Canadians can give the coveted gift of travel this holiday season with the launch of Sunwing Gift Cards

New survey reveals that 80% of Canadians are keen to receive a gift card this holiday season and 59% are interested in a gift card that can be used towards an all inclusive vacation

TORONTO, Dec. 06, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sunwing is helping shoppers check everyone off their holiday list this year with the launch of their new Sunwing Gift Cards. Available now, the digital gift cards can be purchased online at sunwing.ca with amounts ranging from $50 to $2,500, and can be easily redeemed online, with customers’ travel agents or through the Sunwing Sales Centre. Gift cards can be used towards the purchase of any Sunwing product including vacation packages, flights, room upgrades, excursions, private transfers and more.

The launch of Sunwing Gift Cards comes right in time for the holidays, as a new survey commissioned by the tour operator has revealed that 71% of Canadians are interested in receiving the gift of an experience this holiday season, while four-fifths (80%) of Canadians are interested in receiving a gift card, and 59% of respondents are receptive to a gift card that can be used towards an all inclusive vacation. The survey was conducted by Sunwing among members of the Angus Reid Forum between November 30 – December 1, 2021, with a nationally representative sample of 1,511 Canadians, in both English and French.

“Sunwing Gift Cards are the perfect present for everyone on your gift list this year,” commented Samantha Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer at Sunwing Travel Group. “More Canadians are dreaming of a tropical getaway, and our newly launched gift cards are an excellent option since they can be used towards a vacation from start to finish, including flights, hotels and excursions. Our research shows that an overwhelming percentage of Canadians are eager to receive a gift card this festive season, with nearly three-fifths keen to receive a gift card for an all inclusive vacation. Plus, Sunwing Gift Cards don’t expire so they can be redeemed whenever customers are ready and able to travel.”

Additional survey insights include:

  • 76% of Canadians with a household income of $100,000 or more are interested in receiving the gift of an experience, followed by those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 (70%) and those earning under $50,000 (66%), respectively
  • Adults aged 18-34 are most eager to receive a gift card, with 83% of respondents in this age group saying they would be interested in a gift card this holiday season, followed closely by 81% of respondents aged 35-54 and 77% of Canadians 55 years of age and older
  • Quebec tops the list of provinces with the highest percentage of respondents who are very interested in receiving a gift card for the holidays at 50%, followed by Manitoba at 46%

Gift card recipients can choose from a range of vacation packages for every travel style, whether they’re planning a family vacation, a getaway with friends or a romantic, adults only retreat. Plus, customers can book with confidence knowing they have the ability to change their plans anytime with no fees* and complimentary COVID-19 medical coverage included on most all inclusive packages booked between September 27, 2021 and January 17, 2022 for travel between November 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022.

*Customers can change their travel dates, destination or resort up to seven days prior to departure. Terms & Conditions apply.

About Sunwing
The largest integrated travel company in North America, Sunwing has more flights to the south than any other leisure carrier with convenient direct service from airports across Canada to popular sun destinations across the U.S.A., Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. This scale enables Sunwing to offer customers exclusive deals at top-rated resorts in the most popular vacation destinations as well as cruise packages and seasonal domestic flight service. Sunwing customers benefit from the assistance of the company’s own knowledgeable destination representatives, who greet them upon arrival and support them throughout their vacation journey. The company supports the communities where it operates through the Sunwing Foundation, a charitable initiative focused on the support and development of youth and humanitarian aid.

Sunwing pulls flights from Sudbury, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie

From CTV News – link to source story – Thanks to RG

Brendan Connor, CTVNorthernOntario.ca Co-anchor (CTV News at 6) | November 22, 2021

SUDBURY – 

CTV News has learned that vacation airline Sunwing is bailing out of most of northern Ontario this winter.

The airline is cancelling its sun destination flights from North Bay, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie.

Sunwing has cancelled its planned Friday departures from Sudbury to Varadero, Cuba, and its Saturday flights to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

Similar flights planned out of North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie are also cancelled. Sunwing will still offer service out of Thunder Bay.

Greater Sudbury Airport CEO Todd Tripp says it’s “devastating news” for the northern aviation business, and forces people to drive to Toronto in winter weather to catch their flights.

“I can appreciate this was a difficult decision for Sunwing, but without more airports with approval by the Federal Transport Minister to offer CBSA service for international flights, this leaves the air carrier few options from which to operate,” Tripp said.

“Many people from our region look forward to the annual seasonal sun program to help break up the long winter. The ability to catch a flight near home instead of the long drive to Toronto was definitely a key factor.”

CTV News has sent messages to Sunwing seeking comment, but has not yet received a response. RELATED IMAGES

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Cuba to become one of Sunwing’s Easy Entry Destinations as of November 15 with simplified travel requirements

TORONTO, Nov. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Starting November 15, 2021, it will be easier than ever for sun-seekers to head back to the Canadian favourite destination of Cuba with Sunwing. The tour operator has announced that the popular island will be deemed an Easy Entry Destination amid lifted entry restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers right in time for the holiday season. To ensure a frictionless experience, Sunwing is offering flights to Cuba from gateways across Canada in addition to zero change fees, free COVID-19 medical coverage and travel requirements made easy.

To make the process as seamless as possible, fully vaccinated travellers won’t need to provide a negative test or quarantine upon arrival in Cuba as of November 15. Passengers will need to provide proof of vaccination, complete the health form provided on board and show proof of COVID-19 insurance upon arrival. Unvaccinated passengers will still be required to provide a negative PCR test taken a maximum of 72 hours before their flight departure, both to board their flight in Canada and to be allowed entry into Cuba.

“We resumed flights to Cuba last month and our customers are loving being back in this popular vacation destination,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations at Sunwing. “From the pristine beaches to the friendly people and beautiful resorts, we’ve received overwhelmingly positive reviews. We look forward to resuming our Cuba program in full force now that it’s easier than ever to visit the iconic destination, and we’re excited to be bringing even more Canadians back to its sunny shores this winter.”

Flights will be available from gateways across Canada including Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Bagotville, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Saskatoon to the popular Cuban destinations of Varadero, Cayo Coco, Cayo Santa Maria and Holguin. The full flight schedule can be found at sunwing.ca. More routes and dates are expected to be added in the coming months based on growing customer demand and to align with when additional regional airports gaining clearance for international flight operations.

Customers looking to head south as the weather gets colder and spend the holidays in the tropics can choose from a range of Cuban resorts for every travel style including last-minute packages. Families planning a fun-filled escape will love Memories Flamenco Beach Resort in Cayo Coco, featuring fun-filled activities for everyone in the family. Couples seeking romance can stay at the adults only Sanctuary at Grand Memories Varadero, featuring exclusive resort areas just steps from one of Varadero’s world-famous beaches. Royalton Hicacos Resort & Spa is another popular choice for adults with a tranquil ambiance, sprawling pool with a waterfall and upgraded Diamond Club™ accommodation options.

To help make the return to Cuba as stress-free as possible, Sunwing is offering the ability for customers to change their plans anytime with no fees up to seven days prior to departure and free COVID-19 emergency medical coverage on most all inclusive packages, applicable on new bookings made between September 27 and December 6, 2021 for travel between November 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022.

About Sunwing
The largest integrated travel company in North America, Sunwing has more flights to the south than any other leisure carrier with convenient direct service from airports across Canada to popular sun destinations across the U.S.A., Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. This scale enables Sunwing to offer customers exclusive deals at top-rated resorts in the most popular vacation destinations as well as cruise packages and seasonal domestic flight service. Sunwing customers benefit from the assistance of the company’s own knowledgeable destination representatives, who greet them upon arrival and support them throughout their vacation journey. The company supports the communities where it operates through the Sunwing Foundation, a charitable initiative focused on the support and development of youth and humanitarian aid.

COVID-19: Sunwing cancels flights, travelers left without holiday packages

From Global News – link to source story

By Sean O’Shea  Global News | November 4, 2021

A Sunwing Airlines Boeing 737-800 (C-FWGH) single-aisle jet airliner airborne after take-off from Vancouver International Airport, Richmond, B.C. on Thursday, January 16, 2020.
A Sunwing Airlines Boeing 737-800 (C-FWGH) single-aisle jet airliner airborne after take-off from Vancouver International Airport, Richmond, B.C. on Thursday, January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley

Like thousands of Canadians whose travel plans were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Adrienne Martin of Whitby was left with an airline travel voucher she wanted to use.

A trip to St. Lucia this December seemed like the perfect getaway. She booked the trip with her partner in May.

“This time we decided to upgrade the resort; after being locked in the house for so long we decided to treat ourselves,” she said.

Martin and her partner had a Sunwing voucher worth $4,130 from a previous travel package. They applied the credit to a winter holiday worth $4,650. The pair were scheduled to leave Toronto on Dec. 11 and return on Dec. 18.

The pair booked an all-inclusive vacation in a luxury junior suite with ocean view at the Royalton Saint Lucia Resort and Spa.

But on Oct. 20, Martin got bad news from Sunwing. The airline informed her the flight was cancelled and the Christmas holiday trip could not go ahead.

“We were disappointed and confused,” she said.

Martin was given two options: “change package at the current system rate, subject to availability” or “cancel for a full refund issued to the original form of payment.”

At this point, Martin became frustrated because she said she was not offered her money back — just another travel voucher from Sunwing and no alternate trip.

“When a passenger paid good money, cash essentially for their services, they have to get back cash if those services are not provided,” said Gabor Lukacs, founder of Air Passenger Rights, a group that advocates for air passengers.

Not only was a cash refund of her purchase not offered at the time she said the company was still marketing Sunwing holiday vacations to St. Lucia in December at much higher prices using American Airlines.

“That is correct,” a Sunwing agent told Martin by telephone when she inquired to find out if the company was still selling the destination. She recorded the telephone call and shared the audio with Global News.

“I can do the booking over the phone,” the Sunwing agent told Martin.

Global News made five attempts over a one-week period to obtain comment from Sunwing about Martin’s case and the St. Lucia cancellations but Sunwing did not return emails.

Sunwing’s decision to cancel holiday flights is affecting Canadians traveling to other destinations, too.

“We felt awful, it’s something we’ve looked forward to all year,” said Karie Tepper, who contacted Global News.

Tepper, her husband and two children are among a group of 20 family members and friends who were set to travel with Sunwing to Antigua for two weeks over the Christmas holiday break.

The group booked their travel plans in February and had paid for the winter holiday in full.

“It’s definitely not something we had expected,” Tepper said in an interview referring to the cancellation.

She said Sunwing was prepared to apply the value of the trip to the hotel portion of the vacation, but the group was told they would have to pay am additional “$1,200 to $2,000 per person” to buy replacement air travel on another carrier.

Tepper said it’s impossible to purchase a trip at similar prices to what was paid when they booked.

Global News contacted Sunwing about Tepper’s case but the travel company did not reply to emails.

As a result, Sunwing changed its stance.

“I got a response from them…and it was a total about-face. We are now going to get our refund. They acknowledged that the original form of payment is my Visa card and I’ll be getting my refund in four to six weeks,” Martin said.

But she said it shouldn’t have been so difficult.

“It’s frustrating to know that this is what the average everyday consumer has to go through to be treated with dignity and respect.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Swissport Canada and Sunwing Airlines expand Ground Handling Agreement to Include Toronto Pearson

November 2, 2021 – Swissport Canada Press Release

Swissport Canada and Sunwing Airlines have expanded their partnership to Toronto Pearson International Airport. The new three-year agreement covers full airport ground services for Sunwing passengers at Toronto Pearson.

Swissport and Sunwing Airlines have expanded their partnership to Toronto Pearson International Airport, Canada’s busiest airport. The new three-year agreement began 3 November 2021 and includes full airport ground services for Sunwing passengers at Toronto Pearson, including baggage handling, check-in assistance and gate services. Swissport will also be responsible for aircraft handling on the apron such as baggage loading.

Sunwing Airlines is an award-winning leisure carrier and offers Canadian travellers flights to the most popular vacation destinations across the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and Florida. As part of the agreement, Swissport Canada will handle approximately 4,300 flights on Sunwing’s Boeing 737 aircraft per year.

Charles Roberge, CEO of Swissport Canada, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for our teams in Toronto. By adding Toronto (YYZ) to our partnerships in Vancouver (YVR), Edmonton (YEG) and Calgary (YYC), we will be Sunwing’s ground service partner at four major airports across the country. We are honored that Sunwing has entrusted us with helping to deliver excellent customer experiences from their busiest gateway.”

“We’re pleased to be expanding our agreement with Swissport Canada to include Toronto Pearson International Airport,” added Mark Williams, President at Sunwing Airlines. “Swissport Canada has consistently provided reliable service from three of our major gateways and we look forward to working with them at our busiest airport as we welcome more passengers back to the skies.”

In 2020, Swissport International AG provided best-in-class airport ground services for some 82 million airline passengers (preCovid 2019: 265 million) and handled roughly 4.1 million tons of air freight (2019: 4.6 million) at over 100 cargo warehouses worldwide. Several of its warehouses have been certified for pharmaceutical logistics by IATA’s CEIV Pharma and by the British MHRA. The world’s leader in airport ground services and air cargo handling, with currently around 45,000 employees, was active at 269 airports in 47 countries on six continents at the end of 2020.

WestJet suspends nearly 300 employees not fully vaccinated for COVID-19

From The Globe and Mail – link to source story

Eric Atkins, Transportation Reporter | 1 November 2021

The federal government says airlines and railways must have policies that require employees be fully vaccinated as of Oct. 30, the same day on which their passengers must prove they have been inoculated against the deadly virus. Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

WestJet Airlines Ltd. says it has suspended about 290 employees who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The suspended workers – about 4 per cent of WestJet’s 7,300-person staff – are not being paid for one month and could face firing if they do not comply with the government-mandated vaccine policy of the Calgary-based airline.

Ottawa said airlines and railways must have policies that require employees be fully vaccinated as of Oct. 30, the same deadline at which passengers were required to prove they have been inoculated against the potentially deadly virus.

Morgan Bell, a WestJet spokeswoman, said the airline has handled a “minimal” number of exemptions to the policy from its staff.

“The WestJet Group has implemented the federal government’s mandatory vaccination policy for air travellers and is operating as a fully vaccinated airline,” Ms. Bell said. “All WestJet Group employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and full vaccination status is a requirement of employment for all future employees hired by the WestJet Group.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents flight attendants at Canada’s airlines, said 47 members at Air Transat and 30 at Sunwing were on unpaid leave as of last Thursday for not being fully vaccinated, or stating they would not comply by the Oct. 30 deadline.

At Air Canada, the carrier is hiring 1,800 flight attendants, CUPE said, to cover for employees who are suspended or declining to return to active duty after being laid off in the pandemic. It is not clear how many suspensions are because of vaccination refusals.

Air Canada said last week about 1,080 staff had yet to comply with the vaccine requirement.

Air Canada, Air Transat and Sunwing did not immediately respond to questions on Monday.

The Canadian airline industry and much of the global one were grounded and incurred steep losses because of the pandemic, which prompted governments to close borders, bar travellers and impose quarantines, beginning in March, 2020.

Air Canada, which employs 27,000 people, recently recalled all its flight attendants back to work as it adds routes amid higher vaccination rates among Canadians.

– Nicolas Van Praet contributed to this article

Sunwing updates communications about new travel regulations

From Travelweek Group – link to source story

Sunwing updates communications about new travel regulations

Date: Oct 29 2021

By: Travelweek Group

TORONTO — Sunwing is making it easier for both customers and travel agents to navigate the new federal vaccination requirements for Canadian air travel, which come into effect on Oct. 30.

The company has sent out numerous email reminders to both customers and agents explaining the new requirements, in addition to updating its Travel Requirements page on Sunwing.ca with a helpful pre-departure checklist, as well as updating the Sunwing Agent portal. Requirements about vaccination requirements can also be found within the booking path, the Travel Advisories page, eDocs, confirmation emails and within the new Sunwing app.

“As demonstrated by the government lifting the advisory against non-essential travel for fully vaccinated Canadians, vaccinations are a critical tool in helping our industry rebound and return stronger than ever before,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations at Sunwing. “We’re dedicated to making the travel process frictionless and stress-free every step of the way and are in constant communication with our customers and agency partners. With simplified information on travel requirements, we’re hoping to show Canadians that returning to paradise is easy under our wing.”

Construction underway on Waterloo International Airport’s $44M expansion

From CTV News – link to source story – Thanks PN

Link to videoFrom CTV Kitchener's Stephanie Villella: Construction has begun for a massive expansion to the Region of Waterloo International Airport.

Stephanie Villella, CTV News Kitchener Videographer & Max Martin, CTV News, Kitchener.ca Digital Content Producer

Updated Oct. 14, 2021

WATERLOO – Construction is underway on the Region of Waterloo International Airport’s $44 million expansion project.

The project should see the airport double in size in the next six months in a bid to increase the number of passengers from 70,000 in 2019 to more than one million in 2023.

Region of Waterloo Chair Karen Redman, council, and staff celebrated the occasion Thursday by putting shovels in the ground.

“It is an exciting time for the region and today is an important milestone as the airport continues to grow and drive a thriving economy,” said Redman in a release. “Airline partners have recently announced an increase in destinations and frequency of flights, which will move the airport to the next level in world-class service. This will also provide more opportunities for the Region in terms of jobs and economic expansion.”

The project, which initially broke ground this summer, includes the construction of two buildings featuring baggage carousels, holding areas, food services, retail and pre-board screening.

A rendering of the Waterloo International Airport expansion project. (Stephanie Villella/CTV Kitchener)

“The increased commercial service into our Region coupled with increased capacity gives our destination a competitive edge and bodes well for the strength and growth of the community,” said Minto Schneider, chief executive of Explore Waterloo Region.

Officials said the expansion, which is receiving $4 million from the federal government, will help drive economic growth in the region, create jobs and support tourism.

“This investment in the airport will help to ensure we are attracting people and companies to put down roots in Waterloo Region,” Redman said. “This growth is just the beginning as we build a community that is globally competitive and one of the world’s greatest places to live.”

Redman adds that about 80,000 passengers came through the airport in 2019, but that number is expected to grow by one million by 2023.

WestJet, Sunwing, Pivot Airlines, and Flair are all flying out of the regional airport, but plans are in the works for others to come.

“This has been successful, so this may see other airlines say okay maybe we should think about that,” said Chris Wood, the general manager for the airport.

In 2017, WestJet cancelled its weekly flight to Orlando due to demand issues, and in the summer Flair cancelled a number of flights out of the region’s airport as well.

“They’re not going to continue to lose money on routes that aren’t working,” said Wood. “You can now fly to Calgary. I think you could buy tickets today for $89. You could never do that before.”

The terminal expansion project is expected to be completed next spring, but the new arrivals building should be un and running by the end of 2021.

Canadians appear eager to take off for sun destinations despite ongoing COVID-19 challenges

From CBC News – link to source story

Increased demand for bookings, as Ottawa still advising Canadians to stay home

Geoff Nixon · CBC News · Posted: Sep 19, 2021

A row of beach chairs in Varadero, Cuba, is empty of sun-seekers in March 2021. Cuba is relaxing restrictions for incoming Canadian tourists starting in mid-November. (Ramon Espinosa/The Associated Press)

Michel Dubois has packed his bags, even though his planned trip to Cuba is still more than two months away.

That’s because the retired TV cameraman and editor from Saint-Jérome, Que., is eager for a break from the monotony of pandemic life.

“After a year and a half of sitting in front of my TV and computer, it’s time to move on,” said Dubois, 70, who plans to do some scuba diving and enjoy the sun.

Trips like the one Dubois has booked are giving airlines and tour operators something to look forward to as well — seemingly better business prospects after months of severely hampered operations due to pandemic-related border closures and travel restrictions.

Some key travel players are reporting increased demand for bookings to sun destinations, despite the ongoing challenges of a global pandemic that has yet to end inside or outside Canada’s borders.

Better days ahead?

The onset of the pandemic prompted governments — including Canada’s — to urge people to stay home to stem the spread of the coronavirus and its variants.

It’s a stance Ottawa still holds, even though the government recently loosened restrictions for incoming travellers who are vaccinated.

Tourists relax on a beach in Cancun, Mexico, last month. (Marco Ugarte/The Associated Press)

“We continue to advise against non-essential travel outside of Canada,” Global Affairs Canada said in an email on Friday, noting that this applies to all countries around the globe.

The department also pointed to practical concerns for those who choose to go abroad.

“Additional travel restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can suspend or reduce flights without notice. Travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult to return home.”

Canada walks fine line as border reopens during fourth wave

Indeed, COVID-19 travel restrictions vary from country to country, with vaccine passports gaining traction with some governments. Prior to the current federal election campaign, Ottawa had announced plans to develop such documentation for international travel.

Then and now

Ambarish Chandra, an associate professor of economics at the University of Toronto, says that while the government actively discouraged travel last winter, that didn’t deter all people from going abroad — such as snowbirds who went to Florida.

With the progress on vaccination that has been made, Chandra said he believes Ottawa’s stance on leisure travel may have to shift.

“I don’t think it would be reasonable for the government to go a second winter season saying: ‘Don’t travel,'” Chandra said in an interview.

A mask-wearing pilot at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in March 2020, the same month the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. Many border closures and travel restrictions were soon put into effect in countries around the world. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

Jörg Fritz, an associate professor in the microbiology and immunology department at Montreal’s McGill University, says that as travel picks up, Canada will have to keep a close eye on what strains of the virus are circulating here and around the globe.

“We simply need to face that this virus will not go away that quickly,” he said.

“The danger that new variants arise that might escape vaccine-induced immunity is still there and will be there for quite a while.”

It’s also key for Canada to continue increasing its vaccination rate and to ensure that children are protected as soon as that is possible, Fritz said.

A desire to get away

Air Canada says the upcoming fall and winter looks promising for travel to sun destinations.

“When looking to the sun market, we are very optimistic about our recovery,” airline spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick told CBC News in a recent email, adding that “we are currently observing demand growth that is above 2019 levels.”

Sunwing Travel Group says it’s seeing ‘encouraging demand’ for sun-destination bookings compared with last fall. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Meanwhile, Sunwing Travel Group reports seeing “encouraging demand” compared with last fall, which spokesperson Melanie Anne Filipp says shows Canadians are growing more confident about travelling again.

“The rise in vaccinations across the country and easing border measures have without a doubt contributed to Canadians’ increasing interest in travel to sun destinations,” said Filipp, who noted that business remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Montreal-based Air Transat is currently flying passengers to a mix of domestic and international locations. Some of its sun destinations include Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico.

“We confirm that demand is doing well, and we clearly feel that the urge to travel is back,” Air Transat spokesperson Debbie Cabana said via email.

“However, because of the uncertainty that still exists when traveling abroad, bookings are being made more last minute than before the pandemic.”

Being able to back out

A last-minute travel buy was not the story for Dubois, the retired TV cameraman, who booked his own trip back in January.

But he also bought a ticket that will allow him to cancel his plans up to 24 hours before departure, with a full refund.

Tourists take a break at a restaurant in Havana, Cuba, in August 2019. Seven months later, the global pandemic was declared, bringing an end to most leisure travel throughout the world. (Fernando Medina/Reuters)

On prior trips, he hadn’t tended to pencil in the possibility of needing to cancel — but that was before COVID-19.

“Before now, no,” said Dubois, who worked for both CBC and Radio-Canada during his career. “Now, definitely.”

The University of Toronto’s Chandra says the more flexible arrangements being offered by airlines reflects the fact that some customers won’t be willing to book expensive tickets if there’s a chance they will lose their money.

Rolling out the welcome mat

Dubois is heading to Cuba at the end of November, and by that time, travel restrictions will have been eased.

The Cuban Tourism Ministry recently announced that as of Nov. 15, Canadians with proof of vaccination won’t have to take a test before heading to the country. They’ll also be able to travel across the island.

Vacationers take to the water at a Club Med resort in the Dominican Republic before the pandemic. With the progress on vaccination that has been made, one expert says he believes Ottawa’s restrictive stance on leisure travel may have to shift. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

Sunwing’s Filipp said that “numerous sun destinations are already open for travel,” and like Cuba, other destinations are expected to ease restrictions of their own as vaccination rates rise and COVID-19 cases decline.

Chandra says he’s doubtful that differing rules between sun destinations will have much of an effect on travel patterns.

That’s because a lot of sun seekers — and snowbirds in particular — are likely to “stick to their choices” when it comes to their desired winter getaways. “They’re not going to go other places,” he said.

They’re also unlikely to go to other regions because they head south to take advantage of the better weather, he said.

Sunwing announces its return to Cuba – a perennial favourite among Canadians – with flights from gateways across the country

TORONTO, Sept. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Amid easing entry requirements and soaring vaccination rates in Cuba, along with competitive pricing for pre-departure PCR tests at $30 USD per person, Sunwing is pleased to announce that it will be offering weekly flights to the Canadian favourite destinations of Varadero and Cayo Coco. Flight service will be available from several gateways across Canada starting in October and November, including Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton. As winter progresses, more Canadian departure gateways and popular Cuban destinations are expected to be added to reflect evolving consumer demand.

“We’re thrilled to be helping our customers head back to the sunny shores of Cuba this fall under our wing,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations at Sunwing. “Cuba has been an integral part of our operations ever since our inaugural flight took off from Toronto to Varadero in 2005. Our Cuba program has continued to grow since then, and has been one of our most popular destinations over the past decade. The resort towns of Varadero and Cayo Coco both offer serene beach locations and secluded tourist areas for a relaxing retreat, away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities.”

The flight schedule will be as follows:

  • Between Toronto and Varadero, Fridays starting October 8, 2021
  • Between Toronto and Cayo Coco, Saturdays starting October 9, 2021
  • Between Montreal and Varadero, Fridays starting October 8, 2021
  • Between Montreal and Cayo Coco, Saturdays starting October 16, 2021
  • Between Calgary and Varadero, Tuesdays starting November 2, 2021
  • Between Edmonton and Varadero, Tuesdays starting November 2, 2021

With its pristine beaches, warm weather and a wide variety of resorts for every travel style, it’s no wonder that Canadian sun-seekers return to Cuba year after year. Grand Memories Varadero is a popular choice with fun-filled activities and a sprawling beach that’s perfect for soaking up the sun and building sandcastles. Vacationers headed to Cayo Coco may choose to stay at Iberostar Selection Playa Pilar, with oceanfront suites and the area’s only water playground; or Memories Flamenco Beach Resort, offering a range of water sports like snorkelling and catamaran rides.

Plus, all vacation packages booked by October 15, 2021 for departures between now and October 31, 2021 will include complimentary COVID-19 coverage at no additional charge.

About Sunwing
The largest integrated travel company in North America, Sunwing has more flights to the south than any other leisure carrier with convenient direct service from airports across Canada to popular sun destinations across the U.S.A., Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. This scale enables Sunwing to offer customers exclusive deals at top-rated resorts in the most popular vacation destinations as well as cruise packages and seasonal domestic flight service. Sunwing customers benefit from the assistance of the company’s own knowledgeable destination representatives, who greet them upon arrival and support them throughout their vacation journey. The company supports the communities where it operates through the Sunwing Foundation, a charitable initiative focused on the support and development of youth and humanitarian aid.