Travel In The News For October 21st

News for Travelers October 21st

An aggregate of recent articles about what’s happening in the world of travel updated every few days. Tips are always appreciated.

  • Cruising – Itineraries, cruise lines, new sailings, policy
  • Air Travel – Business news, precautions, international flights
  • Resorts – Openings, precautions, industry groups
  • Countries – Visitor policies, promotions, quarantines
  • Organizations – International, industry, policies

Under pressure from a number of organizations and businesses the CDC is now recognizing that concerns regarding the economic health of the nation are an equally important consideration. As a result they have now issued guidance for passengers using public transportation “CDC strongly recommends appropriate masks be worn by all passengers and by all personnel operating the conveyance while on public conveyances (e.g., airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, ride-shares) and within locations where people board such conveyances (e.g. airports, bus or ferry terminals, train stations, seaports).”

U.S. Travel Association President Roger Dow responds with a statement on new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control(CDC) on wearing masks and utilizing other hygiene practices for travel. “The CDC’s new guidance really says it all: ‘America’s transportation systems are essential segments of America’s economy and a bedrock of American life.’ There simply cannot be an economic and jobs recovery unless travel is able to broadly resume activities”.

American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) wrote to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on behalf of the more than 12,000 New Yorkers who work at travel agencies. The association expressed its concerns in a letter over the state’s quarantine procedures for those visiting and returning to the state from abroad which were part of a new executive order by the governor.

Etihad Airways becomes the first GCC carrier to operate a commercial passenger flight to and from Israel. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries— Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.

The flight will bring travel and tourism leaders from Israel to the United Arab Emirates to plan new travel opportunities in the region. It also follows Israeli national airline El Al’s first symbolic commercial flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi on August 31st.

Singapore Airlines will return to New York on November 9th, when it launches non-stop flights between Singapore and John F. Kennedy International Airport. Update – the airlines is now considering the Governor of New York’s new order regarding international visitors.

Hong Kong and Singapore have reached an in-principle agreement to establish a bilateral air travel bubble, potentially helping to revive cross-border air travel between the two aviation hubs.

Royal Caribbean has confirmed it will restart cruising from Singapore on Dec. 1st with the 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas offering three- and four-night “Ocean Getaways” – or cruises to nowhere – for Singapore residents only and operating at half capacity.

Celebrity Cruises announced it will be suspending their full 2020/21 Winter program in Australia and Asia. Additionally, Azamara will be suspending their 2020/21 Winter sailings throughout Australia & New Zealand, South Africa and South America.

CDC – COVID-19 Key Updates for Week 42, ending October 17, 2020 Reported

Nationally, indicators that track COVID-19 activity continued to decline or remain stable or are showing only a slight uptick (change of ≤0.2%). One region continued to report a minor increase in the percentage of specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and four regions have reported some increases in the percentage of doctor/hospital visits for influenza-like illness (ILI). Mortality attributed to COVID-19 declined for the fifth week but still remains above the epidemic threshold.

Previously Reported

Australia reopens borders to New Zealand travelers – The first commercial flight between the two countries in six months arrived at Sydney International Airport yesterday as a trans-Tasman travel bubble is launched.

Two weeks after the dual-nation Caribbean island reopened the border between Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin, the French side has released traveler protocols, that require arriving visitors to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 120 hours of arrival.

Aviation authorities in Europe announced that Boeing’s 737 MAX planes could receive regulatory approval to resume flying in November.

Carnival Corporation’s AIDA Cruises, will resume cruising in Italy on Oct. 17, becoming the second Carnival brand to resume sailing after Italy-based Costa Cruises restarted in early September.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization has signed a deal to work with Expedia Group to strengthen ties between the public and private tourism sectors. UNWTO and Expedia will work together to promote entrepreneurship and professional education focused on the field of travel consumer protection.

Virgin Atlantic to add new India routes starting in December. Virgin Atlantic announced it will be launching service to Delhi and Mumbai from Manchester as the airline ramps up flying from its home base.

Dream Cruises of Genting Cruise Lines has taken steps to prepare to sail next month from Singapore by beginning a recruitment drive looking for Singapore workers.

The latest survey from the World Travel & Tourism Council has revealed that 99 percent of U.S. and Canadian travelers identified as past frequent travelers are “eager to travel again.” The survey questions offered responses from “not planning to travel”, “concerned about travel safety”, Haven’t decided when to travel again”.

Greek islands added to British quarantine safe list. The decision comes after a decrease in confirmed cases of coronavirus in the popular Greek destinations, and means guests returning from the islands to the UK will no longer have to self-isolate for 14-days.

Honolulu (AP) Oct 9th — Despite increasing coronavirus cases across the U.S., Hawaii officials hope to reboot tourism next week by loosening months of economically crippling pandemic restrictions, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arriving travelers. This plan, which was postponed after the virus surged in the summer, will allow Hawaii-bound travelers who provide negative virus test results within 72 hours of arrival to sidestep two weeks of quarantine.

Many travel sector stocks enjoyed strong gains Friday Oct. 9th on renewed hopes that therapeutic and vaccine developments will propel booking demand in the near future.

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas will begin sailings from Singapore in December 2020. To provide assurance for safe cruising, the Singapore Tourism Board has developing a mandatory CruiseSafe certification program, which sets out stringent hygiene and safety measures throughout the passenger journey – from prior to boarding, to after disembarkation. Royal Caribbean has become the first to join.

In an emergency move Air Canada raises funds through the sale of eleven Boeing 737 MAX jets.

NCL has suspended sailings on Norwegian Star, Norwegian Spirit, and Norwegian Dawn through March 2021. Passengers holding reservations will have their money returned.

Carnival’s Cunard Line said it would extend its pause in cruise operations until next year, starting with plans to resume sailings of the Queen Elizabeth in March.

Reports Prior to October 3rd

Carnival Cruise Line plans to resume cruising in November and December 2020 after the “do not sail” order expires on October 31. They will be cruising from just two Florida ports, Miami and Port Canaveral with all other U.S. port cruises during November and December canceled.

Cruises Scheduled to restart in Florida -Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises are now scheduled to resume sailing from Port Everglades in early November, with Holland America and Princess Cruises sailing in late December. Celebrity Cruises also has Decmber cruises scheduled from the Port of Tampa.

U.S. Airlines plan layoffs. As federal aid for airlines runs out and negotiations over more coronavirus relief stall, Alaska Airlines has begun cutting nearly 450 more flight attendants and other employees from its payroll while borrowing $1.3 billion from the U.S. Treasury.

Oct. 1st The British Department for Transport announced that data on increased Covid-19 infections will be requiring anyone returning from Turkey or Poland after October 3rd must quarantine for 14 days. The announcement drove airfares from Turkey up 200 and 300 percent.

Cruise ships going to Turkish scrapyard – workers are currently working overtime to salvage from five cruise ships for scrap metal. Among the ships is the Carnival Fantasy, a just refurbished cruise ship along with the Carnival Imagination.

Photograph by REUTERS/Umit Bektas shows the tree Carnival and two Pullmantur ships in the salvage yard in Turkey. The two Pullmantur ships are the old Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas and Sovereign of the Seas sold to Pullmantur several years ago.

Disney Cruise Line’s newest cruise ship, the Disney Wish, has been delayed entering service because of shipyard delays and getting their people into Germany over Covid-19 restrictions.

COVID Testing Centers will open at Los Angeles International Airport. Featuring a PCR test that produces results in 2 hours. SG Blocks, Inc., a leading designer, innovator and fabricator of container-based structures, and Grimshaw, a global leader in architecture, planning and industrial design, announced plans to build modular coronavirus testing centers for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

People arriving in England from Denmark, Iceland, Curaçao and Slovakia will now be expected to quarantine becoming the latest countries to be removed from the British quarantine safelist. They join Slovenia and Guadeloupe, which were both struck from the list last week.

Halloween at theme parks (USA TODAY) may be a little different this year, with some signature Halloween events canceled, but that doesn’t mean spooky celebrations won’t take place at all. Here’s what’s going on at Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and other theme parks around the Orlando, Florida, area, as curated by Florida Today which is part of the USA TODAY Network. CLICK HERE

United Will Be The First U.S. Airline To Offer COVID-19 Testing For Hawaii Bound Passengers. The move comes as Hawaii prepares to welcome tourists back to its shores on October 15 with strict protocols for screening.

Disney Aulani Resort Hawaii The Walt Disney Company will begin a phased reopening of the Aulani Resort & Spa beginning Sunday, November 1. Aulani was the last of Disney’s properties to close at the end of March 2020, and will be one of the last to reopen as Hawaii loosens COVOD restrictions.

Proposals being considered by cruise lines to limit the spread of COVID-19 call for allowing passengers to disembark only if they are signed up for an excursion sponsored by the cruise line, one of a series of health protocols developed by an industry eager to resume operations after a six-month COVID-19 shutdown.

From September

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announces new COVID-19 protocals, the industry body that represents the world’s major cruise lines, on Monday announced the “mandatory core elements” of a new set of health regulations for the return of cruising in the Americas.

Universal mask wearing, physical distancing, Covid-19 testing and increasing fresh air into ventilation systems could allow cruising in the US to return in 2020.

EU Airlines have had enough – Groups representing Irish and EU aviation and tourism want European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to end travel chaos in the bloc by introducing new Covid testing protocols.

Their call comes a day after the Government tightened restrictions requiring travellers from countries not on a “green list” of states to isolate themselves for 14 days following their arrival in the EU.

Stint Maarten this past week relaxed entry requirements, widening the window during which proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test must be submitted from three to five days.

The British Virgin Islands reopens – opening its borders to international visitors beginning December 1, premier Andrew A. Fahie said Monday, under a phased plan launched earlier, designed to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Takes Up Set Sail Safely Act – Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio introduced the Set Sail Safely Act, which will establish a Maritime Task Force, in coordination with a Private Sector Advisory Committee, to address the health, safety, security, and logistical changes needed to allow cruise lines and ports to resume operations.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) announced 100 destinations have now received the organization’s Safe Travels stamp with the latest addition of the Philippines.

The WTTC launched the world’s first global safety and hygiene certification stamp earlier this year and the certification is now being used by popular travel destinations like Bermuda, Croatia, Ecuador, Egypt, Grenada, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, the Maldives, Mexico (certain regions), Montenegro, Namibia, Panama, Sri Lanka, and Uganda. Each government has agreed to enhanced public health protocols and has embraced the the Safe Travel initiative:

Aruba reopened to international tourism, including U.S. travelers earlier this summer. Like many places, the popular Caribbean island is requiring visitors to undergo COVID-19 testing and has also implemented elevated sanitation and health standards for added peace of mind.

Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism Gustavo J. Segura called the WTTC’s Safe Travels stamp a “source of tremendous pride” for the Central American destination, adding that the recognition “reinforces the international image of Costa Rica as a tourist destination, which fortunately is robust.”

Tourist numbers collapse – The nine top travel destination countries in the past six months compared to the same period prior to the pandemic have seen drop-offs in bookings. Each of these countries depend on tourism for a measurable part of their GDP. Comparison numbers:

  • Mexico (minus-75.15 percent)
  • Italy (minus-93.89 percent)
  • France (minus-90.78 percent)
  • Canada (minus-74.92 percent)
  • Spain (minus-93.16 percent)
  • United Kingdom (minus-84.27 percent)
  • Bahamas (minus-83.53 percent)
  • Israel (minus-86.55 percent)
  • Costa Rica (minus-91.64 percent)

Barbados’ government supports hospitality workers and will spend $150 million to retain “tens of thousands of Bajan hospitality and tourism workers left unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic paying 80 percent of their previous salaries going forward.

The move comes after the Australian Government extended its ban on cruise ships in Australia waters to December 17. The ban was previously scheduled to end today, September 17tth .

Mexico begins to reopen ancient sites in the past week like Tulum, Cobá and Teotihuacan that will begin to welcome visitors again for the first time since March. (Chichen Itza will apparently reopen later). The number of admissions will be reduced to 30% for the time being.

Carnival Announces sales and cancellations -Carnival announced it will be selling at least 18 ships, which amounts to 20 percent of the company’s combined fleet. Two ships, Carnival Fascination and Carnival Imagination — both of which launched in the 1990s — have already been sold.

  • Carnival Magic itineraries operating from Miami will be cancelled until Mar. 13, 2021
  • Carnival Paradise itineraries operating from Tampa will be cancelled until Mar. 19, 2021
  • Carnival Valor itineraries operating from New Orleans will be cancelled until Apr. 29, 2021 (including the transatlantic cruise from New Orleans on Jan. 25, 2021 and the return from Barcelona on Feb. 26, 2021)
  • Carnival Spirit itineraries operating from Brisbane will be cancelled through May 16, 2021, with the first sailing being the Singapore to Brisbane voyage embarking on June 12, 2021.

Several Caribbean islands are reopening to international tourism, with protocols in place to protect visitors and residents against Covid-19. However, border re-openings are not uniform: Some islands are not accepting arrivals from the U.S.; others have not opened at all; others have reopened only to reverse course or scale back. Most openings are accompanied by strict new public health procedures

However, border reopenings are not uniform: Some islands are not accepting arrivals from the U.S.; others have not opened at all; others have reopened only to reverse course or scale back. Most openings are accompanied by strict new public health procedures. MORE HERE

Mexico The U.S. State Department has dropped its “do not travel” warning to Mexico, despite the nation remaining on the CDC’s most stringent travel level. The State Department is listing Mexico’s status as “reconsider travel,” while “do not travel” warnings remain for five states because of crime and kidnapping.

MGM Resorts International will complete its reopening of properties worldwide in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic with the opening of Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas on September 30.

Nassau’s Sandals Royal Bahamian delays opening and joined the Baha Mar mega-resort this past week in opting to delay their opening until this winter, months beyond the October 15 reopening date set by The Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism for the return of the territory’s resort industry.

San Francisco Hotels Just Reopened to Tourists for the First Time Since March
Sept 14,2020 After only being open to essential workers and essential travelers since March, the Bay Area city’s hotels can now welcome tourists again.

UNWTO reports gradual reopening of global borders to tourism Sept 11, 2020. The U.N organization reports a majority of destinations around the world have now started easing travel restrictions introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Though many are still cautious the seventh edition of the Covid-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism from the UNWTO confirms the ongoing trend towards the gradual restart of global tourism.

Colombia to Reopen Its Borders to International Flights Starting Sept. 21
Despite its current status as the world’s sixth largest hot spot for coronavirus, Colombia plans to resume international travel in coming weeks.

Icelandair and easyJet have entered into a partnership agreement Icelandair is joining Worldwide by easyJet, a flight connection platform. MORE HERE

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