Cruise Planners Unveils ‘For the Love of Travel’ Facebook Contest

To keep travel top of mind with consumers in a quarantined world, Cruise Planners introduced a Facebook “For the Love of Travel” contest, whose grand prize is a seven-night Celebrity Cruises’ Caribbean cruise for two in 2021.

The campaign is in effect through April 30, 2020, and also includes weekly Cruise Planners’ gift items.

“This contest is a fun way to spark some joy across our travel advisor network, their clients and travelers who are spending days, and even weeks, inside their homes,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and founder of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. “I can’t wait to be inspired by the travel photos submitted, as I am already reminiscing about my favorite travels and dreaming of where to go next once the world opens up again.”

Those interested in participating need only post photos of their favorite vacation memories using the #CruisePlannersLove hashtag on their personal Facebook walls or on a Cruise Planner travel advisor’s Facebook business page.

However, to qualify, it is mandatory posters provide details about why the vacation was their favorite along with the picture and #CruisePlannersLove hashtag.

“A love of travel brings us all together, and it’s during these uncertain times, that we need to virtually come together and keep that passion alive,” Fee said.

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Highlands is destination Brits want to visit post-coronavirus crisis

Revealed: The Scottish Highlands tops a ‘lust list’ of UK destinations that Britons want to visit post-coronavirus crisis

  • Research has revealed the top search results for UK holidays in the past month 
  • Snowdonia is the second most popular destination followed by Yorkshire Dales
  • Other sought-after locations include Cornwall, the Lake District and Kent
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The Scottish Highlands is the most-searched-for destination for a UK bucket list holiday – post-coronavirus crisis – according to new research.

The region has proved more popular than Snowdonia, which is the second most sought-after location.

The next three most popular spots are Yorkshire Dales (third), Cornwall (fourth) and the Lake District (fifth).

The Scottish Highlands is the most sought-after destination for a post-coronavirus UK holiday, new research has found. Pictured is the Glenfinnan Viaduct on the West Highland Line, which Harry Potter fans will be very familiar with

The research was carried out by holiday rental marketplace, which looked at its internal data to reveal the top search results for UK holiday destinations in the last month as Britons plan future holidays while on lockdown. 

Other popular places that Britons want to visit, when it is safe to do so, are the Peak District, which is in sixth place, and Kent, which is in seventh place.

Also making the top 10 are London in eighth, the Brecon Beacons in ninth and County Antrim in 10th.

Completing the top 15 are Edinburgh (11th), the Gower Peninsula (12th), Bath (13th), Brighton (14th) and the Shetland Islands (15th).

Snowdonia, pictured, is the second most sought-after destination for a UK holiday, when it is safe to take one

Pictured is the Yorkshire Dales, which is the third most-searched-for destination 

Cornwall, with its beaches and pretty harbours, is the fourth most popular destination

Meanwhile, has also noted a 30 per cent rise in searches for holidays in 2021 since the government told people to stay at home.

It found that when it asked people what type of destinations they most longed to visit, 45 per cent said they would like to go to the beach or somewhere along the coast, 28 per cent wanted to go to the countryside and 17 per cent wanted a city break.

Matt Fox, CEO and co-founder of, said: ‘It is a tough time for the travel industry at the moment, with the majority of the British public avoiding making concrete plans until there is more reassurance and stability moving forward.

‘However, we have definitely noticed an increased interest over the past couple of weeks towards certain destinations, and we can only surmise that Brits are eagerly planning dream trips to take around the UK when it is safe to do so.

‘We are confident that the British tourism industry will bounce back, and it is looking as though there will be a greater appreciation for the amazing spaces that Britain has to offer and a desire to visit some of the more remote and wild locations within the British Isles once we have put this episode behind us.’


1. Scottish Highlands

2. Snowdonia

3. Yorkshire Dales

4. Cornwall

5. Lake District

6. Peak District

7. Kent

8. London

9. Brecon Beacons

10. County Antrim

11. Edinburgh

12. The Gower Peninsula

13. Bath

14. Brighton

15. Shetland Islands



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Carnival Seeking Infusion of Capital

The world’s largest cruise operator is looking at ways to raise capital in the wake of the effects of the coronavirus, which has crippled the industry financially.

Carnival Corp. said Tuesday it will use a combination of secured notes, convertible notes and new shares to raise $6 billion to withstand the crisis. The entire industry has suspended itineraries for at least 30 days – some lines up to 60 days – as the global pandemic wreaks havoc across, especially in such closed quarters as a cruise ship.

Outbreaks on Carnival-owned ships – which include Carnival, Costa Cruises, Holland America and Princess Cruises – have killed several passengers and sickened hundreds.

Carnival said it intends to raise $3 billion of secured notes and $1.75 billion of convertible notes — both due in three years — as well as $1.25 billion of new shares. CNN quoted Wedbush analyst James Hardiman as saying Carnival is losing $500 million a month, and the $6 billion should be enough to carry it through the next 12-13 months.

Carnival and its fellow cruise line companies were not included in the stimulus package signed by President Trump last week. Carnival’s stock is down 74 percent for the year.

The company has been especially hard-hit by the virus. Its Diamond Princess was stuck off the coast of its homeport in Yokohama, Japan, in February as more than 700 passengers contracted COVID-19; four died.

And, currently, the Holland America Zaandam is headed toward Fort Lauderdale after having been at sea since March 7 and denied entry to nearly a half-dozen ports on its South American itinerary. It is still unknown as of publication date whether Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale will allow the ship to disembark there.

The Zaandam is carrying four deceased passengers and 200 sick guests, including nine who have tested positive for the virus.

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Tim Roxborogh’s Travel Bugs: Dreaming of holidays in Kerala, India

I can still remember the first time I learned about Kerala in India, the subcontinent’s southernmost state. It was also the exact moment I knew I had to plan a way to get there: the year was 2013, it was late at night, sitting in a taxi outside my apartment, with my driver proudly showing me photos of his home country on his iPad.

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I’d mentioned during the ride how much I wanted to get to India and he told me that when I did, it was non-negotiable that I see Kerala. “It’s God’s own country”, he said while flicking through photographs of a place I’d until that point known virtually nothing about. He sold me.

One year later, in 2014, I was there, and three years after that, in 2017, I was back again. By the time of that second trip to Kerala I was engaged to be married, but being there solo, it hit me not only how much I loved it, but how much it was a place I’d have to show Aimee, my future wife.

It’s cliche to say India is beguiling, just as it’s cliche to describe it as an assault on the senses. Both are true, but in Kerala you have the perfect Indian introduction. This is a state that prides itself on its standard of living, its religious diversity, the fact it has both the highest life expectancy and the highest literacy rate in India, its treatment of women, its incredible cuisine, and the not-insignificant reality it’s widely hailed as being several notches less manic than the rest of the country.

But beyond that, Kerala is a lush slice of greenery with scenery as beautiful as anywhere in India. Whether it’s centuries-old churches in Fort Kochi or world-class tiger reserves like Periyar National Park; whether it’s languid days cruising glorious backwaters in an old rice boat or indulging in eco-resort luxury in one of the 10 most biodiverse regions in the world, the Western Ghats, Kerala will get a hold on you.

Three years since my last visit, I’m now married to Aimee and we have a daughter, Riley. I can’t wait to take them both there so I can show them the place I’m dreaming of.

Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB’s Weekend Collective and blogs at

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Why are airlines still flying in and out of US coronavirus hot spots and will they continue?

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    The United State’s 3rd busiest airport was empty and sin city a ghost town. Veuer’s Tony Spitz has the details.

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An Update From Riviera Nayarit Regarding COVID-19

WHY IT RATES: This complete statement is located on the Riviera Nayarit website and is updated daily. —Codie Liermann, Associate Editor

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As it is our commitment to keep our employees, partners and travelers well-informed with news from Riviera Nayarit, today’s update focuses on COVID-19’s impact on the destination and the efforts in place to prevent the spread of the virus in our community.

First and foremost, we hope that everyone is safe and healthy as we continue to unite during this critical time. Just a few weeks ago, this virus seemed distant. Its worldwide spread has called on us to not only respond, but also reflect on what is most important.

From Riviera Nayarit, we’d like to share the following information:

—According to the Ministry of Health of Mexico, there are 1,094 confirmed cases in the country, and 28 deaths have been reported. The federal and state governments have and will continue to implement numerous strict measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

—The State of Nayarit remains one of the least affected areas with five cases to date. To avoid further risk to those in the destination, on March 25th the Governor of the State of Nayarit urged travelers to reschedule their visits to the destination. He also announced that public beach access points will be monitored to avoid the grouping of people and reduce the risk of spread and contagion.

—In alignment with the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health in Mexico, the State of Nayarit and the Banderas Bay Hotel and Motel Association adhere to strict international guidelines and protocols as it relates to sanitation as well as the prevention, detection and treatment of many diseases. The situation evolves daily, and we are ready to respond to the needs of the community and the industry.

—Communication is key and constant. Local and state authorities are in continuous communication with the private sector, associations and tourism suppliers to review potential risks, determine measures, review best practices and assess measures in place.

For additional detailed information, please review the complete statement, which is located on the website and is updated every day before 6 p.m. EST.

Riviera Nayarit is one of the youngest destinations in Mexico, born nearly 13 years ago when travelers first began discovering this beautiful Pacific treasure.

We are proud of our achievements and the people who have helped make Riviera Nayarit one of the most awarded and beloved places in Mexico and beyond. Rest assured that when this subsides, we’ll be here with open arms, ready to receive travelers from around the world once again.

In the meantime, we are here and ready to assist. For any additional questions, please contact [email protected]

SOURCE: Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau press release.

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ASTA Sends Letter to Treasury Secretary on Behalf of Travel Advisors

Now that the CARES Act has been signed into law, ASTA is doing its part to continue to advocate on behalf of travel advisors.

In a webinar last week, the organization spelled out how this piece of legislation could provide relief to travel advisors. One of the ways in which the CARES Act sets aside money for struggling agencies is in a fund of $25 billion set aside for airlines and their ticket agents.

In the letter, ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby highlights the dire situation in which travel advisors find themselves during the coronavirus outbreak and offers ASTA’s expertise in distributing these loans.

“As you might imagine, due to the coronavirus crisis and its impact on travel, new business has largely come to a halt in the past few weeks and layoffs and agency closures have begun in earnest,” writes Kerby. “As of March 19, 77 percent of ASTA members surveyed predicted they will be out of business in six months or less if current conditions hold.”

ASTA also advocates on behalf of travel advisors, offering their assistance in the distribution of loans.

“We offer any assistance you might need specific to Section 4003(b)(1) as you balance the competing interests,” Kerby writes in the letter, touting ASTA’s prior experience with matters such as these, including the distribution of funds from the mid-1990s $86 million court settlement related to airline commission cuts to its membership.

The letter closes with a message of hope.

“While it will take years for the travel agency industry to recover from this crisis, we believe several provisions of the CARES Act will help speed that recovery and put travel agencies in a position to serve clients once the economy rebounds.”

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Hawaii hotels strategize amid shutdown

Aloha State hotels and resorts are swiftly creating game plans after Hawaii Gov. David Ige requested visitors to the Aloha State postpone trips for at least 30 days and then mandated a 14-day quarantine for all arrivals. Several properties have already decided to close for a month or more.

The Kahala Hotel and Resort on Oahu suspended operations March 24 with plans to reopen on May 1 to help arrest the spread of Covid-19 and respond to the tourism slowdown.

“We are deeply saddened to close our doors but understand we must do our part to stop the spread of Covid-19 in our community and protect all residents of Hawaii. We are committed to acting in the best interest of our employees and guests to prioritize their health and safety,” Joe Ibarra, general manager of the Kahala Hotel and Resort, said in a statement. “We are closely monitoring the situation and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, government leaders and health experts to determine when it is safe and appropriate to reopen.

The entire property, including the spa, fitness center, restaurant and retail stores, will be closed through April. Guests are being offered the option to stay through their scheduled checkout date or leave early without penalty.

Existing reservations from March 24 to May 1 are canceled, while new reservations are being accepted for May 1 and later.

Sister properties Halekulani and Halepuna Waikiki closed March 26, the same day Ige’s quarantine order was set to go into effect. The closure is scheduled to go through April 30.

“As always, the safety and wellbeing of our guests and our Halekulani and Halepuna Waikiki team is our utmost priority,” Halekulani Corp. said in a statement. “Our management team is working closely with our guests and our staff to help them in every way possible in advance of closing our hotels, as well as doing everything possible to safeguard our guests, our staff and our community from Covid-19.”

The Ko Olina Resort, including Four Seasons Resort Oahu, Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa and the Ko Olina Golf Club, on Oahu’s leeward coast has also closed in response to the pandemic.

The resort’s lagoon beaches and the Ko Olina Marina are also shuttered along with the tour providers, wedding chapels, restrooms and parking lots. The timeshare property Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club remains open for now, along with the independently owned restaurants and retail stores at the Ko Olina Station and Ko Olina Center.

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Lockdown searches by Brits for January 2021 trips to Spain up 1,626%

Planning already for the end of lockdown: UK searches Spanish holidays up 1600% – with departure dates in January 2021

  • Travel searches for trips from the UK to France in January 2021 are up by 409%
  • Research for trips to Italy also frenzied, with searches up by 385% for that month 
  • Searches for trips to Germany, however, are below average for January 2021

British travellers are in lockdown, but they are clearly dreaming of – and researching – their next holiday.

And where will that be? Spain, by the looks of it.

Analysts have revealed that travel searches for trips from the UK to Spain with a departure date in January 2021 are up year-over-year by 1,626 per cent.

Analysts have revealed that travel searches from the UK to Spain with a departure date in January 2021 are up year-over-year by 1,626 per cent

The number-crunching comes courtesy of digital travel marketing solutions firm Sojern, which presented a range of findings in a blog post.

It says that travel searches for holidays from the UK to France in January 2021 also show an early increase – of 409 per cent year-over-year – and that lots of Britons will also be heading to Italy, according to the data, which shows ‘a significant above-average year-over-year increase of 385 per cent’.

Searches for trips to Germany, however, are below average for the same month, based on data from March 30.

Sojern says: ‘Whilst actual travel bookings are a stronger sign of consumer confidence, many consumers will search out of general interest, to check for availability and pricing and travel inspiration for their favourite destinations.

‘The departure date of January 2021 is extremely far out and we usually only see a small percentage of early searches looking at regional travel this far in advance.

‘We are, however, seeing an increase in early searches due to the current situation. Therefore, these numbers, although significant in terms of increases, are very early signs of travel intent.’

Majorca, pictured, could be one of the Spanish destinations that sees a huge wave of visitors next year

The firm stresses that it will ‘take some time for the industry to recover and for consumer confidence to return’.

As a result, it expects recovery to ‘start domestically, with travellers opting to travel closer to home’.

It adds that ‘this is certainly the case for European countries’ including France, Italy and the UK, which ‘all show a very early indication of year-over-year increases in domestic travel searches for January 2021’ – 17 per cent, 103 per cent and 60 per cent respectively. 

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Dubai vows to inject funds into Emirates amid Covid-19 losses

Full details of the government’s plans will be announced at a later stage

Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has vowed that Dubai will inject funding into Emirates amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it was announced on Tuesday.

According to the UAE’s state-run WAM news agency, the move to inject liquidity to the company is a reflection of “its strategic importance to the Dubai and UAE economy, and the airline’s key role in positioning the emirate as a major international aviation hub”.

On Twitter, Sheikh Hamdan said that “the government of Dubai is committed to fully supporting Emirates at this crucial time and will inject liquidity into the company”.

“Emirates, our national carrier, positioned Dubai as a global travel hub and has great strategic value as one of the main pillars of Dubai’s economy, as well as the wider economy of the UAE,” he added.

Travel restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, forced Emirates to suspend passenger operations earlier in March, as well as cut staff wages.

Further details of the government plan to inject funds into the airline will be announced “at a later stage”, WAM reported.

Around the world, a number of countries have announced plans to support airlines amid the losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States, for example, has announced $58bn in assistance.

In a recent episode of the Arabian Business podcast, Saj Ahjmad, the chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research said that government assistance may not be enough to save many airlines around the globe.

“Assistance by various governments will help to a certain degree, but the reality is that it may not be enough,” he said. “Whatever IATA is talking about in terms of hundreds of billions of dollars, to be honest it may run into tens of trillions, because you’ve got to factor in the supply chains of hotels, leisure centres and associated supply chains with those that rely on aviation as a catalyst for their own industries.”

“It’s going to run into trillions, and I really don’t see that we’ve reached the bottom of this yet,” he added.

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