Ensemble to Reduce Workforce During COVID-19 Crisis

Ensemble Travel Group said it will reduce its workforce temporarily by approximately 50 percent in the U.S. and Canada, as a result of “the complete disruption to the travel industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“This is perhaps one of the most difficult decisions a CEO has to make,” said David Harris, CEO of Ensemble Travel Group.

“While Ensemble is a solid company, there is just no way to minimize the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on our industry in such a short period of time. Our employees are an integral part of our business, but the reality of the moment is that life as we knew it is on pause, with travel being one of the hardest-hit economic sectors. Our hope and intention are that this is a temporary situation while the world stays home to flatten the curve and that as life returns to normal in the next few months, our company will be able to quickly resume regular operations.”

“We know this is an incredibly stressful time for everyone,” Harris added. “Of course, we hope that everyone heeds the advice of the professionals and stays safe and healthy. At the same time, I know we all look towards brighter days for our industry and our company and hope that these difficult but necessary measures will help position us to recover as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Ensemble Travel Group is a member-owned organization of about 850 independent travel agencies in the U.S. and Canada; it expanded into Australia and New Zealand in 2014. The organization’s U.S. office is in New York City; Canadian offices are in Toronto and Montréal; the Australia/New Zealand office is in Sydney.

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The best UK farms to stay at during the joyous lambing season

Family breaks that come woolly loaded: The best farms to stay on during the joyous lambing season

  • Here is how to enjoy one of the most joyous parts of the farming year
  • Visit places such as Mudchute Park in London to see newborn lambs in the fields
  • Stay Lambing Live, in Cumbria, is a popular place to stay in lambing season 

Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week, he looks at visits to family-friendly farms.

Spring is finally in the air and this year’s main lambing season is set to coincide with the school Easter holidays. Soon, flocks of photogenic gambolling lambs will be seen across the country. Here is how to enjoy one of the most joyous parts of the farming year.

Lambtastic cottages

Adorable: Children and lambs enjoy feeding time (stock image)

Farm stays can be magical in lambing season and are often booked a year in advance. You can stay in a cottage, converted barn or farmhouse – and hardier souls may consider a springtime stay in a yurt or on a glamping site as well.

The most popular places to book include the Cumbrian cottage that hosted presenters Kate Humble and Adam Henson for the BBC’s Lambing Live in 2011 – a three-bed property called Stay Lambing Live. Four-night midweek breaks start at £845 in lambing season.

In Cornwall, the lambing shed opens its doors to guests staying at The Olde House cottages on the 550-acre Penpont Farm.

Other well-recommended farm stays include Hare Farm in Sussex, Millmoor Farm in Cheshire and Hicks Farm in Powys. The BBC’s Countryfile magazine has a guide to the best farm stays in the different seasons.

Cuddles and feeds

Day trips to National Trust sites, where most gardens are still open, are another way to see lambs up close. Last spring the 13,000-acre country estate at Wallington in Northumberland even offered Lambing Shed Live events, where visitors took a tractor ride before helping cuddle and feed the babies. 

The estate also offered Lambing Apprentice days, with a full shift volunteering in the lambing shed to get a feel for life as a farmer. Down in Devon, there are plenty of lambs gambolling around the Trust’s elegant Arlington Court estate on the edge of Exmoor, and free talks by farmers planned for April evenings will hopefully be rescheduled for later in the year. Details will be on the National Trust website.

Country in the city

Visit places such as Mudchute Park, above, in London to see newborn lambs in the fields 

City farms can share the magic for those who can’t manage to get out to the countryside. The newly reopened Gorgie Farm in Edinburgh is one of many urban farm projects to offer a little taste of the country. London has nearly a dozen city farms, including Mudchute Park, across the River Thames from the gleaming skyscrapers of Canary Wharf.

Owners say a lack of funds for promotion and advertising means many locals have no idea what’s on their doorstep. Visit places such as Mudchute and you can have the extraordinary experience of seeing newborn lambs in the fields, even as you walk down neighbouring city streets. You can buy locally produced wool and fleece from the flock on the farm’s online shop. 

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