Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

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.

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism’s Division of Festivals will be offering residents and visitors one night to “fête” safely during the 69th edition of Carnival Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, which kicks off on April 26 and ends on April 30, 2021.

As the Territory continues to enforce safe health protocols and execute its vaccination initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Division of Festivals, in collaboration with the Department of Health, will host one in-person event to safely engage a select number of vaccinated residents and visitors in the carnival spirit.

Dubbed “1 Night, 1 Fête”, the event will take place on Friday, April 30, 2021, at 7 p.m. at The West Indian Company Limited (WICO) dock on St. Thomas, and feature top-class U.S. Virgin Islands musical groups Cool Session Brass, Legacy Band and Spectrum Band, as well as acclaimed Trinidadian soca star Farmer Nappy. The event will seat 200 vaccinated patrons and comply with COVID-19 protocols, including physical distancing, mask-wearing and proper handwashing hygiene. It will also be streamed live on the Division of Festivals’ online platforms.

According to Ian Turnbull, Director of the Division of Festivals: “Carnivals throughout the region are still being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the Division of Festivals has been proactive and innovative in bringing carnival and special events to our people.”

“1 Night, 1 Fête” is primarily geared at promoting the Division’s “Vaccinate to Party Safe” initiative to help reach the Governor’s goal of vaccinating 50,000 Virgin Islanders by July 1, 2021. “We hope that people are encouraged to take the vaccine so that we can safely resume and enjoy in-person gatherings,” Turnbull added.

The cost of the event is $75, including food and drinks, and persons must be vaccinated to receive a ticket. Proceeds from the event will go towards relief efforts for the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who have been adversely impacted by La Soufrière volcano eruptions.

Notification regarding the availability of tickets will be shared on the Division of Festivals’ Facebook page in the coming days. Attendees, who will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, will be required to appear in person with identification and a copy of their vaccination card at Methodist Training & Outreach Center, #11-A, Kronprindsens Gade.

“We hope we can start to turn the corner from COVID-19 and have some type of safe engagement this year, before we resume our traditional celebrations,” said Joseph Boschulte, Commissioner of Tourism.

Carnival Virgin Islands will also feature three “Festival Arts Dialogues”, discussing the stories behind carnival celebrations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. They include “Road to Royalty”, “Calypsonians” and “Costume Workshop”, which will air on local PBS affiliate WTJX and stream on the Division of Festivals’ online platforms from April 26-28, 2021 at 6 p.m.

Sponsors for “1 Night, 1 Fête” are Coors Light and Hennessy, which are distributed by Bellows International and West Indies Company.

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

The first people to arrive in the UK from India since the country was placed on the travel ‘red list’ have entered hotel quarantine. British and Irish nationals and those with residency rights must isolate in approved accommodation for 10 days after rules changed overnight.

India has seen a second wave of infections, with shortages of medical oxygen leaving some patients untreated. Some British Asians have spoken of the trauma of witnessing India's surge.

Ashree Singh, a physiotherapist living in London, described a state of mental agony" as relatives and friends sent worsening updates from the country on messaging apps. The NHS worker said she had a "feeling of worthlessness and helplessness when you're seeing your family, relatives and friends suffering and dying.

India recently reported 332,730 new cases of coronavirus, setting a world record for a second day running. Deaths were numbered at 2,263 in 24 hours as crematoriums organise mass funeral pyres.

Passengers from one of the first scheduled commercial flights to land in the UK from India since the red list changed were seen being escorted to government-approved hotels at London's Heathrow Airport. Some have spoken of their struggle to leave India amid restrictions on travel and widespread flight cancellations.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the UK stands "ready to support our friends in India with whatever we can. We are actively engaged with how we can support from where we are." The travel rule change means direct flights from India are still permitted, but UK and Irish nationals, as well as those with residency rights, must isolate in government-approved hotels - at their own cost - for 10 days.

Travel to the UK is banned for all others who have been in red list countries in the past 10 days. There are 40 countries on the government's red list across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America. Countries can be added to the list with just a few hours' notice.

There are specific rules for people arriving in each UK nation, including EnglandScotlandNorthern Ireland and Wales.

Public Health England (PHE) confirmed  that a further 55 cases of the virus variant first identified in India - known as B.1.617 - were found in the UK in the week to April 14. PHE experts are currently unsure whether any of the mutations mean the variant can be transmitted more easily, is deadlier, or can evade the effectiveness of vaccines or natural immunity.

Meanwhile, the latest R number range for England was estimated to be 0.8 to 1.0, with a growth rate indicating the number of new infections is shrinking by between 1% and 5% every day. The UK reported a further 2,678 coronavirus cases recently. Another 40 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were recorded, a slight rise on recent days.


River cruise specialist, VIVA Cruises, has unveiled exciting news for the 2022 season: two brand new ships will be joining the fleet in 2022 and two further vessels will be given a fresh new look and sailing exclusively for VIVA Cruises next year. With these additions, VIVA Cruises will be running a total of 238 departures across seven ships for the 2022 season. All itineraries can now be booked online.

VIVA Cruises’ first new build ship, VIVA ONE, will set sail from the port of Düsseldorf in April 2022, offering a variety of exciting itineraries on the Rhine and Moselle rivers. VIVA ONE, whose name refers to being the very first ship built by VIVA Cruises, will feature a modern design in blue tones, two restaurants, a spacious sun deck, and a spa and wellness area, amongst other features. VIVA ONE will have 88 cabins (double beds, suites and junior suites, most of them equipped with French balconies) for a maximum of 176 guests.

VIVA ONE will also be the first ship in the VIVA Cruises fleet to use state-of-the-art hybrid technology that is kinder to the environment. The ship will use using sulphur-free GTL (Gas to Liquid) fuel, which significantly reduces CO² consumption and emissions. VIVA ONE will also see an important reduction of plastic on board and the use of more environmentally friendly materials.

VIVA TWO will be VIVA Cruises’ second new build ship, which will complement the fleet primarily on the Danube river from July 2022. VIVA TWO will feature 95 stylish and comfortable cabins (including eight suites) which will reflect the casual lifestyle of VIVA Cruises. VIVA TWO’s lounge and restaurant area, on two different levels, will be connected by wide set of stairs offering the feeling of light and space.

The culinary offering on board both VIVA ONE and VIVA TWO will have something to suit all tastes. VIVA’s Bistro will offer a casual atmosphere and a wide selection of snacks and smaller dishes available from early morning until late at night - including salads, sandwiches and burgers. Riverside will be the main restaurant on both vessels, featuring a wide selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner menus – including vegetarian and vegan meals. VIVA TWO will also have a third restaurant, MOMENTS, the place to go for top-class specialty food, accompanied with light entertainment. All dining options will be included in the cruise package part of the VIVA All-Inclusive product.

Andrea Kruse, COO of VIVA Cruises, said: “We are very proud to be able to launch our very first two new build ships for the 2022 season. We have taken the time to implement our casual lifestyle and all the necessary safety protocols to the vessels to make them just right for our guests.”

In addition to the two new ships, VIVA Cruises will be also sailing along Europe’s most popular rivers (Rhine, Danube, Main, Moselle, Seine and Rhône) and the North and Baltic Seas in 2022. The range of four-night river cruises from the German cities of Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Koblenz will be significantly expanded next year. These shorter trips are experiencing a great demand as they have proved to be very successful among those new to river cruising.

Longer itineraries within France will be also available next year, but on board two refreshed ships which will be running exclusively for VIVA Cruises in 2022. VIVA VOYAGE will be offering cruises on the Rhône and also in the Mediterranean in the summer; while VIVA GLORIA (formerly SWISS GLORIA) will travel to Le Havre along the Seine.

The 2022 programme will be completed by permanent members of the fleet, VIVA TIARA and VIVA MOMENTS. The former will be running a variety of 7- and 16-night itineraries along the Danube river; while VIVA MOMENTS will be sailing on seven-night itineraries on the Rhine as well as 4-night trips focused on wellness and relaxation (January – March 2022). Finally, SWISS DIAMOND, with capacity for 123 passengers, will continue running its popular itineraries along the Baltic Coast.

VIVA Cruises will offer a total of 238 departures across seven ships throughout 2022. Special discounts for families are also available in all 2022 departures. Children up to the age of three can travel for free in their parents’ cabin; a 50% discount will be applied to children between four and 10 years old; and 30% discount to those between 11 and 15 years old.

All 2022 itineraries will also include VIVA Cruises’ signature VIVA All-Inclusive product, which includes snacks, full board, high-quality alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, minibar, beauty products from luxury cosmetic brand, Rituals, Wi-Fi and all tips and gratuities.

Latest figures from the UK’s largest coach operator show the British public are seizing the opportunity to travel now allowed with the easing of restrictions at step two of the roadmap.

Bookings for travel in the week from Monday 12 April when non-essential retail, outdoor attractions and self-contained accommodation reopened have increased by 37% compared to the previous week. Figures for the weekend when many have the first real opportunity to make a journey somewhere have more than doubled. 

John Boughton, commercial director of National Express UK Coach, comments: “We suspended services for 11 weeks and have been back on the road with a limited timetable and reduced passenger numbers per vehicle for nearly three weeks now. 

“There is clearly a real appetite to get out and about which we are seeing build week on week. Coach stations are reporting a noticeable increase in footfall and more customers buying tickets for on-the-day travel compared to last week. We started back with 8% of our full intercity network operating which will increase to 13% from this weekend as we have already added new routes, including to Yorkshire, Nottingham and Blackpool, and increased the frequency of some services to meet demand.”

Big cities including Bristol, Birmingham, Leicester, Manchester & Leeds are proving most popular this weekend. Demand for leisure destinations such as Bournemouth, Brighton, Blackpool, Skegness and Devon is growing noticeably from mid-May onwards when hotels, hostels, B&Bs, indoor hospitality and entertainment venues can reopen. A new full UK-wide timetable will go on sale later this month, and has been redesigned to offer quicker journey times, increased punctuality and improved connectivity for journeys in 2021. 

“We are going to make coach travel more convenient and even greater value in 2021. We’ve removed the booking fee for any purchases made through a National Express online account and included more options to claim a refund or amend a journey if circumstances change*. We have also automatically extended over 100,000 previously purchased coachcards by 12 months."

There has also been significant investment in making the iconic white coaches the greenest fleet on the road on its return. The average age of a vehicle is only three years old and every one meets the highest possible engine emission standard (Euro VI).

John Boughton continues: “National Express has always been part of being able to see friends and family, go on holiday, attend events and visit attractions. We’re excited to play our part in the UK public’s safe return to travel and help make this happen again.”

Significant covid-secure measures are in place for travel with National Express, including:

·         A reduction in the number of seats available on all coaches and social distancing in both stations and on vehicles. 

·         Enhanced cleaning in both stations and on coaches, including regular aerosol based disinfection -sometimes called ‘fogging’.

·         An additional filter on the air conditioning systems of all coaches to reduce bacteria and corona type viruses; and improve air quality.

·         Temperature screening before allowing travel with anyone with a high temperature reading not allowed to travel and given a full refund.

·         Provision of PPE and use of protective screens on vehicles and in coach stations 

The requirement for customers to wear face coverings when in stations and travelling on coaches, in line with Government guidelines.

Maldives will soon offer visitors vaccinations on arrival as part of its three-pronged initiative aimed at reviving the country’s hard hit travel sector, according to its tourism minister.

The “3V” strategy, which encourages tourists to “visit, vaccinate, and vacation,” will provide a “more convenient” way to visit the country, Abdulla Mausoom told CNBC on Wednesday.

At present, visitors to Maldives must provide a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and proof of hotel booking to gain entry. Mausoom said the country’s Health Protection Agency is set to make an announcement on restriction-free entry to vaccinated arrivals “very soon — maybe even this week.”

Maldives, an archipelago state in South Asia renowned for its tropical beaches and pristine waters, is heavily dependent on its tourism industry. Around 67% of its gross domestic product (GDP) is derived directly and indirectly from the sector.

The tourism minister would not be pushed on a timeline for the visitor vaccination rollout. He noted that the government’s priority is to ensure the entire resident population receives their first and second shots first.

However, once that process is complete, the country will be ready to vaccinate arrivals, he said.

Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett is calling on regional tourism leaders to meet to discuss the impact of the La Soufriere volcanic explosion in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the Caribbean tourism sector.

“A disruption of this magnitude calls for an urgent discussion with regional tourism leaders to examine the implications for Caribbean tourism given the negative impact this is having on lives, livelihoods and ultimately tourism,” said Bartlett.

Thousands of residents have been evacuated since last week Friday when the volcano began erupting. Emergency officials have described the landscape as a “battle zone” and said more damage and destruction are likely.

“In my capacity as Chair of the high-level Organisation of American States Working Group, I have been in touch with the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the World Travel and Tourism Council regarding short to medium-term mitigation. We are also in the process of mobilizing support for SVG through our international network tourism resilience partners,” Bartlett said.

Support has been pouring in for St. Vincent and the Grenadines as families continue to manage the post volcanic effects. Homes across the island, which has a population of around 110,000, have been covered in white-coloured volcanic dust and rock fragments. The ash has also affected life in neighbouring islands, most notably Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada.

The study, commissioned by Amadeus and delivered by Censuswide, provides encouraging news for the industry, with 41% of travellers keen to book international travel within six weeks of restrictions lifting The study demonstrates the importance of understanding traveller concerns around privacy, ease of use and security

As governments and the travel industry explore the benefits of digital health passports, the message from travellers is clear: digital health passports can be a vital tool in opening up travel. The study found that just over 9 in 10 (91%) travellers surveyed said they would be comfortable using a digital health passport for future trips.

This encouraging research provides an incentive to accelerate plans for digital health passports that will help to address traveller concerns. The study provided further good news for the industry as just over 2 in 5 travellers (41%) said they would book international travel within six weeks of restrictions lifting, demonstrating that the appetite to travel remains high.

The survey of 9,055 travellers in France, Spain, Germany, India, UAE, Russia, Singapore, UK and US also contained a note of caution for the industry with over 9 in 10 (93%) travelers having some concerns around how their health data for travel would be stored.

When asked about the receptiveness to storing and sharing digital health data, survey results show:

· Just under three quarters (74%) of travellers’ surveyed would be willing to store their travel health data electronically if it enabled them to pass through the airport faster with fewer face-to-face interactions

· Over 7 in 10 (72%) travellers’ surveyed would be willing to store their travel health data electronically if it enabled them to travel to more destinations

· 68% of travellers’ agreed they would be more likely to share their health data if the airlines they most frequently travel with offered a way to store their travel health data.

Although receptiveness to sharing data is high, the travel industry needs to consider traveler concerns around the use of data. The three main concerns travellers’ have are:

·          Security risks with personal information being hacked (38%)

·          Privacy concerns around what health information needs to be shared (35%)

·          Lack of transparency and control over where the data is shared (30%).


The survey also explored what solutions might alleviate concerns around digital health data and travel in the future and results showed:

·          42% of travellers said a travel app that could be used across the whole journey would greatly improve their overall travel experience and reassure them their information is all in one place

·          41% of travellers agree a travel app would reduce their stress around travel

·          62% of travellers would be more likely to use an app to store their health data if a travel company partnered with a trusted healthcare company.

The research is the second in a series of traveller surveys, where Amadeus takes a regular checkpoint on traveller sentiment and concerns to help the industry rebuild travel in the most effective way. The 2020 Rethink Travel survey revealed how technology can help to increase traveller confidence and Amadeus revisited this question to see how traveller confidence has changed since September 2020. 91% of travellers now say that technology will increase their confidence to travel, an increase from 84% in September 2020.

When asked which technology would increase confidence to travel in the next 12 months, mobile solutions were highlighted as a popular option, with the top three technologies including:

·       Mobile applications that provide on-trip notifications and alerts (45%)

·       Contactless mobile payments (e.g., Apple or Google Pay, Paypal, Venmo) (44%)

·       Mobile boarding (e.g., having your boarding pass on your mobile phone) (43%)

Decius Valmorbida, President, Travel, Amadeus, says: “There is no doubt that COVID-19 will continue to shape the way we travel for the months ahead, just as it influences so many other areas of our lives. Yet while there are still uncertainties, research like this reinforces my optimism that we will build back travel better than before. Collaboration across governments and our industry is the key to restarting travel, as we deliver on traveler expectations outlined in this Rebuild Travel digital health survey, deploying the right technology to enable a truly connected and contactless journey.”

Christophe Bousquet, CTO, Amadeus, comments, “This study highlights once more the key role that technology will play in rebuilding travel. We’ve seen a shift since our last survey, as travellers now place more focus on mobile and touchless technology, crucial areas that will clearly strengthen traveller confidence. It’s also very relevant to see that travellers are open to digital health passports and sharing their data as they move through the journey, once the right safeguards are in place. At Amadeus, we’re committed to rebuilding a better industry, together with our customers and partners.”

To gather more insights into how the travel industry can rebuild, Amadeus, a global leader in travel technology, commissioned research to learn more about travellers’ top concerns around digital health data, their comfort levels with sharing and storing their data, and the solutions that may help to alleviate their concerns for future travel.

Britain will set out plans to restart international travel, using a "traffic-light" system as the country cautiously emerges from lockdown.

The announcement comes as the UK has set a tentative date of May 17 to relaunch international travel. Travel destinations will be ranked green, amber or red according to virus risk, Downing Street said in a statement late Saturday, with the government to provide more details on Monday.

International travel is currently banned except for a handful of permitted reasons. This has created massive pent-up demand for summer holidays abroad. The government said the new system "will help ensure the UK's vaccine progress isn't jeopardised and provide clear guidance for travellers".

People heading to low-risk "green" countries will simply take a virus test before and after they travel, the government said. But those going to amber or red countries will have to self-isolate or quarantine afterwards. Currently people arriving in the UK from abroad are required to self-isolate for 10 days.

British nationals who arrive from a banned "red list" of high-risk countries face costly quarantine in government-approved hotels. The government urged people not to book summer holidays, saying it was "too early to predict" which would be the green-lighted countries.

The government has announced it will allow a number of people to attend public events, such as football matches from this month in trials of a virus certification system. But it has not made clear whether it will issue "virus passports" for international travel, an idea backed by many tourism-dependent countries and airlines but opposed by more than 70 UK MPs.