the World Travel Awards website and then Start Voting. Go to our Company Profile and click on the Vote button. Closing date for votes is August 2nd, 2021. Thanks for your support!
  • 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*:

  • Westjet – Now boarding, great savings! Book by 14 June for travel through to 05 May, 2022 (blackouts over Christmas/New Year and spring break) to destinations across Canada, the US, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. Also applies to Westjet Vacations flight & hotel packages. Flexible change/cancel program applies through to the 30 June, 2021, giving you peace of mind to book now and vacation later.
  • To celebrate their return to the waters of the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Windstar Cruises is offering their Come Sail Away promotion, for new bookings made between June 8th and July 30th. Choose between an onboard credit or a free pre-cruise hotel night including breakfast and transfer to the Windstar yacht. Plus a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne will be waiting in your stateroom or suite to celebrate!
  • 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!
  • Hurtigruten is running their  Travel On! promotion for new bookings made by the 30 June, 2021. Whether you’re looking to explore the vast unknown Antarctica, the hidden gems of Norway, or experience the breathtaking wildlife of Alaska, there’s a cruise program just right for you. Receive 10% off and free flights (with up to $2,500 flight credit)! Inquire for further information.
  • More news from Hurtigruten. For many years Canadian residents have received a discount of up to 20% off of published US$ prices to compensate for the weakened CA$, making Hurtigruten cruises more affordable for Canadian travellers. However, this special provision is coming to an end in 2021. You can still book on a future cruise and get in on the Save 20% special offer if you make your booking with us by the 30 June, 2021. Or, Save 10% if booked between the 01 July & 30 September, 2021. As of the 01 October, 2021, full US$ 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.
  • G Adventures are offering savings of up to 20% on nearly 300 of their most popular tours that depart throughout the summer and into 2022! If you’re looking to get away soon, there’s no better time to book your next adventure. Book by the 30 June, 2021 for this offer.
  • 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
:

June, 2021:

  • 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.

 

COVID-19 Resources – Quick Lookup:
Coronavirus and Travel Covid Checker
Canada Provincial Travel Regulations for Canadians
Re-Open EU Map
Travel Bans
World Health Organization and World Map
John Hopkins World Map
Our World in Data
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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