Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

After 17 months of paused operations, Scenic has today resumed its luxury sailings on Portugal’s Douro River.

To celebrate the return, Scenic has released a series of new short films to showcase the exceptional guest experience, on board health and safety protocols and first-hand accounts of what guests can expect when sailing in Portugal with Scenic. Scenic will operate a combination of eight and 11-day round-trip sailings from Porto on board its spacious, boutique Scenic Azure Star-Ship.

New research from Churchill Motor Insurance reveals the factors which make for the most stress-free driving experience during staycations this year.

With some 29 million people (55 per cent) planning a staycation this year, having as least stressful a journey as possible will be a priority for millions of families. As motorists predict their holiday will be around a 236-mile round trip, this means 9.9billion staycation miles will be driven this year.

The UK is preparing for a bumper summer, with 33 million people expected to enjoy staycations over the next couple of months. That should provide a welcome £30 billion boom for the domestic holiday sector, according to Sykes Holiday Cottages’ 2021 Staycation Index.

In 2019, half of Britons planned to spend their main summer holiday in the UK. In 2021, that proportion has risen to 62%, with the Peak District, Bournemouth, East Anglia and Lyme Regis among the most popular destinations.

St. Kitts and Nevis is welcoming the return of cruise tourism Thursday with the arrival of the Seabourn Odyssey.

The Seabourn Cruise Line ship will make a port call every week during the period July to October 2021. The twin-island federation planned a symbolic ship-to-ship salute, live steelpan performances, and the renowned drummers to greet the Odyssey as it docked at South Friars Bay.

That marks a number of ships increasing arrivals to St. Kitts over the summer, beginning with Celebrity Summit on July 29. Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas will arrive August 11, followed by Celebrity Summit on August 12, Celebrity Equinox on Aug. 24, and Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas on August 26. 

Currently, the minimum protocols for any cruise ship visiting in St. Kitts & Nevis include vaccination for all crew and passengers over the age of 18; all passengers, crew, and children under the age of 18 must present a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours of home-port embarkation; and passengers and crew are not permitted to interact with the general population.

Additionally, only bubble-vaccinated tours and attractions will be offered to cruise passengers. All tours will leave the dispatch area within the secure perimeter and return. In conjunction with the Ministry of Health, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority has worked with stakeholders to develop fully vaccinated ‘Travel Approved’ bubble tours to showcase the island’s one-of-a-kind attractions such as UNESCO World Heritage recognized Brimstone Hill Fortress, the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, and Caribelle Batik.

St. Kitts became a Marquee Port after reaching the one million passenger mark in two cruise seasons in a row, 2017-2019 and 2018-2019. The Federation was anticipating a third consecutive year of a million arrivals before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

WTM London has announced that China Travel Online is the show’s newest buyer partner and media partner in China. China Travel Online is a leading China outbound travel portal that connects destinations, attractions, hotels and other travel suppliers around the world to Chinese operators and professionals.

The new partnership means that China Travel Online will invite up to 50 Chinese buyers to network and do business with suppliers and destinations across the globe during WTM Virtual on 8-9 November.

With the 2021 summer season underway, there is increasing evidence in the marketplace that pent-up demand is roaring back much earlier and at a much quicker pace than forecasters had predicted.

At the same time, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) is encouraged by the data from our member countries, who have worked tirelessly to contain the coronavirus and reopen their economies. Although on the surface, a 60 percent decline in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the same period last year, may not seem encouraging, a closer examination would suggest that the Caribbean is beginning to reverse the slide which began at the end of March 2020.

This is being demonstrated by a decrease in the levels of decline which the Caribbean has been recording for the past fifteen months. The first quarter of 2020 was the last period of regular levels of travel, when 7.3 million international overnight visitors (tourist arrivals) visited the region.

In January and February 2021, arrivals to the region declined by just over 71 per cent when compared to the same two months last year. However, the 16.5 per cent drop in March 2021 compared to March 2020 is an indication of a level of reversal of the trend of declining numbers of tourist arrivals. 

The data collected from twelve destinations reporting tourist arrivals for April 2021 shows that each of these destinations registered growth, when compared to April 2020, when tourism activity was curtailed globally.

Similarly, tourist arrivals bounced back in the destinations reporting data for May. It must be pointed out, however, that the number of stay-over visitors is still below the corresponding levels in 2019.

Recent statements made by key aviation players for whom the Caribbean is an important market, have been encouraging. During our recent series of online discussions, both the CEO of British Airways, Sean Doyle, and the VP of sales for the Caribbean at American Airlines, Christine Valls, spoke of the high levels of interest in travel to the region.

In fact, Ms. Valls indicated that the Caribbean has been booming for American Airlines, with an average 60 per cent load factor by late May 2021, and that the airline planned to have more daily flights to the region this summer than it did in 2019. American Airlines told the CTO this week that it added five new routes to the Caribbean this summer, with a sixth to be added in November – and will serve 35 destinations in the Caribbean.

Based on these indicators, the CTO is guardedly optimistic about the prospects for summer travel, and for the rest of the year into 2022. It is recognised that any optimism must be tempered by the fact that new COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in both the UK and the US, two of the Caribbean's major source markets.

These are signs that the virus remains a major threat which can quickly reverse any progress we have made.