GCTG Marketing | The Great Canadian Travel Co.

STAFF PICKS

November 13, 2021 | Shauna Cook

Iceland COVID-19 Regulations – info updated 16 November, 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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November 10, 2021 | Lois Farley

This Remembrance Day we’d like to honour members of our own families and friends who have served during war time and in regular military service.

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September 30, 2021 | Lois Farley

Today, 30 September, 2021 marks the first official National Day for Truth and Reconciliation here in Canada. It’s not a “holiday”, at least it shouldn’t be seen as one, even if it is a day off work for some. It is meant to be a day of learning, a day …

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What’s New

November 29, 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:

  • We’re very excited to announce that we’ve been named Canada’s Leading Travel Agency 2021 by the World Travel Award voters in the 48th annual travel awards competition!It’s truly an honour to be recognized by this association and a big “Thank You” to everyone who voted for us to receive this award.

 

 

  • 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.

COVID-19 Resources – Quick Lookup:

Air Canada Travel Hub
Icelandair Covid-19 Travel Information & Entry Requirements
Sherpa Travel Restrictions
Covid-19 Toolkit – Government of Canada (Canada information)
IATA Travel CentreCoronavirus 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.)

Special offers & promotions*:

  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are back! Most are on offer until the end of November or early December. Check out our newsletter featuring a few Black Friday deals and check with us for other offers. Pretty much every kind of travel service has specials in place.
  • Experience France during the festive holiday season on Ama Waterways Colors of Provence Christmas sailing on December 16-23, 2021 through France’s Rhône River. This sailing is perfectly timed to experience magical Christmas Markets and seasonal traditions in the South of France from Lyon to Avignon. Canadian residents can book balcony staterooms onboard the award-winning Ama Kristina at 50% off regular rates, starting from CA$2,100 per person (includes port charges)! Contact us for a full itinerary and price quote.
  • Adventure Canada is offering a 15% discount on 2022 Canadian expedition cruises booked by the 30 November, 2021. Included in the offer are Mighty Saint Lawrence, Newfoundland Circumnavigation, Atlantic Canada Explorer, Heart of the Arctic, or High Arctic Explorer. The 15% discount is combinable with multi-trip discounts and League of Adventure rewards. The company has also announced that it requires all ship’s crew, staff and all travellers to be fully vaccinated for the 2022 cruise season. Get in touch for more details and to make a booking, to take advantage of these savings. Ask us to email you the informative guide to Canada cruises. Learn about these cruises by watching this video and read this informative guide.
  • Exodus are offering select November and December 2021 tours at a discount, with savings of around $200 per person. Destinations include Italy, Greece, Morocco and the islands of Mallorca, La Palma and Madeira.
  • News from G Adventures:
    “Vaccinated Tours” program offer trips with only fully vaccinated guides 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 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.
    Relaxed 14-Day rebooking policy on new tour bookings made up until Dec. 31, 2021, for departure dates up until Dec. 31, 2022. The more flexible policy is to encourage travellers to book 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!
  • Intrepid Tours offer 10% off to travellers 18-29 who book at least 9 months in advance of travel. Have your eye on the trip of a lifetime? Give yourself a bit of time to “get it together”, have something to look forward to and save by taking advantage of this offer.
  • Insight Vacations has launched a new Wander Women series of journeys created for women, by women. One of the tours being offered is a 12-day itinerary, Venice & The Croatian Coast, with two departures, June and September, 2022. These women only tours will offer enriching travel experiences, 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!
  • 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
:

November, 2021:

  • The US re-opened their land boarder to Canadians on the 08 November, 2021. Canada currently still requires a negative PCR test to re-enter the country, even for fully vaccinated travellers, although this policy is being reconsidered.

October, 2021:

  • On the 21 October, 2021 the Canadian federal government has lifted the global “non-essential” travel advisory for fully-vaccinated Canadians, returning to country-specific risk assessments. Unvaccinated travellers are still advised to avoid all non-essential travel, and the global “avoid all cruise ship” advisory remains for all travellers regardless of vaccination status.
  • The USA are re-opening their land borders as of the 08 November, 2021. Meanwhile the CDC has given the green light to COVID vaccines approved not just by the FDA but also by the WHO – so that includes AstraZeneca – plus mixed dose vaccinations from the approved vaccine list are now recognized as well. Good news for Canadian snow birds just waiting to flock south to warmer climates!
  • Canada’s Public Safety Minister says he’s “very confident” that the national system of proof of vaccination, aimed at restarting international travel as Canada comes out of the pandemic, will be ready in time for the Nov. 8th U.S. land border reopening (at least for some travellers). More and more polls have indicated the majority of Canadians are in favour of proof of vaccination for international travel. For now, travellers must upload their proof of vaccination to the ArriveCAN app, but federal certification in addition to provincial certificates, seems to be on the way.
  • As of October 25, 2021, the Swiss Federal council requires all people vaccinated outside of the EU (including tourists from the U.S. and Canada) to apply for the Swiss vaccination certificate in order to enter indoor venues in Switzerland. EU COVID certificate issued by another EU country will also be accepted in Switzerland and there is no need to apply for the Swiss COVID certificate.
  • The Govn’t of Canada announced that, effective the 30 October, 2021, all federal workers and all travellers are required to be vaccinated. There will be a short transition period until the 30 November, 2021, during which time Canadians can travel with a negative COVID-19 test if they are in the process of still receiving their doses. After 30 November all travellers will be required to be fully vaccinated, and the option to provide a negative COVID-19 test will no longer be offered. This requirement applies to all flight departing from Canadian airports (domestic, transborder and international), VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.

September, 2021:

  • Service Canada is preparing for an increase in demand for passport services in upcoming weeks, as the US border is set to re-open on November 8th. The Service Canada website advises a turnaround time of about 20 days after they apply, but some people have reported waiting just over a month for their passport to arrive. Travellers should check their passport’s expiry date and apply well ahead of their planned travel date.
  • Globus family of brands requires proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination for all Globus tours through 2022.
  • Delta Air Lines has initiated a no-fly list of passengers who refuse to wear a mask onboard its aircraft and are abusive to crew and other passengers. They already have more than 1,600 people on the no-fly list. Several US carriers plan to share their lists to bar unruly travellers from flying with them.

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.

Newsletters – 2020

December 09, 2020 | GCTG Marketing

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:

09 December, 2020 – Up2Date featuring Season’s Greetings & Our 40th Birthday Gift Card Bonus Promotion

25 November, 2020 – Up2Date featuring Our 40th Birthday, American Thanksgiving & Black Friday Sales

11 November, 2020 – Up2Date featuring Remembrance Day

28 October, 2020 – Up2Date featuring Halloween & Day of the Dead

15 October, 2020 – Up2Date featuring Africa

30 September, 2020 – Up2Date featuring Scotland

23 September, 2020 – Polar Bear Tours still Available for western Canadians

16 September, 2020 – Up2Date featuring Videos to Inspire

02 September, 2020 – Up2Date featuring Wildlife Viewing

19 August, 2020 – Up2Date featuring Greenland

05 August, 2020 – Up2Date featuring Iceland

22 July, 2020 – Up2Date with Charlene Underhill and Diane Monnier

15 July, 2020 – Up2Date with Trish Middleton

08 July, 2020 – Up2Date with Arnie Hydamaka

01 July, 2020 – Up2Date with Amelia Bearhart

24 June, 2020 – Up2Date with Margot Kalinowsky

17 June, 2020 – Up2Date with Yvonne Sacilot

10 June, 2020 – Up2Date with Ian Kalinowsky

03 June, 2020 – Up2Date with Lindsay Ruffeski

27 May, 2020 – Up2Date with Karen Pearson

20 May, 2020 – Up2Date with Sandra Jensen

13 May, 2020 – Up2Date with Allison Silvaggio

06 May, 2020 – Up2Date with Lois Farley

29 April, 2020 – Up2Date with Shauna Cook

16 April, 2020 – Spring Ahead to Your Best Days Ever!

01 April, 2020 – Active Getaways & April Fools Day

18 March, 2020 – Update on COVID-19

12 March, 2020 – Luck of the Irish

27 February, 2020 – International Polar Bear Day

13 February, 2020 – Romance on the Rails

29 January, 2020 – Top of the World

15 January, 2020 – Sun, Sand and Surf

What’s New Archives

January 05, 2020 | GCTG Marketing

Read our current newsletters.

Read the updates from our President, Ian Kalinowksy on his blog page.

 

Company News – 2019:

Great Canadian Travel Group signed a partnership agreement with Indigeno Travel, 13 November, 2019: Ian Kalinowsky and Allison Silvaggio are attending the International Indigenous Tourism Conference in Kelowna, BC. It is the largest Indigenous conference in the world. Today, Great Canadian Travel Group signed a partnership agreement with Indigeno Travel, a Winnipeg-based, Indigenous-owned travel agency, Continental travel Group and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) to act as the travel agency for Indigenous experiences across the country. For 40 years Great Canadian Travel has been operating in  Indigenous communities and we are very excited to be recognised for our knowledge and capabilities. We look forward to exciting growth possibilities with this new partnership.
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30 May, 2019: Today marks the 70th anniversary of KLM’s inaugural flight between the Netherlands and Canada, a milestone occasion that the carrier marked with an official water salute by firefighters at Montréal-Trudeau airport. The ceremonial salute was a touching reminder of how 70 years ago, on May 29, 1949, members of the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines crew boarded a Lockheed Constellation 747 to welcome passengers on the first-ever Amsterdam-Montreal flight. The ‘Batavia’ touched down at Dorval airport on May 30, following two stopovers.

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New Location: We’re nicely settled into our new office at 1349 Portage Avenue (north side of Portage between Valour Road and Ashburn Street), which we moved to on the 30 November, 2018, and the weather finally warmed up enough for our signs to be installed. We’re no longer that nameless, light brown brick building on Portage Avenue! If you live in the Winnipeg area we invite you to pop in and see our new digs!

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If you want to keep up to date on product news, promotions and specials we send out an e-mailer every couple of weeks. If you want 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!

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Company News – 2018

Our Winnipeg office is moving! Effective November 30th our new address will be 1349 Portage Avenue. We’ll be on the north side of Portage Avenue between Valour Rd and Ashburn St. Our phone number, fax number and email addresses will all stay the same. We’ll be having a Grand Opening once we’re all settled in our new digs, so watch this space for updates.
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Top 60 Canadian Travel Blogger sites: Great Canadian Travel was just named as one of the top 60 travel blog sites in Canada by Feedspot.com. Blog sites are judged by their search engine ranking, social media influence, social media buzz, Alexa ranking (a division of Amazon that measures web searches and visitors), post frequency and quality scores. We try hard to keep providing interesting and relevant content and it’s nice to see that our effort is being noticed. So, if we keep blogging, will you keep reading?
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And the Michelin Stars keep coming to our favourite places! Dill has been named the best Icelandic restaurant on numerous occasions and can now boast a Michelin Star, the first every awarded in Iceland – way to go, Dill!  “Dill builds on Icelandic traditions and Icelandic and Nordic ideology, and we use only the best and purest of Icelandic ingredients in our cooking,” said Head Chef of Dill, Ragnar Eiríksson. “It’s an enormous honor for all of my fantastic coworkers.” Dill is a small restaurant that sits between 20-30 people, so book your reservation today before the rest of the world hears about one of Iceland’s (and the world’s) best restaurants!
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Congratulations to KOKS restaurant, Kirkjubøur, Faroe Islands on winning your first Michelin star, the first restaurant in the Faroe Islands to do so!  Makes the short drive to this stunning seaside town even more worthwhile (like we needed another reason)!  Run by 26 year-old Faroese chef Poul Andrias Ziska, the young avant-garde team at KOKS use Faroese produce, focusing on innovative, but at the same time, traditional cuisine.  The menu is determined by the season and what they have to offer, transforming the food by using ancient culinary traditions such as drying, fermenting, salting and smoking, into modern delicacies.  Way to go, Poul and your fabulous team at KOKS!

Newsletters – 2019

December 31, 2019 | GCTG Marketing

If you want to keep up to date on product news, promotions and specials we send out a newsletter by e-mail every couple of weeks. 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:

December 31st newsletter – Happy New Year in 2020!

December 18th newsletter – Happy Holiday Greetings!

December 05th newsletter – Winter Escapes

November 21st newsletterBlack Friday & Cyber Monday sales.

November 07th newsletter – Travel With a Purpose.

October 24th newsletter – Under the African Sun.

October 09th newsletter – Thanksgiving.

September 25th newsletter – Multi-Generational Cruises.

September 11th newsletter – All-Inclusive Resorts.

August 28th newsletter – Group Travel.

August 14th newsletterNorthern Lights.

July 31st newsletter – Stunning South Pacific.

July 17th newsletter – Award-Winning Portugal.

July 4th newsletter – Let’s Celebrate Canada!

June 19th newsletterIceland & Fun in the Summertime.

June 5th newsletterEscorted African safari.

May 22nd newsletter – European Escorted Tours.

Promos & Specials – May 15, 2019 – 2nd edition

May 08, 2019: The ABCs of Great Canadian Travel

Promos & Specials: May 01, 2019 – 1st edition

April 24, 2019: Our Nordic Adventures

Promos & Specials: April 17, 2019 – 2nd edition

April 10, 2019: A Spring in Your Step

Promos & Specials: April 03, 2019 – 1st edition

March 27, 2019: Ireland & the UK

Promos & Specials: March 20, 2019 – 2nd edition

March 13, 2019: Sales on Sails

Promos & Specials: March 06, 2019 – 1st edition

February 27, 2019: International Polar Bear Day

Promos & Specials: February 20, 2019 – 2nd edition

February 13, 2019: Love is in the Air

Promos & Specials: February 06, 2019 – 1st edition

January 30, 2019: Top of the World

Promos & Specials: January 23, 2019 – 2nd edition

January 16, 2019: Warm Destinations

Promos & Specials: January 9, 2019 – 1st edition

January 2, 2019: Happy New Year!

2018 Newsletters:

October 04, 2018 | GCTG Marketing

December 12, 2018: Days of Travel

November 28, 2018: Moving Week

November 14, 2018: Wildlife

October 31, 2018: Happy Halloween

October 18, 2018: South America

October 03, 2018: Thanksgiving Cornucopia of Travel

September 19, 2018: Warm Winter Getaways

September 4, 2018: Castles & Cathedrals

August 22, 2018: Northern Lights

August 09, 2018: Wine & Whiskey Tours

July 25, 2018: Africa Adventures

July 11, 2018: Mexico and Central America

June 26, 2018: Canada Day Edition

June 06, 2018: Expedition Cruising

May 2018: May Flowers in Iceland and Greenland

April 2018: April Showers Bring Canadian Flowers

March 2018: Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We Love Ireland!

February 2018: International Polar Bear Day – Name Our Bear Mascot Contest

January 2018: There’s a Place in the Sun

2017 Newsletters

February 14, 2017 | GCTG Marketing

January 2017 Issue 1 – Ring in the New Year  Read
February 2017 Issue 2 – Happy 150th Canada – We Love You!  Read
February 2017 Issue 2.5 – International Polar Bear Day  Read
March 2017 Issue 3 – We Love Canada Even More!  Read
April 2017 Issue 4 – April Showers Bring May Flowers and a Bouquet of Travel Ideas!  Read
May 2017 Issue 5 – O Canada, our home and native land   Read
June 2017 Issue 6 – Happy 150th Canada!   Read
July 2017 Issue 7 – Ireland and the UK – There’s Never Been a Better Time  Read
August 2017 Issue 8 – Now’s The Time to Experience Africa Read
September 2017 Issue 9 – Everyone Needs a Little Vitamin Sea Read
October 2017 Issue 10 – Some Like It Hot – Winter Getaways Read
November 2017 Issue 11 – Look Up, Look Way Up  Read
December 2017 Issue 12 – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 Newsletters

December 08, 2016 | GCTG Marketing

December 2016, issue 12 – Season’s Greetings

November 2016, issue 11 – Some Like it Hot

October 2016, issue 10 – Land of Fire and Ice

September 2016, issue 9 – I Dream of Africa

August 2016, issue 8.5 – In Search of Northern Lights

August 2016, issue 8 – Cruising Down the River

July 2016, issue 7 – All Hands on Deck

June 2016, issue 6 – Walk a Mile in My Shoes

May 2016, issue 5 – Whiskey, Wine and Wildlife

April 2016, issue 4 – Now’s the Time to Explore Canada

March 2016, issue 3 – Experience it All on An Expedition Cruise

February 2016, issue 2.5 – International Polar Bear Day

February 2016, issue 2 – Go North Young Man (and Young Woman)!

January 2016, issue 1 – Where in the World Do You Want to Go?

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