Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

National tourism agency VisitBritain/VisitEngland is bringing tourism industry leaders together at its annual review event on Tuesday 25 May to set out its priorities to support the sector to recover and rebuild.

The ‘hybrid’ virtual and in-person event, being held during English Tourism Week, will reflect on the agency’s work and its priorities for the year ahead to aid the recovery of domestic and international tourism, stimulating demand and supporting the rebuilding of a more resilient, sustainable and accessible industry.

VisitBritain’s latest forecasts show a slow recovery with domestic tourism spending estimated this year at £51.4 billion, just over half of the £91.6 billion in 2019. Last year alone saw about two-thirds of the value wiped off the domestic tourism industry, a £58 billion loss to the economy.

Its forecast for inbound tourism spending in the UK this year is £6.2 billion, less than a quarter of the £28.4 billion in 2019.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "Britain’s tourism industry is a huge driver of our economy but has faced many challenges over the past year.

“We've provided more than £25 billion in support, and I have been impressed by VisitBritain/VisitEngland and the wider sector for its agile and innovative response, coming up with new ways to provide hospitality and entertainment while maintaining social distancing and protecting people's safety.

"I look forward to working closely with them all as we build back better to create a sustainable, productive and resilient industry."
British Tourist Authority Chairman Lord Patrick McLoughlin said:

“When COVID-19 arrived on our shores, it hit our industry first and hardest. Successful destinations and businesses across the country saw their cash flow dry up and had to close their doors to visitors. Inbound visitor spending dropped by a staggering 78% in 2020 compared to the previous year, and domestic spending by 63%, resulting in an estimated loss to the economy of £285 million per day from tourism. The sector faced an unprecedented challenge”.

Lord McLoughlin said that the UK Government’s support measures including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the VAT cut for hospitality businesses and the business rates holiday were a lifeline helping many businesses survive and keeping people in jobs. As the months went on and pubs, hotels, attractions and events remained closed or found social distancing meant they could not open economically, cash reserves began to run dry.

During the last year VisitBritain/VisitEngland had realigned its focus to rally behind the industry, directing efforts to where it could deliver the most value, stepping up its support for businesses and destinations from providing consumer insights and actionable data to facilitating industry and Government dialogues and developing the ‘We’re Good to Go’ reassurance scheme. When possible it had run marketing campaigns to build demand, developing assets that could be shared across the industry.

Lord McLoughlin said that while businesses had now started to reopen with hopes for a better summer and autumn, this was only the beginning and there was much more to do as the industry began to rebuild. The agency was also looking forward to the publication of the Tourism Recovery Plan, which will set out the role the UK Government will play in accelerating the tourism sector's recovery from COVID-19.

“Tourism has a proven track record as a growth sector. Worth £127 billion to the economy, the industry is the UK’s third largest service export and provides jobs for more than 3.1 million people. As a sector, we have a lot of experience in levelling-up, supporting local economies right across the country.

“By working together to drive demand and build back visitor spend as quickly as possible we can emerge from the pandemic a more resilient, sustainable, inclusive and innovative industry."

The tourism agency last week launched a £5 million ‘Escape the Everyday – Enjoy the UK this Summer’ campaign to build back domestic demand with a focus on cities and city visitor attractions as well as regional gateways which have been particularly hard hit by the lack of international visitors and that rely on overseas visitors and their spending.

With international travel restarting and plenty of pent-up demand from people around the world to get travelling again, VisitBritain’s focus is to make sure they choose Britain, whether as a place to do business, to site their convention or to explore on holiday.

“Our international competitors have been readying their battle strategies to compete for the return of international tourists. Nevertheless, we have a lot on our side. Not only are our nations rich in culture, heritage, and experiences that are unique to the UK, but the major events taking place here next year are set to be significant tourism draws. The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and Festival UK 2022 all present opportunities to promote Britain globally.”

“Tourism is a critical industry for our country, delivering jobs and economic growth across the nations and regions and strengthening our place on the world stage. We will continue to work with the UK Government, as it sets out its recovery plan and ambitions for tourism, and across the industry, to cement the recovery and the future of one of this country’s greatest industries,” said Lord McLoughlin.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has said that a new border scheme requiring visitors to apply for an electronic permit will make the UK safer. She also argued it will make it easier to count those coming to the UK.

Under the plan, all visitors without a visa or immigration status will have to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) before coming to the UK. But Labour accused the government of incompetence over immigration.

Passengers required to get a permit under the new system would include those travelling to the UK for a short stay or transiting - changing planes - in the country. People wishing to work in the UK or stay in the country for a long period of time - for example over six months - would need to obtain a visa, rather than an ETA.

The Home Office says the new system would allow automated and early security checks to take place to stop foreign criminals arriving in the country, with applicants only allowed to travel once they have been cleared. The department also says the new scheme will make it easier to count the numbers coming into the country and notes that past migration figures have underestimated the true figure.

For example, the government estimated three million Europeans lived in the UK, but more than five million ended up applying to the EU settlement scheme. Around 30 million people are expected to apply for ETAs each year.

The new scheme is modelled on the US Electronic System for Travel Authorization which has been in place since 2009, while the EU is planning to introduce its own version - European Travel Information and Authorisation System - next year. The announcement comes as reports say the numbers of migrants crossing the English Channel by boat are higher this year than last, despite an agreement signed with France in November to increase border security and prevent migrant crossings.

Ms Patel is expected to give further details of her Legal Migration and Border Control Strategy today. Speaking ahead of that announcement, she said: "Now we have taken back control and ended free movement, security is at the very heart of our immigration strategy.

"Our new approach will make it easier to identify potential threats before they reach the border." Labour's shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds accused the government of being incompetent, adding that it had broken the asylum system.

"If you look at 2014, 87% of asylum claims were being dealt with within six months, that figure had fallen to 20% by 2019, and what did the government do? They got rid of performance targets," he said. Mr Thomas-Symonds said there "should be" performance targets for civil servants.

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism has big plans to strengthen its position as a leading Caribbean destination for marine tourism.

Speaking after the St. Thomas Yacht Club Invitational Regatta, Joseph Boschulte, USVI Commissioner of Tourism, said the department’s focus on welcoming mariners throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has returned strong dividends for the destination.

“Despite numerous pandemic-related challenges, we have leveraged the talent and creativity of our team to sharpen our focus on our incredible marine and charter yacht industry,” said Commissioner Boschulte, who believes the U.S. Virgin Islands will “take full advantage of our natural resources and assets to deliver world-class experiences for visitors arriving on our shores.”

He said the Territory had already begun to strengthen its marine tourism offerings when the pandemic provided additional opportunities to tap into the charter yacht industry. In 2019, the direct contribution to the U.S. Virgin Islands economy made by charter and sport-fishing vessels was estimated at approximately $45 million.

“We forecast the 2020-2021 numbers to show significant growth due to the large number of visiting vessels,” he disclosed.

An important development this past winter season was the introduction of The Moorings, a premier global yacht charter company, to the charter operations base on St. Thomas.

The U.S. Virgin Islands has an across-the-board commitment to the industry with several agencies coordinating to offer a concierge experience for the marine industry, whether for leisure, business or competitions.

The Department of Tourism will continue to support events such as fishing tournaments, the Virgin Islands Charter Yacht Show and the annual St. Thomas International Regatta, and has a robust media hospitality program, which attracts national media to experience and cover the destination’s marine offerings and events.

“Because of the diligent adherence to public health protocols, including our Travel Screening Portal, we have been successful in delivering marine events in the Territory over the past year,” said Commissioner Boschulte, who saluted USVI Governor Albert Bryan Jr. and Lieutenant Governor Tregenza Roach for their vision to position the Territory's marine sector upfront and center. He also congratulated local partners such as the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association and the St. Thomas Yacht Club for their efforts to ensure that residents and visitors have a safe and healthy marine experience.

The Department of Tourism developed and maintains a designated webpage that showcases the Territory’s marine value proposition. Upcoming events include the International Optimist Regatta (June 14 to 20, 2021), the Virgin Islands Charter Yacht Show (November 7 to 10, 2021), and the inaugural Caribbean Charter Yacht Show at Yacht Haven Grande – St. Thomas (December 9-12, 2021).

The Commissioner also noted that the Department of Tourism is collaborating with the Office of the Governor to create a St. Croix-specific marine program, with its own dedicated marketing platform.

With rules around international travel still uncertain but hospitality now opening up even further, Brits are seeking out new ways to get their holiday fix as they plan ‘staycations’ around the UK.

Research by Auto Trader, the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace, has revealed that almost two thirds (62%) of people are planning to holiday in the UK this year, bringing a much-welcomed boost to the British hospitality sector. Country escapes have proved most popular, being the choice of two fifths (42%) of holidaymakers, followed by a third (33%) hoping for a beach getaway.

Since lockdown, Auto Trader has seen accelerated growth in page visits for wheeled accommodation, with visits up 148% YoY for motorhomes and 117% for caravans – making staycations the likely choice for many. However, this has prompted fears of major traffic jams and queues on the roads during peak holiday season as the nation’s staycationers disperse across the UK in droves.

Over half (53%) of people said they’ll be holidaying with their family this year, seeing staycations as a chance to reconnect with loved ones after long periods apart. Motorhomes and caravans safely offer the chance to reunite, as separate households can park over two metres apart and enjoy time outside together.

Three quarters (77%) of those surveyed are also planning to take their dog away with them. Over 3.2 million pets were bought by the British public during the pandemic, and over 60% of motorhome and caravan buyers now have their own pup. Staycations allow travellers to leave the puppy passport at home and enjoy a holiday with their four-legged friend.

Auto Trader’s Editorial Director, Erin Baker, says: “More than 2 million people enjoy holidays in caravans and motorhomes each year in the UK – a figure that is set to rise this year due to the third wave of COVID-19 across the EU – so it’s no surprise those looking to own their own caravan or motorhome has increased.

“Holidaymakers will have to be extra savvy though when planning their trips, as sites are set to sell out quickly. Heavy congestion is likely when staycationers hit the roads around peak times, particularly the second May and August bank holidays and school summer holidays, so road trips should be planned in advance and scenic detours considered.”

The importance of unlocking the potential of investments for growing African tourism was highlighted as leaders from across the sector met virtually for the 2021 edition of Investour.

Held during the FITUR International Tourism Trade Fair, the 12th edition of the Forum for Tourism Investment and Business (Investour) united government representatives alongside experts from international organizations and from the private sector. Once again, the event was co-organized by Casa Africa, FITUR and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), building on the latter’s 2030 Agenda for Africa.

This year, the focus was on the importance of promoting sustainable investments to help the sector recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the agenda were the role of public-private partnerships, building resilience, and promoting innovation at every step of the broad tourism value chain.

A roundtable discussion on “Revitalizing Tourism Post-COVID-19”, explored ways to identify and reach new markets and develop new tourism products. Contributing were Mouhamed Faouzou, Technical Advisor to the Minister of Tourism and Air Transport of Senegal, Dr. Alfonso Vegara, Founder and President of Fundación Metrópoli, and Alberto Virella Gomes, Ambassador-at-Large for the Africa Plan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Senegal.

This was followed by a series of investment webinars led by UNWTO experts, with a special focus on sustainability and capacity development. In a message to the Investor delegates, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili stressed the importance of government-initiated Ease of Doing Business reforms and invited delegates to join UNWTO for its 64th Commission for Africa and the 2nd UNWTO Global Tourism Investment Forum in Africa, both to be held in Cabo Verde this September.

Many Britons are rushing to spend their summer holidays in Portugal, given the country's inclusion on the UK government's green list. As of now some beaches in Portugal have reopened, including the two in Vilamoura - Praia de Vilamoura and Praia da Rocha Baixinha.
Isolete Correia, Director of Marina de Vilamoura, comments: "We are thrilled to see locals and visitors enjoying the beaches in Vilamoura once more. Last year we contributed with the Portuguese government to help define and set safety standards for Covid-secure beach use."

The news of beaches reopening comes as the Algarve is once more flagged up as the jewel in Portugal's crown, maintaining all 91 of its Blue Flags in 2021. The region is proudly flying 87 Blue Flags on its beaches with Vilamoura's two beaches – Praia de Vilamoura and Praia da Rocha Baixinha – also proudly flying Blue Flags.

In total, Portugal's beaches have racked up an impressive 372 Blue Flags (12 more than last year), with the quality of its marinas, recreational ports and environmental vessels combining to place Portugal sixth out of the 53 countries taking part in the Blue Flag scheme. Blue flags helped contribute to the country being named the World's Best Beach Destination at the World Travel Awards last year.

English Tourism Week is fast approaching with this year’s week dedicated to showing support for tourism businesses and destinations across the sector as they reopen and start to rebuild.

Coordinated by VisitEngland and taking place from 22 to 31 May, English Tourism Week is an annual celebration of the tourism industry, highlighting its economic importance to local economies and promoting the innovation, quality and range of products and services on offer to encourage more domestic breaks.

It comes as the tourism agency’s latest forecasts show that domestic tourism spending is estimated this year of £51.4 billion, just over half of the £91.6 billion in 2019.

Last year alone saw about two-thirds of the value wiped off the domestic tourism industry, a £58 billion loss to the economy.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "The tourism sector has undoubtedly faced enormous challenges over the past year. This is why we have provided over £25 billion in support to date, including the unprecedented VAT cut.

"Tourism and hospitality businesses across the country have continually impressed me with their ability to adapt over the past year and I know they're all ready to welcome us back. English tourism has so much to offer, from rural retreats to city breaks. I can't wait to get out there exploring and I urge everyone to join me in supporting our fantastic tourism sector by taking a domestic holiday over the coming months."

VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said: “Our annual event to celebrate and champion English tourism has never been more important, providing a timely opportunity to show the outstanding offer here on our doorstep as we head in to the critical summer season and to support local businesses and visitor attractions, who have lost months of vital trading, as they reopen and rebuild.

“By highlighting the quality and sheer diversity of tourism products, destinations and experiences across England we also hope people will consider an extra holiday at home this year, exploring somewhere new, revisiting a favourite attraction or taking a city-break. With international tourists slower to return this is also the year to rediscover the crown jewels of English tourism in our vibrant city centres.

“Millions of jobs and local economies rely on tourism and businesses and destinations have been working flat-out, innovating and adapting to safely welcome visitors back and making sure they have a great experience. They will be very pleased to see you.”

In the lead-up to English Tourism Week and throughout VisitEngland is encouraging people to share photos and social media posts to show support for the sector using #EnglishTourismWeek21. VisitEngland has also produced toolkits and a series of posters for tourism businesses and destinations to download and get involved in the week, promoting their local products and services, attractions and experiences.

VisitEngland and local destinations are also asking MPs, local authorities, the UK Government and other stakeholders to get involved and show their support by visiting local businesses and attractions during the week.

VisitEngland’s latest consumer sentiment research has shown slow but steady gains in consumer confidence in taking domestic trips from late spring and rising through summer. Twenty per cent of people surveyed were confident in the ability to take a domestic overnight trip in May, rising to 38% in June, 45% in July, 55% in August and 61% from September onwards. This demonstrates the importance of extending the tourism season this year and that there is still a job to do to boost consumer confidence.

More than 27,000 businesses across England have signed up to VisitEngland’s ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and consumer mark, reassuring customers, staff and local residents that the correct procedures and processes are in place to welcome them back safely.

VisitEngland’s latest research also shows that while bookings for domestic trips for spring had accelerated, with just under half of domestic trips planned between May and June booked, the summer months are slower with just over one in five trips between July to September booked, suggesting a ‘wait and see’ approach.

VisitEngland is set to launch the next phase of its Escape the Everyday campaign in the coming weeks, encouraging domestic breaks with a focus also on cities and city visitor attractions as well as regional gateways, which have been particularly hard hit by the lack of international visitors and that rely on overseas visitors and their spending.

Tourism is one of England’s largest and most valuable industries, supporting hundreds of thousands of businesses, employing more than 2.6 million people and usually generating more than £106 billion a year for the English economy.

Costa Rica's internationally renowned green escapes are likely to suffer through a second year of costly tourist hesitancy as the spread of the pandemic intensifies in the Central American nation, further battering the key travel sector.

Amid an April surge of COVID-19 infections, hospital beds are scarce in the tropical country. Its infection rate last week surpassed even tragedy-struck India and Brazil, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Given the lack of widespread testing, the real figures could be even worse.

Costa Rica's hoteliers and other travel businesses expected increasingly vaccinated travellers from top markets in North American and Europe to inject an infusion of cash for the industry after record-low visits last year, but that does not seem likely anymore.

Costa Rica's tourism sector in pre-pandemic 2019 was estimated at about $5 billion, or about 8.5% of the country's GDP.

The central bank forecasts less than 800,000 foreign tourists visiting Costa Rica this year, which would mark a more than 20% slide from last year. And last year saw only a third of the international travellers who visited in 2019, or about 1.01 million, which was the fewest in more than two decades.

During the first three months of this year, which is typically high season, visits were down a whopping 76% compared to the same period last year as lockdown-weary travellers with money to spend resisted the urge to vacation among the country's vibrant wildlife and pristine beaches.

Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura acknowledged a worsening scenario. "We trust we'll be able to control the situation for our population soon, but we can't deny that some people will decide to postpone visits," he said, though he stressed he did not have official figures on cancellations.

He argued the country's famed eco-tourism naturally promotes outdoor social distancing, and pitched the travel sector's high standards for hygiene.

To bolster his point, the minister pointed to official data for the first four months of the year showing that less than 1% of tourists tested positive for COVID-19 as they exited the country.

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism’s Division of Festivals has pioneered the return of in-person Carnival events while prioritizing public health safety and the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

The 2021 Carnival Virgin Islands ‘1 Night, 1 Fête’ took place seaside on Friday at The West Indian Company Limited (WICO) dock on St. Thomas, and featured leading U.S. Virgin Islands musical groups Cool Session Brass, Legacy Band and Spectrum Band. 2021 International Soca Monarch Farmer Nappy of Trinidad and Tobago headlined the ‘Vaccination Jam’, which accommodated 200 vaccinated patrons and stressed compliance with COVID-19 protocols, including physical distancing, mask-wearing and proper handwashing hygiene.  

Envisioned by the Department of Tourism, ‘1 Night, 1 Fête’ was executed in consultation with the Office of the Governor and the Department of Health to promote a ‘Vaccinate to Party Safe’ initiative to help reach Governor Albert Bryan Jr.’s goal of vaccinating 50,000 Virgin Islanders by July 1. ‘1 Night, 1 Fête’ was also an opportunity for musicians to showcase their talents after more than a year of pandemic restrictions, which have impacted their ability to perform.


“I just want allyu to know, St. Thomas, you know, it have leaders and it have followers … the whole world going and follow this party, vaccinate party,” said Farmer Nappy, while speaking with party-goers during an action-packed 40-minute set. The wildly popular soca artist also endorsed the talent and professionalism of U.S. Virgin Islands artists: “I am about to go Orlando, Atlanta … all these places to perform. If there were a band, this is the band (Spectrum Band) that traveling with me on tour.”

Only vaccinated patrons were permitted to enter the hot-ticket event, and proceeds will be going toward relief efforts for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which has been been adversely impacted by multiple eruptions of the La Soufrière volcano in recent weeks. Virgin Islands Lottery has also contributed $5,000.

“We are excited that culture, music and carnival are alive and kicking in the USVI. This is a testament to all Virgin Islanders for taking public health safety seriously during the pandemic,” said Joseph Boschulte, USVI Commissioner of Tourism.

“We have been on top of Caribbean tourism, we are on the cutting edge of hosting virtual and now in-person social gatherings, and our team will continue to leverage our creative talent to move our destination forward,” he added. Emphasizing the importance of getting vaccinated, Commissioner Boschulte said, “We can show the world that you can enjoy a vacation, or enjoy a fête, and be safe.”

Lieutenant Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands Tregenza Roach, who attended the event, spoke of the incomparable energy of Carnival, and the power of having a safe event for people to celebrate their culture and feel rejuvenated in difficult times. “I think Carnival brings a certain energy, a certain release, a certain soulfulness that we always should regard," he commented.

Carnival Virgin Islands also featured three “Festival Arts Dialogues”, which discussed the stories behind Carnival celebrations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. They included “Road to Royalty”, “Calypsonians” and “Costume Workshop”, which aired on local PBS affiliate WTJX and streamed on the Division of Festivals’ online platforms.


Ian Turnbull, Director of the Division of Festivals, thanked the Government of the Virgin Islands as well as the sponsors for supporting the Division’s vision. “Last year we were virtual, and now we are here with something new … I believe this could be the blueprint for the Caribbean,” he said, adding that next steps include producing more events across the U.S. Virgin Islands for residents and visitors alike. 

Future Division of Festivals events include the 68th St. John Celebration (June 28 - July 4, 2021); the 69th Crucian Christmas Festival (Dec. 4, 2021 - Jan. 9, 2022); and the 70th Carnival Virgin Islands on St. Thomas (April 2 - May 1, 2022).


Sponsors for “1 Night, 1 Fête” included Coors Light and Hennessy, which are distributed by Bellows International and West Indies Company; Virgin Islands Lottery; FirstBank; Maternal and Child Health (USVI Department of Health); Virgin Islands Next Generation Network (viNGN); and The West Indian Company Limited.

Language tourism is defined as the set of educational, social and cultural activities that people carry out in another country, with the main purpose of learning the language of the place they are visiting. 

This is a segment with great growth potential, in which the Spanish language plays a leading role, and which aims to generate large flows of tourist traffic in the coming years, favouring new business opportunities for operators, companies, institutions and destinations.  

Within this context, and faithful to its vocation to contribute to the revitalization of the tourism industry, FITUR will present the new FITUR LINGUA space at its upcoming "Tourism Recovery Special" edition from May 19 to 23, organized in collaboration with FEDELE, the Spanish Federation of Associations of Spanish Language Schools for Foreigners, aimed at generating a meeting point between tourism industry professionals and the main players in language tourism, which are the schools that teach Spanish as a foreign language in Spain.

To kick off this first 2021 edition, FITUR LINGUA will include a technical session for professionals on Friday, May 21, in which FEDELE and different boldface names from the sector will underscore the important value of language tourism, focusing on Spain's position in the international arena and the potential represented by cultural, linguistic, scenic and historical wealth for Spain to become a world leader in the field of language tourism.  

The Spanish language is spoken by a total of 580 million people, 7.6% of the world's population, according to data from the Instituto Cervantes Yearbook, making it the second mother tongue in the world in terms of number of speakers. It is also studied by 22 million people in as many as 110 countries, and is the third language on the Internet. The rise and projection of Spanish is increasing and the interest in its study is becoming more and more noticeable in such countries as Germany, India, China and the United States.

This is also revealed by the data provided by all the federated centers that attracted a total of 138,589 students, whose expenditure accounted to approximately 236,987,000 euros (ruling out flights). With year-on-year growth of 9.93%, this is no doubt an expanding sector and a new form of tourism: learning Spanish as a foreign language.

Caribbean Travel Marketplace, which runs virtually from May 11 to 14, 2021, is offering buyers from around the world a chance to refresh their portfolios as they prepare for the post-COVID-19 revival of travel and tourism.

Vanessa Ledesma, acting CEO and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), which hosts the annual Caribbean Travel Marketplace, said that this year’s edition will feature buyers looking for properties and experiences that meet the needs of post-pandemic travelers, many of whom will be vaccinated.

“As a result of the pandemic, businesses have had time to reappraise their properties and governments have evaluated their destinations, making changes to reflect the new realities of the tourism sector,” said Ledesma, adding that “this is the perfect opportunity for buyers to learn of these changes, adjust their own approaches and ensure their packages are up-to-date and appealing.”

The association executive noted that a diverse group of buyers have signed up from Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, France, India, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.

“While we are virtual this year due to COVID-19, more buyers and sellers of travel are able to participate, which is why this promises to be a unique Marketplace event,” she stated.

Travel suppliers registered to date will represent Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos, and the United States Virgin Islands.

Caribbean Travel Marketplace will also introduce participants to the association’s membership drive, “CHTA: Forward Together”, which reminds stakeholders why membership in the preeminent trade association is vital for destinations and for the profitability of the private sector, which fuels the Caribbean tourism and hospitality industry.

The new poll results from Ipsos suggest that a majority of Canadians support vaccine passports for international travel. The Ipsos poll surveyed opinions across 28 countries for the World Economic Forum.

As much as 61% of Canadians (26% strongly, 35% somewhat) say they expect vaccine passports will be widely used in Canada by the end of 2021. 

In the same breath, 78% of Canadians (56% strongly, 21% somewhat) say all travellers entering Canada should be required to have a vaccine passport. That 78% aligns exactly with the global average, says Ipsos, noting the results from the other 27 countries in the survey.

Over 72% of Canadians (35% strongly, 37% somewhat) say vaccine passports would be effective in making travel and large events more safe. That’s also in line with the global average (73%). Far fewer Canadians (47%) say shops, restaurants and offices should require a vaccine passport.

The Ipsos survey, taken in late March and early April. polled adults under the age of 75 in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Mainland China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain, the U.S., Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey.

Three Qatar Airways Cargo Boeing 777 freighters departed to India today, carrying approximately 300 tonnes of medical supplies from around the world to support COVID-19 relief efforts. The three flights departed one after the other bound for Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi as part of Qatar Airways Cargo’s WeQare initiative.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Having seen with great sorrow the impact this further wave of COVID-19 infections has had on people in India, we knew we had to be part of the global effort to support the valiant health care workers in the country.

“As the leading air cargo carrier in the world, we are in a unique position to offer immediate humanitarian support through the provision of aircraft to transport much needed medical supplies, as well as coordinating logistical arrangements. We hope today’s shipment and further shipments in the weeks to come will help ease the burden on local medical workers and provide relief to the impacted communities in India.”

Ambassador of India to Qatar, His Excellency Ambassador Dr. Deepak Mittal, said: "We deeply appreciate the gesture of Qatar Airways to carry free of charge essential medical supplies to India and supporting the fight against COVID-19." The cargo shipment included PPE equipment, oxygen canisters and other essential medical items, and consists of donations by individuals and companies around the world in addition to existing cargo orders.

Qatar Airways has been a leader in the fight against COVID-19 and in the early stages of the pandemic and provided similar aid flights to China, shipping supplies to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai in February 2020. Qatar Airways is the first global airline and one of only six carriers in the world to achieve the prestigious 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating by international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax.

This follows HIA’s recent success as the first and only airport in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a Skytrax 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating.

Jamaica is set to lift the travel ban on arrivals from the UK following the success of the vaccination programme in the UK.

It follows the country’s decision to ban UK arrivals due to the Covid-19 pandemic up to April 1. Jamaica will now have to wait to see if it receives the ‘green’ status under the UK government’s new traffic light system that will be used to restart international travel from 17 May at the earliest. A decision is due next month.

Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, said: “On May 1, Jamaica will reopen its borders to international visitors from the United Kingdom. This will enable the critical gateways of Heathrow and Gatwick airports to have transit for passengers coming through and who are fully compliant with health and safety protocols required for international travel.

“Jamaica’s position at this time is critical in relation to the opening up of the summer tourist season and, in fact, the importance of enabling the diaspora, particularly the strong British clientele that have always come to the island. The lifting of the ban is also against the background of the improved vaccination programme in the UK.”

The Caribbean island reopened its borders in June 2020 to international arrivals and has received around 1.5 million visitors since then who have gone through “robust” health and safety protocols.

Bartlett added: “The opening of the borders is important in the context of not just Jamaica’s tourism but Caribbean tourism, as so many of these countries benefit from transiting through Jamaica for British and European nationals.”

Scenic has announced its 2022/2023 Arctic program for its ultra-luxury Scenic Eclipse, The World’s First Discovery Yachts. Scenic Eclipse offers unrivalled exploration in some of the world’s most pristine, remote and unique polar destinations. The 2022/23 season will see the Discovery Yacht offer extraordinary expedition experiences in four new destinations, including the Russian Far East, Japan, Northeast Passage and Alaska. 

With the release of its Arctic & Fjords & Japan, Russian Far East Voyages & Land Journeys brochure, Scenic has unveiled details of its 2022/23 Arctic season, including incredible, unique experiences for guests hosted by its expert Discovery Team. The new destinations for 2022/23 compliment Scenic’s existing programme that takes guests to the heart of the Arctic discovering the majestic fjords of Norway, Greenland’s mighty glaciers and the intriguing geology of Iceland. Scenic Eclipse’s unique experiences are made special by two on board helicopters, a custom-built submarine and a fleet of Zodiacs – enhanced by the insight of the 20-strong Discovery Team that includes geologists, marine biologists, naturalists and glaciologists.  

Highlights of Scenic Eclipse’s 2022/23 season include: 

Russian Arctic – the Northeast Passage 

Traverse nine time zones across the top of Siberia and Russia on a journey through ice-laden waters to Arctic islands so remote few, if any, humans have ever visited. Soak up the wild landscapes along the planet’s greatest migration paths, the legendary Northeast Passage, and be rewarded with polar bear encounters and walrus crowding on ice floes. Meet Chukchi reindeer herders, Inuit fishermen and Russian scientists on this legendary 27-day itinerary. Prices for the Cross the Legendary Northeast Passage voyage from Anchorage in Alaska to Tromso, Norway start from £21,140 per person departing 5 August 2023. Explore more of Alaska by combining this cruise itinerary with Scenic’s seven-day Wilds of Alaska 5-star luxury escorted land journey starting from £25,505 per person. 

The Russian Far East 

Trace the Pacific Ring of Fire from Alaska to Chukotka, south along Kamchatka Peninsula to the Kuril Islands, on an exploration of Siberia’s unique and unspoiled eastern coastline. In Chukotka, cruise magnificent fjords before exploring stunning alpine lakes on guided walks. Soak in one of the many hot springs in Kamchatka which boasts more than 120 volcanoes, many of which are active. In the Kuril Islands, be intrigued as the expert Discovery Team historian reveals abandoned listening posts and submarine bases, Soviet era fish processing plants and Japanese World War II fortresses. Prices for the 17-day Jewels of the Russian Far East voyage from Anchorage to Vladivostok start from £13,045 per person departing 26 May 2023. 


Discover the land of glitzy and ancient well-preserved cultures, coexisting harmoniously in Japan, from ancient samurai traditions to prehistoric archaeologist sites, cutting edge metropolises and cast swathes of untouched natural scenery. Explore Japan’s west coast with the 15-day Japan: A Journey Through Time voyage, departing 19 June 2023. Starting in the bustling seaport of Sapporo, guests will journey to Hakodate to uncover the Western-style architecture from bygone days, before visiting the incredible archaeological dig of Sannai Maruyama – the largest and best-preserved from the Jomon era. Visit Maizuru, Kyoto’s port on the Sea of Japan, before sailing to South Korea for a relaxing day in Busan with its urban beaches and delicious street food culture. Prices for the 15-day voyage start from £11,560 per person. 


The Arctic is an ocean surrounded by continents, with rare opportunities to escape into the immensity of the vast wilderness. Scenic Eclipse is purpose-built for exploring pristine polar destinations and offers unrivalled exploration in the Arctic region. Guests can soar over the cascading waterfalls of the Norwegian fjords, kayak between enormous floating icebergs in Svalbard and discover the Arctic marine-life during a submarine dive in Greenland. The 15-day Arctic Islands voyage takes guests to Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland taking in the unique scenery and Arctic wildlife in search of the elusive polar bear. Explore Greenland’s East Coast where you will witness the world’s largest national park and fjords system on an extraordinary voyage into the Land of Fire and Ice. Prices start from £10,475 per person departing 11 July 2023. 

Ultra-luxury meets discovery in the Arctic 

Scenic Eclipse’s fleet of Zodiacs led by its expert Discovery Team take guests close to the majestic scenery, tundra landscapes and wildlife in this pristine and remarkable region. Guests can also kayak and stand-up paddleboard for a more active way to get up close and personal with the incredible scenery. Take to the skies for an unforgettable experience on one of the two on board helicopters on a flightseeing or landing excursion^ over remote fjords, icebergs, glaciers and volcanoes, allowing guests to explore further inland than ever before. For an underwater experience like no other, dive deep below on board Scenic Neptune^, Scenic Eclipse’s customised submarine to explore the ocean and crystal clear waters and all that lies in them on a journey to discover fascinating marine life. 

Scenic Eclipse’s expert Discovery Team is made up of up to 20 team members on board its Expedition Voyages. Top experts in their field, the team educate guests with their fascinating insights and knowledge, while ensuring a safely guided journey every step of the way. The Discovery Team includes historians, geologists, archaeologists and photographers, as well as several other experts, offering on board lectures in the state-of-the-art theatre for guests to enjoy. 

Scenic Eclipse is currently offering a 20 per cent Super Earlybird saving on selected voyages for guests who book and pay in full 12 months prior to departure. All voyages are truly all-inclusive, with prices including return flights, transfers, gratuities, up to 10 dining experiences, top-shelf beverages, butler service for all guests and all ultra-luxury excursions and activities^. 

All new bookings are covered by Scenic’s Flexible Booking Policy, enabling guests to defer their cruise to another travel date or itinerary up to 60 days prior to departure* and include Scenic’s Deposit Protection Plan.

Leading independent travel agency, Travel Counsellors, reports that 2021 new holiday bookings have now reached almost 80% of pre-pandemic levels (March - April 2019), and three times the number booked the same time last year.

Consumers remain confident that summer holidays both overseas and at home are on the cards, despite current confusion over the yet to be announced green, amber and red list countries to be unveiled next month. As customers bank on getting away this summer, Travel Counsellors top five selling destinations for summer travel currently are:

1.    Spain

2.    Greece

3.    UK

4.    USA

5.    UAE

Appearing third in the list of top selling destinations, Travel Counsellors is continuing to witness a spike in demand for the UK. A recent customer survey* showed that 80% of those questioned have already booked or were likely to book a UK staycation this year, and the company reports that nearly £5m in sales has been made on staycation bookings for 2021 to date. The company offers a large network of 1,500 travel professionals in the UK who can offer unrivalled local expertise and knowledge when it comes to booking closer to home.

The top five staycation destinations currently are:

1.    Cornwall & Isles of Scilly

2.    Devon

3.    Norfolk

4.    Lake District

5.    Isle of Wight

Customers are safe in the knowledge that they can leave all the research and planning to their Travel Counsellor. The recent customer survey showed that some 80% of respondents said that booking with someone they can trust and being assured of complete financial protection are their most important considerations when planning a trip, which demonstrates that the need for expert travel advice is more crucial than ever.  

Kirsten Hughes, Travel Counsellors’ UK Managing Director and Chief Commercial Officer, says: “This year we’ve seen UK staycations enter into our top five selling list for the first time – to date it is our third highest summer ’21 selling destination following Spain and Greece, with a huge amount of interest in UK domestic cruising.    

“With so much to consider, the value of placing travel plans in the hands of a trusted travel professional has never felt more important, and now more than ever customers require the personal interaction, experience and reassurance that our Travel Counsellors can offer throughout the whole experience – from booking to travel, to returning home safely.

“For those wanting to stay closer to home, we have Travel Counsellors located all around the country to provide unrivalled local knowledge. We have developed our UK product and that coupled with our insider tips from the best places to eat to local walks and hidden gems is proving incredibly popular with customers,” Kirsten adds.