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Canada Travel News: Visa Exemptions, The Best Places To Visit In 2024 & More You Need To Know

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Attention, travellers! With the new year comes plenty of new travel news affecting Canadians, from flights to ground transportation and more.

From new visa exemptions for Canadian travellers to new routes on board Canadian airlines and the best places to visit in the country, here’s what’s new in the travel world right now that you’ll want to know about.

Visa exemptions for Canadians

  • Turkiye has lifted visa requirements for Canadians for short stays in the country. Visas are no longer required for Canadian tourists hoping to visit the country for 90 days within any 180-day period. Previously, Canadians would have had to pay US$60 to enter the country and would have a 180-day window to visit after being approved, according to CTV News.
  • Looking to travel to Brazil? The country has extended the exemption of visa requirements from Canadian travellers until April 10, 2024, meaning you can travel to the country visa-free until this date. Previously, visa requirements were set to begin on January 10, 2024. Brazil’s government says the extension is to avoid resuming visa requirements during the peak travel season.

Best places to visit in Canada

Several Canadian cities have been named as some of the best places to visit in the world in 2024.

  • Online travel guide Travel Lemming named St. John’s, Newfoundland, one of the best places to travel in 2024, citing the colourful city’s “heartwarming locals,” historic sites, stunning scenery and, of course, fresh seafood as reasons to visit.
  • The New York Times named the Mingan Archipelago in Quebec and Whitehorse, Yukon, in its list of 52 places to visit around the world in 2024. The Mingan Archipelago, a national park reserve on the Gulf of St. Lawrence offers the chance to see sea-sculpted monoliths, puffins and secluded beaches — or, visit Whitehorse this year to see incredible northern lights activity.
  • Saint John, New Brunswick, was the only Canadian destination to make CNN’s list of the best places to go in 2024, noting that its historic architecture, broad range of food from cheap eats to fine dining and nearby Bay of Fundy make it worth a visit.

How Canada stacks up among the world’s most powerful passports

The Canadian passport fell in a new ranking of the world’s most powerful passports released by Arton Capital last week.

The Passport Index unveiled the most powerful passports of 2023, ranking the passports that allow holders to visit the most countries visa-free.

Canada’s passport ranks in the seventh spot globally with a mobility score of 173, meaning that holders of a Canadian passport can travel to 117 countries visa-free, 49 countries where a visa is provided on arrival, and seven countries requiring an Electronic Travel Authorization.

The passport ranks alongside those of Malta, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia, which also all have mobility scores of 173. However, the score is a drop in ranking from 2022, when Canada’s global passport power rank was fourth along with Japan, Greece, Australia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

While Canada’s passport didn’t exactly get weaker itself, the rise in mobility of other countries’ passports seems to have knocked it down in the ranking.

Canada’s best travel credit cards revealed

A new ranking by Rewards Canada has determined the best travel credit cards for those looking to rack up more travel points in 2024.

According to the ranking, the best travel credit card in Canada is the American Express Cobalt Card, which took the top spot for the seventh year in a row.

The card allows holders to earn five times the points on eligible food and drink purchases, three times the points on eligible streaming subscriptions, and two times the points on travel and transit, including eligible ridesharing and weekend getaways.

Boeing grounding not affecting Canadian airlines

Canadian airlines have said they don’t fly Boeing 737-9 Max jetliners after an Alaskan Airlines plane blew out a window while in the air.

In response to the incident, the Federal Aviation Administration said that every Boeing 737-9 Max with a plug door will “remain grounded until the FAA finds each can safely return to operation.”

However, multiple Canadian airlines including Air Canada, WestJet, Lynx Air, Flair Airlines and Sunwing have said they fly the 737-8 Max jetliner, not the 737-9, and are not affected by the grounding, according to a report by the Canadian Press via CP24.

Air Canada ranks last for on-time flights

A recent ranking named Air Canada the worst airline for on-time performance in North America out of 10 major carriers.

The airline came in at the bottom of the ranking for punctuality in a new report by aviation analytics site Cirium, with just 63% of its flights in 2023 arriving on time, falling far below the top airline for on-time performance, Delta Air Lines, which saw 84.72% of its flights arriving punctually.

Air Canada told Narcity that the results “reflect the challenges through the year that affected carriers in Canada,” and said their focus is on raising on time performance in 2024.

New routes for Canadian airlines in 2024

Several Canadian airlines are starting new routes in 2024. Here’s a breakdown of what’s to come:

  • Air Canada is adding two new destinations to its network for summer 2024. The airline becomes the first Canadian carrier to offer service to Tulum, Mexico, with flights from Toronto and Montreal, and to Charleston, South Carolina, from Toronto. Flights from Tulum to Toronto start in May 2024, while flights from Toronto to Charleston start in March.
  • Lynx Air is adding Charlottetown, P.E.I., to its network, with fights taking off in May 2024. The ultra low-cost carrier will operate flights between Charlottetown Airport and Toronto Pearson International Airport with through service to Calgary International Airport.
  • WestJet has announced its newest international destination is Seoul, South Korea, with flights taking off from Calgary in summer 2024. The airline will also be offering new non-stop flights from Calgary to Reykjavik, Iceland, this summer, and will be launching service from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to London Gatwick Airport. It will also be launching new non-stop service to the U.S. this summer, with year-round flights from Edmonton to Atlanta and Regina to Minneapolis.
  • Air Transat is launching adventure-worthy destinations you can travel to from Toronto and Montreal in 2024. The airline is adding new service to Lima, Peru, and Marrakesh, Morocco, with direct flights to Lima from Montreal and Toronto, and direct flights between Montreal and Marakesh.
  • Porter Airlines is launching new services to the U.S. this year with the addition of flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco from Toronto Pearson Airport, with service starting in January. The airline will also be starting service from YYZ to Las Vegas in March 2024.

Happy travels!

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