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Cruises

WTTC says 50 million tourism jobs are at stake coronavirus

The World Travel & Tourism Council on Friday said up to
50 million jobs in travel and tourism are at risk from the Covid‐19 pandemic, and
WTTC called for measures to be taken to ensure a swift recovery.

The organization also joined fellow travel groups in
condemning the President Donald Trump’s ban on most travel from Europe to the
U.S., saying it will damage the U.S. economy but isn’t likely to stop the
spread of the coronavirus.

“We all share the priority to stop the spread and should
take all necessary actions,” WTTC CEO Gloria Guevara said in a statement. “However,
the new travel ban will have a dangerous economic impact on the U.S. and many
other countries, and there is little evidence to show this will stop the spread
of Covid‐19.”

Guevara suggested that rather than an outright ban, “the
priority should be on public health within the country and mitigating the
potential harm to individuals.”

“The best approach is to conduct thorough testing and put in
place isolation measures, which are highly effective, as has been seen in other
countries,” she added.

The latest data, WTTC said, indicate that that global travel
could be adversely impacted by up to 25% in 2020, the equivalent to a loss of
three months of global travel and a corresponding 12-14% reduction in jobs (about
50 million).

“The Covid‐19 outbreak clearly presents a significant threat
to the industry as a whole, to those employed within it and those wishing to
continue traveling,” Guevara said.

WTTC called for measures to be taken to enable the swift
recovery of the sector once Covid-19 is under control including improved travel
facilitation; the removal of barriers such as slot restrictions; easing fiscal
policies such as air taxes; introduce relief and incentives to businesses
negatively impacted by the virus; and support destinations with increased
budgets and for marketing and product development purposes.

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Travel

Hand luggage: Beat Ryanair and easyJet baggage rules with this easy packing trick

Hand luggage for flights comes with a number of restrictions these days. Low-cost airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair have very strict rules. Getting luggage onto the plane for free is no easy feat.

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Consequently, it’s vital that travellers are savvy when it comes to packing.

Luggage company Trakke has a number of top tips to put to use when preparing for a holiday.

They recommend choosing a carry on backpack with plenty of pockets.

Trakke advises looking out for a bag with multiple interior pockets as they’re very useful for organisation.

David Scotland, from Outdoor World Direct, also advocated travelling with backpacks.

“Large camping rucksacks also offer convenient pockets which can be used for stowing passports, snacks and water so that you don’t have to open your hand luggage on the plane or dig around for your passport,” he told Express.co.uk

“Just be sure to check the dimensions of the rucksack complies with your airline’s regulations beforehand.”

Such a bag will not only store plenty of items but it can also more easily squash into the luggage checker should it be called into question.

What’s more, a rucksack will also attract less attention from airline staff.

“If you’re travelling with hand luggage only on a budget airline, I would recommend opting for a large rucksack rather than a small suitcase with wheels,” David Scotland from Outdoor World Direct, told Express.co.uk.

You are more likely to avoid attention with a bag on your back than you are with a suitcase.

This means you are less likely to be asked to put your bag in the hold, which can infuriate travellers hoping for a smooth and quick journey.

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Trakke also advises choosing a rucksack with “versatile carry options to suit different modes of transport.”

As for what goes into your hand luggage, the luggage company advises being streamlined with your choices.

They suggest removing any ‘just in case’ items as they take up space unnecessarily.

“It’s always good to be prepared, but it’s very easy to get carried away and pack things that you might use or pack ‘just in case’ something happens,” said Trakke.

“Try and kick this habit. Typically, you rarely use these ‘just in case’ items.

“Everything in your pack should earn its place because you use it regularly.

“In the unlikely event that you end up needing something that you didn’t pack, you can usually buy it at your destination.”

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Transport

American, United, Delta Cap Fares for Flights Between Europe and the US

After President Trump made a televised announcement on the evening of March 11, 2020, that travel into the U.S. from most of Europe would be suspended for one month from March 13—a move intended to avoid further spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus—many Americans abroad found themselves in a mad dash to get home within the span of, essentially, a single day.

Trump’s somewhat troublesome delivery during his speech, broadcast from the Oval Office, and failure to delve into the details of this near-immediate action reportedly caused many travelers to panic, not realizing that the ban doesn’t actually apply to U.S. citizens. It will, however, mean that they must be routed through one of eleven CDC-approved airports to re-enter the States after March 13.

USA Today reported that, due to a sudden scramble to secure last-minute flights, fare prices for March 13 flights from Europe into the United States aboard major U.S. airlines had skyrocketed. As of March 12, at 8:00 a.m. ET, United Airlines’ one-way flights from Paris to New York ranged from $2,400 to $5,700. American Airlines’ seats from Paris to New York for the same day were priced from $2,000 to $7,300 on its website; and Delta’s website displayed a price range of $2,200 to $5,900 for the same trip.

Just a few hours later, in response to the issue, United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta all announced that they’d be capping fares on one-way flights between Europe and the U.S. that are considered affected by the new, government-imposed suspension. The capped fares are reportedly applicable for travel through March 24, 2020.

In a statement provided to USA Today by American Airlines’ Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, Andrea Koos, the airline stated: “We have capped our Main Cabin fares from Europe and the U.K. at a maximum of 799 EUR/GBP and fares from the U.S. have been capped at $1,000,” the statement read. “These fares include taxes and fees that are typically around $250 to $300 on transatlantic routes. We are also offering reasonably priced fares for our premium cabins on our trans-Atlantic routes.”

A statement given to USA Today by United Airlines spokesperson, Leslie Scott, indicated that United’s capped fares are now live on its website. As of 8:00 p.m. ET on March 12, United flights on March 13, bound from Paris to New York, ranged in price from roughly $1,000 to $5,000.

A spokesperson for Delta confirmed to Fox News that the carrier would be capping fares on Europe-to-U.S. flights as folks struggle to get home before the 30-day ban takes effect. “The safety and health of our customers and employees is always our highest priority. Delta has and will continue to quickly make adjustments to service, as needed, in response to government travel directives,” commented Delta’s spokesperson.

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Cruises

Windstar Cruises Pauses Ship Operations Worldwide

Small-ship operator Windstar Cruises will temporarily suspend operations worldwide for cruises embarking March 14 through April 30, 2020, due to the unpredictable environment surrounding the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

“After much thought, we believe we are making the most responsible decision we can during this coronavirus pandemic,” said Christopher Prelog, COO of Windstar Cruises.

“This worldwide pause in the operation of our fleet of small ships is an effort to curb the spread of the virus and keep our guests, crew and the communities we visit, safe and healthy. We look forward to resuming operations again on May 1 with a return to offering our 180 degrees from ordinary vacation experience.”

The company said it expects cruises will begin operating again according to schedule on May 1, 2020.

Guests on canceled cruises will receive the choice of a future cruise credit valued at 125 percent of all monies paid or a refund equal to the amount paid. Guests will have 24 months to rebook on any Windstar cruise. Windstar Cruises will protect travel advisor commissions on the affected bookings.

Windstar’s reservations team is reviewing all affected bookings and will send a letter outlining details to affected guests and travel advisors.

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Travel

Spirit scrambled, but failed, to stop an email to customers urging them to 'book a trip today' amid coronavirus pandemic


On Thursday morning, Spirit Airlines scrambled to halt an email to customers with the subject line, “Never A Better Time To Fly.”

a large passenger jet flying through a blue sky

Still, about 25% of those intended to receive the email got it, forcing Spirit to apologize for the email.

We apologize for the email that was sent earlier today. It was written prior to the current situation and unfortunately sent. We are closely monitoring COVID-19 and taking precautions to keep our Guests & Team Members safe. pic.twitter.com/6SGdfghAe9

The email was created before coronavirus had developed into a pandemic, but went out on Thursday, Spirit spokesperson Field Sutton told Business Insider over email. The team quickly had to jump to prevent the message’s distribution.

“It’s been all hands on deck here trying to halt that distribution once it was set in motion,” Sutton added in the email.

“It was just a marketing email – created ages ago – that went out at a time it absolutely shouldn’t have. Though we’re in the business of selling plane tickets, we’re not in the business of being disingenuous.”

While the note was an accident, it riled some people on social media, who claimed Spirit was encouraging customers to act against the wishes of public health officials. 

Tom Bossert, a former homeland security adviser to Presidents Donald Trump and George W. Bush, wrote in a Washington Post column this week that America is on the cusp of an “acute, exponential growth” of the coronavirus, which has now killed 38 people in the US and more than 4,600 globally.

The American Hospital Association estimated in a presentation obtained by Business Insider that the novel coronavirus may infect up to 96 million in the US, kill as many as 480,000, and result in up to 4.8 million hospitalizations.

Spirit airlines just sent out an email with the subject: “Never A Better Time To Fly.”

Really? #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/KBbYXadVyf

“The perfect time to treat yourself? Right this minute,” according to a Spirit Deals email sent to customers on Thursday morning. “Grab a great fare now and plan a trip today. ”

The email added “Off you go!”, accompanied by a photo of a placid-looking woman doing yoga on a pier.

Airlines are slashing ticket prices amid a $41 billion tumble in their market value. Shares of Spirit have tumbled 66% in the past month.

Do you work for Spirit Airlines or another travel company? Email [email protected]

WATCH: CDC issues updated guidance for airlines amidst coronavirus (provided by Travel + Leisure)


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Travel

Coronavirus in Netherlands: Is it safe to travel to Netherlands? Are there still flights?

Brits make more than two million visits to the Netherlands every year, half of whom visit Amsterdam. COVID-19 has infected 503 people in the Netherlands and killed five.

Is it safe to travel to the Netherlands?

There are currently no restrictions in place for travel to the Netherlands as a result of coronavirus and any holidaymakers returning from there won’t need to self-isolate.

The Foreign Office said: “There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus in China, but cases have been confirmed in other countries, including the Netherlands.

“You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the authorities.

“On March 12, the Dutch government announced new measures in response to the outbreak.

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“Anyone experiencing any symptoms linked to coronavirus must remain at home until the symptoms have cleared.

“Public events with 100 or more attendees are likely to be cancelled.

“This includes, but is not limited to, theatres, sports events and church services.

“Medically vulnerable people and older people should avoid public transport.”

Anyone in the Netherlands with a cold, a cough, a sore throat or a fever is being asked to self-isolate.

People throughout the Netherlands are encouraged to work from home or stagger their working times if possible.

Universities have been asked to offer online lectures instead of large-scale lectures while schools in the country have not been closed with children and young people not considered high-risk groups.

All football in the Netherlands has been suspended until the end of March, which means the Dutch national team have cancelled their friendly matches against the US on March 26 and Spain three days later.

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Two of the Netherlands’ top tourist attractions, the Rijksmuseum national gallery and the Van Gogh museum, closed to the public on Thursday.

Jaap van Dissel, the head of the Dutch Centre for Infectious Disease Control said the heightened precautions came at “a possible turning point” in the coronavirus epidemic.

He said difficulties in tracing the origin of the virus in cases in the southern province of Noord-Brabant, as well as some in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, made it “necessary to advise additional measures”.

He said: “So we have reached the phase in some parts of the Netherlands, especially in Brabant as has been said, in which we’re tipping from a containment phase to a mitigation phase.”

Are there still flights going to the Netherlands?

As things stand if you have plans to fly to the Netherlands in the coming weeks, your travel should be unaffected.

However, it is always worth keeping an eye on your carrier’s website for updates as the pandemic can change things from day to the next.

KLM, the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands, cut 13 per cent of its long-haul capacity this month.

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Cruises

Celestyal Suspends Cruise Operations Until May 1, 2020

Celestyal Cruises, the Athens-based cruise line specializing in the Greek Islands and the Mediterranean, is suspending cruise operations until May 1, 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak and increased worldwide government advisories and restrictions.

“We all currently face a situation that it is unknown, extraordinary, unpredictable, and constantly changing and, as a result, is causing major disruption to travel,” the company said in a statement.

Celestyal is suspending sailings between March 14 and April 30, 2020, and plans to restart May 1 with a three-night “Iconic Aegean” cruise on Celestyal Olympia and May 2 with the seven-night “Eclectic Aegean” itinerary on Celestyal Crystal.

For all named and fully-paid guests impacted, Celestyal offers the choice of a future cruise credit valued at 120 percent of the original booking value or a refund of the original amount paid.

Guests will have until the end of December 2021 to use their cruise credit against any of the company’s itineraries. Anyone who hasn’t used their credit within the specified period will automatically receive a refund.

Celestyal will proactively issue the credit certificates to impacted guests, sending them to the guest or their travel advisor, unless otherwise advised.

Affected sailings are the seven-night “Three Continents” cruises departing March 14, March 21 and March 28, 2020; the seven-night “Eclectic Aegean” departing April 4, April 11, April 18 and April 25, 2020; and the three- and four-night “Iconic Aegean” voyages departing March 16 through April 30, 2020.

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Categories
Travel

Protecting yourself from coronavirus: how to keep your luggage clean

Months into the coronavirus crisis, travellers have grown familiar with how to protect themselves on airplanes, in hotel rooms and among crowds.

But what about the risk of returning home with potentially contaminated travel gear? Can you catch or spread the virus through your luggage or clothing? Medical experts say the threat is low but suggest several precautions you can take to reduce the worry even more.

Global health organisations and professionals do not yet know how long the coronavirus can live on certain materials, so they are basing their information on similar viruses, such as the one that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

The World Health Organisation estimates the coronavirus’ survival time from a few hours to several days, depending on various factors, such as type of material, air temperature and humidity. Hard, nonporous materials such as metal, plastic and glass are more welcoming habitats for viruses than soft goods such as fabrics.

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Cruises

Uniworld postpones start of European river season coronavirus

In the wake of growing uncertainty over the Covid-19
coronavirus outbreak, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection said Thursday
it was suspending all European river sailings until April 23.

“We have been closely monitoring the world’s response to the
Covid-19 pandemic, and given recent news, we do not believe we can continue to
offer the award-winning Uniworld experience you have come to expect and deserve
at this time,” Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge said in a letter to guests.

She said any guests who are scheduled on cruises before
April 23 can rebook to any 2020 or 2021 sailing or receive a future cruise
credit eligible for use over the next two years.

“We know this global situation has caused confusion and
anxiety for many; the details of your travel plans should not add to your list
of concerns,” Bettridge said.

The company said it has also updated its policies to enable
guests booked on sailings after April 23 to cancel up to 14 days prior to their
cruise and rebook on any 2020 or 2021 cruise without penalty or rebook with any
of the Travel Corp.’s sister brands, which include Trafalgar, Insight Vacations
and Luxury Gold.

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Categories
Destinations

Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit Releases Recommendations Regarding Coronavirus

As the public’s hesitancy about international travel increases over COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) concerns, the popular Riviera Nayarit region on Mexico’s western Pacific coast is eager to communicate facts regarding the relative safety of travel to Mexico during this time.

Travel Weekly revealed Mexico to be among those nations currently least-affected by the coronavirus outbreak, citing that its general Travel Health Notice status from the CDC remains at Level 1 Travel Health Notice (‘Practice Usual Precautions’), the lowest-risk category, which translates to there being no reasons to avoid travel there.

There are currently only eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in all of Mexico, with three patients located in Mexico City and one each in Coahuila, Sinaloa, Chiapas, Estado de Mexico and Puebla. Hugo Lopez-Gatell Ramirez, Mexico’s Undersecretary of Health Prevention and Promotion, has stated that these patients are being contained in isolation and have exhibited merely mild symptoms of the illness.

In a document issued today, the region’s cooperative agencies detail the State of Nayarit’s relevant protocols already and provide recommendations to visitors regarding preventive measures they can take personally, as well as outlining the location and contact details of local medical facilities equipped to handle coronavirus concerns.

“Mexico, the State of Nayarit and the Banderas Bay Hotel and Motel Association (AHMBB) adhere to strict international guidelines and protocols related to the prevention, detection, and treatment of many diseases, and is well prepared,” reads the release. “The state of Nayarit remains abreast with the most up-to-date information and recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other relevant national and international health organizations,” it continues.

It should be noted that Riviera Nayarit’s main airport of entry, The Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR), runs no direct flights from China or any Asian. Those trying to enter the destination must first pass through other, nearby airports, where screening protocols have already been implemented to determine whether passengers could represent a risk of coronavirus transmission. “Local and state authorities are in permanent communication with the private sector, associations and tourism suppliers to determine any potential risk related to the COVID-19,” says the notice.

At present, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists only China, South Korea, Iran and Italy—each assigned a Level 3 Travel Health Notices of widespread, ongoing transmission—as countries where non-essential travel should be avoided. These recommendations are separate from President Trump’s declaration, made on March 11, 2020, that all travel from Europe (excepting the U.K.) into the U.S. will be suspended for the next 30 days, which isn’t applicable in Mexico.

If visitors exhibit fever, and respiratory or flu-like symptoms while staying in Nayarit, and have been in a COVID-19 affected area within the past fourteen days, the following hospitals are ready and well-prepared to assist. Certified doctors can also attend patients directly in hotel rooms, or private condos or villas.

—The Punta Mita Hospital

Emergency Phone: (329) 688 0068

Located close to La Cruz de Huancaxtle, Sayulita, San Francisco and Lo de Marcos.

—CMQ Riviera Nayarit Hospital

Emergency Phone: (329) 298 0717

Av. Héroes de Nacozari 280 Bucerías, 63732

Riviera Nayarit, Nay., Mexico

Located close to Flamingos, La Cruz de Huancaxtle, Sayulita and San Francisco.

—The San Javier Riviera Nayarit Hospital

Emergency Phone: (322) 226 8181

Paseo de los Cocoteros # 55, Nautico Turistico, 63732

Nuevo Vallarta, Nay., Mexico

Located in the Nuevo Vallarta – Flamingos corridor.

For more information, visit rivieranayarit.com.

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