Quebec Tourism comes to Toronto...Emirates Air has Toronto anniversary
Tourisme Quebec brought la belle province to Toronto’s Distillery District Tuesday with a display of what to do in Quebec this summer. Here's a report from Star staffer Lorianna De Giorgio.
"Montreal, Quebec City, Laurentian, Eastern Townships, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Le Quebec maritime and Outaouais regions were all represented at Archeo Trattoria with the day’s theme being the St. Lawrence River (see photo) and all what the waterway and surrounding areas have to offer.
Everything from biking around Lac Saint-Jean to a stay at the Manoir Hovey, a luxury lakeside resort in the Eastern Townships, it was evident that Quebec is much more than just a weekend trip to Montreal.
'It has a rich culture. It offers a real feel for what is Quebecois,' says Nancy Donnelly, media relations agent for the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.
The region is home to a multitude of outdoor adventures for the nature lover, including cruises, kayaking and sailing trips along the Saguenay Fjord, a narrow inlet connecting Lac Saint-Jean with the Saint Lawrence. Similarly, the Outaouais region has a mix of indoor and outdoor activities with cycling trips, sightseeing adventures and national history relics. Not to be ignored, the Quebec Maritime region is home to stunning views of the river and the province’s coastal regions, as well as walking, cycling and rock-climbing day trips.
With all the outdoor fun, the province has a healthy supply of spas. Montreal recently welcomed the arrival of Bota Bota, a spa inside an old ship stationed in the city’s Old Port. But don’t think Pirates of the Caribbean. Instead le spa-sur-l’eau offers visitors views of the city and river while indulging in facials, massages and pedicures.
The Laurentian region, known as 'Montreal's backyard' and just a 20-minute drive from downtown Montreal is home to 35 distinct spas. One that particularly stands out is L’Oasis De L’Ile, a decadent spa in Saint-Eustache.
If spas aren’t your thing, each region is home to a number of summer festivals. Visit www.bonjourquebec.com for more details."
EMIRATES CELEBRATES WITH VISIT AND DEALS
This posting comes from Star Travel freelancer Heather Greenwood Davis:
"Two years ago I was one of the first Canadians to try out the in-flight shower spa on the (then) new- Emirates A380 superjumbos for a story [ http://www.thestar.com/travel/article/641321 ] that ran in The Star. Since then the airline hasn’t slowed down.
This week Don McWilliam, Emirates’ manager Canada was in town talking to a handful of reporters about the airline’s fantastic year and grand plans for the months ahead.
Recently voted the #1 airline in the world by Air Transport World, Emirates is boasting record profits (The Emirates Group which owns the airline had $15.6 billion U.S. in revenue and net profits of $1.6 billion) despite a year that included volcanic ash, international disasters, new visa requirements for Canadians and recently, even more volcanic ash.
McWilliam says it is “business as usual” for the airline in Canada with more than 80% load factors and more than 100,000 Canadians who have flown on the A380 double decker super jumbo jets to date.
This year they plan to add 4 new routes (Geneva, Copenhagen, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro), 5 new Emirates lounges, 7 more A380 planes and 16 more Boeing 777-300 ERs to their offerings.
And there are two new offerings that are particularly attractive to Canadians planning trips to Dubai:
- The Dubai Stopover Program: This build-it-yourself itinerary offers deals on everything from hotels to sightseeing packages when you book an Emirates flight regardless of the travel class or fare you choose. The new program also includes special perks for Stopover purchasers including a Dubai Mall privileges discount booklet, a 24-hour contact number, hotel transfers, buffet breakfasts and a personalized meet and assist in Dubai airport. Rates start as low as $39 Cdn per night and include everything from self-catering apartments to top luxury hotels like the Armani. The program can be self-booked online, through your preferred travel agent or through Kompass Express –Emirates’ new official “fulfillment centre” for Canada. Booking through Kompass removes the need to worry about filling out the Visa applications as they are authorized to do it for you.
- Summer Smiles: Family travelers on Emirates this summer (now through September 30) can take advantage of the “Summer Smiles” program which offers kids half- price fares and complimentary stay, play (Dubai Aquarium & underwater Zoo, Sega Republic, Dubai ice Rink and more) and eat packages at participating hotels. Emirates also provides the children complimentary 96 hour visas. The offer is good for up to 2 kids under the age of 12 traveling with an adult.
As for the bad blood between the UAE and Canadian officials that led to the visa requirement in January of this year, McWilliams is hoping it gets resolved soon but taking a “NHL referee” approach and staying out of it.
“Do I wish we didn’t have this stuff. You betcha,” he told the group. “Has it had a significant impact on our business? No, it hasn’t. But do I wish all visas would go away? Sure I do.”