Survey says: Charlotte is burned out. 10 local leaders share what helps them

Charlotte is burned out.

Why it matters: Over half of readers responded to our recent work-life balance survey saying they work too much.

By the numbers: 46% say they work more now than before the pandemic.

  • Most Charlotte readers report taking 10 or fewer days of paid time off in 2021.

Here are tips from 10 local leaders to avoid burnout.

(1) Vi Lyles, Charlotte mayor

Just this past week, Lyles announced she would run for re-election in 2022 and joined Vice President Kamala Harris during her visit to Charlotte. That’s not even the half of what it’s like leading a city with a population over 874,000, according to the 2020 Decennial Census.

To avoid burn out, Lyles recommends focusing on what brings you peace and happiness. For her, that’s time with her family.

  • “When I am with my grandchildren, I am not the mayor, I’m just mimi,” she told Axios via email. “It washes my stress away and helps to recharge my batteries for another 50+ hour week.”

When she can find a few hours to herself, she likes “to dive into a good book,” she said.

  • “It is so critical to step away from work and allow yourself to have fun and relax, in a way that suits you the most,” she said. 

Go deeper: Charlotte’s pledge to raise $250 million for racial justice

Vi Lyles 704 Shop smiling in 704 shop hoodie

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles smiling in the 704 Shop hoodie. Photo: Michael Graff/Axios


Editor’s note: The following leaders are listed in alphabetical order.

(2) Alli Celebron-Brown, McColl Center president & CEO

Celebron-Brown’s day usually starts around 5:30am with meditation before dropping her youngest off at school. Then it’s to the office for what may be a 12-hour day, because arts events tend to happen at night.

  • She does her best to have dinner with her family, even if it’s late.
  • “That’s our time to connect and check in with one another,” she told Axios via email.

Her calendar is her tool for fighting burn out.

  • “I tell people all the time, ‘If it’s not on my calendar, it’s not happening,’” she said. “That mantra helps me create boundaries and balance.”

Go deeper: Exclusive: McColl Center receives $3.5 million endowment grant for its signature artist residency program

 Alli Celebron-Brown. Photo: courtesy McColl Center

Alli Celebron-Brown. Photo: courtesy McColl Center

Gabbard told Axios he is sympathetic to those feeling burned out because he feels it, too. But in his nearly 20 years leading Blumenthal and helping bring countless Tony Award-winning productions to Charlotte, he’s found all you do in life professionally is a marathon, not a sprint.

  • “You have to watch your energy,” Gabbard said.

He also shared his secret weapon — his work is his hobby, and his hobby is his work.

  • “I can be consumed with it, and fortunately, it’s a great business to be consumed by, but I’ve always found there’s a continuum of my personal life, my professional life — and to weave those things together, and to not compartmentalize it.”

Gabbard’s children, who are now 37 and 34, have been to theaters all over the world.

  • While he worked nights and weekends, he was responsible for taking care of his son in the morning, attending Shabbat with him every Friday morning during his son’s preschool days at a Jewish center.
  • “Finding a way to integrate the two and weave them together for me has been the right thing,” said Gabbard, who has been in the industry for 43 years.

Go deeper: The economic impact of Broadway’s return to Charlotte

tom gabbard

Tom Gabbard sits outside Spirit Square. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

(4) Gibbie Harris, Mecklenburg County public health director

Harris came out of retirement to serve as Mecklenburg County’s public health director in 2017, having finished her tenure with Buncombe County’s health department in 2015.

Fast forward to 2020 and a global pandemic. If you didn’t know who she was at the start of the year, you certainly did by late spring 2020.

She told Axios via email she learned in her nearly 40 years in public health, work-life balance is a moving target. She said there are times when work demands more, with a nod to the pandemic, but also times when her personal life does, with a child’s wedding, birth of a grandchild or a family member being sick.

  • “The key has been to recognize those ebbs and flows and spend my energy where it is most needed at the time,” said Harris, who will retire at the end of 2021. “That’s the balance — recognizing your priorities and adjusting to those shifting demands. Of course, through all of life, self-care and having a strong support system are critically important.”

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris. Photo: courtesy Mecklenburg County Public Information Department

(5) Mike Hill, Charlotte 49ers director of athletics

Hill oversees 18 sports with a budget of over $30 million at UNC Charlotte, a school with more than 30,000 students.

Hill told Axios via email his tip is to be intentional about scheduling time away time and protect it fiercely.

  • “Model good work-life balance behavior for your staff,” Hill said. “It’s important that they know that taking care of yourself and your family makes you a more productive and happier person.” 
UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon Gaber and Director of Athletics Mike Hill. Photo courtesy Charlotte 49ers athletics

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon Gaber and Director of Athletics Mike Hill. Photo courtesy Charlotte 49ers athletics

(6) Nick Kelly, Charlotte FC president

It’s been nearly a year since the Major League Soccer expansion franchise named Kelly their inaugural president.

  • From hiring a coaching staff, signing players, ticket sales and launching the team’s inaugural kit, also known as a uniform, on Dec. 9, Kelly’s schedule is only going to get busier as their inaugural match at D.C. United on Feb. 26 approaches.

Openness and honesty when your work-life balance is off are Kelly’s keys. 

  •  “It’s OK to not be OK, and that includes at work when your job becomes overwhelming,” Kelly told Axios via email. “Burnout is something that is real. We’re not blind to the nature of the sports industry — there will be late nights, weekends, and holidays when our employees will be at an event or in the stadium.”
  • He said they’ve told everyone in their office “to do this the right way, it’s going to be a tremendous amount of work. That can place a strain on your work-life balance and it’s something we proactively try and combat throughout our organization.”
  • Kelly said they allow staff an additional week of discretionary time off throughout the year, and employees have free access to mental health professionals through their Employee Assistance Program.

Go deeper: Save the date: Charlotte FC’s inaugural home match is March 5

Charlotte FC President Nick Kelly. Photo: courtesy Charlotte FC

Charlotte FC President Nick Kelly. Photo: courtesy Charlotte FC

Poole describes December, for those working in retail, as a month-long Super Bowl. Every day she shows up ready for fashion battle, assisting clients in-person, virtually, and sometimes dropping items off at their homes. 

The high-fashion connoisseur and entrepreneur runs or cross-trains every day and sleeps with an Oura ring, a sleep and activity tracker, which she told Axios via email has changed her life.

  • She sees an acupuncturist and fits a Thai massage into her schedule whenever possible.
  • Alcohol is a rarity for her during the week, because it slows her down the next day.

Her secret isn’t what you’d expect.

  • “This sounds crazy, but I quit caffeine almost 15 years ago and my energy levels are so much higher and more level without coffee,” Poole said.

In order to unwind, her favorite thing to do is watch, “the cheesiest, lowest-rated Christmas movies at night,” she said.

  • “The storyline is typically big shot New York advertising exec spends the weekend at a small town Christmas lodge and falls in love with the guy who owns the Christmas tree farm nearby. … My husband and I yell at the television about the improbability of it all and laugh ourselves to tears. I highly recommend it,” she told Axios with a smile.

Go deeper: Entrepreneurship with a view: Laura Vinroot Poole

Laura Vinroot Poole. Photo: Chris Edwards

Capitol, Capitol Brentwood and Poole Shop President Laura Vinroot Poole. Photo: Chris Edwards

(8) Munro Richardson, Read Charlotte executive director 

Working remotely became Richardson’s normal in March 2020. From his kitchen table, he leads Read Charlotte, a community initiative striving to improve children’s literacy from birth to third grade.

  • His workday starts by 6:30am.
  • Like many people, he’s found himself in too many back-to-back Zoom meetings this year.
  • “I’m working on spacing these out a bit better,” Richardson told Axios via email. 

Richardson told Axios he tries to live by the distinction Foundation for the Carolinas President and CEO Michael Marsicano made about, “working at home versus living at work.”

  • “I try to keep this in mind, but confess that I’ve done a lot of living at work this year,” Richardson said. “I never realized how important it was to have physical distance between work and home.”
  • He’ll work in different parts of the house to mix it up, and tries to call it a day by 6pm.
  • “I’ve gotten a lot better at this than a year ago,” he said.

 Teresa Hu, Richardson’s wife, convinced him of the importance of “dead head” time — “when I’m not reading news or doing any brain work,” Richardson said.

  • “Down time is important for re-charging — mentally, spiritually, and physically,” he told Axios.
  • His “dead head” time is dedicated to re-watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies in order, and he’s halfway through the first Guardians of the Galaxy.

Walks are another way he clears his head, which he admits he was better at during the first half of the year.

  • “I am working on adding these walks back into my schedule this month,” Richardson said.

Go deeper: Read Charlotte has a game plan to reach the city’s kids (and parents)

Read Charlotte Executive Director Munro Richardson. Photo: Axios file photo

Read Charlotte Executive Director Munro Richardson. Photo: Axios file photo

Turner took over during a period of transition, as the library as the main branch prepares for demolition in early 2022.

  • Completion is expected in late 2025, with some of the library staff calling the Hal Marshall building home for now.

He told Axios to never plan to have a work-life balance if you live in a city you don’t like, because you will spend the entire time working to avoid the city. 

Turner also lives by a tip from a friend about how to balance times when you have to work at night or on the weekends.

  • “Do one hour of work for work, one hour of your personal work and then take an hour off so that you can relax between,” Turner said. “The tip is to have some break between work. If you have to work a whole day just try to build natural breaks in the course of the day for other things.”
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library CEO/Chief Librarian Marcellus "MT" Turner. Photo: courtesy Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library CEO/Chief Librarian Marcellus “MT” Turner. Photo: courtesy Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Yoder’s day begins as you’d expect, making coffee at 5am. He tries not to look at his phone for the first hour, before working out at 6-6:30am, which can be difficult with six Not Just Coffee locations, two Night Swim locations and two more opening in the coming months, plus a roastery they expect to have operational this month.

  • It’s a packed day between taking turns with his wife, Miracle Yoder, getting their youngest son to school, visiting cafes, meetings and taking turns making dinner with Miracle making dinner.
  • If he’s on his game, he’s prepped lunch for the day, but if not it’s a trip to CAVA or somewhere similar.
  • After unwinding with Netflix and checking emails, he’s always the first to crawl into bed around 9-9:30 pm.

Yoder told Axios via email he is, “by default a fairly high stress person, usually only the ones who know me best realize that,” and he’s worked a lot on managing that, particularly through exercise and setting boundaries.

  • “I used to never have boundaries with days off and kind of prided myself with always working which is dumb,” Yoder said. “Fastest way to burn out. Taking days off to do nothing sometimes is important. Travel, getting out of town, even if it’s a day trip to the mountains! Good beer from Free Range or Fonta Flora also helps.”

Go deeper: Big coffee news: Not Just Coffee, Undercurrent teaming up for roastery and 4 cafés

Not Just Coffee and Night Swim Coffee co-owner and co-founder James Yoder. Photo: courtesy James Yoder

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COP26: World leaders commit to supporting sustainable aviation

World leaders and representatives from 18 nations attending the
UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) have participated in the inaugural meeting
of the International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition, during which they signed
a declaration committing to supporting the aviation industry in achieving its
emissions reduction goals.

Representatives agreed to work together through the
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to advance actions to reduce
CO2 emissions from aviation, including the deployment of sustainable aviation
fuel (SAF) and the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International
Aviation (CORSIA).

The agreement includes supporting the ICAO’s efforts to
expand participation in CORSIA, with those states not already signed up for the
initiative committing to doing so “as soon as possible”.

On SAF, the coalition agreed to promote the development and
deployment of fuels that can reduce the lifecycle emissions of aviation and
contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in
particular avoiding competition with food production for land use and water

In addition, leaders committed to promoting the development
of new low and zero-carbon aircraft technologies.

The coalition acknowledged the impact of Covid-19 on the
aviation sector and the need for government-backed initiatives that can help
the industry build back and grow in a more sustainable manner. Representatives
agreed cooperation between states and aviation stakeholders is critical for
helping to reduce the sector’s contribution to climate change.

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World Travel Holdings Wins 2021 President’s Award From Travel Leaders Network

WHY IT RATES: World Travel Holdings hauled in another major award.—Donald Wood, Breaking News Senior Writer.

World Travel Holdings was given the President’s Award at Travel Leaders Network’s (TLN’s) annual conference EDGE. EDGE was held from October 18-21 at the Loews Royal Pacific and Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando in Orlando, Fla. World Travel Holdings has been a member of the Travel Leaders Network consortia since 2019.

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“I was honored to accept the President’s Award on behalf of World Travel Holdings and our network of Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. franchisees and independent agents, said David Crooks, senior vice president of product and operations for World Travel Holdings. “This President’s Award is a recognition for the true heroes, our agents, who have persevered through one of the toughest times in our industry.”

The President’s Award is given to an agency that shows sales success and is a leading member of Travel Leaders Network. The support and resources TLN provides World Travel Holdings is a tremendous asset in growing its network of agents business.

“I am deeply proud of World Travel Holdings,” said Roger Block, President of Travel Leaders Network. “This year more than ever, travel agencies have fought through challenges that would have been unimaginable a few years ago. World Travel Holdings has much to be proud of, and I know that they are on the road to continued success.”

SOURCE: World Travel Holdings press release.

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Travel Leaders Network Brings Back EDGE Conference Live

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Travel Leaders Network (TLN), one of the largest networks of travel agencies in North America, today kicked off its international conference, EDGE (Educate, Discover, Gather, Evolve) being held live and in-person for the first time since 2019. The network is welcoming travel advisors and partners to Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando from Monday, Oct. 18 through Thursday, Oct. 21.

“It feels surreal but wonderful to gather again,” said Roger Block, President of Travel Leaders Network. “EDGE is a treasured tradition to Travel Leaders Network and our members, and the energy is like no other. Travel advisors will find a tremendous number of great, actionable business ideas and inspiration, but they are also incredibly eager to see each other in person to renew and build connections.”

EDGE will welcome 1,400 registered attendees to the conference, making it the largest live conference the company has had since the spring of 2019. To keep EDGE participants healthy, TLN has instituted a number of safety measures.

The conference will consist of daily General Sessions with company and supplier updates from the mainstage and over 100 workshops. New this year is the concept of a tiered learning system, with TLN members placed in a training track which allows them to get the education they need, whether they are a new travel advisor or the owner of a large, established agency.

EDGE’s host, Universal Orlando Resort, will also welcome the attendees to a private party at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park on Monday night. Travel advisors will get to experience the unique and fun Universal product for themselves.

Travel Leaders Network will welcome Simon T. Bailey to the mainstage as EDGE’s keynote speaker. Bailey has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry including serving as sales director for Disney Institute based at Walt Disney World Resort. He is known for his passion and purpose of unlocking people’s brilliance in a way that ignites sustainable transformation.

“As we celebrate the recovery of travel at EDGE, we also celebrate the resilience of the travel advisor, and the way they have fought through the incredible challenges our industry has faced,” commented Block. “The pandemic has taught us the incredible importance of travel and human connections. Being together with our fabulous partners, including our host, Universal Orlando, and each other, is something that has been sorely missed. EDGE will be a joyful reunion.”

About Travel Leaders Network
Travel Leaders Network ( assists millions of leisure and business travelers annually and is one of the largest sellers of luxury travel, cruises and tours in the travel agency industry, with approximately 5,700 travel agency locations across the United States and Canada. Travel Leaders Network is part of Travel Leaders Group, a division of Internova Travel Group.

About Internova Travel Group
Internova Travel Group is one of the largest travel services companies in the world with a collection of leading brands delivering high-touch, personal travel expertise to leisure and corporate clients. Internova manages leisure, business and franchise firms through a portfolio of distinctive divisions. Internova represents more than 62,000 travel advisors in over 6,000 company-owned and affiliated locations predominantly in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a presence in more than 80 countries.

Berit Griffin
[email protected]

SOURCE Travel Leaders Network

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Biden will travel to Europe to meet with world leaders

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden is set to travel to Europe at the end of October for several key events, including a meeting with the pope.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Thursday that Biden will travel to Italy, Vatican City, and the United Kingdom.

The president and first lady Jill Biden first visit Vatican City and have an audience with Pope Francis on Oct. 29.

“They will discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and caring for the poor,” wrote Psaki in her statement.

The president and first lady Jill Biden will then travel to Rome for the G20 Leaders’ Summit from Oct. 30 to Oct. 31. Psaki said additional information about individual bilateral engagements on the margins of the G20 will be released at a later date.

From Rome, the White House says Biden will travel to Glasgow, Scotland, from Nov. 1 to Nov. 2 to participate in the World Leader Summit at the start of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26).

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Hawaii tourism leaders wait on Gov. David Ige’s travel announcement this week

HONOLULU (KHON2) — During the delta surge this summer, Gov. David Ige asked visitors not to come to Hawaii through October, and the tourism industry took a hit.

“The restaurants have reported that they’re seeing a 50% to 60% loss. Attractions are seeing $30 million in cancellations in bookings across the board,” explained Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association President and CEO Mufi Hannemann.

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Hannemann said hotel occupancy over the summer was at 80% to 90%, and now it is down to 40% to 50%.

“So this has meant that workers hours have been shortened, people have been put on furlough, and that’s not a good trend,” he continued.

UHERO’s Carl Bonham said it’s important to start learning to live with the virus. He said jobs are down 14% from where they were before the pandemic, and while federal earnings kept families afloat, the assistance is now gone.

“The crisis for a lot of these households is really just the beginning or it’s just about to begin because the transfer payments are going away,” he said during a House hearing on Monday.

Experts and leaders are hopeful reduced restrictions and events like the Honolulu Marathon will bring more people to the state and put people back to work.

House Speaker Scott Saiki said the state is halfway through the month, and people need to begin booking their trips and know what to expect if they want to come to Hawaii for the holidays.

“We don’t want unvaccinated travelers, we want vaccinated travelers to Hawaii, but the governor needs to speak out, clearly and quickly at this point,” Saiki said.

Hannemann said it takes time to put people back to work, and visitors planning their trips need to plan their holiday vacations around things like rental cars which will be in low supply again this holiday season.

Unlike this summer, other countries could re-open, and it will bring competition to Hawaii.

“More places are opening up, so this is what confuses a lot of that responsible travelers out there because they go, ‘Wow, why is it that I can get to California get to New York? They don’t have as many restrictions, and why is Hawaii continuing to hold people back?’” Hanneman said.

He added that the state wants to start marketing to a more respectful and responsible traveler too.

“Most importantly, they’re going to know that we place a great premium on the person that is vaccinated to come here, and I think that’s sort of happening around the world,” he continued.

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

Over the summer, the state saw about 35,000 daily arrivals. According to Hawaii Tourism Authority data, in late December 2019, there were about 40,000 arrivals daily.

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Valley leaders urge White House to reopen bridges, as travel restrictions ease

HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Starting in November, people from the European Union will be allowed to fly into the United States with proof of vaccination. But these new rules laid out by the Biden Administrations do not apply to people in Mexico wanting to cross through land bridges.

Borders have been closes to non-essential travel since March 2020. Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said this has had an effect on South Texas.

“Traditionally Mexican shoppers in some of our major retail areas represent 40% of our sales,” Cortez said. So, when you have those numbers and sales missing it’s having a huge impact.”

According to U.S Representative Henry Cuellar, the new travel rules set in place will allow Mexican nationals to fly into the U.S. But not opening the borders has not only had a negative impact on the local economy but the entire country.

“I’ve calculated it, since March of 2020 until now that we have lost over $30 Billion because the Biden administration does not want to open up the border restrictions to the land ports,” Cuellar said.

Congressman Cuellar said he has given the Biden Administration ideas on how to open the ports of entry in a safe way, but they have not gone through with any of those options. Now Cuellar is urging the White House to reopen the border before it is too late for local businesses.

“You are going to have businesses shut down. Some of them forever because they just can’t keep this up,” Cuellar said. “I am hoping that they open this up soon, I have given them a map way to open up.”

But it is not just local businesses that have been suffering since the borders have been closed.

“It’s a tragedy because it is not only hurting our economy, but it is hurting the relationships with our families there is a lot of family relationships between Mexico and the United States,” Cortez said. “Unfortunately some of them have not been able to come over and spend time with their families.”

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Travel Industry Leaders Applaud EU Reopening

Europe is reopening and Americans can’t wait to get there—those are the sentiments from industry leaders who shared their praise for the decision and highlighted the big way this news will support travel advisors.

The announcement made waves globally as organizations from around the world welcomed the news, including the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).


“The news from the EU today is encouraging and welcomed by the wider travel and tourism sector,” said Virginia Messina, senior vice president, WTTC. “We hope to see EU Ministers and Member States adopt this position and extend the reopening of travel to U.S citizens.”

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The revival of trans-Atlantic travel is key to rebuilding the beleaguered travel industry and critical to the economies of both Europe and the U.S., but Messina also noted un-vaccinated travelers should still be allowed in.

“While the U.S. vaccine rollout is impressive with nearly 40 percent fully vaccinated, we shouldn’t discriminate against those yet to be immunized or who are unable to receive the vaccine,” she said. “Instead, we must allow Americans who are not vaccinated the opportunity to travel to the EU with a negative COVID-19 test.”

Throughout the pandemic, European travel has never been far from the minds of U.S. travelers.

“Americans are anxious to begin traveling back to Europe again,” said Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. “In fact, even during the pandemic, Cruise Planners’ most trending destination for new bookings has been Europe making up about 25 percent of Cruise Planners purchase revenue—with dates starting to be announced for Europe to open to vaccinated Americans, there is hope many cruises and land vacations on the books for 2021 will pan out and our hard-working travel advisors will begin to earn those well-deserved commissions.”

Americans being able to visit Europe is just one step closer to a new normal.

“Europe’s reopening is one of the lights in the pandemic tunnel we’ve been waiting for,” said Misty Belles, managing director of global public relations at Virtuoso. “It signifies a closer return to normalcy and opens up the possibility of travel resuming in a more meaningful way. This is great news for our European partners who are eager to welcome back vaccinated guests as well as for our members and advisors who typically have strong European bookings. While the summer may be a tip-toe back to the Continent, we see indicators that fall will be Europe’s great return.”

Tour operators are also looking forward to bringing guests back to Europe.

“The announcement that the EU plans on welcoming vaccinated US citizens is a real boost to travel in general and Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold in particular,” said Guy Young, President of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold. “Europe is the most important destination for our company. While we still need further details on the start date and logistical requirements, I am confident that once the details are made known we will have a significant increase in bookings.”

River cruising may also make a midsummer debut as conditions continue to evolve in a positive direction.

“We are so excited to see the situation in Europe evolving in a positive direction and are very optimistic about the new tourist entry requirements that will be announced in the coming days,” said AmaWaterways co-owner and executive vice president, Kristin Karst. “On a personal note, being born in Germany, I could not be happier about today’s announcement that Europe will be opened this summer to safely welcome back tourists to assist with the much-needed economic and social recovery.”

Travel advisors can finally begin to plan postponed trips for their Europe-bound clients and get a much-needed income boost.

“Reopening Europe for vaccinated U.S. travelers is a significant marker on our road of recovery, providing travel advisors an opportunity to expand the holistic planning conversation with clients,” said Karryn Christopher, executive vice president, marketing and preferred partnerships at Signature Travel Network. “Cancelled vacations that have remained in a travel credit holding pattern can finally be reimagined and rebooked, making expert planning more necessary than ever.”

Garcia also noted that clients who have been waiting more than a year to cross the pond are willing to spend big.

“We’re hearing from clients that they are eager to get away and because of all the pent-up demand they’re spending big on their European vacations—from river cruising to mass market cruises in the Med and even land-based tours and FIT hotel stays throughout Europe,” said Garcia.

Travel advisors continue to hear from clients wanting to go to Europe so this news is sure to be music to their ears as well as to clients.

“I’ve been getting lots of calls regarding trips to Europe,” said Scott Lara of CruiseGenius. “There is a lot of pent-up energy to travel and Europe is on the top of the list.”

Garcia agreed that demand will escalate.

“With these summer dates starting to be announced, the financial impact for travel advisors will be powerful since summer is a great time to go to Europe, so the fact that nearly two peak seasons of travel has been restricted will send a wave of Americans abroad,” she said.

Couple holding hands in Rome, Italy
Couple holding hands in Rome, Italy. (photo via hocus-focus/E+)

The news of Europe’s reopening is yet another signal that we are moving on from lockdowns to a new normal.

“This news is going to boost consumer confidence yet again and propel vaccinated travelers to call their travel advisors, a role that will continue to be paramount as each country responds and enforces different COVID-era procedures and protocols,” said Garcia.

The U.S. Travel Association chimed in praising Europe’s science-based approach and indicated that the U.S. should be next.

“The European Union’s risk-based, science-driven plan to reopen international travel will hopefully spur the U.S. to heed the many calls for a plan and timetable to safely reopen our borders,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “The right conditions are in place: vaccinations are increasing, infections are decreasing, all inbound visitors get tested or have to prove they’ve recovered, and it’s possible to determine vaccine status.”

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Hotel industry leaders hoping for spike in summer travel – Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather


If you’ve set foot in side the Outrigger Resort in Waikiki, you’ll notice social distancing, touchless elements and plexiglass at check-in, and enhanced cleaning in rooms. Along with masks in common areas, Hawaii has been setting an example when it comes

Wednesday, May 5th 2021, 6:10 PM HST by Tom George

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Industry leaders tip cautious restart but fewer restrictions by July

Industry leaders anticipate a limited restart to international travel but hope for a wider and less restricted opening by the summer.

Aviation chiefs welcomed government confirmation on Monday of a traffic light system for categorising countries green, amber or red, despite frustration at the lack of detail.

British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle said: “We’re optimistic travel can resume on May 17. [But] we have to look beyond.

“I expect the green list to become quite expansive by the summer. All the indicators are we’ll be in a much better place. We’re confident the situation will improve significantly.”

Doyle insisted: “The PM wants to open up travel. A number of European markets will be open. People can book with confidence.

“The important thing is a detailed framework that we can plan against. The key is the criteria for countries being green or amber.”

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye agreed: “By the time we get to July, we’ll start to see a lot more countries added to the [green] list and some relaxation of restrictions.”

The system was confirmed in a Global Travel Taskforce update on Monday as Boris Johnson insisted: “I do want to see international travel start up again. We can’t do it immediately, but that doesn’t mean we’ve given up on May 17.”

Countries will be classified according to vaccination rates, infection rates, prevalence of ‘variants of concern’ and the tracking of variants.

Travel will be permitted to ‘green’ destinations without quarantine but with pre-departure Covid tests required before returning to the UK and after arrival. Hotel quarantine will be retained for ‘red’ countries. The ‘amber’ category will mean 10 days’ self-isolation on return and three tests – one pre-departure and two on arrival after two and eight days.

All the requirements will be in addition to testing and quarantine restrictions in destinations.

The government noted: “Countries will move between red, amber and green depending on the data.”

An aviation source suggested: “They’ll announce the green list quite late, maybe a week before [the restart]. That will be unhelpful but makes sense given how bad things are in Europe. We think the list will be small. Everything hinges on what testing regime they put in place.”

One leading industry source argued: “The government plan is coming together. We’d hoped for fewer restrictions, but it was always the case they’d be cautious at the point of reopening. It can be reviewed and we could see a more relaxed regime when the data allows.

“The point of a roadmap is to know what comes next. There needs to be a tiered progression through the system. We want to see what comes after the cautious opening.”

A second source said: “There is concern about the timetable, but why would you put everything at risk to open up quickly when most of the rest of the world is not in such a good place?”

The taskforce report was expected this week. Separately, the government announced the extension of red-list restrictions to Kenya, the Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh from April 9.

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