Widodo calls for ASEAN travel corridor to bolster recovery | National News


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Indonesian President Joko Widodo has urged Southeast Asian countries to speed up plans to create a regional travel corridor to help revive tourism and speed up a recovery from the economic damage of the pandemic.

Citing U.N. and World Trade Organization data, Widodo said Monday that the level of restrictions in Southeast Asia was the highest in the world. With coronavirus cases in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations now declining, those limits should be eased to allow people to travel more freely, he said.

Speaking at a regional business forum Widodo urged immediate adoption of a regional travel corridor, a concept initiated by Indonesia in 2020, that would include faster immigration lanes, recognition of vaccine certificates and standardized health measures for departure and arrival, among other things.

“After 20 months of facing the daunting COVID-19 pandemic, we now see a light of hope. In the past week, COVID-19 cases in ASEAN fell by 14%, far exceeding the global average, which fell by 1%.,” he told the forum organized ahead of a three-day ASEAN leaders summit, which starts Tuesday.

“With the COVID-19 situation getting more under control, these restrictions could be eased, mobility could be relaxed, while also ensuring that it’s safe from the risk of the pandemic,” he said.

“If all ASEAN countries immediately facilitate the safe mobility of people, the wheels of economy shall soon run again,” he said.

Intra-ASEAN travel typically accounts for around 40% of travel in the region and is key to reviving tourism in the region.

Some countries, including Thailand, are cautiously moving to reopen to international tourism.

Indonesia re-opened its holiday resort island of Bali to foreign tourists this month after more than 80% of its population was fully vaccinated. Widodo said the government will gradually open up other areas in the country where vaccination rate exceeds 70%. Indonesia so far has fully vaccinated about a quarter of its people.

Widodo called for more equal distribution of vaccines to ensure that at least 70% of ASEAN’s more than 600 million people are inoculated. Vaccination is uneven in the region, with Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia moving the fastest with over 70% of their population inoculated and Myanmar at the bottom with less than 10% vaccinated.

Widodo said ASEAN, as the region with the fastest growth in internet use in the world, should also expand its digital economy for future growth. The value of Indonesia’s digital economy value is expected to reach $124 billion in 2025 or equivalent to 40% of the total value of Southeast Asia’s digital economy, he said.

“Our rapid steps together in handling health challenges, reactivation of safe travels, as well as acceleration of a fair digital economy, will become our common gateway to recover and advance together,” he added.

ASEAN leaders will hold a three-day annual summit from Tuesday. Myanmar’s top general, whose forces seized power in February, was not invited after failing to take steps to end the deadly violence that followed the military takeover.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.





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Travel ideas for non-snowbirds: where to embrace winter in Canada’s national parks


If you live in Canada, you’re built for all-season outdoor fun. With winter travel planning upon us, here are a few diversions you can do in our national parks come hibernation season. Bundle up.

For hot springs in the Canadian Rockies: Kootenay National Park

Where: Located in southeastern B.C. near Alberta, Kootenay National Park covers 1,406 square kilometres of the Canadian Rockies. The splashy neighbour next door (Banff National Park) tends to get more of the glamour (and clamour), but Kootenay is no slouch. Winter amusements include backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and soaking weary muscles in Radium Hot Springs, one of the park’s star attractions.

Why: Radium is one of three historic pools in Canadian Rockies hot springs operated by Parks Canada (Banff and Jasper round out the list). The family-friendly fun is so classic, it’s part of Destination Canada’s collection of Canadian Signature Experiences. Of the trio, Radium Hot Springs is the largest facility and open seven days a week (with capacity limits at the moment). The clear, 100 per cent natural mineral water is always steamy at 37 to 40ºC, so you can soak on the frostiest days.

For cross-country skiing in a UNESCO World Heritage site: Gros Morne National Park

Where: Gros Morne National Park, in Newfoundland and Labrador, is known for its dramatic landscapes (the result of continental drift and plate tectonics, to get science-y about it). Glacier-carved fjords, alpine highlands, sandy beaches and cascading falls — they’re all here in an expanse that covers 1,805 square kilometres

Why: Want plentiful powder but still (relatively) moderate cold weather? Gros Morne has a reputation for both, making it a playground for cross-country skiers, especially from January to March. There are several regularly groomed trails, most tracked for classic cross-country skiing, including some fairly flat forest options fine for beginners. There’s also backcountry skiing, for those experienced enough to handle unmarked routes in the wilderness (and the real risks involved). For multi-day trips, there are two backwoods ski huts available (health restrictions permitting) for overnighting far away from it all.

For stargazing in a Dark Sky Preserve: Point Pelee National Park

Where: At the most southern point of mainland Canada, jutting sharply into Lake Erie, you’ll find Point Pelee National Park, around a 3.5-hour drive from Toronto. It’s one of the country’s most petite national parks, just about 9 kilometres long, from the entrance to the daggerlike tip. But it also has the distinction of being the most ecologically diverse, abounding with butterflies in fall and migratory birds in spring.

Why: Point Pelee National Park is designated a Dark Sky Preserve, which is a very official way of saying it’s a particularly sweet spot to stare at millions of stars, which are more visible since there’s no annoying light pollution to distract. If you want to keep gazing after the park’s closing time, overnight stays are bookable at 24 oTENTiks (Parks Canada’s hybrid cabin/tent), tucked inside the Carolinian forest.

For challenging snowshoeing in the land of lakes: La Mauricie National Park

Where: About a two-hour from Montreal, La Mauricie National Park is classic Laurentians, dense with forests, shaped by undulating terrain and dotted with 150 lakes. The water means summer staples like swimming, canoe camping and kayaking are a given, but come winter, the destination is also a draw for cross-country skiers, hikers and serious snowshoers.

Why: If snowshoeing sounds like a casual walk in the park, La Mauricie makes it an endurance sport. Covering 536 square kilometres, it’s home to eight marked wilderness trails for snowshoeing — with just one rated “easy.” Five are “difficult,” an understatement given the 17-kilometre Deux-Criques will test your cardio with climbs and descents over an estimated seven hours. Shorter but not breezier is the 13.1-kilometre Lac-du-Pimbina Trail No. 15, which rewards your efforts with views of Lac Solitaire and other lookouts. In the winter season, equipment rentals — snowshoes, trekking poles, crampons — are available at the Rivière à la Pêche Service Centre.

Travellers are reminded to check on public health restrictions that could affect their plans.





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Flying to Italy: ITA Airways, Italy’s New National Airline, Has Arrived


Italy recently bid arrivederci to its long-running national flagship carrier, Alitalia, as operations have launched for its successor, Italia Trasporto Aero, or ITA Airways.

With inaugural flights from hubs in Rome and Milan Linate, ITA officially took to the skies on October 15. But liftoff wasn’t without minor turbulence, most notably some confusion over its name and branding. Just before officially launching service, ITA announced its €90 million (about $104 million) purchase for naming rights of its predecessor, which had been leading some industry insiders to speculate it would continue to operate under the Alitalia banner.

However, executives decided to make the ITA Airways moniker official, although some of the inventory and aircraft it purchased from Alitalia still currently bear the brand. “Until just a few hours before they started operating, we ended up knowing they would not be called Alitalia,” says Jacob Wert, a Germany-based aviation journalist for outlets including Aero Telegraph. “Everyone expected them to be named Alitalia, given that they spent €90 million for that name.”

In addition, the company is reportedly taking on fewer than a third of Alitalia’s 10,000 employees, a move that led to a protest by about 50 former Alitalia flight attendants days after ITA’s launch. According to the AP, union officials say the employees who will work for ITA are being hired at significantly lower pay scales. (A press contact for ITA did not respond to requests for comment.)

As aviation insiders keep an eye on what’s next for ITA, here’s what else travelers should know about the new airline.

Transatlantic routes are in the works

ITA’s initial network will span 44 destinations, 59 routes, and 191 flights in total. With bases in Rome’s Fiumicino and Milan’s Linate airports, it will offer 24 domestic and 56 international options to start, increasing in 2022 to 58 destinations and 74 routes. By 2025, plans are to expand to 74 destinations and 89 total routes.

However, as Wert points out, the initial fleet is a slimmed-down version of its predecessor’s. “One aircraft type they didn’t take over was the Boeing 777, which means their long-haul fleet is also significantly reduced,” he says. “Which inevitably means that ITA Airways will probably operate much fewer long-haul routes in the near future.”

Indeed, U.S.-based travelers dreaming of a getaway on ITA to the land of la dolce vita should keep in mind that options will be limited for a while. The airline plans to start offering service to New York JFK in November, but currently, navigating its website to price an Italy-bound flight is tricky (drop-down menus to select destinations are cumbersome, and the site often defaults to Italian). A search for a New York–bound flight from Italy, meanwhile, turned up a round trip, basic economy fare for around $380 in November. Enticing, to be sure, but it’s not a direct flight: It departs from Brindisi, a city in the southern tip of the country, and connects through Rome.



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Travel ideas for non-snowbirds: where to embrace winter in Canada’s national parks


If you live in Canada, you’re built for all-season outdoor fun. With winter travel planning upon us, here are a few diversions you can do in our national parks come hibernation season. Bundle up.

For hot springs in the Canadian Rockies: Kootenay National Park

Where: Located in southeastern B.C. near Alberta, Kootenay National Park covers 1,406 square kilometres of the Canadian Rockies. The splashy neighbour next door (Banff National Park) tends to get more of the glamour (and clamour), but Kootenay is no slouch. Winter amusements include backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and soaking weary muscles in Radium Hot Springs, one of the park’s star attractions.

Why: Radium is one of three historic pools in Canadian Rockies hot springs operated by Parks Canada (Banff and Jasper round out the list). The family-friendly fun is so classic, it’s part of Destination Canada’s collection of Canadian Signature Experiences. Of the trio, Radium Hot Springs is the largest facility and open seven days a week (with capacity limits at the moment). The clear, 100 per cent natural mineral water is always steamy at 37 to 40ºC, so you can soak on the frostiest days.

For cross-country skiing in a UNESCO World Heritage site: Gros Morne National Park

Where: Gros Morne National Park, in Newfoundland and Labrador, is known for its dramatic landscapes (the result of continental drift and plate tectonics, to get science-y about it). Glacier-carved fjords, alpine highlands, sandy beaches and cascading falls — they’re all here in an expanse that covers 1,805 square kilometres

Why: Want plentiful powder but still (relatively) moderate cold weather? Gros Morne has a reputation for both, making it a playground for cross-country skiers, especially from January to March. There are several regularly groomed trails, most tracked for classic cross-country skiing, including some fairly flat forest options fine for beginners. There’s also backcountry skiing, for those experienced enough to handle unmarked routes in the wilderness (and the real risks involved). For multi-day trips, there are two backwoods ski huts available (health restrictions permitting) for overnighting far away from it all.

For stargazing in a Dark Sky Preserve: Point Pelee National Park

Where: At the most southern point of mainland Canada, jutting sharply into Lake Erie, you’ll find Point Pelee National Park, around a 3.5-hour drive from Toronto. It’s one of the country’s most petite national parks, just about 9 kilometres long, from the entrance to the daggerlike tip. But it also has the distinction of being the most ecologically diverse, abounding with butterflies in fall and migratory birds in spring.

Why: Point Pelee National Park is designated a Dark Sky Preserve, which is a very official way of saying it’s a particularly sweet spot to stare at millions of stars, which are more visible since there’s no annoying light pollution to distract. If you want to keep gazing after the park’s closing time, overnight stays are bookable at 24 oTENTiks (Parks Canada’s hybrid cabin/tent), tucked inside the Carolinian forest.

For challenging snowshoeing in the land of lakes: La Mauricie National Park

Where: About a two-hour from Montreal, La Mauricie National Park is classic Laurentians, dense with forests, shaped by undulating terrain and dotted with 150 lakes. The water means summer staples like swimming, canoe camping and kayaking are a given, but come winter, the destination is also a draw for cross-country skiers, hikers and serious snowshoers.

Why: If snowshoeing sounds like a casual walk in the park, La Mauricie makes it an endurance sport. Covering 536 square kilometres, it’s home to eight marked wilderness trails for snowshoeing — with just one rated “easy.” Five are “difficult,” an understatement given the 17-kilometre Deux-Criques will test your cardio with climbs and descents over an estimated seven hours. Shorter but not breezier is the 13.1-kilometre Lac-du-Pimbina Trail No. 15, which rewards your efforts with views of Lac Solitaire and other lookouts. In the winter season, equipment rentals — snowshoes, trekking poles, crampons — are available at the Rivière à la Pêche Service Centre.

Travellers are reminded to check on public health restrictions that could affect their plans.





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Travel ideas for non-snowbirds: where to embrace winter in Canada’s national parks


If you live in Canada, you’re built for all-season outdoor fun. With winter travel planning upon us, here are a few diversions you can do in our national parks come hibernation season. Bundle up.

For hot springs in the Canadian Rockies: Kootenay National Park

Where: Located in southeastern B.C. near Alberta, Kootenay National Park covers 1,406 square kilometres of the Canadian Rockies. The splashy neighbour next door (Banff National Park) tends to get more of the glamour (and clamour), but Kootenay is no slouch. Winter amusements include backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and soaking weary muscles in Radium Hot Springs, one of the park’s star attractions.

Why: Radium is one of three historic pools in Canadian Rockies hot springs operated by Parks Canada (Banff and Jasper round out the list). The family-friendly fun is so classic, it’s part of Destination Canada’s collection of Canadian Signature Experiences. Of the trio, Radium Hot Springs is the largest facility and open seven days a week (with capacity limits at the moment). The clear, 100 per cent natural mineral water is always steamy at 37 to 40ºC, so you can soak on the frostiest days.

For cross-country skiing in a UNESCO World Heritage site: Gros Morne National Park

Where: Gros Morne National Park, in Newfoundland and Labrador, is known for its dramatic landscapes (the result of continental drift and plate tectonics, to get science-y about it). Glacier-carved fjords, alpine highlands, sandy beaches and cascading falls — they’re all here in an expanse that covers 1,805 square kilometres

Why: Want plentiful powder but still (relatively) moderate cold weather? Gros Morne has a reputation for both, making it a playground for cross-country skiers, especially from January to March. There are several regularly groomed trails, most tracked for classic cross-country skiing, including some fairly flat forest options fine for beginners. There’s also backcountry skiing, for those experienced enough to handle unmarked routes in the wilderness (and the real risks involved). For multi-day trips, there are two backwoods ski huts available (health restrictions permitting) for overnighting far away from it all.

For stargazing in a Dark Sky Preserve: Point Pelee National Park

Where: At the most southern point of mainland Canada, jutting sharply into Lake Erie, you’ll find Point Pelee National Park, around a 3.5-hour drive from Toronto. It’s one of the country’s most petite national parks, just about 9 kilometres long, from the entrance to the daggerlike tip. But it also has the distinction of being the most ecologically diverse, abounding with butterflies in fall and migratory birds in spring.

Why: Point Pelee National Park is designated a Dark Sky Preserve, which is a very official way of saying it’s a particularly sweet spot to stare at millions of stars, which are more visible since there’s no annoying light pollution to distract. If you want to keep gazing after the park’s closing time, overnight stays are bookable at 24 oTENTiks (Parks Canada’s hybrid cabin/tent), tucked inside the Carolinian forest.

For challenging snowshoeing in the land of lakes: La Mauricie National Park

Where: About a two-hour from Montreal, La Mauricie National Park is classic Laurentians, dense with forests, shaped by undulating terrain and dotted with 150 lakes. The water means summer staples like swimming, canoe camping and kayaking are a given, but come winter, the destination is also a draw for cross-country skiers, hikers and serious snowshoers.

Why: If snowshoeing sounds like a casual walk in the park, La Mauricie makes it an endurance sport. Covering 536 square kilometres, it’s home to eight marked wilderness trails for snowshoeing — with just one rated “easy.” Five are “difficult,” an understatement given the 17-kilometre Deux-Criques will test your cardio with climbs and descents over an estimated seven hours. Shorter but not breezier is the 13.1-kilometre Lac-du-Pimbina Trail No. 15, which rewards your efforts with views of Lac Solitaire and other lookouts. In the winter season, equipment rentals — snowshoes, trekking poles, crampons — are available at the Rivière à la Pêche Service Centre.

Travellers are reminded to check on public health restrictions that could affect their plans.





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New Orleans Pelicans travel to take on the Timberwolves | National news from the Associated Press


New Orleans Pelicans (0-2, eighth in the Western Conference) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (1-0, fifth in the Western Conference)

Minneapolis; Saturday, 8 p.m. EDT

LINE: Timberwolves -6.5; over/under is 227.5

BOTTOM LINE: The Minnesota Timberwolves host the New Orleans Pelicans.

Minnesota went 15-27 in Western Conference games and 13-23 at home during the 2020-21 season. The Timberwolves averaged 8.8 steals, 5.5 blocks and 13.7 turnovers per game last season.

New Orleans went 31-41 overall and 18-24 in Western Conference play during the 2020-21 season. The Pelicans averaged 26.0 assists per game on 42.5 made field goals last season.

INJURIES: Timberwolves: None listed.

Pelicans: Josh Hart: out (quad), Zion Williamson: out (foot).


The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar.

© 2021 Data Skrive. All rights reserved.



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California travel blogger among 2 killed in Mexico’s Tulum | National news from the Associated Press


MEXICO CITY (AP) — A San Jose, California woman born in India was one of two foreign tourists killed in the apparent crossfire of a drug-gang shootout in Mexico’s Caribbean coast resort of Tulum. Authorities said one of the dead women was Anjali Ryot. An Instagram account under the same name showed a post of Ryot lounging and smiling on a seaside pier in Tulum two days ago. It listed her as a travel blogger from Himachal, India, living in California.  A linked Facebook page said she lived in San Jose. A German woman who was killed has been identified as Jennifer Henzold. 

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.



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‘Long overdue’: Tourism industry welcomes lifting of non-essential travel advisory – National


The travel industry is welcoming what it calls the federal government’s “long overdue” move to lift a global advisory asking Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country.

“You cannot believe how welcome this move is for us,” said Bruce Poon Tip, founder of Canadian-based international tour operator G Adventures. “It’s very late, as far as I’m concerned, given what’s going in the rest of the world. But very welcome, that’s for sure.”

The global travel advisory was put in place in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world.

Read more:
Canada lifts blanket advisory against non-essential travel introduced amid COVID-19

The government of Canada’s website now shows that advisory is no longer in place, though it continues to list individual advisories for destination countries, as it did prior to the pandemic.

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It also urges Canadians to ensure they are fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus before travelling abroad, and to stay informed of the COVID-19 situation at their destination.

Canada has been slower than many other countries to remove its blanket advisory against international travel, and that’s been frustrating for the Canadian travel industry, Poon Tip said. He said his own company has been forced to lay off 1,000 people — more than half of its workforce worldwide — due to the collapse in travel demand.

“It’s been a tough time, making those kinds of decisions. The toughest decisions I’ve had to make in 30 years,” he said.


Click to play video: 'Reality check on feds’ plan for standardized vaccine passports'







Reality check on feds’ plan for standardized vaccine passports


Reality check on feds’ plan for standardized vaccine passports

However, Poon Tip said he’s noticed a significant uptick in travel demand from Canadians in the last couple of months, something he attributes to the growing confidence in the wake of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations.

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“We’ve hired 30 people in the last couple of months just to answer inquiries, and we’re continually hiring again, which is a great feeling,” he said.

At The Travel Lady Agency in Calgary, founder and chief executive Lesley Keyter said she’s also noticed a dramatic increase in inquiries and bookings in the last two months. But she said the removal of the federal government’s blanket travel advisory will add an extra layer of comfort for some people.

“I’m sure this will persuade people who were on the fence. They’ll feel a bit safer about doing that,” Keyter said.

Read more:
PCR travel tests remain because Canada’s not ‘out of the woods yet,’ Tam says

The removal of the global travel advisory should also make it easier for Canadians to purchase travel insurance, depending on their destination and its COVID-19 risk profile, Keyter added.

However, the federal government continues to advise against travel on cruise ships, something Keyter said will continue to negatively affect Canada’s travel agency industry.

“I’m desperately disappointed that they’re taking away the blanket ban, but they’re still keeping this Level 4 advisory for the cruises,” Keyter said.

“Honestly, having been on two cruises in the last couple of months, I felt safer on the cruise than I did on my overnight hotel in Toronto.”

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Click to play video: 'How to deal with international travel barriers'







How to deal with international travel barriers


How to deal with international travel barriers

Canada opened its borders last month to non-essential international travellers who have received both doses of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine, and to fully vaccinated travellers from the United States in August.

The U.S. government recently announced that its land borders will reopen to non-essential Canadian travellers on Nov. 8.





© 2021 The Canadian Press





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Top Travel Insurance Questions Answered as Americans Consider Holiday Plans | National News


WARWICK, R.I., Oct. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Health officials are giving fully vaccinated Americans the go-ahead to gather for the holidays.  As US travelers set their 2021 holiday plans, InsureMyTrip Product Expert, Meghan Walch, is answering the most frequently asked questions.

The vast majority of questions are about the pandemic and what travel insurance will cover. In fact, of those researching Cancel For Any Reason coverage (CFAR) on InsureMyTrip.com between August 10, 2021October 14, 2021:

  • 86 percent are concerned about needing to cancel a trip due to travel changes around Covid-19 restrictions
  • 61 percent are concerned about needing to cancel due to fear of contracting Covid-19 

While Covid-19 remains a top concern for would-be travelers, Walch offers expert responses for the top questions received by the InsureMyTrip Customer Care Center:

Top Travel Insurance Questions For Holiday Travelers

Q: Does InsureMyTrip have policies that cover a required quarantine if I contract Covid-19 during a trip?   

A:  The short answer is “yes”. A physician ordered quarantine may be covered by travel insurance.   Comprehensive plans can help to reimburse you for additional accommodations if you are required by a physician to quarantine during a trip. 

Quarantine would need to be listed as a covered reason in a policy under Travel Delay and Trip Interruption coverage.  It is also important to understand how “quarantine” is defined in a policy, the coverage limits provided, and if it will cover certain situations such as self-isolation or stay-at-home orders.

Q: What happens if a county closes during a trip?

A:  A country closing prior to departure is not a covered reason under general Trip Cancellation coverage.  A policy with optional Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) may be the only way to have any coverage in the event you need to cancel your trip for this reason.  CFAR may allow you the most flexibility if canceling at least two days before you leave for a trip due to something other than a covered reason listed in the policy.  If borders and/or the country close while you are there, it may be best to seek help from the US embassy at your location and contact the assistance service provider listed on your policy.   They may be able to help you arrange emergency transportation (although at your own expense) back home.

Q: Who qualifies for Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage?

A:  There are several eligibility requirements for CFAR protection.  They may require travelers to insure 100% of their pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs.  CFAR coverage must be purchased as part of a comprehensive travel insurance plan, within 10-21 days after making the initial trip payment/deposit.  InsureMyTrip has a new tool that makes it easier for travelers to find out if they are eligible for CFAR. (see below for more information on CFAR)

Q: What happens if I contract a breakthrough Covid-19 infection on a trip?

A: Providers offering comprehensive travel insurance plans on InsureMyTrip.com may cover Covid-19 like any other covered, unforeseen illness.  So, if you contract Covid-19 before a trip and a physician confirms you are unable to travel, you may have coverage to cancel your trip.

If you become ill while on your trip, there may be coverage if you need to interrupt your trip.   Again, you would need proof from a doctor. 

Also, emergency medical benefits may be available to help reimburse expenses if you see a doctor or need to be hospitalized related to COVID-19. In all cases, your policy would have to be purchased prior to any covered issues becoming known. 

Travelers can contact InsureMyTrip at 1-800-487-4722 to reach a travel insurance expert.

Covid-19 Coverage Tool

Since Covid-19 is top of mind for travelers this holiday season, InsureMyTrip is offering new technology to help put their minds at ease.

A Covid-19 recommendation tool that has been added to InsureMyTrip’s quote process.  Once travel insurance recommendations pop up, travelers can click on the “Top picks for Covid-19” button and find all the plans that address pandemic-related travel concerns.  

MORE: COVID-19 & Travel Insurance Information Hub 

To schedule an interview with an expert or to request specific research data on holiday travel plans, please contact [email protected] 

Media Contact:

Meghan Kayata

[email protected] 

Cancel for Any Reason Coverage:

Cancel For Any Reason (also known as: CFAR) is an optional upgrade. CFAR offers the most trip cancellation flexibility and is the only option available to cover Covid-19 travel fear. Full terms of coverage will be listed in state-specific policy. If eligibility requirements are met, reimbursement is typically 50% – 75% of the insured prepaid non-refundable trip cost if all eligibility requirements are met (available in most states).

Note: coverages are governed by the specific plan certificate. Traditional travel insurance does not offer cancellation coverage for fear of travel, whether related to COVID-19 or not. Cancel For Any Reason is required.

About InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. We are committed to empowering travelers to make the best possible insurance decisions by leveraging our technology, data intelligence, and expertise. InsureMyTrip is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau.

Cision View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/top-travel-insurance-questions-answered-as-americans-consider-holiday-plans-301404793.html

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Shoshone National Forest unveils proposed travel plan | National News


Proposed roads and trails for motorized use as well as areas where snowmobiling would be allowed have been outlined by the Shoshone National Forest in its Travel Management Plan environmental assessment.

The 470-page document goes into great detail about how and why the Forest Service staff made decisions on topics like continuing to allow snowmobiling in the High Lakes Wilderness Study Area along the Montana-Wyoming border and the Line Creek Research Natural Area atop the Beartooth Plateau.

If approved the decision would regulate motorized use across the 2.44 million acre forest in northwestern Wyoming putting an end to six years of work and thousands of public remarks.

The agency will be taking comment on its proposal for 30 days. Selected as the desired proposal is Alternative 4, a modification of an earlier alternative that was changed to respond to some public concerns.






Gardner Lake

Gardner Lake is located within the High Lakes Wilderness Study Area atop Beartooth Pass.




Big view

“Alternative 4 would provide the greatest benefits for motorized recreation with respect to wheeled vehicle use with 935 miles of routes: over 706 miles of designated roads and 229 miles of motorized trails,” according to the document.

For oversnow travel, the alternative approves 299 miles of trail and 521,038 acres for cross-country use, a small increase in trail miles (14 miles) and slight reduction (1,800 acres) in overall acreage. In areas like the High Lakes WSA, a season of use would be established limiting snowmobile and tracked vehicle use between Nov. 1 and June 15.

Oversnow travel “has been largely unregulated,” the forest staff noted, but that will change with the implementation of the travel plan, which will also result in the agency printing maps of areas and trails available to snowmobilers.

Other changes under the proposal are 10 miles of new roads (three miles across the North Zone ranger districts; seven miles across the South Zone districts); and bringing online nearly 25 miles of new trails open to wheeled vehicles 64 inches wide or less (the majority located in the Wind River Ranger District).

In addition, the forest is proposing to seasonally close 358 miles of roads for resource protection and decommission about 11 miles of roads while converting an existing five miles to administrative use only. Of existing roads, 173 miles would be converted to trails open to wheeled vehicles.

Funding to maintain roads and motorized trails is in short supply. According to the travel plan, the average annual operational funding for road work over the past eight years was $440,000. Fortunately, supplemental funding has been increasing since 2017 (with the exception of 2020), in part due to the Great American Outdoors Act which was aimed at deferred maintenance. The agency estimated its deferred maintenance needs at $25 million.

“Overall, the trend for the majority of the Shoshone’s roads has been toward a declining condition due to the reduction in overall funding and increases in traffic volume and use,” the travel plan said.






Atop the mountain

The Gardner Headwall attracts skiers and snowboarders, as well as snowmobilers, after the Beartooth Highway opens on Memorial Day weekend.




Wildlands

Although the changes may sound like a win for motorized users, the Forest Service noted that its travel plan still leaves the majority of the forest closed to vehicles.

The Shoshone, America’s first national forest, spans elevations from 4,600 feet to 13,804 feet across five Wyoming counties: Fremont, Hot Springs, Park, Sublette and Teton. Five designated wilderness areas comprise roughly 1.37 million acres of the forest, approximately 55% of the total acreage.

Aside from these wilderness and wilderness study areas, approximately 684,845 acres (about 28% of the forest) are inventoried roadless areas which, together with the wildlands, account for roughly 83% of the Shoshone National Forest.

Critics and supporters now have the opportunity to weigh in, which during the initial proposal attracted more than 6,500 comments. Of these, the Forest Service only recognized about 450 as original, ignoring the others which it classified as conservation group form letters.






Long Lake

Long Lake and areas around it in the Shoshone National Forest attract snowmobilers in the winter despite its remote location.




High Lakes

In the past, conservation groups have asked for snowmobile use to be halted in the High Lakes WSA. Established in 1984, the 14,700-acre protected area is a popular entry point for snowmobilers and hikers, during different seasons, to a region along the Beartooth Highway containing 134 lakes.

The Forest Service ruled out removal of snowmobiles from the landscape, citing the original intent of Wyoming’s congressmen, at the time the area was set aside, to keep winter motorized use on the landscape.

“On the one hand, the area provides for unparalleled opportunities for solitude, primitive recreation, naturalness, and other associated wilderness characteristics,” the travel plan noted. “On the other hand, the area has long been held to support motorized recreation uses (and) other associated uses that accommodate recreation (including structures and infrastructure) – aspects of use that are influenced, in no small part, due to the proximity to the Beartooth Highway.”

On the Line Creek Plateau RNA, the forest staff found that use was mainly limited to the spring after the Beartooth Highway is plowed around Memorial Day weekend and concentrated in a small area – mainly near the Gardner Headwall – that restricting or banning snowmobile use was not necessary.

The forest acknowledged the contradictions by writing, “Should RNAs be managed for broad ecological processes versus for the objectives determined in an establishment record, the management regime would arguably shift. This tension reflects the unique situation here on the Shoshone National Forest: a research natural area that allows for motorized use. That tension dates back to the establishment of this area and is likely to continue regardless of the selected alternative.”

Comment

The environmental assessment and maps are located on the Shoshone National Forest website at https://go.usa.gov/xMfQu. Comments on the travel plan should be submitted in writing by sending an email to [email protected] with “Shoshone NF Travel Management Planning Project” in the subject line or by writing a letter to Mark Foster (environmental coordinator), Shoshone National Forest, 808 Meadow Lane Avenue, Cody, WY 82414.

The Shoshone National Forest will hold virtual public meetings during the first week of November to discuss the plan. Additional information on how to attend the meetings will be forthcoming. The meetings are scheduled for Nov. 2 for the Clarks Fork, Greybull, and Wapiti Ranger districts; Nov. 3 for the Wind River Ranger District; and Nov. 4 for the Washakie Ranger District. All of the meetings will begin at 6 p.m.





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