Check out the latest group travel industry updates.
SkyBridge Michigan Set to Open at Boyne Mountain Resort
BOYNE FALLS, MICH.—SkyBridge Michigan is making its debut as the world’s longest timber-towered suspension bridge and opening to the public on Oct. 15, 2022. Located at Boyne Mountain Resort, a destination known for its outdoor recreation, the new pedestrian bridge offers resort guests and northern Michigan visitors an exhilarating experience year-round.
SkyBridge Michigan is positioned between the peaks of McLouth and Disciples Ridge. The architectural masterpiece stands at approximately 1,200 feet long. Bridge visitors can expect a thrilling adventure with panoramic views of Boyne Valley.
The experience starts with a chairlift ride to the mountain top, followed by an open-air walk across a suspended five-foot-wide walking surface nearly 118 feet above the valley floor. Guests can cross and then make a return trip back across the bridge for ample views and thrill. For an unobstructed glimpse of the valley floor below, a 36-foot span of see-though glass flooring is located in the middle of the bridge. Eagle’s Nest, the adjacent mountain peak eatery, offers visitors a unique dining experience. Historical resort memorabilia, continued views of Boyne Valley, a full bar, and a menu of hearty sandwiches, soups, and burgers await guests at the restaurant.
Since opening in 1948, a pioneering spirit has been at the core of Boyne Mountain Resort. SkyBridge Michigan is the latest record-breaking attraction in the resort’s rich history of many industry firsts. The resort itself is known for offering guests all-season attractions.
“With four-season appeal, SkyBridge Michigan is a major attraction for Boyne Mountain Resort, as well as the entire northern Michigan region,” says Erin Ernst, Boyne Mountain Resort’s director of communications. “The bridge brings an offering that’s extremely unique for our area. It’s an exciting must-do when planning a trip to northern Michigan, whether for families, couples, or friends.”
Canada Lifts Border Measures
OTTAWA—The Government of Canada has removed all COVID-19 entry restrictions, as well as testing, quarantine, and isolation requirements for anyone entering Canada, effective Oct. 1, 2022.
As of Oct. 1, all travelers, regardless of citizenship, will no longer have to: submit quarantine and vaccination information through the ArriveCan app or website; provide proof of vaccination; undergo pre- or on-arrival testing; carry out COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation; or monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arriving in Canada.
Transport Canada is also removing existing travel requirements for domestic travel. As of Oct. 1, 2022, travelers will no longer be required to: undergo health checks for travel on air and rail, or wear masks on planes and trains. Cruise measures are also being lifted.
NTA Survey Shows Tour Operators Are Meeting Challenges with New Solutions
LEXINGTON, Ky.—Responses to a late-summer survey of National Tour Association (NTA) tour operators show that travel demand has bounced back from pandemic lows, and while travel professionals are facing new challenges, they are also developing new solutions.
“Our tour operators are hearing a call for flexibility, choice, and individual experiences within a group itinerary, and that’s what they’re delivering,” says Catherine Prather, NTA president.
Asked about 2023 bookings for domestic travel, most NTA operators are positive: Two-thirds report that bookings are meeting or exceeding expectations, with 33% terming business as stronger than expected. Just under a quarter (23%) say bookings are not as promising as they had hoped. The outlook for overseas travel is nearly identical.
After two years of diminished travel opportunities, tour operators are seeing packaged-travel clients return. Some report seeing a heightened desire to fulfill bucket-list trips. But not all operators are seeing the same demands.
“The range in responses and observations from our operators matches the variety of clients they serve, the destinations they visit, and the experiences they specialize in,” Prather says. “While some companies are simply picking up where they left off, others are dealing with shifts in client requests, including an interest in smaller group sizes.”
Worker shortages and supply-chain struggles have been widely reported, yet client expectations of service vary. A bigger challenge for operators is staff shortages that lead to reduced hours or days of operation among suppliers—restaurants and experience providers. They’re handling those challenges by adding flexibility and individual choice within itineraries.
“Tour operators might book fewer group meals in restaurants and instead allow clients to choose their own dining experiences,” Prather says. “They’re also providing unstructured time in the itinerary so their travelers can choose how to spend this free time.”
New Flight Ride in Las Vegas Features Canadian Rockies
LAS VEGAS—FlyOver in Las Vegas, the Strip’s premier flight ride attraction, is celebrating its first anniversary with the launch of its newest flight ride experience, Windborne: Call of the Canadian Rockies. Tickets to this immersive adventure are now on sale and can be purchased online at flyoverlasvegas.com.
Featuring incredible footage captured in remote areas of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the film spotlights areas unreachable to most, providing a rare glimpse into the most isolated and untouched areas of the mountain range. Las Vegas visitors will explore Canada’s snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, picturesque valleys, and dramatic vistas as they travel over Banff, Jasper, and Yoho national parks among other spectacular locales.
ABA’s Marketplace Chooses Philly
WASHINGTON–The American Bus Association (ABA) recently announced Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the site of its 2025 ABA’s Marketplace and Busworld North America. The dates of the 2025 Marketplace and Busworld North America will be Jan. 31-Feb. 4, 2025. This will be the first time ABA has been in Philadelphia since 2011.
“We look forward to bringing our ABA’s Marketplace and Busworld North America back to Philadelphia in 2025,” says Peter Pantuso, ABA president and CEO. “Our last time there was in 2011, and since then the city has reinvented itself as a booming cultural and culinary destination.”
ABA’s next Marketplace will be held in Detroit, Michigan, Feb. 4-7, 2023. Marketplace 2024 is set for Nashville, Tennessee, Jan. 13-16, 2024.