Friday, October 15, 2021

Category: Travel

Saudi Arabia eases Corona restrictions for those coming from abroad

The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation issued new instructions to airlines operating in the airports of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding the procedures in force with those coming to the Kingdom from abroad.

The new procedures included a reduction in the period of quarantine for residents and visitors coming, acceptance of all types of approved and non-approved vaccines in the Kingdom, and the abolition of institutional quarantine on citizens, provided that the new procedures take effect from Thursday 16/2/1443 AH corresponding to 9/23/2021 AD at 12:00 noon.

The most important new modifications
Reducing the quarantine period to 5 days, and it was previously between 7 to 10 days
Acceptance of unapproved vaccines in Saudi Arabia
Entry of escorts with immune relatives is subject to conditions
Amending the quarantine of citizens from the current institutional to the home stone only

The Civil Aviation Authority has noted the amendment of the home quarantine procedures for male and female citizens, so that they are applied to the non-vaccinated, including the home quarantine for a period of 5 days, and that a corona examination is conducted for them on the fifth day with the application of the precautionary measures determined by the Ministry of Health.

Business trips are ‘changed forever… and CEOs are happy with the results

Business travel, as we knew it before, has become a thing of the past. This is with several companies, ranging from Pfizer, Michelin, and LG Electronics, to HSBC, Hershey, Invesco, and Deutsche Bank. Companies around the world are pointing out that innovative new communication tools are making many journeys in the pre-pandemic era a thing of the past.

New reality
For example, consider Akzo Nobel, the largest paint maker in Europe. at its headquarters in Amsterdam; The company’s chief executive, Thierry Vanlanker, has spent the past year watching manufacturing manager David Prenslar, flapping his arms like wings and pointing excitedly, seeming to talk to himself, during “visits” to 124 factories through high-resolution augmented reality equipment used by employees inside the factories. . And therefore; It has become an easy task, which needed to travel by planes around the world before, as it can now be completed in a short time remotely, and without the hassle of traveling. For Vanlanker, there is no turning back.

“Business trips could go down by a third, and internal meetings even more so,” Vanlanker said in an interview. “It’s good for portfolios and helps our sustainability goals. Our clients have had a year of training, so video socialization is no longer an issue, in fact, there’s a huge efficiency factor in that,” he added.

A Bloomberg survey of 45 large companies in the US, Europe, and Asia shows that 84% of these companies plan to spend less on travel after the pandemic. The majority of respondents have already reduced their travel budgets by between 20% and 40%, with two out of three companies reducing both internal and external face-to-face meetings. The ease and efficiency of virtual software, cost savings, and lower carbon emissions were the main reasons cited for the cuts.

According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA); Spending on corporate travel could drop to $1.24 trillion by 2024, from a pre-pandemic peak of $1.43 trillion in 2019.

Vaccine passports open the skies to European planes, while the rest suffer

A mutant delta dynasty is pummeling the aviation sector as major markets resurface.

US-based Southwest Airlines sees a mutant Delta strain behind a series of canceled bookings and slowing demand that could cause it and many other companies to lose quarterly. After leading the industry’s recovery for most of last year, China is now in decline with airline seat supply declining in the last six months, as authorities try to stem the outbreak. Australian airlines also fell as a result of the closure that included more than half of the country.

“There is a possibility that the delta mutant strain could frustrate any recovery,” said John Grant, chief analyst at AOH. If there is any progress, it will be sporadic as the outbreak makes governments nervous about opening borders, he says.

Europe appears to be a rare bright spot because it is the only one that uses so-called vaccine passports on a large scale. The continent has lagged behind in the aviation sector for most of 2020 due to waves of infections, but airlines such as Ryanair Holdings are now benefiting from higher vaccination rates and more flights.

United State
Hopes that the summer recovery, in which passenger traffic reached 80% of pre-pandemic levels, will continue until the fall, are fading as travelers and investors fear an increase in infections. The Bloomberg US airline index fell 5.6% last week, its lowest level since February.

Southwest also warned on August 11 of slowing bookings and rising cancellations, saying it would be difficult to repeat July’s profit this quarter, while tariff-lowering Frontier Group and Spirit Airlines announced that they may achieve losses during the three months to the end of September.

Delta’s mutant strain is also affecting business demand, with Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian saying in an Aug. 9 interview with Fox TV that delays in reopening offices by up to 90 days are causing “a little bit of a rush.” Pausing” in the recovery of corporate and local business travel. The airline is below 50% of the level of business travelers for 2019.

Jessica Alba and Zac Efron star in the Dubai Progress campaign

Under the title “Dubai Presents”, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai (Dubai Tourism) launched its latest new global marketing campaign, with the participation of the stars Jessica Alba and Zac Efron, as part of its continuous efforts to promote the growth and recovery of the global travel sector, where he directed the campaign films. Marketing Director Craig Gillespie – winner of the Guild Award for his latest film Cruella, the campaign includes a series of advertisements and films, which were formulated in a distinctive style and a unique perspective to promote global destinations with attractive content, while at the same time showing the attractions of Dubai with a wonderful cinematic character.

The #Dubai_Advances campaign showcases the creative spirit in a global city famous for its cultural diversity. Filming took five days with a diverse crew of more than 180 people from more than 27 nationalities, including talented celebrities, directors, production, and creative crews that won international awards, as well as a camera crew that included talents. from the UAE.

For her part, actress Jessica Alba said: “Participation in this project and playing several characters in this series gave me the opportunity to get to know Dubai in ways I had never imagined before, whether by wandering in the Spice Market in Old Dubai and performing exciting scenes on the last floor of the Burj Al Arab. There is no doubt that Dubai offers a lot of offers to its visitors of distinctive sites and delicious cuisine in an atmosphere unique to the emirate, and I loved every part of this experience.” As for actor Zac Efron, he said: “My previous visits to Dubai have always been fun and happy, but that This experience seemed different, although Dubai is famous for its liveliness, what really captivated me was the unexpected calm and historical importance of the desert. It is remarkable how we moved from the lively city center to the beach and then to the desert on the same day. This experience also gave me the opportunity to explore the emirate and visit places The beauty that few know and enjoy the hospitality of its residents.”

Director Craig Gillespie said: “This project is characterized by employing the art of cinema to showcase the vitality and diversity of Dubai, which represents for some an ideal luxury destination, while for some it is a romantic travel destination rich with surprises and memories, and for many, it is a destination to explore civilization and historical heritage. Zack’s skill added Jessica’s cast, as well as the amazing landmarks and diverse cast from around the world, are a special touch to the films and we are excited to share this series with the world.”

Dubai recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of resuming its reception of international visitors, as data issued by “Dubai Tourism” showed that the city received 4.1 million visitors during the 12 months from July 2020 to June 2021, as these results confirm Dubai’s distinguished position in leading a recovery phase. The global tourism movement, by providing a safe and attractive experience for travelers.

Egyptian incentives package to attract millionaire tourism

Egypt tends to maximize yacht and cruise ship tourism, or what is known as millionaire tourism, especially with the country’s extensive beaches.

The pandemic caused the collapse of Egyptian tourism in March 2020 and slowed other parts of the economy.

In a meeting, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly reviewed, on Sunday, a plan to maximize yacht and cruise ship tourism to his country.

He pointed out that the meeting aims to discuss the executive plan of the strategy to maximize the use of yacht tourism in Egypt and to study the procedures implemented for yacht tourism compared to competing countries, in order to facilitate procedures and to maximize this type of tourism activity.

He said this type of tourism represents a great added value to tourism in Egypt, especially with the country’s beaches extending on the Mediterranean and Red coasts of Bahrain, stressing the need to facilitate and simplify all procedures in the entry and exit stages of incoming tourists.

Tourism contributes up to 15 percent of Egypt’s national product and is a major source of foreign exchange, but it has been severely affected in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and measures to contain it.

During the meeting, Engineer Kamel Al-Wazir, Minister of Transport, indicated the formation of a higher ministerial committee to develop a strategy to attract yacht tourism.

He explained that the tasks of this ministerial committee are determined in updating the map of each marina – the yacht marina – whether existing or proposed, with the identification of promising areas that represent attractions for yacht tourism, in addition to setting controls and regulations for yacht tourism; To standardize all the necessary requirements.

An official in the Egyptian tourism sector said that the hotel occupancy rate in the cities of Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh ranged between 35% and 40% in the first half of this year.

The affluent marine picnic.. yacht sales rebound despite Corona restrictions
“Occupancy in Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh reached 35-40 percent in the first half of this year, compared to 20-23 percent a year ago,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

“Occupancy in Cairo hotels reached about 45 percent in the first half of this year, compared to 27 percent a year ago.”

The Egyptian government agreed earlier to increase the occupancy rate in tourist hotels, restaurants, and cafes, as well as cinemas, theaters, etc., with a capacity of 70 percent instead of 50 percent, as it was in the past.

Egypt’s Deputy Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ghada Shalaby told Reuters that the sector’s revenues ranged between 3.5 billion and 4 billion dollars in the first half of this year, while the number of tourists received by the country amounted to about 3.5 million.

Greek underwater museum to take a dive in history

A museum located about 30 meters below the surface of the Aegean Sea attracts a different kind of tourism that is a mixture of diving and archeology, described by an Austrian tourist who visited the wreck of the sunken Peristera ship, as a “dive into history”.

On this day when tourists inspected the site, seven divers put on diving suits on the “Tretron” boat, which took them directly to the coasts of Peristera near the island of Alonissos in the Aegean Sea.

Hans-Juergen Verscher, 48, is preparing for his fourth dive to rediscover this buried treasure. The man has become a “legend here,” says Dias, one of the coordinators of the Triton Dive Center.

Fifteen minutes later, the explorers leaped into the water and embarked on their perilous adventure, listening attentively to the wise advice of their supervisors. The remains of this ship’s wreck are located approximately 30 meters at the bottom of the Aegean Sea, which makes diving difficult and requires high-tech.

Beneath their fins, more than 4,000 earthenware jars have been settled in the sand for nearly 2,500 years.

This collection constitutes the first underwater museum in Greece that opened in the summer of 2020.

“It’s a really special and unique site because it mixes diving and archeology,” Fisher told AFP after getting out of the water. You are diving into history. Danish tourist Lisette Frevilund said after the end of the underwater tour: “We are not just in the middle of a marine ecosystem full of coral reefs; Rather, we are observing the remains of an ancient civilization.”

Scuba divers visit the underwater museum in the Aegean Sea, off the coast of the Greek island Alonissos on July 20, 2021. – Resting at a near 30 meter depth for almost 2,500 years the Peristera shipwreck opened to recreational scuba divers during the summer of 2020. (Photo by WILL VASSILOPOULOS / AFP)

As for the Greek George Yasimidis, who came specifically to see the wreck, he confirmed that his expectations were many after the preparatory meeting. And all of it became really impossible during the dive.

Where can you fly? The idea of ​​coexistence with “Covid” revives the Asian travel market

Some Asian countries have begun classifying COVID-19 as a disease that should be dealt with, not eradicated, raising hopes that 2021 will not be the year of canceling travel plans quite as feared a few months ago.

In this regard, Singapore’s Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said in a speech during a session of Parliament earlier this week that it is unlikely that the Coronavirus will disappear any time soon, however; With higher vaccination rates and better treatments, this epidemic can be considered “a flu-like”. Similarly, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged a “new deal” that would shift the country’s strategy from “eliminating the coronavirus” to his administration.

At this time, Thailand reopened the tropical island of Phuket to vaccinated tourists. On Tuesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who is considering starting a long-awaited travel bubble with Singapore, suggested that the two countries should impose vaccination as a prerequisite for participation, while India raised domestic flight capacity to 65% from 50% as the ebb The latest wave of injuries.

Hopes to open the borders
Such moves reinforce expectations of freedom of travel at the end of the year. And at the present time,

Asia can’t help but look with envy at the crowds in Europe’s tourist hotspots, and New York is back in business, but hopes are set to begin reopening borders between countries by Christmas.

“We are seeing recognition, including in countries that have implemented a lot of strict restrictions, that this virus

It does not completely disappear. Instead, it is a virus that we will live with and manage. And in a time frame of 6 to 12 months, the trend will be towards easing restrictions, especially in places where vaccination progress is being made.”

Signs of recovery began to appear in airline seat capacity after it had been stable for more than 12 months, and positive signs began to emerge this month, according to flight tracking company OAG. The outlook for August and September is more robust.

A successful space tourism trip paves the way for Virgin Galactic flights next year

Billionaire Richard Branson and five Virgin Galactic employees took a major test flight into space on Sunday, bolstering the company’s plans to launch cruise flights next year.

The space plane landed above Earth in New Mexico at about 9:38 a.m. local time. Branson and the flight crew are expected to discuss the results of the flight at a news conference later on Sunday.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jonathan Newton.

The Virgin Galactic space plane carrying company founder Richard Branson and five employees as planned has separated from a carrier plane to begin its rocket flight.

The VVS Unity aircraft ignited its rocket engine after separating from the carrier aircraft at an altitude of about 45,000 feet (13,700 meters).

The crew planned to climb to about 290,000 feet, or 55 miles (89 kilometers) above ground, before returning to the New Mexico runway. The flight started at 8:40 am local time and the flight was expected to last more than an hour.

The suborbital flight establishes a historic month in the future of space tourism, as Branson looks to demonstrate the capabilities of Virgin Galactic nine days before Amazon founder Jeff Bezos plans to fly into space on a rocket built by his Blue Origin space project.

Both companies strive to cater to wealthy tourists who are willing to pay top dollar for a short-term tour of weightlessness and unforgettable views of the earth and sky.

Branson, 70, and his fellow crew members experienced about four minutes of weightlessness. After reaching its highest altitude, the unit was designed to orbit and return to the US Aerospace Complex Airport in New Mexico.

The mission, which took about an hour, was the spacecraft’s 22nd test flight and the first with a large crew.

Virgin Galactic has dubbed the flight Unity 22, the first of two tests the company is planning this summer ahead of an astronaut training mission with Italian Air Force personnel later this year.

During the flight, Branson assesses the customer experience during the flights the company plans to launch, from the preparation process to the completion of the journey on the plane.

flight crew
Dave McKay “Mack”, Chief Airline Officer, is one of the first hires at Virgin Galactic. A former RAF test pilot and Boeing 747 pilot for Branson-backed Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited, he grew up in a rural village in northern Scotland and became the first Scottish to fly into space.

Michael Masucci “Soch”, pilot. He is a retired US Air Force officer with more than 10,000 hours of experience flying U-2 and F-16 aircraft, along with dozens of other aircraft types. He joined Virgin in 2013 and traveled to space for the first time in 2019.
Sirisha Bandla, Virgin Vice President of Governmental Affairs. You will be doing “experimental research” during the flight with a plant experiment from the University of Florida. Born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, in southern India, she will become the second Indian-American to travel in space.

Colin Bennett, Virgin Galactic engineer. It evaluates cabin procedures during the test flight. Bennett worked for Virgin Galactic as a process engineer for six years in California, according to his LinkedIn page, and previously worked as an engineer at Virgin Atlantic.
Pete Musa, Virgin’s chief astronaut trainer. That flight is her second into space after one in February 2019. With that flight, she will be the 571st Moses to travel into space, according to Virgin Galactic. She will be the test director on Sunday’s flight and cabin captain. Musa worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for 24 years before joining the company. Her husband is Mike Moses, Virgin Galactic’s head of space missions and safety.

Corona postpones the “travel bubble” between Australia and Singapore until the end of 2021

The Australian Trade Minister announced today, Sunday, that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Sydney indicates the postponement of plans for the “travel bubble” between Australia and Singapore until at least the end of the year.

While opening the travel corridor between the two countries remains a priority, the scale of the virus outbreak, which has forced the country’s largest city to shut down again, means plans are on hold, Dan Tehan told the Sydney Morning Herald.

He added, “It has been rethought because of the third wave of the virus. We hope that at the end of the year we will be able to look again at the issue of the travel bubble with Singapore.”

It is reported that after initial discussions, the two countries have not yet committed to a specific date for opening a travel corridor between them.

While Australia represented an early success story in combating Corona, the slow introduction of the anti-virus vaccine suggests that even with the rest of the world opening its borders, it is expected that Australia’s borders will remain closed until mid-2022.

Only 26 percent of the Australian population got the first dose of the vaccine, compared to about 68.5% in Britain, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker.

Even when Australia’s borders open, the Australian trade minister expects vaccine passports to be a requirement for travel for years to come. “It might be like the little yellow pamphlet of yellow fever.”

Strange water “monsters” … Hippos, famous drug leader Pablo Escobar, swim freely in Colombia

After the death of famous drug leader Pablo Escobar in 1993, the hippos that belonged to him were left unattended and began to breed around the Magdalena River in Colombia. About five years ago, once the first hippo was seen here in the Magdalena River, tourists and people came to the river with great curiosity to try to see this very strange monster in Colombia. Therefore, Isabel Romero created this new project of running a cruise line on the river to see the local animals, but also to see hippos.

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