Good news on the horizon for post-pandemic travel | WJHL


RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – Multiple structure fires along a road in Russell County, Virginia destroyed three different homes Monday morning, emergency management authorities say.

According to Russell County Emergency Management (EMA) coordinator Jess Powers, crews were called to the scene of the fire around 11:37 a.m. and began battling a blaze on Breezers Branch Road that had spread through three different structures.



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Top 50 Best Places To Travel Post-Pandemic 2021 – Forbes Advisor


More people are being vaccinated everyday and travel is already top of mind. Suddenly, the whole world feels in reach again, even if travel restrictions haven’t quite been lifted yet.

Most travel experts expect travel to re-open incrementally rather than all at once. We’ll see some countries loosening restrictions early on and others late to follow. At your destination, attractions and local protocols will change in phases, too. Remember, even if you’re vaccinated, not everyone else will be when you arrive at your destination.

Some travelers already know exactly where they want to go: canceled trips from earlier that have been rebooked or bucket list trips that seem more urgent after witnessing a global health crisis. For others, it might be more nebulous. Cabin fever might be constant but the details a bit fuzzy.

For anyone who’s having trouble narrowing down where to go, we’re sorry. Our list of fifty spectacular ideas might make it harder. Every single destination on this list is worth visiting—whether now or in the future—and is probably going to add more places to your wishlist. As they say…sorry, not sorry.

Alentejo, Portugal

You’ll find one stunning landscape after another in the mostly rural Alentejo province of Portugal. With soft hills and calm-inducing sunsets, you’ll find an easy-going culture and not a lot of stress (exactly what you need after the year we’ve had).

Take things in slowly by cycling past beaches, lighthouses and fishing villages—or head inland for wineries, castles and farmers’ markets. Rent bikes in Évora and design your own route or book a complete package to have luggage transfers and accommodations taken care of for you.

Algeria

Sitting along the Mediterranean, Algeria offers incredible Roman ruins without any of the crowds. As if that’s not enough, you can also head into the Sahara Desert or Hoggar Mountains to add a dose of nature to your adventure.

Visas are required for entry, but a little paperwork is worth it for access to 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and heart-warming hospitality.

Alta, Norway

Known as the “aurora borealis city”, Alta offers conditions just right for northern lights hunting. Activity is high and, unlike other Scandinavian destinations, it offers a disproportionate number of clear nights for viewing. There are even “arctic dome” hotels (high-end glamping tents with transparent walls) that are friendlier on your waller than glass igloos in other locales.

When you’re this far north, aurora season is longer than you might expect, stretching from September through March. Still, a winter visit is recommended so you can enjoy dog-sledding, snowshoeing and reindeer sleigh rides while you’re there.

Antigua, Guatemala

There’s no denying that Antigua, Guatemala is a touristy destination but its annual Semana Santa (Holy Week, or the week leading up to Easter) celebrations are worth the trip. Every year, locals create gorgeous “carpets” on the street out of colored sawdust, flowers and other materials. These intricate works of art are only viewable for a few hours before religious processions parade over them, destroying them as they go. While you’ll have missed this week in 2021, it’s already time to start planning travel for early 2022!

While this tradition is worth scheduling your trip around, Antigua is lovely the rest of the year, too. The colonial town has beautiful churches to visit, great restaurants and volcanoes to tour right outside town.


Pro Tip

Purchase travel insurance as soon as you book your trip to take advantage of early purchase benefits, such as medical coverage for pre-existing conditions and increased coverage limits.

Arkansas’ Ozarks

Natural beauty abounds in the northwest corner of Arkansas, where you’ll find the Ozark Mountains. This is one of the largest wilderness areas in the eastern United States, so it’ll come as no surprise that there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, mountain biking and other activities.

What sets this area apart, though, is how many activities there are even if physical pursuits aren’t your strong point. Scenic drives are abundant and head past rivers and waterfalls. You may even see elk. In town, the historic district of Eureka Springs is practically an artisan village and the Great Passion Play is scheduled to resume this spring.

Assam, India

Assam is closer to the Himalayas than the Taj Mahal, which keeps this part of India decidedly off-the-beaten-track. Ecotourism is the main reason to visit, with wild animals a surprising draw. You can search for an Indian one-horned rhinoceros at Kaziranga National Park or explore evergreen forest at the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary.

The same fertile ground that makes it a good home for wildlife also makes the region ideal for agriculture. Add a tea plantation to your stay. The estates are beautiful and can be a great way to enjoy some of the smaller villages in northeast India.

Ayutthaya, Thailand

One thing’s for sure: no one in the West learns about Ayutthaya in history class, despite the fact that it was the largest city in the world in 1700. Most of today’s visitors go to see earlier history, though. The ruins at Ayutthaya Historical Park date back to 1350. The park is expansive and from a different period and culture than renowned Angkor Wat, so don’t write it off before you go.

Trains from Bangkok leave frequently to make the 90-minute trip to Ayutthaya. In fact, most visitors arrive on a day trip but staying the night is even better. You’ll get to see the temples in early morning and late afternoon, when they’re at their quietest. Sunset in particular is beautiful and a great reason not to leave too early.

Bhutan

A lack of travel over the last year has put the spotlight on sustainable tourism as destinations reopen. One country that’s gotten this right for years is Bhutan, where hiring a guide is mandatory to ensure that travelers treat locals, communities and natural or cultural sights with respect. They strive to keep tourism “high yield, low impact.”

While having a guide is good for the Bhutanese, it’s also good for the traveler. Your guide will take care of logistical arrangements which is especially important in a world where travel restrictions are constantly changing. They’ll also tell you stories, add context and help you connect with locals along the way for a more meaningful experience.

Bristol, England

Banksy fans may already be aware of what a great destination Bristol is—the street art is phenomenal—but it’s time for the rest of the world to catch on. Due west from London, Bristol is a mid-sized city with a spirited identity and lively atmosphere.

Narrowing down what to do can be difficult, but visitors should include touring Brunel’s SS Great Britain and the flagship M Shed museum to start. Netflix Bridgerton fans can day-trip to Bath fifteen minutes away to see filming sites in person.

British Virgin Islands

Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the BVI in 2017, leaving devastating damage in its path that took years to recover. Finally, the British Virgin Islands have rebuilt and reopened with enough infrastructure available that tourists can return and expect most of their favorites to be open.

Choosing which island to stay on can feel overwhelming, but there’s no bad choice. Pick one and stop stressing: You can visit others via day trip thanks to ferries and charter boats. If you truly can’t decide, you can always book a catamaran to sleep on instead of a resort so that your “hotel” room moves with you.

Cairo, Egypt

After numerous delays, this is finally the year the Grand Egyptian Museum is scheduled to open. The new museum will sit just outside the infamous Pyramids of Giza and, unlike the former Egyptian Museum downtown, it will be a gorgeous, modern look at Egypt’s past.

With brand new exhibits and never-seen-before artifacts from recent discoveries in Saqqara and Luxor, this museum will be worth the trip even if you’ve previously visited Egypt. Like all world-class museums, expect to spend a full day (or more) taking in all the exhibits.

Canadian High Arctic

Antarctica tends to get all the attention, but you’ll enjoy many of the same facets if you head to the other pole: an exclusive expedition to untouched nature, breathtaking scenery and astounding wildlife. The Canadian High Arctic also provides a glimpse into Inuit culture and history.

Opting for the Arctic can also be much more accessible. Group packages often meet in Toronto instead of Patagonia so flying is easy. On cruises, seasickness is less of a factor and itineraries start at only a week for travelers pressed for time. Prices are lower, too, despite offering an unforgettable experience.

Canary Islands

If you’re looking for a European getaway but aren’t quite ready to assimilate into city life yet, the Canary Islands can be your perfect solution. Vacation rentals here are common (and affordable) so you have a little extra space when you want privacy. Many have beach access, or even private pools so you can take advantage of the climate.

Tenerife is the largest of the Canaries, making it the obvious choice if you intend to stay awhile. The landscape varies from coastline to volcano to forest, so you’ll never be bored, and there’s everything from party cities to small villages to explore. Pro tip: even if your rental has a kitchen, allow plenty of flexibility to stop in bodegas and tapas bars, too. The Canaries have a cuisine of their own separate from Spain, of which it is a province. Be prepared to savor octopus in every possible permutation imaginable.

Cappadocia, Turkey

Few places manage to blend nature and history in equal proportions but Cappadocia excels. Best known for its moon-like scenery with rock formations referred to as “fairy chimneys”, this part of central Turkey is also home to underground cities that were built for protection during the Arab-Byzantine Wars.

Day tours introduce you to the fascinating history and allow you to explore churches built directly into rocks, some with well-preserved frescoes inside. Hikes of all lengths and difficulties are available for more active travelers while cave hotels, hot air balloon rides and hammams round out your visit.

Colchagua Valley, Chile

One of the four wine regions near the capital city of Santiago, Colchagua Valley is one of the most loved. The terroir is exceptional which is why there are so many award-winning reds, with classic favorites like cabernet sauvignon and merlot as well as carménère, Chile’s flagship varietal.

What moves the Colchagua to the top of the travel list is that it offers so much more than wine alone. In-between tastings, you can enjoy fine dining, luxury hotels and spectacular vistas. At 2.5 hours outside of Santiago, the light pollution is also nearly nonexistent, making it great for stargazing and other astronomical tourism at the Cerro Chamán Observatory.

Doha, Qatar

Because the National Museum of Qatar opened in 2019 and the country closed its borders for the pandemic, most travelers haven’t had the chance to visit this spectacular museum yet. It tells the surprisingly rich story of Qatar’s history and culture and makes a natural complement to the Museum of Islamic Art, also in Doha.

Since the country of Qatar is relatively small—approximately the size of Connecticut—you’re not likely to fly halfway around the world for a visit. Luckily, Qatar Airways makes it easy to include a one- to four-night stopover in your flight itinerary. Since they fly to more than 100 destinations worldwide, it’s an easy way to break up your journey.

Dominica

The nature island of Dominica isn’t like other Caribbean islands. A trip here is less about beaches and resorts (though they have those) and more about exploring the extensive natural park system. You’ll find volcanoes, forests, freshwater lakes, geothermal activity and waterfalls, with plenty of hikes to enjoy them thoroughly.

Dominica also makes it easy to learn more about the cultural heritage than islands where you stay within resort confines. Head to the Kalinago Barana Autê to get insight on Kalinago traditions from hundreds of years ago. The cultural center shares arts, dancing and demonstrations in a respectful, informative way.

Eastern Shore, Virginia

You might already be familiar with Chincoteague, VA where you’ll find wild ponies and NASA’s Wallops Island. You may not know that’s the northern end of Virginia’s Eastern Shore and the entire region is worth a visit. Along with Chincoteague, the area is home to towns Onancock, Wachapreague and Cape Charles, among others.

Regardless of where you choose to stay, traveling up and down the peninsula will give you opportunities to explore barrier islands, tour a family-run winery and swim the warm, calm waters of Chesapeake Bay. Be sure to sample plenty of local oysters, too (yes, they taste different based on where they were harvested along the shore).

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Honestly, there’s never a bad time to go to the Galapagos but this time might be better than average. With international tourism still somewhat slow, not all cruises are operating due to a lack of passengers. If your voyage is scheduled and confirmed, you’ll have fewer ships to share waters with (and possibly fewer passengers onboard, too).

If all of that sounds a little too unpredictable for you, skip the cruise and book a land-based trip instead. You’ll have to prioritize a handful of islands that best fit your interests. For example, the tortoise breeding center is on Santa Cruz Island but there’s great snorkeling off San Cristobal at Kicker Rock.

Gaspé, Québec

French Canada is so much more than Montreal and Québec City so make this the year you get out of the city and into the province. Unlike its metropolitan neighbors, the Gaspé Peninsula offers small towns, strong heritage and several wilderness areas. The best way to visit is by road trip, which will allow you to stop in villages and national parks along the way.

This region also has incredible cuisine. Expect a blend of classic French with a uniquely Canadian twist, like a bouillabaisse gaspésienne made from local seafood or artisanal chocolate with local balsam fir. Hearty dishes, to keep you warm in cold winters, are also prevalent here.

Gdańsk, Poland

As it is, Poland usually isn’t one of the first places that Americans visit in Europe and Gdańsk is even less on a traveler’s agenda. What a shame that is, since this northern city along the Baltic manages to hit the trifecta of being beautiful, interesting and affordable. New flights from the U.S. to Poland even make it easier to reach.

In Gdańsk, travelers should visit the European Solidarity Center to learn about Polish Communist history. The modern museum includes an audio guide to further explain the solidarity movement. Another new and worthwhile stop is the Museum of the Second World War, which explains another significant piece of Poland’s history.

Ghana

West Africa can feel intimidating, even for frequent travelers, but Ghana has a stable government and friendly, welcoming locals. Fly into Accra (nonstop from New York JFK) and dive in. Bustling markets, Atlantic beaches and nightlife can keep you busy for days before you head to Ghana’s rainforest or savannah safaris.

No trip to Ghana would be complete without a visit to the Cape Coast and acknowledgment of its position as a major hub in the slave trade. Learning about this part of history shows how far we’ve come as a world—and reminds us how far we still have to go.

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Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The new Museum of Underwater Art can be found down under…literally. A series of sculptures has been installed underwater off the coast of Townsville, Australia, giving scuba divers yet another reason to plan a visit to this classic favorite destination.

Although it’s possible to snorkel at the “Coral Greenhouse” exhibit in John Brewer Reef, diving will give you a closer look. Take time now, before Australia’s borders are open anyway, to get certified and/or brush up on your skills.

Guyana

Guyana is South America’s only English-speaking country but ironically it’s mostly untouched by tourism. Hop on a nonstop flight—it’s about four hours from Miami or six from New York—and then strap on an adventure mindset. It’s easy to arrive and communicate, but it’s distinctly off-the-beaten-path. Don’t expect luxury or a seamless transition.

Travelers who put in the effort will be rewarded with some of the most impressive nature you’ll ever see. Kaieteur Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall in the world and there are striking mountainous landscapes as well. Wildlife-watching is also a draw, with possible sightings including giant river otters, giant anteaters or potentially even jaguars.

Harbin, China

Every winter, there are dirt cheap airfares from the U.S. to China and now you have a reason to go: Harbin’s International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is the largest and most elaborate in the world. A modified version was held in 2021, so it’s relatively safe to expect it’ll occur again in 2022.

Although this festival is amazing every year, the timing of next year’s event lines up well to combine with a trip to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, an easy two-hour flight south.

Istria, Croatia

Foodies should consider Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula for their next taste-testing vacation. As the crow flies, you’re practically in Italy; in fact, there’s a ferry that runs between Venice and Pula, Croatia. You’ll find truffles, olive oil, prosciutto, wine and all types of seafood, plus delicacies that are 100% Croatian.

This region is popular with European travelers, but Americans are only just beginning to visit. If you go, be sure to split your time between a coastal city (such as Rovinj or Pula) and inland villages (hill-top Motovun is a favorite).

Jujuy, Argentina

Head to the province of Jujuy in Argentina’s Andes mountains to see a side of the country most people have never heard of. The scenery is mind-blowing, with a unique combination of mountains and desert. Colorful peaks, like the Cerro de Siete Colores in Purmamarca and Serranía de Hornocal in Humahuaca, pop like rainbows under the right lighting conditions.

It’s not just about the scenery and the outdoors, though. The Pucará de Tilcara is a set of pre-Incan fortifications, some of which have been rebuilt. Go to tour the ruins and learn more about the Omaguaca who lived here during the twelfth century.

Luxembourg

For such a small country, Luxembourg packs a big punch. You can drive from top to bottom in just over an hour, but in-between you’ll see medieval castles, untouched nature and historic tunnels. Stay in Luxembourg City if you want to see the old and new juxtaposed or head to fairytale Vianden if you prefer a smaller town.

Believe it or not, Luxembourg has its own airport with flights to numerous European cities. However, since it borders Belgium, France and Germany, it can be equally easy to drive in as part of a road trip. Highways and other infrastructure make it easy to visit on your own.

Kenya

Choosing a country for safari can be overwhelming, especially since almost everywhere is likely to be amazing. What makes Kenya stand out is the ability to book a trip at a more reasonable cost. Generally speaking, Kenya’s park fees are a bit lower than its neighbors and most parks have nearby budget lodges for travelers who want something in-between outright camping and a luxury stay.

Don’t think you’re skimping on animal sightings, though. Although the Serengeti in Tanzania is best known for the annual “great migration,” the exact same herds cross the border into Kenya at the Masai Mara National Reserve every summer.

Lombok, Indonesia

Move over, Bali. Lombok is where you should head if you want tropical relaxation without being overrun by tourists and global brands. You’ll find surf breaks, a looming volcano, waterfalls, beaches and temples.

Right now, flights to Lombok are only from a handful of international gateways, such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (most people fly or ferry in from elsewhere in Indonesia). Because of that, Lombok is relatively untouristed…for now.

Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

Botswana’s zebra migration isn’t well-known, perhaps because it was hindered for decades by cattle fencing that previously cut off migration routes. Now, the fences have been removed and 25,000 or more zebras migrate each year to take advantage of lush, green feeding grounds.

Booking a trip to see this spectacular sight is best done with a knowledgeable safari agent. Since the zebras are on the move, you’ll need an expert to tell you where to go based on your exact timing. Be aware the migration is most dramatic during the low (rainy) season, so choosing navigable routes and finding open lodges is also a consideration.

Milos, Greece

The Greek isles will always be beloved by travelers but do yourself a favor and skip the most-heavily visited islands this year. Milos, while certainly not “undiscovered,” is less crowded than other islands and cruise ships rarely stop here.

Milos is best known for the stark white Sarakiniko Beach but the Catacombs of Milos and Kleftiko Caves are equally worthwhile. And, like all Greek isles, don’t underestimate how much time you’ll want for swimming, sunbathing, wining, dining and chasing the sunset.

Moab, Utah

With two national parks in and around Moab, this city deserves to be on a travel list every year. This year, it’s especially inviting since there’s a whole new way to arrive. The Rocky Mountaineer train launches this year, taking travelers on a scenic journey from Denver to Moab or vice versa.

The luxury journey includes views of places you can’t see from the road, including Ruby Canyon on the way toward Arches National Park. Once in Moab, you’ll want to spend a few days taking in the red rock landscape the area is known for as well as scenic rivers, forests and mountains nearby.

Oruro, Bolivia

The Oruro Carnival is a party like no other. Held each winter, the festival blends Catholic rituals with local Indian rituals for an extravagant, colorful festival. The parades are exceptionally long, lasting up to twenty hours, and feature folk dancing, music and elaborate costumes like nowhere else in the world.

Outside of Carnival festivities, Oruro is a small, sleepy town without a lot of tourist attractions. However, it pairs perfectly with Sajama National Park outside town, where you’ll find the
snow-capped Sajama Peak, geysers, hot springs and prehistoric rock paintings.

Puebla, Mexico

There are 365 churches in Puebla, one for each day of the year. There are also several art museums, a dozen restaurants that claim to have the best mole and one stunning view of a smoking volcano in the distance. Puebla is giving Mexico City a run for its money and is only two hours away.

The university town of Cholula, about 12km away, is nearly always combined with Puebla and for good reason. The Great Pyramid here is a huge draw for travelers and is worth climbing to the top as well as touring the underground tunnels. It’s also excellent for dining and nightlife, with more trendy options than you’ll find in Puebla itself. For an authentic Cinco de Mayo celebration, look no further. Puebla is the only city in Mexico that actually celebrates the holiday.

Queenstown, New Zealand

If being stuck in your own home for a year has you antsy, head straight to New Zealand’s adventure capital. Queenstown offers everything from bungee jumping to riverboarding to satiate your need for adrenaline.

Once you’ve checked a few activities off your bucket list, you can enjoy Queenstown’s gentler pursuits. This small city on the South Island is also great for scenic lake cruises, fly fishing, golfing and more. The Kiwi Birdlife Park will let you get up close and personal to New Zealand’s most famous bird.

Saipan

Go ahead, pull out a map. Saipan is in the Northern Mariana Islands, in a part of the Pacific often forgotten about. It was an important World War II battle site and travelers can easily visit the exact location of historical events with a rental car. The American Memorial Park Visitor Center, a National Park Service site, can provide context and directions.

As you’d expect from an island, there are also glorious beaches and amazing diving, including one site with a sunken WWII plane wreck.

Salento, Colombia

If you haven’t been to Colombia’s coffee country yet, it’s time to consider a visit to Salento. This mountain town makes a convenient base for side trips to organic coffee plantations, the Cocora Valley (known for its iconic wax palms) and Los Nevados National Park.

Within town, you’ll want to walk the colorful Calle Real and visit the Plaza de Bolivar Salento, which are great excuses to constantly pull out your camera. Outside of town, most tours focus on outdoor adventures: hiking or multi-day treks, mountain biking, paragliding and horseback riding.

Samoa

Samoa gets very little tourism compared to other parts of Polynesia. Perhaps because of that, their culture shines brightly. The Fa’a Samoa (or Samoan Way) isn’t something fake or exaggerated for tourists. As a visitor, you will be welcome to observe and participate in local customs.

This is the type of destination where you should go out of your way to support local businesses. Choose small restaurants, personalized tours and family-run hotels and avoid international chains. The beaches and tropical paradise might entice you to Samoa, but the warm hospitality will make you long to return.

Sayulita, Mexico

Easily accessible from Puerto Vallarta’s airport (PVR), Sayulita feels a world apart from this tourist center. Like Tulum was before Instagram discovered it, Sayulita has the tourist amenities and services that vacationers want without losing its Mexican identity entirely. Enjoy it responsibly so that visitors in years to come will be able to enjoy it as well.

While surfing is what first brought tourism to Sayulita, there’s also fishing, snorkeling and shopping for local Huichol art. If you’re willing to put in a little effort, you’ll still find virgin forest and hidden beaches or maybe even the city’s best street tacos.

Sydney, Australia

Australia did a great job of keeping life normal so when they finally reopen their borders to international visitors, you can guess that there will be plenty to do. While there are plenty of must-see sights for first-timers, the real draw to Sydney is the events and festivals you’ll find. There’s always something to do.

One of the city’s best annual events is Vivid Sydney, which features outdoor light installations and projections across the city for an immersive experience. Music and other performances encourage you to explore beyond Sydney’s main landmarks and discover a new neighborhood to return to in the future.

Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei is a foodie’s dream. There are Michelin-star restaurants, hole-in-the-wall eateries and street food 24 hours a day, each with delicious delicacies to offer. Start your day with pineapple cakes and oolong tea and work your way toward beef noodle soup and black pepper buns. Or head into one of the shrimping bars on Zhìshàn Road, where you literally catch your own dinner.

Of course, you have to do something other than just eat, and Taipei excels at that, too. Hit up the city museums and temples, do some shopping or day trip to Beitou for hot springs and hiking.

Telluride, Colorado

New routes and increased frequencies to Montrose airport have made Telluride more accessible than ever before. This small town in western Colorado has gorgeous mountain scenery with a wide assortment of active pursuits but a new twist compared to resort towns like Vail or Aspen that you may have been to before.

The best part about Telluride is that it’s lovely in both winter and summer. Choose to ski with shorter lift lines and varied terrain at Telluride Ski Resort. In summer, activities include favorites like hiking and off-roading. Plus, in either case, you’ll find great dining and cocktail options to round out your trip.

Tufi, Papua New Guinea

Realistically, anyone who goes all the way to Papua New Guinea will likely head to multiple areas but Tufi should be one of them. The pristine town sits next to a fjord (here, fjords are referred to as rias and were formed by ancient volcanic eruptions).

The scenery is only the beginning. You could easily fill a whole trip with diving alone with world-class sites and tremendous visibility. In addition to being known for macro diving, there are also rare white hammerhead sharks, wrecks and schooling barracuda.

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Uganda

East Africa is best known as a safari destination, but Uganda bucks the trend. Sure, you can see incredible wildlife here (and absolutely should) but it offers a more well-rounded travel experience. The country has stunning crater lakes, wild whitewater rafting and multi-day treks in the Rwenzori Mountains.

Among the places you shouldn’t miss on your first visit are Queen Elizabeth National Park, home to tree-climbing lions, and Murchison Falls National Park, one of the most powerful cascades in the world.

Uruguay

With a mild climate, Uruguay makes for a year-round destination with more variety than you could possibly fit in a week. The coastline tends to get the most attention, and with Punta del Este’s fabulous beaches and epic nightlife, it’s no wonder that’s where many travelers start.

Other highlights of the country include picturesque Colonia, a UNESCO World Heritage site for its many historic buildings and idyllic cobblestone streets. An hour away, the town of Carmelo has been up and coming for a few years now but hasn’t quite taken off. Go now, while you can still enjoy the peaceful countryside, blossoming wine scene and steakhouses galore.

Uzbekistan

Travelers who wish to explore Central Asia will find Uzbekistan to be one of the easiest -stans for independent tourism. The capital city of Tashkent’s metro system is both convenient and beautiful and high-speed rail links the city to other must-visit destinations like Samarkand and Bukhara.

Mosques and mausoleums dazzle with intricate designs, making the architecture a draw as much as its Silk Road history and culture. Slightly off the standard tourist trail, the Western Tien Shan mountains are perfect for hiking, mountain biking and skiing. On the other side of the country, the nearly-dry Aral Sea hosts a bewildering graveyard of former cargo ships.

Valdez, Alaska

Valdez offers an incredible microcosm of all that Alaska has to offer: glaciers, fjord cruises, salmon and halibut fishing, sea kayaking, hiking and wildlife-watching. It’s also a photographer’s dream. The drive-in on the Richardson Highway will leave you gaping at the scenery.

Since this small city isn’t on most first-timers’ radar, it’s not terribly busy even in peak season, but services are limited and you’ll need to make reservations in advance for hotels and tours. When you do, allow some flexibility for bad weather. Valdez gets a lot of rain (and snow), which keeps waterfalls looking spectacular all year long.

Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Waiheke Island is close enough to Auckland to make it a day trip but smart travelers will allow more time. There are over two dozen vineyards on this island, all of which are worth sampling. Olives are also grown here, thanks to hot summers, and olive oil tasting is an unexpected addition to your New Zealand experience.

When you need a break from your culinary experiences, Waiheke Island is also a terrific destination for biking or bushwalking. You can slow down entirely by heading to one of the island’s beaches, too. The coast on the north side of the island is typically best for white sand and swimmable waters.

Walt Disney World, Florida

Disney’s 50th-anniversary festivities begin October 1, 2021 and are expected to last 18 months, giving you plenty of time to join the party. Specific celebrations haven’t been announced yet, but you can expect magical entertainment, specially-themed souvenirs and treats and new park decor.

Waiting until 2022 for the initial crowds to lessen may actually be in your favor, especially since some favorite festivities like fireworks and parades are currently paused. Holding out for smaller crowds may also speed up your wait time on new rides like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT.

Bottom Line

Every week, we get a little closer to traveling again. More people get vaccinated every day and Covid-19 cases are thankfully dropping. As these trends continue, the ability to travel will become more of a reality and these destinations will be waiting. Which one you choose for your first post-pandemic trip…well, that’s up to you.

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New Survey Finds Post-Pandemic Travel Will Pose Challenges Old and New | Business


NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sep 27, 2021–

Wise today released the Wise International Travel Survey, assessing U.S. international travelers’ attitude and willingness to travel abroad. This comes on the heels of the White House announcing that the U.S. will reopen in November to air travelers from 33 countries who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the three market study of consumers, 82% of U.S. travelers say that as things get back to normal, international travel is one of the things that they’re looking forward to most. While 72% expressed that they are currently planning an international trip.

“While the Delta Variant still presents challenges for international travel, consumers are keen to go abroad again,” said Lindsey Grossman, director of product, North America for Wise. “Even while the pandemic has sadly kept people away from their friends and family abroad, thankfully Wise has been able to keep them connected financially – ensuring they can send money to friends and family internationally with no hidden foreign exchange fees. Additionally, when Americans begin to travel again, we’ll be there to support them on the financial side – making life easier for the many customers who told us in the survey that they are worried about the financial challenges of traveling abroad: from ensuring their debit cards work overseas and making sure they don’t get hit with hidden fees.”

Additional findings from the Wise International Travel Survey conducted in the U.S., Brazil and Canada include:

  • Generational Differences: Millennials find it more challenging to take time away from work but are more likely to travel abroad in the near future, with 41% noting that it would be challenging to take time away from work now for travel, versus 9% for ages 55+.
  • Yearning for Culture: Among other things, U.S. travelers miss learning about different countries and cultures (54%), seeing new sights (50%), and experiencing environments they can’t get in their own country (49%).
  • Looming Challenges: The pandemic still presents challenges for international travel, and the Delta Variant is affecting US International Travelers’ plans especially. In fact, 77% find COVID-19 related challenges, including navigating vaccine and testing requirements, as the most difficult barriers U.S. travelers face now when planning an international trip. Further, 86% found ensuring their health and safety from the virus, as a challenge.
  • Financial Woes: When it comes to financial pain points when traveling abroad, 34% of those surveyed said that credit or debit cards not working in destination and inflated exchange rates (33%) were of concern, while more than a quarter (27%) also find the hassle of exchanging currencies as one of their greatest financial challenges. Beyond these, other financial challenges U.S. travelers have faced when travelling internationally include: unexpected delays / changes to itinerary (46%), last minute purchases (28%), p of excursions / tourist attractions (37%), flight and baggage fees (44%), hotel prices (42%) and shopping prices (28%).
  • Converting Currencies: While many may be aware that airport-based currency exchange offer some of the worst inflated exchange rates, 31% of U.S. travelers still convert into local currency at the airport, while 31% convert into local currency at a local exchange shop, 27% at a local ATM and 34% ahead of time / before they leave.
  • Managing Finances: When traveling internationally, 28% of U.S. travelers say that they visit places that accept their home currency, while 27% pay for big things in advance with an online money transfer service. Meanwhile, 16% have their friends or family pay for them.

The Wise International Travel Survey is the latest in a series of Wise initiatives to provide consumers with the insights they need to travel internationally. Launched in 2011 with the vision of making international money transfers cheap, fair, and simple, Wise now helps over 10 million customers manage their money across the world through their Multi-Currency Account. More information on the resources and tools Wise provides is available on their site.

Methodology:

This poll was conducted between August 27-29, 2021 among a national sample of 500 International Travelers in the US. The interviews were conducted online, and Morning Consult employed robust sampling and weighting strategies guided by Census measurements to ensure our final data is nationally representative according to gender, age, household income, educational attainment, race, ethnicity, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

About Wise

Wise is a global technology company, building the best way to move money around the world. With the Wise account people and businesses can hold 56 currencies, move money between countries and spend money abroad. Huge companies and banks use Wise technology too; an entirely new cross-border payments network that will one day power money without borders for everyone, everywhere. However you use the platform, Wise is on a mission to make your life easier and save you money.

Co-founded by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, Wise launched in 2011 under its original name TransferWise. It is one of the world’s fastest growing tech companies and is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker, WISE.

10 million people and businesses use Wise, which processes over £5 billion in cross-border transactions every month, saving customers over £1 billion a year.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210927005230/en/

CONTACT: Ben Liwanag

[email protected]

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA NEW YORK

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: TECHNOLOGY MOBILE/WIRELESS RETAIL OTHER TRAVEL OTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES TRAVEL FINANCE ONLINE RETAIL PROFESSIONAL SERVICES OTHER RETAIL SOFTWARE NETWORKS INTERNET DATA MANAGEMENT

SOURCE: Wise

Copyright Business Wire 2021.

PUB: 09/27/2021 07:00 AM/DISC: 09/27/2021 07:02 AM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210927005230/en

Copyright Business Wire 2021.



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Post-pandemic travel fills parking garage at RDU airport


Passengers head for the TSA security checkpoint in Terminal 2 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Monday, May 24. This coming Memorial Day weekend is expected to be the airport’s busiest time since before the coronavirus pandemic began.

Passengers head for the TSA security checkpoint in Terminal 2 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Monday, May 24. This coming Memorial Day weekend is expected to be the airport’s busiest time since before the coronavirus pandemic began.

[email protected]

Raleigh-Durham International Airport will reopen its Economy 3 remote parking lot this week, as a rebound in air travel fills the giant parking deck between the terminals.

RDU closed all three of its remote parking lots in March 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic began to decimate air travel. Airport officials said last fall that they thought it could be years before those lots would be needed again.

But air travel has rebounded faster than expected, particularly between Thursdays and Sundays, when people visit family and friends for the weekend or begin and end a week-long vacation.

Memorial Day weekend is expected to be particularly busy, threatening to exhaust the nearly 11,500 spaces in the garage. RDU announced Monday morning that it will reopen the Economy 3 lot on Thursday.

“The parking garage has come very close to filling over the last several weekends. We’ve only had a few hundred unused parking spaces each day,” David Freedman, RDU’s chief finance officer, said Friday. “So essentially, we’re really just squeaking by.”

Economy 3 has 3,827 spaces off Aviation Parkway just north of Interstate 40. Freedman said last week that the airport had arranged for a company to provide drivers for the parking lot shuttle buses as soon as they’re needed.

As the deck neared capacity this past weekend, RDU began having people who work at the airport park in a remote lot and take special employee shuttles to the terminals, said Michael Landguth, RDU’s president. Landguth called that a contingency plan that can free up about 1,000 spaces.

“That’s Plan B,” Landguth said Monday. “Plan A is to try to get that Economy 3 open.”

The periodic scarcity of parking is not the only sign that people are flying again. Those traveling over Memorial Day and in the weeks that follow may once again encounter lines at airport security checkpoints, particularly early in the morning, or in getting a sandwich or a cup of coffee on the concourse.

Terminal businesses shuttered

The drop in air travel last year was devastating to the shops, kiosks and restaurants that cater to travelers in the terminals. Several will not reopen, while some others are still operating at reduced hours.

A half-dozen restaurants in Terminal 2, including California Pizza Kitchen and Bond Brothers Brewery, won’t be back; two others — 42nd Street Oyster Bar and the Starbucks at the bottom of the stairs just beyond the security checkpoint — will soon shut down when their leases expire.

The Starbucks in the ticketing area of Terminal 2 remains closed as well, and the one outside the security checkpoint in Terminal 1 has closed for good.

One addition: La Farm, the Cary bakery known for its crusty bread and white chocolate mini baguettes, will open a cafe at the bottom of the escalators in Terminal 2 next month. The opening has been delayed a year by the pandemic.

A challenge for retailers is that RDU’s recovery has been uneven and incomplete. While leisure travelers fill planes and the terminals on weekends, people are not yet flying for business during the week the way they used to, said Landguth, RDU’s president.

Business travel is still off about 75%, Landguth said, and probably won’t increase much until the fall.

“Until businesses get back into some sort of normal routine — that routine of people going to the offices, scheduling their trips — I don’t think you’ll see that spike too much,” he said.

In April, just under 300,000 people boarded flights at RDU, compared to only about 20,000 the same month a year ago. That growth is encouraging, Landguth said, but passenger traffic is still down about 42% from the same time in 2019.

RDU expects 221,000 people will pass through the airport the week of Memorial Day, with Thursday, Friday and next Monday being the busiest days. As many as 31,000 passengers are expected each of those days, Landguth said.

“It’s dominated by leisure — people wanting to take vacation,” he said. “I think we’ve all been cooped up enough.”

For people flying out of RDU in the coming weeks, here’s some advice:

Go to www.rdu.com and click on “Shop & Dine” to see what stores and restaurants are open and when. Some of your old favorites may be gone, while others are operating at reduced hours.

Bring a mask. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has extended the COVID-19 mask requirement in airports and on commercial airplanes through Sept. 13. If you forget, the airport has free masks at its customer service desks.

Book parking in advance at www.rdu.com/parking/. For one thing, you’ll save a few bucks. Online rates are lower. For example, a spot in the RDU Central parking deck is $10 a day if you book online and $12 a day if you drive up and get a ticket. And while booking online doesn’t reserve you a particular spot, you will know one is available for you somewhere in the deck.

RDU’s long-term prognosis

Despite the busy weekends at RDU, airlines have not yet fully restored the service they cut with last year’s steep drop in demand. Before COVID-19, airlines flew nonstop to 57 destinations from RDU, including five international routes. Today, airlines fly nonstop to 38 places, including two international: Cancun, Mexico, and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Landguth says he doesn’t know if or when the nonstop trans-Atlantic flights to London and Paris will return, now that European authorities are moving to accept visitors who have been vaccinated. It’s a little late for American and Delta to schedule those flights to take advantage of the summer travel season, he said.

But airlines are flying nonstop to the West Coast, an important benchmark for the airport. Delta and Alaska are serving Seattle, while JetBlue now flies nonstop to San Francisco and will be joined by United Airlines in July.

The West Coast flights could become popular as California-based Apple and Seattle-based Google establish new offices in the Triangle that will employ up to 4,000 people. Those jobs announcements and others in recent months suggest that demand for air travel at RDU will exceed pre-pandemic levels before too long, Landguth said.

“All the indications are we’re going to see some significant growth in the region,” he said. “We do believe this will fuel demand for air service beyond those 2019 levels.”

The challenge for RDU now is to prepare for that growth. When revenue dried up last year, the airport shelved several expansion plans, including new gates in Terminal 1, two new security lanes in Terminal 2 and a consolidated rental car facility within walking distance of both terminals. RDU has continued working to replace its main runway, which is nearing the end of its useful life, but no longer plans to lengthen it to handle flights to China.

On Friday, RDU’s governing board met to begin talking about which expansion projects to resume. Board members are expected to talk in more detail in July.

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer

Richard Stradling covers transportation for The News & Observer. Planes, trains and automobiles, plus ferries, bicycles, scooters and just plain walking. Also, hospitals during the coronavirus outbreak. He’s been a reporter or editor for 33 years, including the last 21 at The N&O. 919-829-4739, [email protected]





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Illinois launches $6M tourism campaign to boost post-pandemic travel | News


SPRINGFIELD — Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a new $6 million tourism advertising campaign Wednesday aimed at attracting visitors to the state and sparking economic activity following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The multimedia campaign, featured around the theme “Time for Me to Drive,” showcases various destinations in all parts of the state and aims to reflect Illinois as a top destination for road trips.

According to a news release, the campaign reflects increasing consumer trends to take shorter trips by car to destinations closer to home following the pandemic. The campaign is the first to be released by the state since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

“More and more travelers are ready to get back out there. Recent surveys show that half of Americans plan to travel this summer, and half of them intend to drive,” Pritzker said Wednesday at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield. “So, whether you want to ease your way back into travel or are raring to go, taking the great American road trip is a great way to enjoy yourself and to stay safe.”

Pritzker said the new campaign introduces tourists to “an Illinois they may not have seen before,” including destinations such as state parks, the Shawnee National Forest and the Garden of the Gods.

The campaign also promotes the cities of Chicago, Springfield and Galena as potential road trip destinations.

Sylvia Garcia, acting director of the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said before the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois saw over 120 million visitors annually who collectively spent more than $40 billion in the state.

Garcia said those numbers were “cut in half” as a result of the pandemic last year.

“(The) Time for Me to Drive campaign is not only a milestone in bringing tourism back for this summer, it’s also part of our ongoing work towards a strong recovery for the tourism industry over the long term,” Garcia said.

The advertising campaign includes television, radio, digital and print spots. Garcia said the campaign would primarily be shown in the seven states surrounding Illinois and 18 total markets.

Michael Jacobson, president and CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, said promoting tourism in the state “puts people back to work” and will be important to the state’s economic recovery following the pandemic.

“What people rarely realize is that an investment in tourism promotion is an investment in economic development,” Jacobson said.



Illinois lawmakers are considering a bill that would make sure every student in the state learns the history of Asian Americans in the U.S. 







“Promoting tourism helps our economy by getting visitors to stay in our hotels, to eat in our restaurants, shop in our retail stores, buy fuel in our gas stations, and enjoy our amazing attractions,” he added.

Jacobson said 20,000 hotel workers are still out of work following pandemic-related closures and shutdowns, and that promoting tourism would be key to increasing tax revenue in the state.

Jayne DeLuce, president and CEO of the Illinois Council of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, said the return on investment for destination promotion drives $11 in tax revenue for every promotional dollar spent.

“Beyond creating priceless memories, these road trip experiences create an immediate infusion of cash in the tourism economy, which has been so decimated by the pandemic,” DeLuce said.



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Post-pandemic travel boom hits Utah


SOUTHERN UTAH — A post-pandemic travel boom is hitting Utah as people flood the Beehive State for vacations. One tour company says hotels are full, and the national parks are bracing for a busy summer — even more than the outdoor rush that hit during 2020.

With COVID-19 restrictions lifting and vaccination numbers rising, it’s clear that travelers think it’s time to venture out.

Jason Murray, the president and owner of Southwest Adventure Tours out of Cedar City, said people are tired of being locked in their houses and communities.

He’s already seeing it, even though summer vacation season is still weeks away.

“I thought last year was busy — this year it’s just exploded, and the numbers are climbing even higher,” he said.

People are choosing Utah, he added, because international travel is still uncertain. Many countries have yet to open their borders or drop quarantine rules.

“All those travelers, who are very well-traveled individuals, can’t do their normal trips,” he said.

So, those people are looking domestically for a new place to explore and check off the bucket list. And what better place than southern Utah, where one can see five national parks?

He said customers don’t want to be restricted a second year in a row. They want to get out and travel somewhere.

“It’s COVID revenge, so to speak, on the travel industry,” Murray said.

Southwest Adventure Tours offers three kinds of experiences: Day trips/shuttle service, multi-day tours, and private/custom/self-driving trips.

The multi-day tours are filling up through fall. Many dates are already completely sold out.

They’ve also started booking for 2022.

Even the day tours and shuttle service, which Murray said are usually booked last minute, are going fast. Those are busy clear through September.

“Even those things are getting sold out in advance, and that’s not normal,” Murray said. “People are planning more ahead.”

He said they are working with Zion Outfitters and Zion National Park to provide private shuttles into the park, to help with the demand there. Southwest Adventure Tours also plans tours and activities all throughout the western U.S. including in Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona.

It’s busy and booking up all over.

“It’s definitely busier than it has been in the past, this time of year,” said Matthew Tesdall, the owner of Family Time Vacation Rentals.

He explained that they’re seeing more people opt to rent vacation homes. Most people ask about cleaning standards, he said, and want to make sure their company offers contactless, keyless entry (they do).

Summer is trending to be busier or at least as busy as last year, Tesdall said. They don’t see it slowing down any time soon.

Family Time Vacation Rentals, which is based in Parowan, offers homes, cabins and ski-in/ski-out condos in Brian Head, Panguitch, Panguitch Lake, Duck Creek, and the east side of Zion National Park, including in Mount Carmel and Kanab.

As people look to get out and travel, Tesdall said traffic is up in rural areas across the board.

Customers tend to be driving instead of flying, he said, and coming in from local areas whereas before they came mostly from out-of-state. He said they’re seeing extended families choose southern Utah as a meeting point with everyone staying at one of the vacation homes, driving in from different places in northern Utah and surrounding states.

“These guys can get together and have family or friend time, which a lot of these states that we’re offering to, they can’t do that this last year,” he said. “So it’s been great for them. They’ve loved it.”

Family Time Vacation Rentals still has plenty of spots open this summer.

Southwest Adventure Tours is finding that they have less and less openings.

So, if you want to book that ticket or tour, Murray urged people to do it now before everything is full.

He also suggested checking out off-the-beaten-path areas, rather than seeing main attractions that might be slammed this summer.

Murray sees this reflecting positively on the Utah economy as local businesses flourish.

“I love to see that we’re going to be coming, we’re roaring back. Not every travel industry, not every destination in the U.S. is going to experience what Utah is,” he said. “But Utah and a lot of the Mountain Region and southwestern U.S. is going to see a lot of visitors this year.”





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Online Travel Update: Texas seeks to impose new lodging tax on hotel bookings; Expedia launches rebrand pushing for post-pandemic travel; DayAway specializes in “Beyond Bed” ancillaries | Foster Garvey PC


This week’s Update features a number of stories on the largest online distributors as well as a story on an interesting new player that focuses exclusively on hoteliers’ “beyond bed” ancillaries and experiences. Enjoy.

Proposed Texas Tax on Travel Services Likely to be Passed on to Hoteliers
(“ASTA blasts proposed Texas hotel tax,” April 19, 2021 via Travel Weekly US)
As part of the state and local government revenue grab that traditionally occurs during any economic downturn, Texas is seeking to enact legislation that will impose a new 6 percent lodging tax on hotel bookings in its state. Like other occupancy or sales taxes, the new tax is calculated on the price paid for guest rooms or meeting space, but unlike other traditional lodging taxes, the “price” also includes all associated booking fees and charges. Although the new tax is purportedly intended to target online travel agency (OTA) service fees and charges, traditional brick and mortar travel agents who charge their clients trip planning or advisory fees will also be targets of the new tax. So, if this new tax is intended to target the service fees and charges often imposed by OTAs, why should hotels care? For years now, OTAs of all shapes and sizes have routinely required hoteliers to pay taxes on the commissions, compensation or other fees or charges paid the OTAs. While these provisions have largely sat dormant – except for the occasional VAT withholding squabble – these contract provisions may become far more relevant as more states inevitably consider a similar travel service tax (particularly those spurned in previous litigation seeking to impose traditional occupancy taxes on OTA service charges).

Expedia’s Push for Post-Pandemic Travel
(“Expedia unveils rebrand in major push to capture travel demand,” April 19, 2021 via Phocus Wire)
Much of the online travel press last week was dedicated to Expedia’s recently announced rebrand. On April 19, millions of Expedia users received emails introducing them to the “new” Expedia. So what is new? Other than a new logo and tag line, noticeable changes to the Expedia website and mobile application include new home screen layouts (including notably a prominent tab at the top of the website for owners interested in listing their vacation properties with Expedia); use of a single uniform platform for the booking of hotels, flights, cars and experiences; new itinerary building functionality; side-by-side comparisons of accommodations based on available amenities; the display of activities near travelers’ chosen accommodations; and, of course, improved functionality for enrolling new members of Expedia’s loyalty program. As part of its overall rebrand effort, Expedia is planning a new creative campaign supported by the largest marketing spend the brand has seen in the past five years.

DayAway Specializes in “Beyond Bed” Ancillaries
(“DayAway may be built in Covid times but founder Martha Waslen says it will last long beyond pandemic,” April 21, 2021 via WIT)
Six-month old distributor, DayAway, hopes to disrupt and forever change the “beyond bed” experience. Seeking to leverage the largely unused gyms, spas, pools and other amenities often found at luxury hotels (particularly over the past 12 months), Singapore-based DayAway hopes to offer guests a curated inventory of activities and experiences that can be done in a day’s time and around hotels. While aggregators of similar experiences and activities may exist, DayAway doesn’t intend to compete with these volume-based discount aggregators. Instead, DayAway hopes to establish relationships with each of its supplier partners, by among other things, moving away from volume-based fees and co-owning the customer data that it collects from users with its suppliers.


Other News:

Four Key Takeaways From Skift’s Loyalty and Subscription Summit
April 22, 2021 via Skift Travel News (subscription may be required)
The pandemic forced travel brands to get smarter by using their loyalty programs to engage with consumers even when those customers aren’t traveling. That new skillset will have a lasting impact even after the pandemic eventually fades.

Booking Adds Tours and Activities From Viator in Their First Partnership
April 21, 2021 via Skift Travel News (subscription may be required)
Following its partnership with TUI’s Musement brand last year, Booking.com added a major tours and activities partner, Tripadvisor’s Viator, to its growing attractions business. In their first partnership in the sector, Booking and Viator announced Wednesday (April 21) that thousands of Viator’s attractions, tours and activities would soon be available for travelers on Booking.com.

How the Pandemic Is Reshaping Hotel Distribution Strategies and Onboarding
April 22, 2021 via Phocus Wire
In March of this year, hotel consultant Thibault Catala posted on LinkedIn about his frustration in trying to help a new hotel in Greece become listed on Expedia Group websites. Catala shared the response he received from Expedia Group, which said that “due to the reduced demand for your market, we will not be able to effectively support your business.”

Tripadvisor Bets Subscriptions Will Foster Resilience in the Travel Industry
April 21, 2021 via Skift Travel News (subscription may be required)
Tripadvisor believes its new subscription product could become a new business line generating more than $1 billion a year. But that will likely only happen if the company can make the program about more than just a mechanism for consumers to get discounts on hotels, experiences and other travel offerings.



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Highlighting the role of travel in post-pandemic recovery efforts –


“Despite the hardships of the last year, Nelson County is ready and eager to welcome back visitors and help drive Nelson County’s recovery efforts,” said Maureen Kelley, the director of the Nelson County Office of Economic Development and Tourism. “National Travel and Tourism Week is an opportunity to remind visitors and residents of the incredible contributions of the travel industry not just to our local economy and workforce, but to our community’s identity and culture.”



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Traveling to Kauai here at the start of the post-pandemic – Pasadena Star News


I was going to call it journalistic research on travel in the late pandemic, and proof that since we’re distance-working, I might as well be doing it from a beach 2,600 miles from home.

But that sounds a little phony-baloney, even if it’s true enough. For almost three weeks now I haven’t been on vacation, but I haven’t been in Southern California, either.

I mean, have laptop, will travel. And my wife and I have a place we can stay for free that is — I do regret having to tell you this, if the place where you are is too hot, or too cold, or just the same old, same old that all of us have been living in for almost 14 months now — a couple of steps from the water on the North Shore of Kauai.

The WiFi works fine. The white noise blowing in the sliding glass doors from the lanai 24 hours a day to the desk where I type is the lovely combined cacophony of breaking waves in the Pacific Ocean near Hanalei Bay and the trade winds that pretty much never stop, here on the northernmost point of the Hawaiian Islands.

Since the 50th state doesn’t do Daylight Saving, the time is three hours earlier. The newsroom is already humming by the time I stumble out the door to take my daily photograph of the sunrise over the ocean. But I try to brew the coffee and catch up on editing and writing before it gets too late in the California day, and my boss has been most accommodating about it.

I mean, I can join the Zoom meeting with Gavin Newsom’s water people about the coming drought in the West quite easily from here. When I point the camera out the window of this little place — an artist friend once painted it for us, titling his work  “A View with A Room” — toward the supernaturally green cliffs towering above, sure, there might be some howls of envy from Sacramento. Not to mention that, water-wise, I am sitting about two miles as the crow flies from the wettest place on Earth, Mount Waialeale, which sees 444 inches of rain a year. We Californians would love to pirate just a few of those inches.

And, yes, when I post a pic on Instagram of  swaying trees, ripe with papayas, sighted on a tropical hike, a Southern California writer friend says in the comments section: “Stop this or invite me. Aloha for now.”

But it has actually been an interesting experiment in the COVID-19 travel world. Kauai, in addition to being an island, is also a county, and its government has exercised a New Zealand-like lockdown stronger than all the other islands over the last year. First it was a two-week strict quarantine for all arriving travelers — entirely confined to quarters. Then 10 days. Then three days. As soon as it flipped to a simple negative coronavirus test before boarding your flight, with no quarantine at all, we jumped on a plane.

Of course we would never have done so without being fully vaccinated. But, oddly, the Garden Island cares not about your vaccine status, although in coming months all of Hawaii is working toward accepting some kind of vaccine passport. Masking up is still a common courtesy, and required in the grocery store. The restaurants we eat in tend to be outdoorsy and breezy, and the masks go down pretty quickly. While walking on the beach? Everyone knows wearing a mask there is silly.

But Kauai’s isolation has worked. There have been a grand total of 199 cases of COVID-19 here. While locals are surely a little wary of the sudden haole invasion after the year of solitude, they know we were tested in order to get here, and that most older Americans are already fully vaccinated.

It’s been great, putting a toe in the waters of the way we will travel — and work from far away — in a warier future. A pure pleasure to be your aloha canary in a coal mine. And mahalo to our islander friends for welcoming us back.

Larry Wilson is on the Southern California News Group editorial board. [email protected] 



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Traveling to Kauai here at the start of the post-pandemic – Pasadena Star News


I was going to call it journalistic research on travel in the late pandemic, and proof that since we’re distance-working, I might as well be doing it from a beach 2,600 miles from home.

But that sounds a little phony-baloney, even if it’s true enough. For almost three weeks now I haven’t been on vacation, but I haven’t been in Southern California, either.

I mean, have laptop, will travel. And my wife and I have a place we can stay for free that is — I do regret having to tell you this, if the place where you are is too hot, or too cold, or just the same old, same old that all of us have been living in for almost 14 months now — a couple of steps from the water on the North Shore of Kauai.

The WiFi works fine. The white noise blowing in the sliding glass doors from the lanai 24 hours a day to the desk where I type is the lovely combined cacophony of breaking waves in the Pacific Ocean near Hanalei Bay and the trade winds that pretty much never stop, here on the northernmost point of the Hawaiian Islands.

Since the 50th state doesn’t do Daylight Saving, the time is three hours earlier. The newsroom is already humming by the time I stumble out the door to take my daily photograph of the sunrise over the ocean. But I try to brew the coffee and catch up on editing and writing before it gets too late in the California day, and my boss has been most accommodating about it.

I mean, I can join the Zoom meeting with Gavin Newsom’s water people about the coming drought in the West quite easily from here. When I point the camera out the window of this little place — an artist friend once painted it for us, titling his work  “A View with A Room” — toward the supernaturally green cliffs towering above, sure, there might be some howls of envy from Sacramento. Not to mention that, water-wise, I am sitting about two miles as the crow flies from the wettest place on Earth, Mount Waialeale, which sees 444 inches of rain a year. We Californians would love to pirate just a few of those inches.

And, yes, when I post a pic on Instagram of  swaying trees, ripe with papayas, sighted on a tropical hike, a Southern California writer friend says in the comments section: “Stop this or invite me. Aloha for now.”

But it has actually been an interesting experiment in the COVID-19 travel world. Kauai, in addition to being an island, is also a county, and its government has exercised a New Zealand-like lockdown stronger than all the other islands over the last year. First it was a two-week strict quarantine for all arriving travelers — entirely confined to quarters. Then 10 days. Then three days. As soon as it flipped to a simple negative coronavirus test before boarding your flight, with no quarantine at all, we jumped on a plane.

Of course we would never have done so without being fully vaccinated. But, oddly, the Garden Island cares not about your vaccine status, although in coming months all of Hawaii is working toward accepting some kind of vaccine passport. Masking up is still a common courtesy, and required in the grocery store. The restaurants we eat in tend to be outdoorsy and breezy, and the masks go down pretty quickly. While walking on the beach? Everyone knows wearing a mask there is silly.

But Kauai’s isolation has worked. There have been a grand total of 199 cases of COVID-19 here. While locals are surely a little wary of the sudden haole invasion after the year of solitude, they know we were tested in order to get here, and that most older Americans are already fully vaccinated.

It’s been great, putting a toe in the waters of the way we will travel — and work from far away — in a warier future. A pure pleasure to be your aloha canary in a coal mine. And mahalo to our islander friends for welcoming us back.

Larry Wilson is on the Southern California News Group editorial board. [email protected] 



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