‘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.


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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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Fiji latest destination to reopen to tourism | News


The island paradise of Fiji, known for its incredible scenery and warm, welcoming people, will be open to visitors once again starting this December.

After nearly two years of being closed to the outside world, Fiji is more than ready to safely welcome its travellers back.

The 333 islands are as beautiful as ever, brimming with idyllic turquoise waters, soft white sand beaches, and the vibrant Bula Spirit for which Fiji is known.

“It’s been almost two years since we welcomed international visitors.

“And in these two years, we’ve struggled, we’ve adapted and we’ve prepared.

“Today, our national airline is ready, our hotels and tour providers are ready, and Fijians are ready to safely welcome the world back.

“We are ready to let happiness find you again,” Fiji minister for tourism, Faiyaz Koya, said.

The country will still have entry requirements in place to ensure the utmost safety of both visitors and locals.

These include being a fully vaccinated traveller from a green list country.

These are defined having high vaccination rates and low-test positivity rates, and currently include: Australia, New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, Germany, Spain, France, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan and most Pacific Island countries and territories.

Guests will also be required to provide a negative PCR test taken less than 72 hours prior to arrival in Fiji and fulfil an obligation to take an additional negative rapid antigen test before returning back home, based on individual home country requirements.

Unvaccinated children under the age of 18 will be able to travel to Fiji accompanied by a vaccinated adult.





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Saudi Arabia unveils plans for the Rig tourism project | News


The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia has announced plans for the Rig, a new tourism project.

Inspired by offshore oil platforms, the development will be located in the Arabian Gulf and will span a combined total area of more than 150,000 square meters.

When complete it will provide a multitude of hospitality offerings, adventures and aquatic sporting experiences.

The Rig is a project in the tourism and entertainment sector, one of key strategic sectors identified by the PIF, and is expected to be a significant value-add to the local economy.

Additionally, to ensure the sustainable preservation of the environment in the vicinity, the project will follow leading global standards and best practices, further supporting broader efforts on environmental protection.

This project is a unique tourism attraction, expected to attract tourists from around the world, while being especially popular with citizens and residents of the GCC countries in the region.

The Rig will feature a number of touristic attractions, including three hotels, world-class restaurants, helipads, and a range of adventurous activities, including extreme sports.

To support Saudi Arabia’s efforts to become a leading global tourist destination, PIF has established several major projects and companies in various regions within the country, including the Red Sea Development Company, Alsoudah Development Company and the Cruise Saudi Company.

Public Investment Fund

PIF is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, seeking to drive the economic transformation of Saudi Arabia for the benefit of its people while helping shape the future global economy.

The organisation is building a portfolio through investments in attractive, long-term opportunities across diverse industries and asset classes internationally, while unlocking new sectors at home.

These include the recent acquisition of Premier League football club, Newcastle United.





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Peach Aviation to offer unlimited travel passes to revive tourism


Low-cost carrier Peach Aviation Ltd. will offer an unlimited travel pass that will allow holders to take any of the airline’s domestic flights for one month in an effort to revive the tourism industry hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Osaka-based company will begin selling a total of 150 passes from noon on Tuesday with the price ranging from 19,800 yen ($170) to 39,800 yen depending on different options, after Japan eased travel restrictions following a decline in COVID-19 cases nationwide.

Passengers head to board a Peach Aviation Ltd. aircraft at Kansai airport in Osaka Prefecture on July 1, 2021. (Kyodo)

Pass holders will be able to board on all 33 domestic routes offered by the carrier in November, the airline said, adding that it hopes people will explore different parts of the country or even enjoy so-called “workations,” allowing people to take a trip while working online.

While railway companies often sell all-you-can-ride passes, it is rare for a Japanese airline to offer such services, the company said. People aged 12 and over with a valid photo ID are eligible for the passes.

Japan saw record numbers of coronavirus cases during this summer’s fifth wave of infections, prompting the government to issue a state of emergency for Tokyo and other parts of the country that urged people to refrain from making unnecessary outings and traveling across prefectural borders.

The state of emergency as well as a quasi-state of emergency ended in September following a steady decline in COVID-19 infections nationwide.

Peach Aviation will offer two types of unlimited travel passes, which are the “lite” plan, which only covers travel fares, and the standard plan that also allows passengers to select their seats and check in one item of luggage for free.

The lite pass and standard pass will cost 19,800 yen and 29,800 yen, respectively, for the first total of 30 passes that are sold. For the remaining 120, the passes will each cost 10,000 yen more.

In July last year, Japan launched the “Go To Travel” subsidy program to promote domestic tourism that had suffered during the pandemic. But the government suspended it in December following a resurgence in COVID cases.

Tetsuo Saito, Japan’s new tourism minister, said earlier this month that he will consider when to resume it following the full lifting of the state of emergency.





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Hawaii’s tourism industry prepares for loosened national travel restrictions for fully vaccinated visitors – Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather


Friday’s announcement was welcomed news for many people in the tourism industry including here in Hawaii. Bruce Fisher, owner of Hawaii Aloha Travel, says international visitors are better for the local economy because they tend to stay longer and spend more. The industry is hopeful for a more vibrant 2022 but right now Hawaii still has travel restrictions in place for visitors from many foreign countries. 





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Large events help Raleigh tourism rebound, but business travel slow to return


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – While the return of flagship events has brought thousands of visitors back to Raleigh, tourism experts say the city won’t see pre-pandemic tourism levels until business travel returns.

Major events that were canceled or moved online last year are finally making a comeback.

Thousands of people are now pouring into the North Carolina State Fair and earlier this month, bluegrass lovers lined five city blocks in Raleigh for the International Bluegrass Music Association Festival.

Loren Gold, executive vice president for Visit Raleigh, said the city won’t hit pre-pandemic tourism numbers with vacationers or one-time events alone.

“Leisure does make up our mix but it’s probably about a third of our total mix,” Gold said.

With more companies taking operations online, Gold said it’s business travel that has been slow to make a comeback in large cities like Raleigh.

“Business travel took a huge spike downward because companies were not sending their people on the road,” Gold said.

Counties with the state’s largest cities saw some of the biggest dips in visitor spending last year. Wake County visitors spent more than 42 percent less in 2020 than 2019.

Still, the latest data from Visit Raleigh shows food and beverage tax revenue is up 36 percent from last year and hotel occupancy is also up by 48 percent.

“They’re all up, it’s just a matter of getting back to pre-pandemic, 2019 levels,” Gold said.



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WTTC blames UK government for slow tourism recovery | News


The World Travel & Tourism Council has argued the year-on-year recovery in the UK may only claw back a third, while international travel spending continues to plummet.

Latest research from the body shows the recovery has been severely delayed by the lack of spending from international visitors.

WTTC blames strict travel restrictions, such as the destructive ‘traffic light’ system, for wreaking havoc on the sector.

Now, despite its highly successful vaccine rollout, the UK is set to record further losses in inbound visitor spending than the previous year, during which international travel ground to an almost complete standstill.

At the current rate of recovery, WTTC research shows the UK sector’s contribution to the nation’s economy could rise year on year by just under a third (32 per cent) in 2021, broadly in line with the global average of 31 per cent.

However, research conducted by the global tourism body goes on to show the increase has been primarily spurred on by the recent boom in domestic travel, with domestic spending growth set to experience a year-on-year rise of 49 per cent in 2021.

While this surge in domestic travel has provided a much-needed boost, it will not be enough to achieve a full economic recovery and save millions of jobs still under threat.

The research reveals that international spending is predicted to plunge by nearly half on 2020 figures – one of the worst years on record for the tourism sector – making the UK one of the worst performing countries in the world.

While other countries, such as China and the United States, are set to see a rise in inbound international travel spending this year, the UK lags behind and continues to record significant losses.

Severe travel restrictions, ever-changing policies, and barriers to travel to the UK, such as the current requirement for visitors to take an expensive day two PCR test after arriving in the country, have had their toll.

Julia Simpson, WTTC chief executive, said: “WTTC research shows that while the global tourism sector is beginning to recover, the UK continues to suffer big losses due to continuing travel restrictions that are tougher than the rest of Europe.

“Despite government announcements the UK still has a red list, costly PCR tests and a requirement for day two tests which simply put people off travel.

“Just as the world opens up the UK has more requirements for the double vaccinated than our neighbours.”





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Breaking Travel News investigates: Dubai leads global tourism recovery | Focus


Dubai was one of the first cities globally to reopen its markets and businesses in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and continues to stay open, while ensuring strict compliance with internationally benchmarked health and safety protocols.

Supported by a solid network of stakeholders and partners, the emirate has now launched a new tourism campaign as it seeks to build on the steady influx of visitors seen since the reopening in July last year.

The move is further evidence of a consistent and calibrated approach since the start of the pandemic to ensure the destination remains resilient and safe for international travellers.

The United Arab Emirates has one of the highest per capita vaccination rates in the world, with close to 85 per cent of residents having received at least one dose of the vaccine, and nearly 75 per cent having received both doses to-date.

So what has been behind the successful relaunch of the tourism sector?

Boosted by demand for staycations in the domestic market and visitation from international markets that are open, hotels in Dubai enjoyed occupancy levels of 61 per cent overall from January-to-July this year.

This has further instilled confidence in this sector and demonstrates its capability to attract guests and provide them with world-class hospitality.

By the end of July, the hotel inventory in the emirate stood at 718 establishments offering 129,318 rooms with RevPAR increasing to AED225 (£50) compared to AED194 for the same period in 2020.

In the first seven months of 2021, the occupied room nights for hotels stood at 16.34 million, compared to 10.74 million for the corresponding period in 2020.

According to data from hotel management analytics firm STR, for the first seven months of 2021, Dubai ranked second globally in terms of occupancy after Singapore and ahead of London and Paris.

For the January-July 2021 period, year-to-date RevPAR in Dubai was highest among the four destinations, followed by Singapore, Paris and London.

Dubai has continued to invest in integrated marketing campaigns, highlighting that the city is open to travellers when they are ready to start holidaying again.

The latest campaign, Dubai Presents, features a series of blockbuster trailers helmed by Hollywood icons Jessica Alba and Zac Efron, and is designed to showcase the diversity of experiences, attractions and events that await visitors this year.

These include Expo 2020, which started on October 1st, and celebrations surrounding the fiftieth anniversary of United Arab Emirates on December 2nd.

Dubai Presents builds on a series of global marketing campaigns developed by Dubai Tourism such as A Story Takes Flight, starring Hollywood celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson and Zoe Saldanha, the award-winning #BeMyGuest featuring Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, as well as many other campaigns led by prominent regional celebrities and influencers, in addition to various digital activations.

The recovery strategy, implemented in close coordination with stakeholders, proved crucial in reinvigorating the domestic hospitality market in May last year, preparing the ground for the return of international visitors to the city in July 2020.

As tourists returned to Dubai to enjoy its iconic attractions, experiences and world class infrastructure including beaches, shopping malls, restaurants, theme parks and golf courses, Dubai Tourism remained firmly focused on delivering an exceptional tourism experience whilst prioritising the safety of tourists at every stage and touchpoint of their travel journey, from arrival to departure.

A variety of safety initiatives were launched, based on the guidelines of the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, including a wide range of precautionary measures, in addition to effective testing and vaccination programmes.

The vaccination campaign also covered employees across hotels, considered the frontline of the tourism industry, starting with a pilot programme that saw more than 10,000 employees of leading hotels on the Palm Jumeirah receiving the vaccines.

The stringent measures are underpinned by the Dubai Assured stamp, a compliance protocol that certifies establishments within the tourism ecosystem that adhere to health and safety protocols.

Inspectors of Dubai Tourism, Department of Economic Development and Dubai Municipality are also taking a zero-tolerance approach towards non-compliance.

In 2020, when the pandemic was at its peak, the joint teams conducted more than 140,000 inspections on establishments across the tourism ecosystem.

Take a look below as Breaking Travel News speaks to Issam Kazim, chief executive of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism & Commerce Marketing, about the reopening of the tourism market in the emirate:

More Information

With the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the leading tourism destination and commercial hub in the world, Dubai Tourism has a mission is to increase the awareness of emirate among global audiences and to attract tourists and inward investment.

The body markets and promotes the commerce sector in the emirate and is responsible for the licensing and classification of all tourism services, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents.

Find out more on the official website.





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Thailand to reopen wider tourism sector from November | News


Thailand plans to end Covid-19 quarantine requirements for fully-vaccinated travellers from at least ten “low-risk” nations as the tourism sector begins to rebuild.

Changes will come into effect from November 1st, officials say.

Thailand prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha admitted that “this decision comes with some risk.”

The nations seen as low risk include the UK, China, Germany and the US.

The country has been recording more than 10,000 positive infections daily since July, having initially seen very cases in 2020.

It has fully vaccinated around 33 per cent of its almost 70 million people.

Prayuth said Thailand would also allow entertainment venues to reopen on December 1st and permit alcohol sales.

He added that the authorities were planning to open Thailand for more countries on that date.

But he warned that the government would act decisively if there were to be a spike in infections or an emergence of a highly contagious variant of Covid-19.

Singapore announced a similar move earlier.

Just over 70,000 visitors came into the country in the first eight months of this year, compared with 40 million in the whole of 2019.





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