Emirates and South African Tourism Board collaborate to boost visitor arrivals – Breaking Travel News

Emirates and South African Tourism Board collaborate to boost visitor arrivals  Breaking Travel News

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Strong Arrivals Prompt American Airlines’ Antigua and Barbuda Flight Expansion

American Airlines is extending its daily flights to Antigua and Barbuda from New York through this summer into the early fall and winter, government officials of the dual-island Caribbean nation said Monday. The service had been scheduled to end on August 15 of this year before resuming on November 3, 2022.

Government and tourism officials cited strong visitor arrivals for encouraging American’s move to expand its flights between John F. Kennedy International Airport and Antigua’s V.C. Bird International Airport. In the aftermath of the outbreak, more Caribbean destinations report increased arrivals during the traditionally slower summer season.


Antigua Tourism Minister Charles Fernandez provided updates at the SOTIC conference in Nassau.
“Demand for Antigua and Barbuda is extremely strong at this moment.” – Charles Fernandez, Antigua and Barbuda tourism minister. (photo by Brian Major)

Under the new schedule, Antigua will go from hosting once-weekly arrivals to welcoming seven weekly flights between August 16 and the end of 2022. “Demand for Antigua and Barbuda is extremely strong at this moment,” said Charles Fernandez, Antigua and Barbuda’s minister of tourism.

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“From all indications and feedback from our airline and hotel partners we will have a significantly busy summer straight into winter similar to what was experienced last year,” Fernandez said.

“We have been consistent in our lobbying efforts to the airline,” added Colin James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA), “encouraging them to maintain the daily service during our shoulder period when they would have normally pulled back.”

James said year-to-date Antigua and Barbuda visitor arrivals indicate the country is “steadily closing the gap” on its record 2019 overnight visitor arrivals, during which the dual-island territory hosted 202,964 overnight land-based visitors. “Demand is at an all-time high,” James said. “We now have some remarkably strong lift coming into Antigua.”

Advisory Expansion

ABTA additionally named nine travel advisors to its Tourism Advisory Committee effective immediately. The new members are agency owners Susan Berman (Berman Travel), Debra Hines-Brown (SmartBird World Travel), Edouard Jean (Massive Travels), Brenda O’Neale (With This Ring, Wedding & Honeymoon Travel), Niki Rakowitz (CARE Travel), Terry Strauss (Dedham Travel), Tom Varghese (Travel Tom) Sanya Weston (Premier Travel Service Group) and Donna Borrelli (Hamden Travel).

O’Neale was named the board’s chairperson. The group offers “a deep understanding of the industry and knowledge of the ever-changing travel marketplace,” said Dean Fenton, ABTA’s director. Fenton expects the nine travel professionals to “help steer the ABTA as we make decisions on activities to enhance the Antigua and Barbuda brand.”

The group will “work in tandem on strategies to promote the destination and also explore opportunities that benefit both Antigua and Barbuda and travel advisors nationally,” added Norell Joseph, ABTA’s U.S. sales and marketing manager.

“The pandemic reinforced the critical role travel advisors have in promoting tourism to our islands,” Joseph said. “We are honored to have this group of professionals serve on our Advisory Committee.”

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Jamaica Visitor Arrivals Rebounding Strongly

Jamaica hosted more than 1.54 million overnight visitors in 2021, Ministry of Tourism officials said Tuesday. The country’s 2021 visitor totals were driven by U.S. vacationers, who accounted for 1,278,679 overnight, land-based air arrivals in 2021.

While the 2021 arrivals represent a steep decline from the country’s pre-pandemic record of 2.7 million overnight, land-based visitors achieved in 2019 (based on Caribbean Tourism Organization data), the totals are among the highest post-outbreak arrivals reported by Caribbean destinations.


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“The fact that we exceeded visitor arrivals and spend projections for 2021 is a clear testament to the strength and resilience of Jamaica’s tourism product as well as the excellent relationships we enjoy with our travel industry partners,” said Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s minister of tourism. “As we are gradually relaxing travel restrictions,” he added, “we fully expect a stronger recovery as consumers from our key source markets are resuming international travel in steadily growing numbers.”

As the pandemic played out over the past two years, Jamaica tourism officials established a “resilient corridors” system that limited travelers to the country’s popular tourist regions, and a “Jamaica Cares” program of Covid health and safety measures.

The policies were cited by government and tourism officials as enabling the country to quickly re-gain its tourism momentum after two years of travel shutdowns and restrictions.

Ministry of Tourism official said in December of 2021, overnight arrivals totaled 223,333 visitors, or 79.4 percent of December 2019 levels. Tourism and infrastructure developments across the island “continue to move forward,” said officials, who predict the country will welcome between 2.45 to 2.5 million visitor arrivals by the end of 2022, representing $2.9 billion in visitor spending.

During the weekend of March 3 to 6, Jamaica welcomed approximately 27,000 visitors which officials say is the highest number for any one single day since Jamaica reopened its borders to visitors in June of 2020. “Current bookings indicate a very strong month for March 2022, with projections for it to be on par with March 2019,” officials added.

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U.S. CBP Designates Sole Authorized App for Int’l Arrivals

Inbound international travelers who want to use a mobile app for entry to the United States as of Feb. 1 will be able to use only the Mobile Passport Control app, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced. Other apps, including Airside Mobile and Clear MPC, no longer will be an authorized app for entry after that date, according to CBP. The app enables travelers to create a profile with their passport and personal identification information and, upon arrival in the United States, can answer CBP inspection questions and receive a QR-coded receipt for quicker processing.

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Travel news update: PCR tests scrapped for English arrivals from today | Travel News | Travel

Travel news update: PCR tests scrapped for English arrivals from today | Travel News | Travel – ToysMatrix

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Travel news update: PCR tests scrapped for English arrivals from today | Travel News | Travel

Covid rules for those arriving to England from abroad are being changed from today. The Government has said that a day-two PCR test will no longer be needed for travellers arriving in England. This rule will apply to everyone returning to or visiting England.

In a move that will make it easier for travellers to return to or come to England, the Government is scrapping PCR tests.

From Friday, fully vaccinated people will no longer have to take a pre-departure PCR test before travelling to England.

They will not need to take a day-two PCR test either.

Instead, the Government is changing the rules so that travellers will only need to take a day-two lateral flow test.

READ MORE: Best expat destinations in Portugal for 2022

Although the scrapping of the pre-departure PCR test will not come into force until Friday, travellers arriving into England will not need to do a day-two PCR test from today, January 9.

They will only need to take the day-two lateral flow test.

The much cheaper lateral flow test could encourage more families and individuals to travel abroad.

The PCR pre-departure test also discouraged many Britons from travelling to other countries for feat of being trapped overseas, according to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.


The rule changes come after airlines claimed traveller testing was not making much of a difference to Covid cases.

Data last week showed that one in 25 people in England had the virus.

The move is good news for many families across the UK as it will save them hundreds of pounds on tests.

PCR tests on average cost around £80 per traveller.

He added: “Prior to the announcement it was well below, but it has given people the confidence to look for a holiday, that they won’t be caught in resorts quarantining.

“People now want to start thinking about more cheerful things, i.e., going on holiday.”

Meanwhile, EasyJet said its bookings rose almost 200 percent this week compared to last week, and Tui claimed it had experienced a “strong uptick”.

For EasyJet, flights to Spanish destinations such as Tenerife, Alicante, Malaga, and Lanzarote were the most in demand.

Bookings for Lanzarote were up 427 percent week on week.

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Travel news live: Hotel quarantine for red list arrivals could end

The requirement for red list arrivals to spend 11 nights at a pricey hotel quarantine facility instead of isolating at home could soon come to an end, the Prime Minister has suggested.

At Wednesday’s Downing Street news conference, a member of the public – Rachel from Essex – asked: “Why can’t fully vaccinated British travellers stuck in red listed countries self-isolate at home when they return instead of a hotel?

“Quarantine hotels are too expensive especially as this was implemented at short notice, not giving travellers a chance to get home,” she said.

Boris Johnson responded: “I think that’s a very fair challenge, given the way omicron’s now seeded around the world and not just in red listed countries, we will be looking at the red list and the way that we do it.”

The health secretary similarly suggested that travel restrictions could be scrapped if omicron becomes the dominant variant.

Speaking in Parliament earlier this week, Sajid Javid said that as omicron becomes dominant, all international travel restrictions could end “very soon”.

Meanwhile, the EU is expected to introduce a nine-month expiry date for Covid passes for travel, two EU sources told Reuters.

If applied, EU citizens wanting to travel freely next summer across the bloc would need a booster shot.

Follow all the latest travel updates below:


Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s travel liveblog. We’ll be posting all the latest updates throughout the day.

Helen Coffey10 December 2021 07:55


Belgium requires negative Covid test from today

From today, visitors travelling to Belgium who are not Belgian residents must present a negative Covid-19 test.

Eurostar tweeted to alert customers to the changes, posting: “Travelling to Belgium? From Thursday 09/12, you’ll be required to present a negative PCR or antigen test result if you’re not a Belgian resident.

Helen Coffey9 December 2021 17:02


Hotel quarantine could end, says Boris Johnson

The prime minister has said that hotel quarantine could be replaced by self-isolation at home.

At Wednesday’s Downing Street news conference, a member of the public – Rachel from Essex – asked: “Why can’t fully vaccinated British travellers stuck in red listed countries self-isolate at home when they return instead of a hotel?

“Quarantine hotels are too expensive especially as this was implemented at short notice, not giving travellers a chance to get home,” she said.

Boris Johnson responded: “I think that’s a very fair challenge, given the way omicron’s now seeded around the world and not just in red listed countries, we will be looking at the red list and the way that we do it.”

Simon Calder9 December 2021 15:48


New Orient Express trains slated for 2023

In 2023, the La Dolce Vita programme will launch, offering six trains taking in several popular European itineraries spanning 14 regions.

Passengers can experience five-star luxury as they travel flight-free onboard the 1960s and 1970s-inspired trains, designed by Dimorestudio.

Each train comes with 12 deluxe cabins, 18 suites, one honour suite and a restaurant carriage, where haute cuisine will be served alongside Italian wines.

Helen Coffey9 December 2021 13:43


Red list: no changes expected today

The Independent understands that the current list of 11 African countries from which arriving travellers are required to enter hotel quarantine will not be changed today.

Thursday 9 December is the next due date in the three-weekly cycle of Department for Transport (DfT) announcements of “traffic light” changes. But South Africa and neighbouring countries were place on the revived red list two weeks ago, and Nigeria added this week.

The other nine nations on the list are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile the government has failed so far to provide any more details about the possible ending of hotel quarantine.

In the Downing Street news conference on Wednesday, Boris Johnson responded to a request from a member of public for self-isolation at home to be permitted.

He said: “We will be looking at the red list and the way that we do it.

“But it’s been very important in the immediate period, the immediate response to omicron, to have very tough border measures to slow the arrival of the variant in this country.

“That was the objective of those measures and continues to be the objective.“

Etosha National Park in Namibia

(Simon Calder)

Simon Calder9 December 2021 12:51


Simon Calder answers your travel questions

The Independent’s travel correspondent has answered 28 readers’ questions in the latest Ask Me Anything.

Most were focused on the recent travel restrictions imposed by the UK government.

Over the past two weeks the UK has revived the red list and hotel quarantine for arrivals from 11 African countries, introduced mandatory self-isolation for all incoming travellers until they get a negative PCR test result and brought back pre-departure tests.

Questions included: “When I return, am I allowed to circulate meet people and go shopping before my test and then isolate after the test until I get the result?”

Lucy Thackray9 December 2021 12:11


What are the latest rules in the US, Italy and France?

A flurry of new testing and entry rules have been imposed by countries across the world as leaders prepare for the spread of new Covid-19 variant omicron.

The scattergun announcements made by ministers in destinations such as US, Italy, France and Ireland at different times have made them hard to follow, especially since new domestic restrictions have been announced in the UK.

If you’re feeling confused, read this round-up by The Independent’s travel expert Simon Calder, who has gathered all of the latest restrictions and testing requirements in one place.

Lucy Thackray9 December 2021 11:00


Hotel quarantine is ‘breach of human rights’, court told

The UK’s hotel quarantine policy is a “breach of human rights”, lawyers will tell the Royal Courts of Justice later today.

Group litigation firm PGMBM is seeking a judicial review over the recently reinstated policy, which sees people travelling to the UK from red list countries forced into a 10-day quarantine at a cost of £2,285 per solo traveller or £3,715 per couple.

Members of its legal team will argue that mandatory hotel quarantine of fully vaccinated people is unlawful and an interference with their right to personal liberty.

After the recent, sudden changes to the red list – when 11 African countries were added amid fears about the omicron variant – many British travellers had short windows of time to get back from countries such as South Africa and Nigeria before the expensive, mandatory isolation packages kicked in.

Lucy Thackray9 December 2021 10:12


Megabus doubling services on Christmas Day

The inter-city coach operator, Megabus, will run twice as many services on 25 December this year as it did in 2020.

The firm will operating over 9,000 miles on Christmas Day, linking London, Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff, Reading, Leeds, Birmingham and Nottingham.

The company’s managing director, Mark Venables, said: “We’re determined to help bring as many people together as possible this festive season. Complying with all current government guidelines, we have over 13,000 seats available for Christmas Day and Boxing Day.”

On 25 and 26 December, Megabus will run services as frequently as every half hour between Heathrow Airport and London Victoria.

Megabus is upping its services for Christmas Day

(Simon Calder)

Lucy Thackray9 December 2021 09:35


‘Travel restrictions are utterly futile when we have community transmission’ – travel bosses

Leading travel industry figures have welcomed an apparent pledge by the health secretary, Sajid Javid, to end travel restrictions “very soon”.

Mr Javid told Parliament: “In the days and weeks that lie ahead, if, as I think is likely, we see many more infections and this variant becomes the dominant variant, there will be less need to have any kind of travel restrictions at all.”

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “Omicron will soon be the dominant variant in the UK and we know there are many cases now independent of international travel.

“The health secretary understands well that travel restrictions are utterly futile when we have community transmission and that’s why we’re pushing hard for these latest, emergency restrictions to be rolled back at the 20 December review.

“No other major economy has gone down the road of pre-departure and on-arrival tests – they are damaging our competitiveness and not providing any health advantage at all when the variant is this dominant within the UK.”

Nigel Wonnacott, head of external communications for Brittany Ferries, said: “Our hope is that the new variant proves less harmful than the dominant delta strain.

“If that is the case, and assuming community transmission is now inevitable, it would seem pointless to keep or even tighten international travel rules as we fear government may be planning.”

Simon Calder9 December 2021 08:59

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France Imposes Stricter Travel Restrictions for Unvaccinated Arrivals From 16 EU Countries

Travellers from 16 European Union Member States who haven’t been vaccinated against the Coronavirus yet are now subject to stricter entry restrictions when travelling to France.

Updating the rules of entry from the EU and abroad, the French Government has clarified that unvaccinated travellers from the following countries now need to test for COVID-19 within the prior 24 hours before reaching France, after these countries “have been placed under surveillance”:

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • the Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • the Netherlands
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

Before November 12, travellers from the majority of these countries could present the results of a PCR or antigen test certificate taken within the last 72 hours. The rule has not changed for unvaccinated travellers from the rest of the EU and Schengen Area countries that are not listed above.

>> Travelling to France Amid COVID-19 – Everything You Need to Know

Those who aren’t vaccinated, but have recovered from COVID-19 recently, are exempt from the requirement to submit a test result, no matter from which EU or Schengen Area country they travel to France.

Minors under the age of 12 are also exempt from the requirement to be tested before reaching France.

The decision comes at a time when the majority of EU countries are facing a spike up in the number of COVID-19 cases in their territory, in spite of the high vaccination rates throughout the block. Even the EU health agency, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (EDCD), had recommended less travel to these countries.

On November 12, France has also removed Ukraine from its green list and added it to the red list of countries.

This means that non-vaccinated travellers, and those who haven’t recently recovered from COVID-19, can travel from Ukraine to France only for absolutely essential purposes. The same are obliged to present test results of a PCR or antigen test taken within the last 48 hours before reaching the country. Upon arrival, the same are also subject to a ten-day quarantine period.

However, vaccinated travellers and those who have recently been ill with COVID-19 can enter by only proving their status, including for non-essential purposes like tourism, and without being subject to quarantine obligation.

>> France Recognises 5 COVID-19 Vaccines for Travel

The decision to add Ukraine to the red list follows a recommendation of the EU Council to the Member States to impose more restrictions on Ukrainian travellers upon an increase in the number of COVID-9 cases in this country.

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Greg Hunt confirms international arrivals cap to be scrapped when Australia opens to travel

After more than 18 months, the Health Minister has confirmed international arrivals caps will be scrapped.

Thousands of Australians could be home by Christmas, with international travel caps to be scrapped when borders reopen and a phase to home quarantine begins.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed on Monday morning that with the news NSW is planning to fast-track international travel as early as the end of this month, that would mean the end of caps for Australians trying to return home – provided their home is in NSW.

“The reason we’re so keen is not just to ensure people can travel overseas and reunite with their family and friends and loved ones but also to ensure people are able to come back,” Mr Hunt told Radio National.

“They have carried part of the burden (during the pandemic). I acknowledge that.

“That has kept us safe but now we can bring them home. We can remove the caps for those returning Australians if they can get home quarantine.

“We want to see everybody home as quickly as possible.”

Mr Hunt said Australia was “very used” to home quarantine.

“With people crossing state borders, people home quarantining because they are a close contact,” he said.

“That’s a system that’s well established and well tried.”

Mr Hunt’s comments come after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a plan on Sunday to fast-track reopening NSW’s international border following a discussion with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.

“I know the NSW government is looking at ways to fast-track home quarantine in November, and if that happens we will be able to move to facilitate the opening up of the international border into NSW sooner,” Mr Morrison said on Sunday.

“Now, that would mean home quarantine for vaccinated Australians wishing to return home via Sydney and giving the option for international travel for vaccinated Australians to leave and return.”

It is understood the state could open its borders and transition from hotel quarantine to home quarantine on November 1.

Other states could keep strict restrictions on their international borders – including on arrival caps and hotel quarantine – until they reach 80 per cent full vaccination coverage.

States like Queensland and Western Australia have hinted their international borders could remain closed for even longer.

While Australian citizens and permanent residents will be the only people able to access the scheme at first, it could ramp up to include skilled workers and international students from next year.

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