Ryanair boss gets ‘fundamentally simple’ travel rules wrong on Sky | Travel News | Travel

O’Leary advised travellers to book early for Christmas holidays as he said demand was high.

He said: “I would urge people- book early now for Christmas, because it looks like Christmas is going to be a bumper time for travel. To get the lower prices book early.”

He added that bookings were up for October half-term: “We’re seeing extraordinary bookings for the mid-term break, all our flights to Spain, Italy, Greece were filling up very rapidly.

“We added 300 extra flights to Faro, to the Canaries, to the Balearics just two weeks ago and most of those flights are already sold out as well.

“So I think we’re seeing this pent up demand returning very quickly.”

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Ryanair boss gives money-saving tip as flights set to get more expensive next summer

Following the news that airfares are set to rise next summer due to increased levels of demand, the CEO of Ryanair has urged customers to book their flights as early as possible.

During a recent interview with The Times, O’Leary said that while confidence is returning in the aviation sector and passenger numbers are increasing, this will have a knock-on effect in terms of pricing as demand soars.

The Ryanair boss has said that a rise in demand for holidays would coincide with fewer flights, which would lead to rising prices for consumers next summer.

O’Leary believes that this increase won’t just be for flights, but also for hotels.

O’Leary said: “I think there will be a dramatic recovery in holiday tourism within Europe next year. And the reason why I think prices will be dramatically higher is that there’s less capacity.”

Speaking with Newstalk, the CEO of Ryanair, Eddie Wilson, elaborated on O’Leary’s recent comments and discussed the future of the low-cost airline and the industry at large.

Mr Wilson said: “European-wise, when Michael was talking about that, what you can see is the pressures that are going to come on pricing next year, they’re going to come from a number of fronts. Long haul travel isn’t going to return in the way that it did previously, so people who previously went on holidays to Florida or southeast Asia are going to holiday in Europe next year.

“There are less airlines, there are less airline seats around, so generally speaking, in economic terms, if there’s less of something then prices generally rise. I think you’ll see this flowing through into hotels and into the sort of tourist hotspots as well. There’ll be a lot of pent-up demand for next summer, and that will feed into higher prices.”

Last month, Ryanair had 11 million passengers which represents an increase of 2m from July and double what it carried in June.

While there has been an upward trend in customers, the numbers still aren’t what they were before the pandemic.

However, Mr Wilson has said that people can save money by booking early and if the government do intervene to make Ireland more attractive for airlines, prices could fall.

Wilson added: “On a European wide basis, it’s going to be about 20% less. Now, Ireland, in terms of its connectivity because we’re an island, we depend on air travel and if we can actually up supply here, that would mitigate against some of the price pressure. The advice I’d give people and consumers is to book early and for the government, put those incentives in to ensure that the largest share of Ryanair’s capacity goes into Ireland. That generally will push prices down.”

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Airport boss, tourism officials say international travel key to Vegas rebound

The pandemic-driven absence of international flights to and from Las Vegas has removed one of the gaming industry’s most lucrative business segments, leading airport leaders, tourism officials and gaming insiders to push for the U.S. to reopen for travel from key destinations.

Clark County Director of Aviation Rosemary Vassiliadis told members of a Senate subcommittee at a hearing Tuesday that airline operators want to resume flights into McCarran International Airport – the ninth busiest airport in North America – but are thwarted by travel restrictions affecting “nonessential” leisure and convention visitors.

“These airlines ask us point blank, ‘What is the U.S. doing to reopen travel? When will our airline be able to resume bringing vacationers and conventioneers to Las Vegas?’” Vassiliadis said in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and Export Promotion. The subcommittee is chaired by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV).

“Almost every day, I or members of my team hear from representatives of international air carriers expressing interest in quickly resuming service to Las Vegas,” Vassiliadis said.

Gaming industry insiders are asking the same questions.

Truist Securities gaming analyst Barry Jonas said that before COVID-19 disrupted the Strip, 14 percent of Las Vegas’ annual visitors came from international destinations.

“The resumption of international travel should be one of the key next legs for the Strip’s recovery,” Jonas said. “International visitors stay longer (and have) bigger gaming and non-gaming budgets.”

Vassiliadis suggested that the U.S. develop “a risk-based roadmap” that allows global travel to return through a more flexible approach, rather than keeping the blanket travel ban that was put into place by the White House in January.

She said the International Civil Aviation Organization, with support from the Federal Aviation Administration, has produced a manual in which global air routes could be restored, but also could be adjusted if COVID-19 surges on either end of the route.

“The EU is gradually deploying methods to reopen its members’ borders for vaccinated passengers, and the United Kingdom has embraced an approach similar to ICAO’s.” Vassiliadis said. “These actions have opened the door for U.K. residents to begin non-essential travel to select countries later this month.”

She noted, however, that the U.S. wasn’t on the list of cleared destinations, “creating a major hurdle toward reconnecting Las Vegas with its top overseas visitor market.”

From 11 down to one

In 2019, McCarran had nonstop service to and from 11 different countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, South Korea, China and Israel.

“Now, that number is down to one, with Mexico representing our lone international market currently in service,” Vassiliadis said. “Over the first four months of 2021, our international volume has amounted to less than 80,000 passengers.” 

In 2020, McCarran had 781,280 incoming and outgoing international passengers, a decline of 79.5 percent compared with more than 3.8 million international customers in 2019. Several Canadian air carriers had maintained routes to Las Vegas for a time, but service was halted when COVID-19 surged in Canada and the government closed its borders.

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill said he supports the roadmap suggested by Vassiliadis. The resort industry is reopening and the first major trade show in more than a year – the World of Concrete – is scheduled for next month.

“We’re ready to get back and other countries are ready to get back,” Hill said. “Frankly, waiting for the whole world to get back is just not good for anybody involved.”

Diminished gaming revenues

The loss of business from Asia has diminished revenue streams for Strip resorts that offer high-end baccarat play. The game can tip the scales along the Las Vegas Strip during Chinese New Year in the January-February timeframe and large-scale events.

Jonas said Asian high-end table game play has historically been a “meaningful contributor” to Strip casinos, estimating it accounted for roughly 5 percent to 10 percent of MGM Resorts International’s total cash flow from its Las Vegas properties.   

UNLV gaming researcher and historian David G. Schwartz views baccarat as “important” to Nevada gaming and a “proxy for high-end Asian play.” Over the past decade, before the pandemic, baccarat averaged more than 10 percent of statewide gaming revenues annually.

Schwartz called the statistic “remarkable, given how small” the number of baccarat tables was compared to other table games, such as blackjack, craps and roulette.

Through March, baccarat revenues are down 45.6 percent compared to 2020, which recorded the game’s first sub-$1 billion revenue year since 2009. Revenues from baccarat hit an all-time high of almost $1.6 billion in 2013, a year that saw the state collect more $11.1 billion in gaming revenues.

“Pound for pound, baccarat tables generate far more revenue than other gaming positions,” Schwartz said. “For that to return we need to become a destination for international travelers, particularly from Asia.”

No to vaccine passports

Vassiliadis told the subcommittee that the U.S. government needs to lead the world in establishing ways to safely admit international travelers. But she stopped short of calling for a Digital Health Credential (DHC), which could be construed as a vaccine passport, for domestic travelers.

“We do need the government to set the parameters and criteria for accepting solutions that are already being implemented in other parts of the world,” Vassiliadis said. “To be clear, aviation industry members are not advocating for a DHC mandate.”

Hill agreed that “vaccinations are the key,” but that a vaccine passport was not the right strategy for domestic travel.

“But it could work with international markets,” Hill said.

Vassiliadis said the U.S. should be involved in “worldwide discussions” that would set guidelines or standards for the use of DHC in authenticating testing and vaccination status for international travelers.

“Establishing a harmonized approach for the implementation of these DHCs will allow the traveling public to understand the requirements for international travel and reduce the occurrence of fraudulent documentation,” Vassiliadis said.

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Kiwi NBL boss Justin Nelson relishes wide-open league: ‘It’s anybody’s ball game’

Nothing is ever easy. There is an uncomfortable overlap with Australia and, of course, Covid hovers like a threatening rain cloud. But Kiwi National Basketball League boss Justin Nelson believes his little league that could is set to take another massive stride in the right direction in 2021.

The 40th year of New Zealand’s NBL tips off on Saturday night in Dunedin, when the Otago Nuggets host Wellington’s Saints, followed a night later by the first true instalment of the Queen City’s new basketball rivalry when the Auckland Huskies travel down SH1 to take on the Franklin Bulls.

Of course there are Covid-enforced hitches. The Australian NBL has been pushed back so much there is now a major overlap with the Kiwi league, which threatens the participation of some Kiwi players, and one Australian, who have signed for the New Zealand competition.

And though the league managed to get clearance to bring in two imports per team via managed isolation, there can still be issues, which the Huskies discovered when star signing Armoni Brooks got an eleventh-hour callup to the NBA. Swapping his spot out has proved problematic, which forced the franchise to turn to Australia-based Jeremy Kendle for a short-term fix.

* Auckland Huskies’ ex-NBA recruit Chris Johnson relishes his return to New Zealand
* Huge boost for New Zealand’s NBL: Critical workers’ exemptions granted for imports
* New Zealand NBL has bold plans for its 40th season in 2021

Nelson, who masterminded the runaway success Showdown in 2020 which played out in an Auckland hub with talent dispersed evenly around the clubs, told Stuff that this year’s Sal’s NBL would once again have to be nimble should Covid demand it.

“We’re mindful there could be spot fires with Covid,” said Nelson ahead of his third year running the league. “Upon reflection we should be really proud of the way we adapted in 2020. I think we were a real leader in sport, and I’m not afraid of Covid causing disruption. I know we would tackle it head-on with a great deal of confidence.

“Given what we went through in 2020 there is absolutely nothing that scares me, and nothing we’re not ready for these days.”

In fact, Nelson believes the 2021 NBL is set to be the most competitive it’s been for a long, long time, which has been one of his driving ambitions since he took on this job. All 93 games will be televised on Sky.

NBL GM Justin Nelson is backing the quality of his league to overcome any challenges it faces in 2021.

Chris McKeen/Stuff

NBL GM Justin Nelson is backing the quality of his league to overcome any challenges it faces in 2021.

“My greatest challenge since I arrived here has been trying to adapt towards a competitively balanced competition,” Nelson told Stuff. “The great thing that came out of 2020, and not knowing who was going to win night to night, is teams have bought into that, and understand the benefits and increased commercial opportunities that come with that.

“I think it’s going to be the making of this league for the next 40 years, the fact any team, if they operate well, recruit smartly and work within the rules, creates a genuine opportunity for fans to believe their team is a chance to win.”

The ANBL overlap is unfortunate and unavoidable, though the trans-Tasman bubble has at least smoothed travel. Title favourites the Hawks are the most affected with four players involved in Kiwis Jarrod Kenny, Jordan Hunt and Hyrum Harris (all Cairns), and Aussie import Jordan Hunter (Sydney). But Tom Vodanovich (Sydney) is also signed for the Huskies, Isaac Davidson (Breakers) for the Franklin Bulls and Taylor Britt (Perth) for the Canterbury Rams.

In order to qualify for finals players must be back playing in the Kiwi NBL by June 24. It’s figured those whose teams don’t make the playoffs should be good to go by round 7 (tipping June 7), while beaten semifinalists should also just squeeze inside the cut.

The Hawks have the additional issue of having one too many tier-3 players (Kiwis in the ANBL) after Harris was whistled up as an injury replacement for the Taipans. They are likely to have to jettison one.

But Nelson is confident the league has more than enough quality to hold its own before the reinforcements arrive.

Chris Johnson will bring NBA experience to the Auckland Huskies for the 2021 New Zealand NBL.

Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

Chris Johnson will bring NBA experience to the Auckland Huskies for the 2021 New Zealand NBL.

He points to former NBA player Josh Selby (Bulls) as an example of the calibre of player the league has been able to attract, on top of a quartet of imports who have featured previously in the Australian NBL in Deshon Taylor (Rams), EJ Singler (Rams), Devondrick Walker (Hawks) and DeAndre Daniels (Jets).

When you throw in other big-name signings, such as 75-game NBA big man Chris Johnson for the Huskies, Giants import and collegiate standout Donte Ingram, the Saints’ 7’2 giant Romaro Gill and top-line Kiwis such as Matt Freeman (coming in from his first pro gig in Germany for Franklin), Jack Salt (back from a two-year injury absence for the Rams), Ethan Rusbatch (returning for the Hawks from a spell out with injury) and Sam Timmins (lining up for his home-town Otago Nuggets) and it’s a league Nelson says has the high-end quality required.

Nelson notes the high-risk/high-reward approach of the busy Hawks, the improvement in squad depth at the Jets and Giants, the unknown factor of the two essentially new Auckland franchises, the return to the NBL of the Nuggets and the established quality of the Saints, Rams and Sharks and is reluctant to tip a winner.

“We are about to see a full-blown season for the first time in a long time that is a wide-open race. That’s what fans want, what sponsors want and viewers want, and it’s the best possible position we can be in.”

*Stuff is the official media partner of the Sal’s NBL for 2021. Coverage of the league can be found at www.stuff.co.nz/sport/basketball

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Add mindfulness and meaning to travel after the pandemic, holiday boss says – South China Morning Post

Add mindfulness and meaning to travel after the pandemic, holiday boss says  South China Morning Post

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Travel news latest: Traffic light system would deliver ‘clarity’ to holidaymakers, says travel boss

British holidaymakers could travel overseas quarantine-free this summer under a traffic-light style system to “green list” countries, a proposal that has been welcomed by industry bosses. 

“The traffic lights system would bring clarity as countries would be categorised by criteria including vaccine rollout, infection rates and hospital infrastructure. It would be designed to give visibility to those going away on how a country is performing,” said Paul Charles, chief executive of the travel consultancy The PC Agency. “Consumers are ready to accept sun, sand, sea and swab this summer if it means a safe overseas trip,” he added.

Travellers returning to the UK from “amber” countries would likely face pre-departure testing and quarantine for at least five days under the proposed system, while the ban on travel from “red list” countries is likely to continue.

Airlines UK, the trade body for UK registered airlines also welcomed the plan: “We know that universal, restriction-free travel is unlikely from 17 May but under a tiered system, based on risk, international travel can meaningfully restart and build up, with minimal restrictions in time,” said chief executive Tim Alderslade.

The details of the plan for the resumption of international travel are due to be revealed by the Global Travel Taskforce on April 12. However, Government ministers have cautioned consumers against booking holidays against the backdrop of rising infection rates in Europe. 

“It just feels premature to be booking international holidays at the moment,” Helen Whately, Minister of State for Social Care, told BBC Breakfast on Monday, echoing statements made by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on Sunday.

Scroll down for the latest travel updates.

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‘You have to be desperate and wealthy to fly from next Monday’, says Heathrow boss

International travel will have to be limited in order for life to get back to normal after the vaccine programme has been rolled out, a senior public health expert has said.

Prof Devi Sridhar told Radio 4’s Today programme there was globally “a turn towards saying do we want to use our vaccine… to be able to get back to normal life, which means normal schooling, fully open and crowded restaurants and bars, gyms and fitness studios, live festivals, large spectator sports, but the cost is restricted movement internationally.” 

Quarantine hotels should be brought in for all destinations, not just the 33 hotspot countries, as was the case in other countries, she said. 

“We were trying to have it all, but in doing so you end up having nothing”, she added.

The “Achilles heel of vaccine efforts” was that Covid would “always be circulating out there somewhere”, particularly given the mutations. 

Follow our politics live blog for more.

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Holidays: Heathrow boss warns travel reserved for ‘wealthy’ if hotel quarantine remains | Travel News

Holidays: Heathrow boss warns travel reserved for ‘wealthy’ if hotel quarantine remains | Travel News | Travel » TechnoCodex

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Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary optimistic about travel ‘book your summer holidays’ | Travel News

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary optimistic about travel ‘book your summer holidays’ | Travel News | Travel » TechnoCodex

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G Adventures boss says rapid tests are key for quick return to travel

Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, predicts rapid Covid-19 tests will be a ‘game-changer’ for the swift return of travel this summer.

Alongside the deployment of vaccines, he said the “number one thing we need” is rapid testing.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, he said rapid home kits that are currently being developed will enable holidaymakers to be tested during trips, ahead of their return home and at airports.

“The technology does exist. It’s just not being manufactured and being mass produced and available right now,” he said.

“I think we’re going have it in the next couple of months, according to what I’m reading. They’re starting to manufacture home tests.”

He also hopes that quarantine periods for returning travellers will get shorter to encourage more bookings.

“I do believe that travel is going to go come back quicker than people think,” he said.

“It’s not going be back to normal numbers but there are early adopters and a lot of people that want to travel before crowds start again.

“There is going to be a lot of people that are motivated to travel early as soon as they can. We’re seeing that already.”

G Adventures is currently operating group tours in Tanzania and passengers are “absolutely loving it”, he added, as there are no crowds.

“Once we get this whole vaccine sorted out, I think that confidence is going to come back quicker than people think,” he said.

“There’s just so many doom-and-gloom people right now saying there are no travellers till 2022. I don’t believe that.

“We were seeing a very strong case to say that we’re going to get significant travellers this summer.”

He said the operator saw “green shoots” of a return to travel last year as it was able to run European tours in September and October, then tours to destinations such as Tanzania, Maldives and Costa Rica later in 2020.

“It is great to dip our toe in the water again, and there are a lot of positive attitudes on our communication channels internally now that we’re running trips again,” he said.

The operator is liaising with governments around the world to keep updated with restrictions and plans for a return to travel.

It is working with the Peruvian government to run test trips with officials on the Inca Trail, to ensure new protocols are effective.

He also highlighted how Japan – which hopes to host the Olympics – has advanced plans for the safe return of travellers.

“We want to be part of that, before and after the Olympics,” he said.

“We want to be in the forefront of convincing people to start travelling again.”

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