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Vancouver Airport Authority recognized as leader in Canadian innovation

RICHMOND, B.C. – Vancouver Airport Authority (YVR) has been recognized as a winner of PwC Canada’s 2019 Vision to Reality (V2R) awards for its self-service border control solution, BorderXpress, in the Builder category. BorderXpress technology was developed by Innovative Travel Solutions (ITS), an independent business unit within Vancouver International Airport. The award ceremony took place…

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Vancouver Airport Authority recognized as leader in Canadian innovation

RICHMOND, B.C. – Vancouver Airport Authority (YVR) has been recognized as a winner of PwC Canada’s 2019 Vision to Reality (V2R) awards for its self-service border control solution, BorderXpress, in the Builder category. BorderXpress technology was developed by Innovative Travel Solutions (ITS), an independent business unit within Vancouver International Airport. The award ceremony took place in Toronto on May 9, 2019.
“We are honoured to be considered a leader in innovation for our BorderXpress solution. YVR has gone from identifying a universal problem at our own airport with border processing to building a locally-based product that it is now the global market leader,” says Craig Richmond, President and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority. “With increased demand for air travel and changing border regulations, the industry must embrace innovation to increase efficiencies and improve passenger satisfaction, while maintaining the highest security standards.”
V2R is PwC Canada’s annual program aimed at recognizing and celebrating the most forward-thinking organizations in Canada. The awards are judged by an independent panel of judges and include four categories: The Visionary, the Builder, the Reinventor and the Accelerator. In addition to Vancouver Airport Authority, British Columbia’s Ministry of Health, GHGSat Inc. and Sun Life Financial were also named winners in the other respective categories.   
As the winner of the Builder category, Vancouver Airport Authority had to meet several requirements, including having revenue between CA$51 million and $CA1 billion, as well as being Canadian controlled or headquartered in Canada. The organization also had to demonstrate that it was actively innovating to improve product quality and find service efficiencies to help break through to the next level.
“Congratulations to Vancouver Airport Authority for winning the Builder Award at the 2019 PwC Vision to Reality (V2R) Awards,” says Chris Dulny, Chief Innovation Officer, PwC Canada. “Never has there been a more important time to bring together a community of innovators to encourage, support and value Canada’s most forward-thinking organizations.”
BorderXpress is a self-service border control solution that uses an efficient two-step process to expedite the border clearance process, reducing passenger wait times by more than 60 per cent. This results in cost and space savings and allows border officers to focus on maintaining the safety of the border. BorderXpress provides better exception handling, is fully accessible to persons with disabilities and can be configured with up to 35 different languages. It can process any passenger, including families travelling as a group.
“Technology plays a critical role in modernizing border management so that we can meet the needs of tomorrow’s traveller,” says Steve Hankinson, Vice President, Innovation and Planning, Vancouver Airport Authority. “At ITS, we have the experience needed to deliver a solution that is guaranteed to succeed – our technology is built by an airport, for airports. The recognition in receiving the Vision to Reality award further drives this home.”
ITS delivers industry-leading automated border control solutions that are proven to enhance the overall traveller experience and airport performance. Since 2009, ITS has sold over 1,600 kiosks at 44 airport, seaport and onboard sites around the world, helping more than 250 million passengers clear the border safely and securely.

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Ultima Gstaad and COYA launch new partnership

This winter season, Ultima Gstaad, a 5-star Superior Hotel located in the upscale resort town of Gstaad launches a new partnership with globally renowned Peruvian restaurant group COYA, to bring the flavours, colours and energy of Latin America to the Swiss Alps. With COYA’s reputation for creating outstanding guest experiences and Ultima Gstaad’s commitment to…

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Ultima Gstaad and COYA launch new partnership

This winter season, Ultima Gstaad, a 5-star Superior Hotel located in the upscale resort town of Gstaad launches a new partnership with globally renowned Peruvian restaurant group COYA, to bring the flavours, colours and energy of Latin America to the Swiss Alps. With COYA’s reputation for creating outstanding guest experiences and Ultima Gstaad’s commitment to providing unmatched standards of services for guests, this partnership is a blend of exemplary gastronomic splendour capturing the spirit of Latin America, for guests seeking authentic, trendy and immersive experiences. From Saturday, 12th December 2020, until Monday, 1st March 2021, award-winning luxury lifestyle group, COYA, will be taking over Ultima Gstaad’s Restaurant, Lobby Bar and Shisha Lounge each evening, transforming the space into a Latin American adventure. COYA will be offering their signature sharing plates inspired by traditional Peruvian cuisine and influenced by Japanese, Spanish and Chinese cooking techniques, expertly made cocktails, and a sense of true Latin American fiesta with extravagant performances, live music, and a resident DJ playing a mixture of afro house, downtempo and tribal beats. COYA’s Regional Executive Chef, Fabrizio Fossati has created special A La Carte, Taste of Lima, and Room Service menus for the pop-up. The A La Carte menu will feature COYA’s global favourite dishes such as Ceviche de Atun Chifa made with albacore tuna, sesame, soy and served with a rice cracker; Arroz Nikkei made with charcoal-grilled Chilean sea bass over rice, lime and chilli; Lomo de Res with spicy marinated beef fillet with Peruvian chilli and crispy shallots; and COYA’s much-loved Churros de Naranja, orange and lime churros served with warm dulce de leche and chocolate sauce. Ultima Gstaad guests will be among the first in the world to enjoy the Taste of Lima menu launching this winter in COYA’s Pisco Bar & Lounges globally. Each dish has been inspired by Fabrizio Fossati’s recent expedition to South America in search of new flavours, found in the streets of Lima, the original home of fusion South American cuisine. Fabrizio has taken inspiration from traditional delights such as the empanada, croqueta and tostada, and reimagined them for modern luxury dining, producing an authentic and elevated experience. Guests can expect to be blown away by the devilishly moreish Empanadas de Maiz con Pollo, Croquetas de Lubina, and Tostada de Atun.COYA’s expert bar team have created a unique cocktail menu for the pop-up, inspired by the Swiss Alps and available in Ultima’s Lobby Bar and Shisha Bar. Alongside COYA’s famed Pisco Sour, cocktails include Dolce & Banana, made with vodka, banana, hazelnut and Swiss chocolate; Mountain Range Punch, made with whisky, gingerbread spiced tea, vanilla, orange and toasted marshmallow; and a warming Hot Honey Toddy with aged rum, honey with lemon, spices, tonka bean, tea.Set to be the highlight of the year, Ultima Gstaad and COYA will be joining forces to curate an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party to bring in 2021. Starting with a champagne welcome, the celebrations will be followed by a four-course Peruvian feast with special dishes to ignite the senses. Entertainment will be provided through

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Tour Specialists reveal how group tour companies are managing the pandemic

Intrepid travel specialists Undiscovered Destinations, who offer small group and private tours around the world are starting to see an upturn in enquiries for group tours in 2021/22.The pandemic and its associated restrictions have had a huge impact on the travel industry and social distancing measures means certain types of group travel are not possible.As…

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Tour Specialists reveal how group tour companies are managing the pandemic

Intrepid travel specialists Undiscovered Destinations, who offer small group and private tours around the world are starting to see an upturn in enquiries for group tours in 2021/22.The pandemic and its associated restrictions have had a huge impact on the travel industry and social distancing measures means certain types of group travel are not possible.As experts in small group travel Undiscovered Destinations have been fortunate in that they can still offer the small tours they specialise in, catering for groups with an average size of just six guests. At the height of the pandemic the tour operators saw an understandable decrease in bookings for group travel, however over the last month the company have seen an interest in small group travel for next year grow. Since summer, enquiries for small group tours have risen by 85%.Given the current guidance Undiscovered Destinations have been able to successfully run very small group travel options, which is something the team are already equipped and skilled in offering. They will be continuing to offer small group travel options into next year keeping in line with the ongoing local guidance at all times.Aled Evans of Undiscovered Destinations says, “Before the pandemic we already catered to offering group tours for very small group sizes, and so have been fortunate to an extent in that we already know how to offer incredible group travel experiences for small numbers. Small group travel allows for a more intimate travel experience and more time to explore each location independently and have one-on-one time with the local guides learning about the places that specifically interest each individual.We are excited to see an upturn in enquiries for small group tours in 2021 and we hope that by continuing to offer our expertise in this area in a safe and sensible manner, we can continue to offer the joy of group travel moving forward.”The travel company have implemented some key safety measures on all of their tours to ensure the safety of their customers and team. The specific measures will be crafted for each tour on an individual basis depending on the location, group size and activities included, but for every tour all guides are fully briefed on the new protocols – including how to monitor for any symptoms of the virus, what to do should any guests become unwell, and how to ensure hygiene rules are followed. The team is ensuring that local guidelines from the authorities are followed closely in all areas which they travel to.In addition to implementing safety protocols and offering small group travel, Undiscovered Destinations are also choosing to be extremely flexible with bookings allowing customers to easily rearrange any pre-existing bookings and providing a full refund where trips have been unable to run. Additionally, the itineraries en-route have also been adapted to be more flexible than ever with modifications being made locally to avoid large crowds or follow any other safety cautions.

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ATPCO launches new rich content format: Structured UPAs

DULLES, VA – ATPCO launched a new format of Routehappy Rich Content: Structured UPAs (Universal Product Attributes). With the introduction of Structured UPAs, airlines and channels now have greater flexibility in how they display essential retailing content using more comparable, concise, and sortable data that can be presented to emphasize objective content over images.UPAs were…

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ATPCO launches new rich content format: Structured UPAs

DULLES, VA – ATPCO launched a new format of Routehappy Rich Content: Structured UPAs (Universal Product Attributes). With the introduction of Structured UPAs, airlines and channels now have greater flexibility in how they display essential retailing content using more comparable, concise, and sortable data that can be presented to emphasize objective content over images.UPAs were originally created to introduce visual content in flight shopping displays, and have since been adopted by dozens of channels worldwide. Given the evolving needs of travelers amid the pandemic and the immediate success of Reassurance UPAs, ATPCO found – based on consistent feedback from its industry partners, including Serko and Expedia Group’s Brand Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Cheaptickets, Hotels.com, eBookers, and Wotif – that the messaging component of UPAs are equally as valuable to flight shoppers as the visual component of UPAs. This feedback prompted the introduction of Structured UPAs as a way to deliver a more standardized version of data that channels can adapt to meet their customers’ need for information that can be scanned quickly during flight shopping to help with the decision-making process.Structured UPAs consist of an icon, a headline, and a description, and channels can choose to integrate all or some of these attributes. Structured UPAs also have a primary field that supports multiple standardized data inputs (e.g., yes/no) that enable sales channels to craft the messaging according to the data but using their own channel voice as desired. This new rich content format is currently available for over 300 airlines and includes five objective, standardized topics:Cleaning: whether airlines are using disinfectants to clean aircraft and how often, and if that information is availableMasks: whether there is a mask or face covering requirement; specifying if a medical-grade mask is requiredTemperature check: whether there is a pre-flight temperature check requirementBlocked seats: whether an airline is blocking adjacent or middle seats, or if only some seats are blockedCapacity: whether an airline is limiting the capacity on flights to ensure physical distancingStructured UPAs will initially focus on reassurance topics and will expand in the future to meet market needs and flight shopper demand for information. Structured UPAs will be delivered via the Routehappy API and can be targeted at a granular level to focus on the airline and cabin, book-by dates, origin and destination, and more.“The crisis reinforced how critical UPAs are in giving travelers the information they need to feel safe and protected when they fly. Now our airline and channel partners are relying on ATPCO to deliver this content in more flexible ways,” said Jonathan Savitch, Chief Commercial Officer at ATPCO. “Visuals are still important as they enable consumers to better understand, at the time of booking, the airline experience they will receive. But after many hours of consultation with thought-leading airlines and channels, we realized they need more options, including the ability to filter and sort based on key health information.” Expedia Group, which will be one of the first channels to integrate the new rich content format, worked hand-in-hand with ATPCO to quickly bring this functionality to market. “Right now, it is so important that travelers have the cleanliness and safety information they need when considering travel, particularly air travel. Each situation is different, and this structured content gives us the flexibility to tailor, localize, and test messaging to help travelers make more informed decisions,” said Michael Gulmann, Senior Vice President of Transportation, Expedia Group. “We are really excited by the partnership and customer-centric focus of ATPCO in working together to develop this highly relevant content. Structured UPAs enable travelers to more easily compare policies across airlines in a consistent and concise way so we can offer a simplified shopping experience while highlighting critical information.”   “We’ve seen an increase in conversions for those channels that integrated Reassurance UPAs and anticipate a similar impact for our new Structured UPA,” explains Savitch. “One channel has seen a 4% conversion improvement by adding ATPCO’s Reassurance UPA content. This highlights that when the shopping experience is adapted to drive awareness of flexible airline change policies and safety measures, it can impact the bottom line.”

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