Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

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.

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.”

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.

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. 

Japan 

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. 

Arctic 

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.

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.

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.