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Destinations

Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende Begins Reopening Process on June 1

One of Mexico’s most iconic destinations—San Miguel de Allende—has begun the process of reopening its doors to tourism, and will enter into Phase 0 of the country’s COVID-19 reactivation plan on June 1.

The first phase of the reopening, which affects residents, will include the reopening of restaurants, shopping centers, markets, public transportation and offices—but not hotels, bars or clubs.

Restaurants will be permitted to operate at 50 percent of capacity and markets at 30 percent of capacity, said San Miguel de Allende Major Luis Alberto Villarreal García.

“We still haven’t opened the doors to our visitors. San Miguel is not opening to tourism, not yet,” he said, adding that it will be a gradual process.

During Phase 0, businesses are applying for Health First certifications to work toward ensuring they are in compliance with cleanliness and sanitation protocols.

Hotels—which tourism officials said might open in Phase 1—will also be required to apply for Health First certifications and demonstrate that they meeting the required protocols to reopen. Certification is “free but mandatory,” Villarreal said.

Other destinations in Mexico are also preparing to welcome travelers again.

In Los Cabos, reopening is scheduled to begin on June 1, with the resumption of travel activities and limited national and international arrivals.

Quintana Roo announced that the Mexican state’s tourism industry will begin reopening on June 8.

Earlier this week, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit entered the Stage 0 reopening process.

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Dubai tops post-Covid-19 wish list for Indian travellers

Survey from Booking.com shows Dubai is number one international destination Indian travellers want to visit

Indians have not lost their appetite for travel, particularly to cities like Dubai 

Indian travellers looking to celebrate the end of coronavirus with a trip away have listed Dubai as their number one international destination, according to the latest survey from Booking.com.

Despite the restrictions on movement imposed as a result of the deadly Covid-19 virus, and the economic nightmare which has accompanied it, Indians have not lost their appetite for travel.

According to the survey, Dubai tops the wish list of international destinations they want to visit post-coronavirus, ahead of Ubud (Bali), Bangkok (Thailand), Istanbul (Turkey) and London (UK).

A report from Colliers International last year revealed that the number of Indians visiting the UAE is set to rise to 5.29 million by 2024.

In terms of domestic destinations, Indian travellers are looking to visit Mumbai, followed by Goa, New Delhi, Lonavala and Bengaluru.

“It’s amazing to see the array of different travel experiences our customers have been busy dreaming about while they wait for the opportunity to travel again,” said Ritu Mehrotra, Booking.com country manager, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

Arabian Business digital magazine: read the latest edition online

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Hotel revenue in Oman dropped $122m in first two months of 2020

Occupancy levels fell by 7.8% compared to same period in 2019, according to National Centre for Statistics and Information

Europeans made up the maximum number of visitors to the Sultanate in 2019, reaching 127,331.

Total revenue of Omani hotels in the three-to-five-star category fell by 6.3 percent to RO43.9 million ($122m) for the first two months of the year compared to RO46.9m ($122m) for the same period of 2019.

According to the latest figures from the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), hotel occupancy rates in the Sultanate fell by 7.8 percent to reach 62.5 percent at the end of February 2020 against 67.8% for the corresponding period last year.

While the total number of guests in Omani hotels rose by 0.8 percent in the two-months at the start of 2020, reaching 311,219m from 308,880m guests for the same period in 2019.

Europeans made up the maximum number of visitors, reaching 127,331. This was followed by 84,379 Omani guests and 31,171 Asian tourists until the end of February 2020, the NCSI data revealed.

The number of American, Oceanian, and GCC guests increased by five percent, 10.2 percent, and 12 percent, respectively until the end of February 2020 compared to the first two months of 2019.

However, the number of European, African and other Arab guests dropped by seven percent, 0.4 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively.

Throughout 2019, Omani hotels received 1.77 million guests and generated total revenue of RO229.5m ($597m).

Arabian Business digital magazine: read the latest edition online

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Dominican Republic Hotels, Beaches Could Begin Reopening by June 17

Hotels, beaches and restaurants in the Dominican Republic could begin phased reopenings as early as mid-June under the third phase of the country’s COVID-19 de-escalation plan.

According to Dominican Today, the third phase is scheduled to take effect on June 17.

“They are in the third phase, the period for the opening of hotels, which even allows the opening of the beaches,” Public Health Minister Rafael Sanchez Cardenas said Thursday.

The initial phase of de-escalation began on Wednesday with the second phase scheduled to take effect on June 3, allowing officials at least 14 days to measure the effect of easing restrictions. Social distancing and face-covering requirements remain in effect to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Earlier this month, Delta Air Lines announced plans to resume several major routes between the U.S. and Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, in June.

The Dominican Republic has been the hardest-hit destination in the Caribbean during the COVID-19 crisis, reporting more than 13,650 confirmed cases and 448 deaths as of Friday morning.

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Hawaiian Airlines names new flight operations VP

Hawaiian Airlines announced the promotion of Capt. Robert “Bob” Johnson, its operations chief pilot, to vice president of flight operations. 

Johnson will direct all flight operation activities and administrative duties for Hawaiian Airlines, including pilot qualifications. Johnson replaces Ken Rewick, who is retiring after more than four decades with Hawaiian.

Johnson joined Hawaiian in 2019 as operations chief pilot after spending more than 30 years with American Airlines, where he served as managing director of flight operations.

Rewick, who was born and raised in Hawaii, retires after 42 years with Hawaiian and 13 years as head of flight operations.

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NYC & Company Announces The Coalition for NYC Hospitality & Tourism Recovery

WHY IT RATES: The Coalition will use various forms of messaging, marketing and promotion to restore New York City’s brand after the coronavirus pandemic. —Codie Liermann, Associate Editor

NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the five boroughs of New York City, today announced the formation of The Coalition for NYC Hospitality & Tourism Recovery. The Coalition will focus on messaging, marketing and promotion to restore New York City’s brand locally and beyond, and to safely engage, mobilize and champion all sectors of NYC’s tourism economy once the City begins to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Coalition will support the work of Mayor de Blasio’s Arts, Culture & Tourism Sector Advisory Council and will work collaboratively with the New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board and the New York State Division of Tourism.

The Coalition will be led by five co-chairs appointed by Charles Flateman, NYC & Company Board Chairman and Executive Vice President of the Shubert Organization. The co-chairs are Ellen Futter, President of American Museum of Natural History; Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem; Danny Meyer, Chief Executive of the Union Square Hospitality Group; Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer, lyricist and actor; and Peter Ward, President of the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO. NYC & Company will be responsible for coordinating and executing Coalition plans, and managing work streams.

“New York City’s tourism, hospitality and cultural communities reflect our unmatched energy and optimism,” said Flateman. “New York City is also the world capital of coexistence. Even though we’ve had to create distance, with our world-famous toughness, immense heart and boundless compassion, New York will not stay down. As government leaders announce new social distancing guidelines, it is time to consider how we can begin to reopen our doors and safely reconnect with our city and with each other, and with the visitors who will one day again flock to New York.”

“NYC & Company’s mission has always been to maximize travel and tourism throughout the City, build economic prosperity, and share the dynamism of New York City with the world,” said Fred Dixon, NYC & Company President and CEO. “The Coalition will do this with new energy and vision for a changed world. Together, when the time is right, we will help our businesses reopen and inspire New Yorkers and visitors alike to safely explore and interact with the five boroughs once more.”

“New York City and its great institutions and diverse, vibrant communities are resilient,” said Futter. “Even as we are changed by challenging, heartbreaking events, our institutions, whether art, science or entertainment, will be a vital part of interpreting this global pandemic, of telling the moving stories of our human response, and of helping us to come together, heal, and re-engage. As it is safe to fully reopen New York City’s social, cultural and economic lives, we as a Coalition stand ready to help lead its recovery and to welcome back New Yorkers and our visitors.”

“The vibrancy of New York City’s arts and culture springs from its deep, astonishing diversity,” said Golden. “One of the most important reasons why people from around the world come to our city is because the world is already here, to be discovered and enjoyed in our museums, theaters, concert halls, and neighborhoods. I am proud to be a part of a coalition that has our wonderful diversity woven into its fabric.”

“Hospitality is the fabric of what makes New York City such an amazing place to live and visit,” said Meyer. “Whether on the stage, in our cultural institutions, or our restaurants, New York has always attracted and welcomed the top performers and audiences in all that we do, and our collective resilience will once again remind New Yorkers and visitors alike why they fell in love with this amazing city.”

“From Broadway houses to independent theaters, from marquee attractions to small businesses and restaurants, our beloved five boroughs tell a story unlike any other place in the world,” said Miranda. “Together, we will create a next act for our city. After this intermission, we will be ready to welcome the world back with open arms, so people can fall in love with New York over and over again.”

“The people of New York are resilient as they have shown time and time again,” said Ward. “The New Yorkers that operate our hotels, our attractions, our cultural institutions – they know why people come to this city and know how important the travel and tourism industries are. This coalition will not only help reopen our industry, but will lead the way in bringing visitors back to New York City, and showing New Yorkers it is O.K. to enjoy the things we love about this city again.”

Coalition leadership will also include the Chairman’s Circle of Advisors, comprised of the three former chairs of NYC & Company: Emily Rafferty, President Emerita of The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Jonathan Tisch, Chairman and CEO, Loews Hotels & Co., Co-Chairman of the Board, Loews Corp., and Chairman Emeritus, U.S. Travel Association; and Tim Zagat, Co-founder, Zagat Survey.

The Coalition will develop citywide marketing, communications and advertising programs to spur a sense of confidence and safety; drive sales and engagement; advocate for industry initiatives and inform funding and policy-making; and create public information campaigns to share facts, updates, and opportunities. It will also lead the way in helping to revitalize and reaffirm the City’s brand positioning around the world following this most challenging time.

The Coalition will include leading medical and public health experts, hotels, restaurants, sports organizations, cultural and performing arts institutions, Broadway leadership and other members of the theater community, retailers, sightseeing companies, attractions and annual conventions/trade shows. Flateman has appointed 24 industry leaders from the five boroughs to comprise a Steering Committee that will help guide the Coalition during the recovery effort. The Steering Committee includes:

—David Berliner, President and CEO, Brooklyn Museum

—Eva Bornstein, Executive Director, Lehman Center for the Performing Arts

—John Calvelli, Executive Vice President, Wildlife Conservation Society and Chairman of the Cultural Institutions Group

—Michael Capiraso, President & CEO, New York Road Runners

—Vijay Dandapani, President & CEO, Hotel Association of New York City

—Kerry Diamond, Founder & Editor in Chief, Cherry Bombe

—Jean-Yves Ghazi, President, Empire State Building Observatory

—Kathy Hilt, Division Vice President, Macy’s

—Dr. Margaret Honey, President and CEO, New York Hall of Science

—Rebecca Hubbard, General Manager, Lotte New York Palace

—Sam Ibrahim, General Manager, New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge

—Lakshmee Lachhman-Persad, Founder, Accessible Travel NYC

—Kristina Newman-Scott, President, Brooklyn Information & Culture

—Richard Nicotra, Owner, The Nicotra Group

—Travis Noyes, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Empire Outlets

—Lee Perlman, EVP, Chief Administrative and Financial Officer, Greater New York Hospital Association

—Jonelle Procope, President & CEO, Apollo Theatre

—Anthony Ramirez, Co-Owner, The Bronx Beer Hall

—Taryn Sacramone, Executive Director, Queens Theatre

—Charlotte St. Martin, President, The Broadway League

—Alan Steel, President and CEO, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center

—John Wang, Founder and Organizer, Queens Night Market

—Adam Weinberg, Director, Whitney Museum of American Art

—Danny Zausner, Chief Operating Officer, USTA National Tennis Center

Allied organizations that have already joined the Coalition in support include:

—34th Street Partnership/Bryant Park Corporation – Dan Biederman

—Asian American Arts Alliance – Lisa Gold

—Association for a Better New York – Steven Rubenstein

—Belmont Business Improvement District – Peter Madonia

—Bike NY – Ken Podziba

—The Broadway Association – Cristyne Nicholas

—The Broadway League – Charlotte St. Martin

—Bronx Tourism Council – Olga Tirado

—Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce – Randy Peers

—Coney Island Alliance – Alexandra Silversmith

—Council of Fashion Designers of America – Steven Kolb

—Downtown Alliance – Jessica Lappin

—Downtown Brooklyn Partnership – Regina Myer

—Fifth Avenue Association – Jerome Barth

—Grand Central Partnership – Alfred C. Cerullo, III

—Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce – John Choe

—Guides Association of New York City – Michael Morgenthal

—Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce – Lloyd Williams

—NYC Pride | Heritage of Pride, Inc. – David A. Correa

—Madison Avenue BID – Matthew Bauer

—New York Building Congress – Carlo Scissura

—New York City Cultural Institutions Group – John Calvelli

—New Yorkers For Culture & Arts – Lucy Sexton

—NYC BID Association – Jennifer Tausig & Robert Benfatto

—NYC Hospitality Alliance – Andrew Rigie

—Partnership for New York City – Kathryn Wylde

—Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – Huntley A. Lawrence

—Queens Tourism Council – Rob MacKay

—Staten Island Chamber of Commerce – Linda M. Baran

—Times Square Alliance – Tim Tompkins

—Visit Staten Island – Colleen Siuzdak

Both NYC & Company members and non-members from across the five boroughs and various business sectors are invited to lend their organizations’ name in support for the Coalition by visiting nycgo.com/recovery. The updated list of participating organizations is available at nycgo.com/coalitionmembers.

In 2019, New York City’s travel and tourism industry marked its 10th consecutive year of record growth, welcoming 66.6 million visitors for business and leisure trips. The economic activity of visitor spending supported almost 400,000 jobs citywide and generated close to $70 billion in economic activity. A forecast for 2020 is not yet available.

SOURCE: NYC & Company press release.

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TLG elevates Altour as flagship corporate travel brand

Travel Leaders Group is aligning two travel management
companies, Travel Leaders Corporate and Altour, and they will operate under the
Altour brand name.

Travel Leaders Corporate president and chief sales officer Gabe
Rizzi will remain with Altour as chief revenue officer.

He joins the rest of Altour’s senior leadership team:
founder and CEO Alexandre Chemla, COO Lee Thomas, executive vice president
Barry Noskeau and executive vice president of global operations Joseph Oppold. 

Travel Leaders merged with Altour in 2017. Since then, Altour and Travel Leaders Corporate have been
working closely together on international accounts, air agreements and
entertainment travel, one of Altour’s specialties.

Canyon Creek Travel, a Dallas-area agency that Altour acquired
last year, will rebrand to Altour. Randy Limbacher will continue in his role as
managing director.

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Los Cabos Reveals Reopening Plan

Los Cabos Tourism Board has announced a five-phase approach to reopen its tourism sector that incorporates strict health and safety protocols that will apply to all sectors of the industry.

Reopening will begin on June 1, 2020, with the resumption of travel activities with limited national and international arrivals.

Properties and operators will focus on the implementation of health and safety guidelines.

In phase two, which begins in July, the destination will reopen the international terminal of the airport. Airlines including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest and Delta have already announced the return of their routes in May and June to Los Cabos, connecting Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas and Charlotte with the destination.

Phase three beings in August and runs through September. At this time Los Cabos will be welcoming back some visitors.

Phase four runs from October to December. During this phase, the region will welcome back luxury travelers as well as groups and travelers from Canada and the U.K.

Los Cabos predicts that, during this phase, it will see the recovery of 60 percent of bookings projected by the end of the year.

Phase five will begin at the beginning of Q1 2021 at which time Los Cabos hopes to see 60 percent of its air connectivity return and 80 percent of bookings.

New health and safety standards will be adhered to in the destination, including a “Clean Point” quality certification offered by the Mexican government to travel suppliers who meet a high standard of hygiene. These certifications can be obtained by airports, transportation services, restaurants and other service providers to promote the incorporation of good hygiene practices.

Throughout the destination, strict hygiene standards will be put in place as well as sanitization and physical distancing requirements at airports, transportation services, restaurants and other service providers to promote the incorporation of good hygiene practices.

At the airport, travelers can expect thermal imaging to monitor temperatures, risk-factor questionnaires, the isolation of infected passengers and the availability of masks for passengers that appear to be ill.

Sixty-five Los Cabos hotels will begin reopening on June, 1, representing 62 percent of the total inventory within the destination.

Los Cabos expects that, by the end of the year, 100 percent of its hotel inventory will be back online. Expectations are for a strong rebound for the destination in the first quarter of 2021.

Leisure tourism will begin to come back starting with timeshare owners, recurrent visitors, luxury travelers, meetings and small groups followed by national tourists and then international guests.

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EU issues guidelines to facilitate summer travel within Europe

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Wednesday unveiled its
plan to help citizens across the 27 nations salvage their summer vacations
after months of tough coronavirus confinement and to hopefully resurrect Europe’s
badly battered tourism industry.

Around 150,000 people have died across Europe and Britain
since the virus surfaced in northern Italy in February, but with the spread of
the disease tapering off, people in many countries are cautiously venturing out
of confinement to return to work and some schools are reopening.

A question on the minds of people, tour operators and the
thousands of small businesses that depend on the tourism industry is whether
this year’s warmest months will turn into a lost summer, with most Europeans
reduced to a home-style “staycation.”

“This is not going to be a normal summer, not for any of us.
But when we all work together, and we all do our part … then we don’t have to
face a summer stuck at home or a complete lost summer for the European tourist
industry,” European Commission executive vice president Margrethe Vestager told
reporters.

In a series of guidelines, the EU’s executive arm, the
European Commission, laid out its advice for lifting ID checks on hastily
closed borders, helping to get airlines, ferries and buses running while
ensuring the safety of passengers and crew, and preparing health measures for
hotels to reassure clients.

But a big question remains: will the countries of the world’s
biggest trading bloc follow the advice? Faced with a disease about which much
is still unknown, national capitals have tended to go it alone, and they — not
the EU Commission — have the final say over health and security matters.

The commission’s over-arching advice is that EU countries
with similar rates of coronavirus infections and comparably strong healthcare
systems should begin lifting border measures between each other. Tourists from
outside Europe cannot enter until at least June 15.

The move comes amid deep concern that Europe’s ID-check free
travel zone — the 26-country space known as the Schengen Area — is being
strangled by controls, further harming virus-ravaged economies by limiting the
movement of goods, services and people that are essential to business.

Austria and Germany said Wednesday they plan to start
loosening border controls this weekend after two months of restrictions. German
interior minister Horst Seehofer said all border crossing points with France,
Switzerland and Austria will be opened — compared with a select few currently.
Border guards will no longer check all travelers, as they have been since March
16.

In a tweet, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced a
shift from Friday to “random checks at the German-Austrian border and on June
15 the border should be opened again.” He said his government is looking to do
the same “with Switzerland, Liechtenstein and neighboring countries in Eastern
Europe, provided the infection numbers allow it.”

Even with border restrictions easing, social-distancing
rules would apply, and the EU Commission is recommending that robust disease
monitoring measures are put in place — including good testing capacity and
contact tracing — so that people have the confidence to return to hotels and
camping sites abroad.

With airlines and travel operators buckling under a
liquidity crisis after governments ordered the cancellation and grounding of
many flights and limits on public life, the commission is hoping for a greater
use of air travel vouchers, which would be more flexible than tickets and could
limit the need for refunds. That would save time for consumers and spare
airlines and operators the cost of refunds in some cases.

Vouchers would be protected against the company going
bankrupt, and valid for at least a year, with trips remaining refundable if the
vouchers are not redeemed. The vouchers would also be transferable to another
traveler, under the guidelines.

Tourism-reliant Greece, which handled the coronavirus better
than most of its partners but whose economy was already severely weakened by
its debt crisis, has thrown its weight behind the commission plan, and is
calling for the resumption of travel between EU countries by June 15. It says
prospective travelers should be tested three days before departure.

A government document seen by the Associated Press says that
while containing the pandemic remains key, “health measures should be
implemented in a way that minimize unnecessary impact on cross-border travel.”
It calls for a coordinated response, backed by EU funding, that would allow
resumption of air, road, train and sea travel simultaneously.
___

Raf Casert in Brussels, Geir Moulson in Berlin, Sylvie
Corbet in Paris and Nicholas Paphitis in Athens contributed.

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Is leisure travel all set to return for summer?


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