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5/26/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Legislation to completely free U.S. tourism to Cuba gains momentum.

5/23/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Technology will complement real humans in the agency of the future, but nothing can replace them, say travel industry executives.

5/17/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Celebrity Cruises is sponsoring the upgrading of 10 American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) members to ASTA Premium Membership.

ASTA Premium membership offerings include access to time-sensitive information in government and industry news, exclusive peer-to-peer networking opportunities. The ten agencies are:

• Bon Voyage Travel, Tucson, AZ

• Pavlus Travel & Cruise, Inc., Albuquerque, NM

• Online Vacation Center, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, FL

• Central Travel, Toledo OH

• Cruise Specialists, Seattle, WA

• Touraid Travel, Inc., Plattsburgh, NY

• Alice Travel Worldwide, LLC, Fairfield, NJ

• Crown Cruise Vacations, Princeton, NJ

• Cruise Vacation Outlet, Orlando, FL

• Gulliver's Travel Service, Inc., Fort Worth, TX

5/17/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Only 40% of Canadians traveling this summer will embark on their trips with travel insurance, according to a recent survey by RBC Insurance.

The survey found that while 79% of Canadians said they were planning to travel this year, more than half (53%) of Canadians traveling within Canada, but outside of their home province, were not likely to purchase travel insurance for their trip.

Nearly half (46%) of those said they don’t need it, as they are already covered by their provincial health care plan and 39% said they already have travel insurance through their credit card or group benefits plan.

For those planning to travel internationally this year, 75% indicated they would purchase travel insurance for their trip. A majority (61%) of those not likely to buy travel insurance for international trips say they’re already covered through their credit card or group benefits plan while 15% are willing to take their chances for a smooth trip.

Helping Canadian travel agents understand and sell travel insurance will be a topic at this year’s Travel MarketPlace, Toronto, June 13-14.

5/16/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Travel insurance provider CSA Travel Protection has rebranded as Generali Global Assistance, taking several Europ Assistance business lines in the United States and rebranding them under the Generali name.

Products and solutions carrying the CSA Travel Protection name will be transitioned over time to fall under the Generali Global Assistance brand, while retaining and enhancing the offerings and services to its customers that it has established over the past 25 years.

Several new and enhanced travel insurance plans under the Generali Global Assistance brand will be launched in the United States soon, the company said.

5/16/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

THOR Inc. promoted Trisha Hall to managing director, responsible for THOR’s overall strategy and operations, including creating new opportunities for THOR’s member travel agencies and suppliers.

Hall reports directly to Peggy Bianco, vice president, Global Head of Hotel Sourcing, Travelport. THOR is a wholly owned subsidiary of Travelport.

Hall joined THOR in 2004, most recently serving as THOR’s marketing and operations manager, and also as marketing communications and publications manager. Before joining THOR, Hall served in various marketing positions within a variety of industries, including business software, human resource consulting, CAD/CAM services and medical devices.

5/15/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Out-of-province patients will once again be billed for medical evacuations in Ontario at the direction of the provincial government.

At the beginning of this year, Ornge Air Ambulance, which provides air ambulance and ground transportation service for Ontario province, under the direction of the province's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, decided to stop billing out-of-province patients for emergency airlifts, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

On May 8, however, Ontario’s Health Minister Eric Hoskins, said Ornge Air Ambulance should return to billing patients directly, though he added each case will be looked at separately.

This issue became more prominent after a summer 2015 incident that was covered widely in the Canadian press. In that instance, an Alberta woman went into premature labor while visiting Ontario on vacation with her family. When she was told the hospital in Timmins, Ont., was not equipped to help her, she faced either a four-hour drive or could be transported by air ambulance emergency to another hospital.

5/12/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Registration will close soon for the American Society of Travel Agents’ (ASTA) annual Legislative Day visit to Washington, to learn about how the Federal government works and meet with members of congress to advocate for travel agents, travelers and the industry.

The two-day event includes a welcome reception in the U.S. Capitol June 6, featuring the presentation of the third annual Global Travel Advocate Award to a key Member of Congress. A full day is planned for June 7, including presentations and discussions about pressing issues, how to advocate with members of Congress and government officials and meetings scheduled with key members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Registration for ASTA members is $199, and registration closes May 19. ASTA Board Members, CAC Members, and Chapter Presidents receive discounts on registration.

5/12/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

The government of Canada has expanded passport services from 151 to more than 300 “Service Canada Centres,” providing Canadians with more options when applying for or renewing a passport, making it more convenient and accessible for Canadians to submit passport applications.

The expansion will result in over 97 percent of Canadians having access to passport services within a 100 km distance of their home. In 2016–17, Canada issued more than 4.8 million passports, a rate of approximately 19,000 passports a day.

Canadians applying for passports at a Service Canada Centre are able to submit their applications and have their citizenship documents, like birth certificates and certificates of citizenship, validated and returned to them while they are in the office. Service Canada Centres will also assist citizens with their standard passport application by reviewing it on site for completeness, accepting payment and forwarding it on for processing.

As of April 1, 2017, approximately 60% of Canadian adults held a valid Canadian passport.

5/12/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Destination Canada has added two new members to its Canadian Signature Experiences collection – a heritage train tour to Ontartio’s Agawa Canyon and Canyon Sainte-Anne.

The two-day Agawa Canyon Tour Train in Ontario allows travelers to follow in the footsteps of the Group of Seven, Canadian artists inspired by the landscape of Northern Ontario's Algoma region, exploring a boreal forest, rivers, homesteads and waterfalls, and also features gallery tours and dining in a National Historic Site.

The Air Canyon flying tour of Canyon Sainte-Anne in Quebec soars over rock and water panoramas, as well as a harnessed, guided cicruit of Canyon Sainte-Anne's sheer rock walls.