Author Archives: Breaking Travel News

Skydive Dubai reopens at Palm Jumeirah

Skydive Dubai has reopened for tandem and licensed solo skydives. The skydiving centre in Dubai Marina has resumed operations at Palm Jumeirah drop zone, with some strict new rules in place to keep skydivers safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. Upon arrival at Skydive Dubai, every visitor and staff member will be temperature screened, and anyone with a high temperature will be turned away, even if they have a paid reservation. Inside the Skydive Dubai venue, there is an enforced two-metre distance between all guests and staff, and face masks are compulsory at all times.ADVERTISEMENTSkydivers must keep their masks on until the point that they are ready to exit the aircraft. Jumpers must also wear clothes that have at least one pocket, so that face masks can be safely stored away when they are removed on the aircraft. Children under 12 and people over the age of 60 cannot skydive or accompany jumpers as spectators. Each skydiver is limited to bringing a maximum of one family member or friend with them. Older Lufthansa confirms major network expansion as return takes flight Let's block ads! (Why?)

NH Hotels to reopen half of global portfolio

NH Hotel Group has launched a plan to gradually reopen its hotels around the world. The company said the plan was in line with the easing of restrictions in most countries and with comes with a view to reactivating activity as demand increases. The company plans to have 55 per cent of its portfolio open during the month of June, around 200 hotels out of the 361 it operates worldwide. Up until now, only 12 properties have remained in operation in southern Europe, most of which were reserved for essential groups during the lockdown period. In the north of the continent, the company has just over 40 properties open to date as a result of the faster easing of restrictions in these countries. ADVERTISEMENTIn Latin America, the last region to be affected by the Covid-19 effect, the operations of most of the hotels continue to be suspended. It is expected that this continent will be the last one to recover its activity. As of June, the company will progressively reopen 57 per cent of the hotels it operates in southern Europe (100 out of 177 hotels). Thus, NH Hotel Group plans to reach 60 operating hotels in Spain, 27 in Italy, nine in Portugal and four in France by the end of the month.  The first hotel to reopen at the beginning of June was the NH Nacional hotel in Madrid, whose facilities serve as a model for monitoring the new protocols implemented by the company to ensure maximum health and safety in all its hotels. In recent weeks, NH Hotel Group has begun to resume its activity in the north of the continent, such as the Netherlands and Germany among others. In this unit, the company plans to double the number of hotels in operation by the end of June, reaching 83 hotels out of the 127 operating in these countries. The group’s hotels in Latin America will be the last to progressively reopen their doors, as this continent was the last to be affected by mobility restrictions imposed by the health crisis.  The company currently has a limited number of properties open in some major cities such as Bogota and Buenos Aires, among others, and plans to begin reopening more hotels in July. Older MSC Cruises pushes back return to end of July Newer Qatar Airways to fly to 40 destinations as rebuild continues Let's block ads! (Why?)

MSC Cruises pushes back return to end of July

As parts the travel world begin to reopen, MSC Cruises has confirmed it will further extend the fleet-wide halt of its cruise operation through to July 31st. Coupled to an announcement from P&O Cruises that it would delay its return until October, the news adds to fears the cruise sector may be among the last to recover from the Covid-19 outbreak. Gianni Onorato, chief executive, MSC Cruises said: “While today we have taken the difficult decision to further extend the halt of operations of all our ships, it is important that we also look ahead as we know that our customers are dreaming of travel and are wanting to plan their holidays for next year. “For this reason, we have now also confirmed our full summer programme for 2021.” The Swiss-based cruise line reconfirmed its full summer programme for 2021, starting in March next year.ADVERTISEMENTThe season will include two new ships currently under construction and a series of new or enriched itineraries and homeports. “Shorter-term,” added Onorato, “our ships will return to service only when the time is right, in phases and by region, and following guidance from the relevant national and international health and other regulatory authorities and the support of a new operating protocol especially focused on health and safety, which we will announce soon. “This way, gradually, all of our ships will return to sea between then and the beginning of our summer 2021 season.” Older TreadRight Foundation updates animal welfare standards Newer NH Hotels to reopen half of global portfolio Let's block ads! (Why?)

Pololikashvili calls for global tourism restart

Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has argued the time has come to restart tourism. “At both the local and the global level, the crisis we have faced up to together has shown the importance of making the right decisions at the right time,” he said. “The time has come to restart tourism!” His words echo those of European Union leaders, who earlier urged member states to remove border restrictions by the end of the month. Pololikashvili continued: “This crisis has affected us all. ADVERTISEMENT“Many, at every level of the sector, have made sacrifices, personally or professionally. “But in the spirit of solidarity that defines tourism, we united under UNWTO’s leadership to share our expertise and abilities. “Together, we are stronger, and this cooperation will be essential as we move onto the next stage.” International bodies such as IATA and the WTTC have warned of the huge financial and personal cost of an ongoing shutdown. At the same time, research from the UNWTO shows that several countries around the world are starting to ease restrictions on travel. “At the same time, governments and the private sector are working together to restore confidence build and trust – essential foundations for recovery,” said Pololikashvili. “In the first stage of this crisis, UNWTO united tourism to assess the likely impact of Covid-19, mitigate the damage to economies, and safeguard jobs and businesses.” Last week, the UNWTO convened the fifth meeting of the Global Tourism Crisis Committee. “Here, we launched the UNWTO Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism. “This important document outlines our roadmap and priorities for the sector in the challenging months ahead, from providing liquidity for vulnerable businesses to opening borders and coordinating new health protocols and procedures,” concluded Pololikashvili. Older Stanley appointed Asia-Pacific president for Airbus Newer TreadRight Foundation updates animal welfare standards Let's block ads! (Why?)

Jurys Inn makes cleanliness commitment ahead of July reopening

Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels UK & Ireland has announced a new customer commitment charter in preparation for reopening its hotels in the coming weeks. The charter is in response to the current Covid-19 restrictions, with the group implementing a detailed ‘Stay Safe, Stay Happy’ five-point plan outlining the enhanced measures it is undertaking to ensure the safety of guests, employees and across each of the communities they operate. The charter covers: hygiene, social distancing, cashless operation, food & beverage delivery and training. In developing the detailed plan, the group worked closely with the Environmental Health Organisation, as well as implementing the guidance issued by the World Health Organisation to ensure health and safety measures are in line with the highest possible standards. The new measures will be rigorously applied across the group’s 48 hotels and corporate offices in the UK and Ireland. Jurys Inn and Leonardo hotels UK and Ireland is also working in partnership with its supplier, Ecolab, on introducing the recommended deep cleaning products and processes to enhance cleanliness standards across all areas of its hotels. The group intends to open hotels across Ireland from July 20th, and the remaining hotels in the UK at later stages - with a phased reopening plan based on guidance from health authorities and the UK government. Jason Carruthers, managing director of Jurys Inn & Leonardo Hotels UK & Ireland, said: “Our utmost priority remains the health, safety and wellbeing of our guests, team members and the wider community during these unprecedented times. ADVERTISEMENT“Ensuring we respond and innovate now to meet the new mindset and environment will be critical as we help mitigate the spread of Covid-19. “I’m therefore delighted to launch our new customer commitment charter, which will ensure we keep everyone safe, and help us to navigate the road ahead as we look to open our doors again to our valued guests and people.” Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels UK and Ireland is a leading four–star hotel group across the UK and Ireland. It operates 36 hotels under the Jurys Inn brand and 12 hotels under the Leonardo brand – 44 in the UK and four in Ireland. Older Stobart Group raises £100m in share offering Newer Stanley appointed Asia-Pacific president for Airbus Let's block ads! (Why?)

Stobart Group raises £100m in share offering

Stobart Group has raised £100 million in a share issue as the company seeks to pivot toward aviation. The group, which owns Southend Airport, said it requires additional liquidity to fund its short-term cash obligations and to enable it to build a strong foundation from which it can return its aviation business to growth. David Shearer, chairman of Stobart Group, said: “We are delighted to have received support from both our existing shareholders and new investors for our equity issue, which will place the group on a sound financial footing going forwards. “On behalf of the board, I would like to express my gratitude to those who have provided their support.  “We look forward to repaying their trust in us by delivering on our strategic objectives in the coming years.”ADVERTISEMENTNew shares were sold at 40 pence each. Recognising the changes in the economic and social environment as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the board has refined its strategy to focus on aviation. At London Southend Airport, the group will design and implement an improved passenger experience for post-Covid 19 travel, making use of significant unused space and technology to enhance passenger confidence, while providing a cost-efficient base of operation to airlines. The company will also look to realise value from its energy business, which is starting to benefit from a restart in the construction sector. The board believes the business is likely to be attractive to strategic partners and infrastructure investors. Stobart Group will look to extract money from the business over the next 18 to 24 months. Older European Commission seeks to lift border controls by end of June Newer Jurys Inn makes cleanliness commitment ahead of July reopening Let's block ads! (Why?)

European Commission seeks to lift border controls by end of June

The European Commission has called on member states to lift all border restrictions by the end of June. The request comes amid a “fast improving” Covid-19 situation in many countries, home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson said. “We are coming very close to a situation where we should lift all the internal border restrictions and border checks,” she explained. EU home affairs ministers will discuss the response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the field of internal border controls and the free movement of persons today, with further announcements to follow. Johansson said she was “very happy” to see EU nations beginning to end border checks and open up the EU and Schengen passport-free area again as spread of Covid-19 was stemmed.  Making my opening statement at the #JHA Justice & Home Affairs @EUCouncil today. Main item is to discuss lifting of #EU internal border controls as soon as possible, preferably by end of [email protected] @DavorBozinovic #UnitedAgainstCoronavirus— Ylva Johansson (@YlvaJohansson) June 5, 2020 As the summer tourist season approaches, several nations, including France and Belgium, have announced the reopening of their borders, with more European nations, including Germany, set to follow suit on June 15th. Italy did so earlier this week. Johansson said the epidemiological situation was fast improving in many member states and that citizens were adopting social distancing measures as “a new normal” to fight the spread of the virus. However, decisions to reopen will be taken at a national level, likely leading to some resistance. Image: Zheng Huansong/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images Older Jamaica prepares new protocols as tourism prepares for relaunch Newer Stobart Group raises £100m in share offering Let's block ads! (Why?)

Jamaica prepares new protocols as tourism prepares for relaunch

Jamaica tourism minister, Edmund Bartlett, has revealed protocols to facilitate the reopening of the tourism industry, which was adversely impacted by the novel Covid-19, have been drafted. The new measures are being reviewed by the ministry of health and wellness. The minister made the announcement during a virtual ceremony at the offices of the ministry in New Kingston to handover 10,000 masks to frontline industry workers. Tourism is among the sectors hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, with several hotels and attractions having to scale down or close operations. The protocols, which are contained in an 88-page document, will target all segments of the industry including – accommodation, attractions, water sports, craft shops, shopping, cruise ports, airports, contract carriage, restaurants and bars. Minister Bartlett said once the document is finalised and signed off: “We would have, perhaps, the most rigorous set of protocols that could be available anywhere in the world to protect, not just the workers, but the whole country, as we look to reopen the industry when the prime minister announces.” The minister also advised that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and the World Tourism & Travel Council will be briefed on the protocols.ADVERTISEMENT“We are working towards a summer opening,” the minister continued. “Our opening is imminent, but I do not have a date as of yet. “Thank goodness, however, we are flattening the Covid-19 curve and the rate of death has remained static. Bartlett argued that with a summer restart, the industry could record visitor arrivals averaging between 20 and 30 per cent, with the figure rounding down to 20 per cent during the fall period, before picking up to about 60 or 70 per cent over the winter season. “We could end up with another two million visitors – somewhere around 50 per cent of last year, if we can have a summer start between June and August,” he added. “Between January and February, we had 5.5 per cent gross tourist arrivals – we brought in 1.25 million visitors and earned US$859 million dollars. “That would have put us on a path to earn US$4 billion by the end of the year, with 4.5 million visitors. “We were doing extremely well. “However, as of March 10th, the numbers fell to zero.” The minister said that, with the Caribbean being the most tourism-dependent region globally, there is no room for complacency, noting that regional heads have to prepare for the “ushering of a new era.” The ministry of tourism has provided 10,000 masks for frontline industry workers as part of safeguards against Covid-19, for when the sector reopens. “We are recommending that all the workers of the tourism industry should wear their mask. “The prime minister, Andrew Holness, has already made that a condition for all of us, and the medical fraternity has supported that; so we want to assist in ensuring full compliance,” Bartlett added. The wearing of masks in public spaces globally has been recommended by the World Health Organisation and the Centre for Diseases Control & Prevention, as part of measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. According to Bartlett, this latest initiative, being undertaken through the Tourism Product Development Company and Tourism Linkages Network, a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, is another ministry intervention aimed at safeguarding workers’ wellbeing. “We are spending just a little over $5 million in this exercise and we are excited that it will do a number of things,” he said. The minister explained that not only will the initiative facilitate the provision of much-needed protective cover, but will contribute to economic sustainability by generating opportunities for small enterprises to create a cottage industry through the making of masks. “So far, we have some 22 small entrepreneurs who are making masks for us to make up this 10,000, and we are going to add some more as we go along,” he informed. Bartlett also explained that due to the industry’s vulnerability to pandemics and epidemics, rigorous development of safeguards, such as screenings, is consistently being undertaken to protect locals and visitors. He said that until a vaccine is found “we have the responsibility to manage the risk that this virus is causing in our own space and build layers of protection so that the risk can be reduced.” “The ministry of tourism continues to create innovative and game changing policies and strategies while we manage the virus. “We are committed to making sure that of all the people who have to interface with the industry that the workers, in particular, are protected because they are our frontline people,” Bartlett added. More Information Jamaica is considered the World’s Leading Family Destination by voters at the World Travel Awards. To find out more about visiting – when the time is right – head over to the official website. Older Picture Me in Jamaica campaign launches to agents Newer European Commission seeks to lift border controls by end of June Let's block ads! (Why?)

Montague seeks to overhaul Jamaica aviation sector

Jamaica minister of transport and mining, Robert Montague, has revealed airport development projects will be undertaken as part of an initiative to improve and expand domestic aviation industry. The news comes as Jamaica prepares to reopen to tourism in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. “We are steering forward with new airport developments, including upgrading of the Lionel Densham airport under a reverse public-private partnership to the tune of approximately $103 million. “There are also plans to acquire, through lease, the Holland Bamboo airstrip for rehabilitation and reactivation,” the minister added. Both facilities are located in St. Elizabeth. ADVERTISEMENTMinister Montague was opening the 2020/21 sectoral debate in the house of representatives. Turning to the development of the Norman Manley International Airport, minister Montague noted that the Airports Authority of Jamaica is scheduled to complete some projects already contracted. The news comes as the operators of the facility, PAC Kingston Airport, implements capital works totalling US$200 million, including runway expansion. “However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have agreed to postpone the start-up date,” he told the House. As it relates to Sangster International Airport, minster Montague added that MBJ Airports, which operates the airport, commenced a US$70 million, 24-month runway extension and shoreline protection project in January. A master plan airport expansion programme was slated to commence this year, but has been deferred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, he noted. Meanwhile, the minister noted that the AAJ is collaborating with the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority and other entities to establish a National Aviation Training Institution, and aviation scholarships to be offered to residents in airport communities. More Information MBJ Airports celebrated earlier this year when Sangster International Airport was recognised as the Caribbean’s Leading Airport by voters at the World Travel Awards. Image: Jamaica Information Service Older Kenya reconnects using new virtual safaris Newer Picture Me in Jamaica campaign launches to agents Let's block ads! (Why?)

American reveals latest increase in capacity

American Airlines is getting ready for summer travel by restoring more flights and re-opening key Admirals Club lounges. In the best day for aviation since March, Emirates, Etihad and Virgin Atlantic all outline similar plans. In response to improving demand for air travel, American said it was planning to fly 55 per cent of its domestic schedule and nearly 20 per cent of its international schedule in July compared to the same period last year. Systemwide capacity amounts to approximately 40 per cent of July 2019 flying. By the last week of May, the airline carried a daily average of about 110,000 customers per day — an increase of 71 per cent over the approximately 32,000 average daily customers the airline served in April. Compared to the spring, American is increasing frequency of flying from hubs, including Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to destinations customers are searching and booking most, with increased flying to major cities in Florida, Gulf Coast cities as well as mountain destinations. The airline also increased frequency of flying to Asheville, North Carolina (AVL), Savannah, Georgia (SAV), and Charleston, South Carolina (CHS) for business and leisure travellers. “We’re seeing a slow but steady rise in domestic demand. “After a careful review of data, we’ve built a July schedule to match,” said Vasu Raja, American senior vice president of network strategy. “Our July schedule includes the smallest year-over-year capacity reduction since March. “We’ll continue to look for prudent opportunities to restore service so our customers can travel whenever and wherever they are ready.” While international demand continued to be diminished, today marked the return of service to eight international destinations. These include service from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Amsterdam (AMS), Paris (CDG) and Frankfurt (FRA), as well as service from Miami (MIA) to Antigua (ANU) in the Caribbean and Guayaquil (GYE) and Quito (UIO) in South America. American also restored additional service to London (LHR) from Chicago (ORD) and New York (JFK). American will delay the return of some previously announced international routes - including transatlantic service from Philadelphia (PHL) and CLT - to August. The carrier will also begin reopening Admirals Club lounges in phases, beginning June 22nd, after making improvements to adapt the clubs and product offerings to reinforce the well-being of customers and everyone who works in the clubs. Locations in Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York will be among the first to reopen. Older Virgin Atlantic to offer passenger services from next month Let's block ads! (Why?)