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Cruise Industry Leaders to Put Focus on Sector’s Revival in Australasia

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Cruise Industry Leaders to Put Focus on Sector’s Revival in Australasia - TRAVELINDEXSydney, Australia, August 3, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Cruise industry leaders from across the globe will put a focus on the sector’s revival in Australasia and Asia this month as Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) hosts a Virtual Cruise Forum.

In lieu of the postponed Cruise360 Australasia Conference in Sydney, the August 27 forum will provide an essential update for the region’s cruise community, offering important insight as the industry navigates a path to recovery.

CLIA announced speakers for the online event, which will combine the global perspective of international leaders with the insight of key regional executives working on cruising’s resumption locally. Speakers will include:

– Kelly Craighead – CLIA Global President and CEO
– Gianni Onorato – CEO, MSC Cruises
– Ellen Bettridge – President & CEO, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
– Jason Montague – President & CEO, Regent Seven Seas Cruises
– Colleen McDaniel – Editor in Chief, Cruise Critic
– Annie Chang – Director, Cruise Development, Singapore Tourism Board
– Gavin Smith – CLIA Australasia Chair; VP & MD Australia & New Zealand, Royal Caribbean
– Sture Myrmell – CLIA Advocacy Committee Chair; President, Carnival Australia
– Sarina Bratton – Chairman Asia Pacific, Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions
– Michael Londregan – Senior Vice President, Global Operations, Virtuoso.

Other speakers will be announced soon.

CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz said the Virtual Cruise Forum was open to all CLIA Australasia and Asia members at no charge and would feature live panel discussions and interviews.

“At a critical time for our industry, this online forum will give travel agents valuable insight that will help ensure they benefit from cruising’s recovery,” Mr Katz said. “It has never been more important for our cruise community to unite around our common goals, and with the help of global industry leaders this forum will help define our path forward.”

Topics will include a State of the Industry update on cruising’s road to recovery; how the cruise sector is working to rebuild confidence; how travel agents can achieve new relevance as cruise specialists; and how close collaborations have resulted in the successful resumption of operations overseas.

The Virtual Cruise Forum will run from 10am to 4pm AEST (12pm to 6pm NZST) on Friday August 27, 2021. For further details and registration, CLIA Members can visit Virtual Cruise Forum.

CLIA invites you to join our Virtual Cruise Forum on Friday 27 August 2021, offering essential insight from regional and international speakers as our industry navigates a path to recovery.

To be held in lieu of the postponed Cruise360 Australasia Conference in Sydney, this forum will provide important updates and an opportunity for our cruise community to unite at this critical time.

CLIA’s Virtual Cruise Forum is open to all CLIA Members at no charge and will feature live panel discussions and interviews – each designed to keep you informed and ensure you benefit from cruising’s recovery.

First published at

First published at – Global Travel News

Phuket Sandbox a Model for Asia-Pacific Reopening

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Phuket Sandbox a Model for Asia-Pacific Reopening - TRAVELINDEXPhuket, Thailand, August 3, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Tourism leaders at Phuket Sandbox Summit urge European governments to recognise Phuket’s status as a safe haven for international travellers. As Bangkok grapples with rising numbers of Covid infections, leading tourism voice KP Ho, Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Group, has told European envoys, airlines, senior officials and business leaders, that for Phuket Sandbox to succeed it is imperative for Phuket to be given “green” destination status.

Discover gastronomy destination Phuket and the Asia’s Best Fine Dining Restaurants at

Speaking at the Phuket Sandbox Summit held at Laguna Phuket, KP Ho called on policy-makers in Europe and around the world to support Phuket as a separate “green” zone.

Phuket has the potential to lead the global tourism recovery, as the historic Phuket Sandbox initiative sets the standard for other destinations to follow, he said. But, to succeed, governments need to recognise it as a safe, self-enclosed destination, rather than combining its travel status with the rest of Thailand.

KP Ho’s position was supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) at the Phuket Sandbox Summit. Deputy Governor for International Marketing Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Americans, Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, said: “We are trying to propose Phuket to the UK government to be on the green list of destinations, even though Thailand is on the amber list. We are optimistic about Phuket Sandbox. Phuket is safe and we will never compromise anyone’s safety.”

He confirmed there were almost 300,000 rooms booked until the end of August in SHA Plus hotels, with nearly 13,000 arrivals and 124 flights after 28 days, with many more scheduled. Top markets are the US, UK, Israel, Germany, France, the UAE and Switzerland with an average length of stay 11 days.

As anxiety grows across Southeast Asia’s key travel destinations struggling with infection numbers, the Phuket Sandbox model is rapidly becoming the standard bearer of hope for the tourism industry.

Launched on 1st July 2021, the Sandbox enables fully-vaccinated international visitors to fly directly to the destination and stay on the island quarantine-free. Hotels need to ensure at least 70% of their staff have received vaccines – the same inoculation rate as Phuket’s population, creating herd immunity against Covid-19. While the high level of protection doesn’t prevent people from catching Covid-19, it does significantly reduce the likelihood of serious infection and hospitalization.

“Infections and re-infections are not what really count; it’s hospitalisation rates and ICU rates that count. The Thai government have to emphasise those new numbers and shift the narrative towards ‘how many people are really getting sick?’, not ‘are the numbers going up?’,” added Mr Ho.

By reporting this new data, he said, it should be possible for Phuket to be set apart from the rest of Thailand and placed on the ‘safe list’ of destinations to visit. This is not without precedent; the UK government for example, has put the island of Madeira on its green list, while the rest of Portugal remains on the amber list. The same rule applies to Denmark and the Faroe Islands.

“What’s really important is that EU countries – the national governments, spurred on by travel agents, the media and other people – recognise that it’s necessary to disengage the perception of Phuket from the rest of Thailand. It should be a situation where Thailand could be a red alert zone but Phuket could be a green zone,” said Mr Ho. It could be possible to create a series of Sandboxes in other destinations, such as Koh Samui (which recently launched Samui Plus), Bali and Phu Quoc. As long as that Sandbox is well-organised, as it is in Phuket, it should be separated from the rest of the country.”

Vice Governor of Phuket, Mr Piyapong Choowong, added: “I would like to confirm we support Phuket Sandbox. We are making sure people on the island and all visitors are safe so we can run the Sandbox smoothly and continue to welcome more tourists to Phuket.”

Discover gastronomy destination Phuket and the Asia’s Best Fine Dining Restaurants at

Presenting the most up-to-date data, C9 Hotelworks Managing Director, Bill Barnett, added: “There is a lot at stake but what is clear is that Phuket Sandbox is alive and well, and it’s working.”

The Phuket Sandbox Summit was held at Laguna Phuket, attended by:

– Phuket Vice Governor, Piyapong Choowong
– Tourism Authority of Thailand Deputy Governor, Siripakorn Chaewsamoot
– Banyan Tree Group Executive Chairman, KP Ho
– Laguna Phuket Managing Director, Ravi Chandran
– Phuket City Development CEO, Nipon Aekwanich
– British Honorary Consul, Martin Carpenter
– Honorary Consul of Germany, Anette Jiminez Höchstetter
– Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, Seven Smulders
– S Hotels and Resorts Senior Vice President Operations, Stefano Alberto Ruzza
– Dusit Hotels and Resorts Vice President Sales, Prachoom Tantiprasertsuk
– Singapore Airlines Station Manager Phuket, Louis Tan
– Emirates Airlines Airport Services Manager, Thanakorn Srihamart
– Qatar Airways Airport Services Manager, Warunee Saiboonjun

About Laguna Phuket
Laguna Phuket resort is home to 7 deluxe hotels; Angsana Laguna Phuket, Angsana Villas Resort Phuket, Banyan Tree Phuket, Cassia Phuket, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, Laguna Holiday Club Phuket Resort and SAii Laguna Phuket – all sharing 1,000 acres of tropical parkland along a 3-kilometre stretch of the pristine Bangtao Beach. Facilities and services include 18-hole award winning golf course, world-renowned spas, shopping village, tour operators and MICE-certified event and facilitator teams. With inter-resort transportation allowing guests to travel anywhere within minutes via shuttle bus or ferry.

First published at

First published at – Global Travel News


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Carnival Cruise Line’s celebrated a return to cruising from Florida after a 16-month pandemic pause with the launch of the maiden voyage of its new flagship ship, Mardi Gras, on Saturday from its home base in Port Canaveral. Cruise line president Christine Duffy and ship captain Giuseppe Giusa led a “Back to Fun” ribbon-cutting ceremony officially welcoming guests on board.

“Mardi Gras has been five years in the making so to finally welcome guests on board to experience this one-of-a-kind ship is something that we’ve been looking forward to for a very long time,” Duffy said.

As the line’s newest flagship, the 5,282-passenger Mardi Gras is the first cruise ship in the Americas to be powered by eco-friendly Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the first to feature a roller coaster. The 180,000-ton ship boasts six distinct themed zones with a variety of food, beverage, and entertainment options, including dining venues from Emeril Lagasse, Guy Fieri, Rudi Sodamin, and its “Chief Fun Officer” (and former basketball great) Shaquille O’Neal.

Foremost among the zones is the “Ultimate Playground,” encompassing the ship’s top three decks and featuring the largest water park in the fleet, along with three slides, a suspended ropes course, and mini-golf course.

It is the setting for the first-ever roller coaster at sea: BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, an all-electric coaster an all-electric roller coaster encompassing an elevated track across Mardi Gras upper decks with 245 m. of twists, drops and turns, including a hairpin turn around the ship’s funnel. Riders can achieve speeds of up to 65 kph as they enjoy views to the sea 57 m. below.

On Saturday (July 31), Mardi Gras set sail from Port Canaveral for a week-long cruise with stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; and Nassau. It is the fifth Carnival Cruise Line ship to resume service with additional vessels set to restart operations soon. By Oct., 15 Carnival anticipates that it will be sailing more than half its fleet.

Carnival Mardi Gras

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at – Global Travel News

ROUND-UP:July 26-30, 2021

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Canadian airlines and cruise lines are soaring and sailing again; three’s the charm for travellers in Quebec; WestJet and KLM make news; and a flip-flop at Pearson…


The Quebec government says fully vaccinated residents who have received the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can receive a third dose of an mRNA vaccine before travelling, but recipients are on their own for weighing the risks of doing so. The extra shots are being offered because some countries don’t recognize the version of the vaccine made at the Serum Institute of India, and Canadians who have received it could find themselves barred from entry.

Both Transat and Sunwing launched their first flights Friday after a six-month pandemic pause.


From Aug. 1, tourists who have received their two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will no longer be required to show proof of their travel medical insurance policy to enter Costa Rica. People under the age of 18, as well as those who are fully vaccinated can enter Costa Rica as tourists, providing they have received their second dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival in the country. Approved vaccines are Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson and travellers will need to show proof of vaccine that includes the full name of the person, the date of each dose, the formula, and the lot number.

To the benefit of Canadians, the government of Antigua & Barbuda’s has approved the mixing of the AstraZeneca vaccine with either Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or the mixing of a Moderna and a Pfizer vaccine. As such, visitors who have had mixed doses of vaccines as noted above will be able to enter the country. Antigua & Barbuda had already been welcoming fully vaccinated travellers who have received both doses of a World Health Organization (WHO) approved two-dose Covid 19 vaccine.


WestJet is strengthening its codeshare relationship with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines through the placement of its “WS” codeshare on KLM-operated flights. Clients will now have access via Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) to 18 cities across Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK. The enhanced partnership builds on the airline’s new non-stop 787 Dreamliner service between Amsterdam and Calgary.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport says it will longer be splitting passengers coming from the US or other international destinations into vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated queues to help streamline the border clearance process. The process proved to show little benefit, said the airport.


Sun-seekers booking with Sunwing by Aug. 9 can take advantage of last-minute deals, including complimentary Price Drop Cash Back of up to $800 per couple, reduced deposits of just $100 p.p. and the flexibility to change or cancel their plans with ease.

Through Aug. 4, Contiki clients can save up to 25% off worldwide trips with the brand’s “Bucket List Sale.” A deposit of $99 is required.


Arnold Donald, President & CEO Carnival Corp., Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises, and Gus Antorcha, President of Holland America Line, in front of Majestic Princess in the Port of Seattle.

The 2021 Alaska season kicked off for Holland America with Nieuw Amsterdam setting sail July 24, while for Princess Cruises, Majestic Princess sailed on July 25. Each line will operate 10 cruises sailing out of Seattle through September. The departures marked the return to cruising and Alaska for both lines, which combined have more than 125 years of experience sailing to the state. Historically, one in two guests who cruise to Alaska sail on Princess or Holland America.

Carnival, which also began its Alaska season out of Seattle last week, launched both its newest ship, the Mardi Gras, and cruises out of Florida again on Saturday.

Norwegian Cruise Line commemorated its cruise comeback with a double debut: Norwegian Jade was not only the first of its 17-ship fleet to welcome guests after 500 days in July 25, it also made NCL history as the first vessel to homeport in Athens (Piraeus).

The official restart of river itineraries in France by Viking, marking the latest milestone as the company resumes operations in Europe. Guests are now embarking on journeys on the Seine and Rhône rivers for the “Paris & the Heart of Normandy,” “Lyon & Provence,” and “France’s Finest” itineraries. Viking’s voyage in Bordeaux, “Chateaux, Rivers and Wine,” will resume in August.


Chicago’s newest Vista Tower skyscraper, the third-tallest building in Chicago, is being rebranded as The St. Regis Chicago, including a luxury hotel that will open later this year. Amenities will include a fine dining restaurant with an outdoor terrace, an all-day restaurant and lounge overlooking the Chicago River, and a bar with an outdoor terrace as part of the luxury hotel.

AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea is the first AC branded property in Hawaii and one of the state’s newest hotels. The property features 110 guestrooms, an infinity-edge pool, ocean-view bar and restaurant offering guests international- and Hawaiian-inspired cuisine. The hotel also includes a library and 24-hour fitness centre. Guestrooms feature hardwood floors and a private lanai.


A multi-million-dollar complete renovation of Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, phased over the past three years and marking the most significant investment the resort has undergone since its inception in 2010, will be completed this summer. Enhancements includes a “mountain chic” refresh and remodel of all hotel guest rooms, plus redesigned lobby and all public spaces. Located in Vail village at the base of Vail Mountain in the Colorado Rockies, the resort is a two-hour drive from Denver International Airport.


New research from Expedia Group suggests the influence of inclusion and diversity on post-pandemic booking decisions. The global survey, which included Canadians, said nearly two-thirds of travellers (65%) say they are more willing to book accommodations that have policies focused on diversity and inclusion. However, there is a significant generational gap when it comes to how much booking choices are influenced by whether or not accommodations have inclusive policies: 57% of respondents over the age of 40 say they are likely to book inclusive accommodations, while 77% of those under the age of 40 say that they are likely to do the same.


The Dollywood Company is embarking on an ambitious investment strategy that will see the Smoky Mountain vacation destination invest more than half a billion dollars over the next 10 years across its properties. One of the first projects is Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort, a 302-room property currently under construction and due to open in 2023. Adjacent to Dollywood near Knoxville, Tenn., it will serve the three million annual visitors to the Dolly Parton theme park and Splash Country water park.


Discover the World Canada is now representing Cobblestone Freeway Tours, a small group tour operator specializing in culturally rich tours to Central and Eastern Europe, and agents are invited to take part in a nine-day fam to the Ukraine departing Oct. 9 designed to introduce the company and the country. Details at or by calling 1-800-684-7014.


Former Toronto Tourism president and CEO David Whittaker, who served in the city for eight years from 2007 before taking a similar role at Choose Chicago is now heading home to Miami, where he spent 17 years (1990-2007) at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB). He returns as president and CEO starting in August.


Tourists are once again able to hike Peru’s Inca Trail to reach Machu Picchu. After more than a year closed, the reopening of the hiking route is part of a new stage in the tourist reactivation of Cusco and Peru. The Inca Trail joins other hiking trails in the region, most of which reopened in July 2020, that are part of the Qhapaq Nan – a network of roads that once united the far reaches of the Inca empire.

NYC Restaurant Week has returned to in-person dining after 18 months. Continuing through Aug. 22, the program includes nearly 530 participating restaurants offering more than 50 distinct cuisines in 75 neighborhoods across all five New York boroughs, as well as updated, inclusive pricing with lunches priced at either US$21 or $39 and dinners priced at either $21 or $39 (both inclusive of one entrée and at least one side and aligned to the individual restaurant price points). Check out the website HERE.

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First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at – Global Travel News

MSC Cruises to Expand Saudi Arabia Programme

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MSC Cruises to Expand Saudi Arabia Programme

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, August 2, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / MSC Cruises, the contemporary brand of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, today announced that MSC Bellissima, one of the line’s most modern ships, will sail 21 Red Sea voyages from Jeddah, the commercial hub of Saudi Arabia, between the end of July and late October.

  • MSC Bellissima to homeport in Jeddah with 3- and 4-night cruises to Egypt and Jordan
  • Summer season to complement winter 2021/22 Red Sea itineraries
  • Eighth MSC Cruises ship to resume operations with passengers on board

MSC Bellissima is the largest cruise ship ever to sail the waters of the Red Sea and the vessel arrived at the weekend in Jeddah to prepare for her maiden season.

The ship, which first came into services in 2019, will offer 3- and 4-night cruises to Safaga for Luxor, Egypt or Aqaba for Petra, Jordan before returning to her Saudi homeport.

The summer sailings will add to MSC Cruises’ previously announced winter 2021/22 Red Sea voyages from Jeddah starting in November.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises said: “As the tourism industry of Saudi Arabia grows progressively for its own residents and international visitors, we at MSC Cruises are looking forward to make a positive and lasting contribution as more people explore and discover the rich heritage and incredible cultural attractions it has to offer.

“With our cruises this summer from Jeddah of MSC Bellissima and a ship dedicated for the winter season in the Red Sea we are committed to serve holidaymakers with the very best cruise experiences. This, we believe, will accelerate the attractiveness of holidays at sea in the region and significantly help in the growth of tourism.”

MSC Bellissima will be the eighth MSC Cruises’ ship to resume sailings with passengers on board with a further three vessels preparing to start future voyages, which will see half of the Company’s fleet back at sea by the end of summer.

Five MSC Cruises’ ships are currently sailing in the Mediterranean – MSC Grandiosa MSC Seaside, MSC Orchestra, MSC Splendida and MSC Magnifica, MSC Virtuosa is operating around the UK and MSC Seaview is cruising in the Baltic Sea.

MSC Meraviglia from 2 August will resume Caribbean cruises from Miami and will be joined in the region from 18 September when MSC Divina restarts sailing from Port Canaveral near Orlando in Florida.

MSC Seashore will come into service in August with voyages in the West Mediterranean before the Company’s newest flagship transfers in November to Miami for a season in the Caribbean.

First published at

First published at – Global Travel News

Air France Prepares for Arrival of New Airbus A220

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Air France Prepares for Arrival of New Airbus A220

Paris, France, August 2, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Air France is continuing to renew its fleet. At the end of September, the airline will take delivery of the first of the 60 Airbus A220-300s it has ordered to replace its Airbus A318s and A319s on the short and medium-haul network.

  • The company’s first Airbus A220 has left the paint shop sporting the Air France livery,
  • This aircraft embodies the airline’s sustainability commitments with 20% less fuel used compared with the aircraft it is replacing and a 34% reduced noise footprint,
  • All the Air France crews are preparing to welcome this aircraft in September at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

The first Airbus A220 designed for Air France recently left the Airbus paint shop in Mirabel, near Montreal. It sports the new Air France colours and notably features the winged seahorse, the airline’s historical symbol embodying its rich history, at the front of the fuselage.

As it is made with lighter composite materials, the Airbus A220 uses 20% less fuel than previous generation aircraft, and has a 34% reduced noise footprint. It will play a decisive role in achieving Air France’s sustainable development objectives, including a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions in absolute terms on the domestic network from Paris-Orly and on inter-regional routes by 2024 (1), and a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger/km by 2030(2).

Tests and crew training – flight safety of key importance in the preparation for the A220’s arrival

Before joining Paris to carry Air France customers, the aircraft will undergo a series of ground and in-flight tests. On its arrival, it will be used for more than a month to train the airline’s flight crews, some of whom began the so-called “type rating” process last summer.

As with every new type of aircraft entering the fleet, the company has set up two core groups, one made up of pilots and the other of flight attendants. These already qualified crew members will then be responsible for training their colleagues within the framework of in-house programmes validated by the authorities.

Last September, eight instructor pilots attended an 8-week theoretical and practical training course at the Airbus training centre in Montreal. They are currently training their colleagues – including another 28 instructors who complete the pilot launch team – notably using a Full Flight Simulator (FFS) mounted on jacks, and assembled at Air France’s flight simulation centre at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. Once Air France takes delivery of the first aircraft, this simulator training will be supplemented by approximately 20 flights in real conditions, with a view to obtaining the A220-300 type rating. Close to 700 Air France pilots will eventually be qualified on this aircraft.

The same core group system is being used for cabin crews, with 14 flight attendants trained in Zurich between September and December 2020. They are currently finalizing the training manuals and content that they themselves will be responsible for providing as from September 2021. The core group has selected and trained a group of 37 flight attendants to complete the practical flight training of cabin crews as soon as the A220 enters service. Two A220 door models have been installed at the Air France Crew Academy at Paray Vieille-Poste, near Paris-Orly, to train some 2,500 flight attendants.

In addition to the pilots and flight attendants, the entire company is preparing to welcome the Airbus A220. From maintenance to station staff, all operational sectors are getting ready for the arrival of this latest-generation aircraft.

The Air France Airbus A220 will be able to welcome 148 passengers in a 3-2 cabin configuration. Each seat will be equipped with type A and type C USB ports and all passengers will enjoy Wi-Fi access from their personal devices.

First published at

First published at – Global Travel News

Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Welcomes Minister of Tourism and Sports

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Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Welcomes Minister of Tourism and Sports

Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket, Thailand, August 1, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Andres Rubio, General Manager of Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket, recently welcomed Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the Minister of Tourism and Sports and Dr.Kongsak Yodmanee the Governor of Sport Authority of Thailand, on the occasion of returning from participating in the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo, Japan to arrive in Thailand under the Phuket Sandbox campaign and staying at the hotel.

Cape Panwa Hotel is one of the luxury hotels in Phuket that passed the Safe Travel Standard (SHA Plus+) under the supervision of the TAT and have been certified as safe travel by the World Travel and Tourism Council.

Seen in the photo from left:
Mr.Rubio; Mr.Ratchakitprakarn; Mr.Yodmanee and Boonsong Suratod, Front Office Manager of the hotel.

First published at

First published at – Global Travel News

Thailand Trusted SHA Certified On Par with WTTC Safe Travel Stamp

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Thailand Trusted SHA Certified On Par with WTTC Safe Travels Stamp

Phuket, Thailand, August 1, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certification has been certified by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) as being on par with the WTTC SafeTravels global health and hygiene standardised protocols.

The Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certification has been certified by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) as being on par with the WTTC SafeTravels global health and hygiene standardised protocols.

All 10 types of businesses with the SHA certificate will be permitted to display both logos.

First published at

First published at – Global Travel News

IATA Warns Governments on High Cost of Testing

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IATA Warns Governments on High Cost of Testing

Geneva, Switzerland, July 31, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to take action to address the high cost of COVID-19 tests in many jurisdictions and urged flexibility in permitting the use of cost-effective antigen tests as an alternative to more expensive PCR tests. IATA also recommended governments adopt recent World Health Organization (WHO) guidance to consider exempting vaccinated travelers from testing requirements.

According to IATA’s most recent traveler survey, 86% of respondents are willing to get tested. But 70% also believe that the cost of testing is a significant barrier to travel, while 78% believe governments should bear the cost of mandatory testing.

“IATA supports COVID-19 testing as a pathway to reopen borders to international travel. But our support is not unconditional. In addition to being reliable, testing needs to be easily accessible, affordable, and appropriate to the risk level. Too many governments, however, are falling short on some or all of these. The cost of testing varies widely between jurisdictions, with little relation to the actual cost of conducting the test. The UK is the poster child for governments failing to adequately manage testing. At best it is expensive, at worst extortionate. And in either case, it is a scandal that the government is charging VAT,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

The new generation of rapid tests cost less than $10 per test. Provided a confirmatory rRT-PCR test is administered for positive test results, WHO guidance sees Ag-RDT antigen testing as an acceptable alternative to PCR. And, where testing is a mandatory requirement, the WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHRs) state that neither passengers nor carriers should bear the cost of testing.

Testing also needs to be appropriate to the threat level. For example, in the UK, the latest National Health Service data on testing arriving travelers show that more than 1.37 million tests were conducted on arrivals from so-called Amber countries. Just 1% tested positive over four months. Meanwhile, nearly three times that number of positive cases are being detected in the general population daily.

“Data from the UK government confirms that international travelers pose little to no risk of importing COVID-19 compared to existing levels of infection in the country. At the very least therefore, the UK government should follow WHO guidance and accept antigen tests which are fast, affordable and effective, with a confirmatory PCR test for those who test positive. This could be a pathway for enabling even unvaccinated people access to travel,” Walsh said.

Restarting international travel is vital to supporting the 46 million travel and tourism jobs around the world that rely on aviation. “Our latest survey confirms that the high cost of testing will bear heavily on the shape of the travel recovery. It makes little sense for governments to take steps to reopen borders, if those steps make the cost of travel prohibitive to most people. We need a restart that is affordable for all,” said Walsh.

First published at

First published at – Global Travel News


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The impatience to travel again has inspired destinations and their marketing groups to ramp up their social media postings. There are daily images of places and activities I love and can’t visit. It’s almost cruel.

Like a post by Canada’s VisitBritain rep, Cathy Stapells. Cathy is not just a Facebook friend, we’re real-world friends having cruised with Holland America from Boston to Montreal, participated in a golf-spa-and-whisky tour of Scotland, as well as a Daphne Du Maurier themed trip to Cornwall. So when Cathy posted images of Bath on her Facebook page, many of our friends and colleagues wrote dreamy remembrances of Jane Austen and hot actors who played Mr. Darcy

While many basked in the glorious, sunny olde England of romance fiction, afternoon tea, boating, virile young aristocrats and gauzy dresses for young women I thought of hospitals and health care.

My first trip to Bath was in the back of an ambulance. I spent a sunny June afternoon in the ER, with doctors on each side of me in a Humpty Dumpty-type debate about whether to stitch or glue me together again.

Medical professionals can be unsettlingly graphic. I raised my hand and asked if I could be wheeled out of the room because their conversation was making me ill.

I was there because of a cycling accident. The day began in an idyllic manner, with me cycling along the lilac-scented Kennet and Avon Canal, where the only sound was the splashing of ducks and swans. I had lunch at the canal-side Somerset Arms where an older gentleman on a motorized scooter asked if I would bring him a pint of Badger’s Gold. I approached the woman behind the bar and said, “A gentleman with a white dog …” when she cut me off. “Ah, right, it’s that time. He’ll be wanting a Gold.”

Back outside a couple had stopped at the old gentleman’s table. They had their dog, he had his. They were pushing a red cart I thought contained ice cream. In fact, they were The Royal Mail. I delivered his pint, they delivered his mail. He smiled at us all.

I was doing a brilliant three-day serviced cycle trip in Wiltshire offered by a company called History on Your Handlebars. It was operated by a retired stockbroker, who I believe has taken his second retirement. But when it operated he met you at the Chippenham train station, where he traded maps and bike for my luggage. Each day I would leave my assigned B&B along a route developed to match my interests and he would pick up my bags and drive them to the next stop about 30 miles away. I cycled through a quiet, bucolic countryside familiar to novelists and Merchant-Ivory films.

It was Friday afternoon, I was returning to a B&B in Bradford-on-Avon, and to get out of growing bank-holiday traffic, I decided to ride on the open sidewalk. Alas, it’s an old story of the wheel and curb not being in harmony. The bike went one way, while I did an OMG-slow-motion head-first dive to the pavement. I’m still uncertain if I hit a telephone pole or not. I knew I wasn’t about to die because my life didn’t flash before me, instead every curse word in every language I ever heard did.

After the initial impact I remember attempting to get off the ground before anyone saw my stupidity.

On the upside, two off-duty nurses witnessed the whole thing. Before I could move someone was wrapping me in a blanket and holding an umbrella to keep the mid-day sun off me, while another voice called for an ambulance.

Since this was my first ride in an ambulance I was annoyed that the paramedics wouldn’t put on the siren.

After a few hours in the ER, where I had tetanus shots and eight stitches, I had a £50 cab ride back to the B&B. At breakfast the next morning two men asked what happened. I filled them in on the few details I could remember. They generously went out to search ditches for my bike, which they found and returned to the B&B. This was supremely kind of them since one of this tuxedoed pair was getting married in two hours!

I dragged my battered self to the station to get a train to Bath. At the hotel I was greeted by an overly cheerful clerk, who through her smile asked if I had had a mishap? I felt like saying, “No, I usually look like hell.” I had eight stitches in my forehead, the white of my eyes were red, which stood out against the two black eyes and scraped cheeks. I could see only because of a separate pair of prescription sunglasses and to not offend people with my wounds wore a golf cap gently pulled down almost to my nose.

That afternoon I had to have my dressings checked at a local clinic. The clinic clerk was scandalized by a £25 ($43.45) charge for the visit because Canada didn’t have a reciprocal health agreement with the UK (always sell travel insurance!). To rectify this she decided I looked Australian and put that down on my appointment card, sparing me the charge.

Saving £25 improved my mood and I signed on for the Bizarre Bath Walk. Their advertising and guide explicitly explain the walk “has nothing to do with Bath. We don’t bore you with history or facts or any of that rubbish.”

Bike Walk, blindfolded guide

Instead our Austen-free experience was more like a type of walking vaudeville show, which was so (in)famous locals interacted with it. Mostly they tried to trip up the guide. For example, for the first part of the tour the guide is blindfolded. Just as he undid his blindfold a teenaged cyclist rode through our group with his arms outstretched and face covered by his t-shirt. Our guide was speechless.

From Bath I returned to London where VisitBritain had provided accommodations in a Red Carnation property, The Montague on the Gardens. The Montague is like a country house in the city. My stay coincided with Ascot race week. All the Montague’s other guests had passes to the Royal Enclosure.

On Ladies Day, when the world’s most fantastical hats are on display, female guests rode the elevator one at a time. There was no room for others. Doors were held for them as they deftly slid into the cavernous backseats of the chauffeured Rolls Royces and Bentleys which lined the street.

Meanwhile I still looked like the victim of a serious mugging.

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at – Global Travel News