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.
The Indian Ocean archipelago, which is noted for its beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes, has risen to prominence as one of the most attractive destinations in the world.
Visitor numbers rose 4%, and tourism officials were preparing for what appeared to be a hugely successful year.
But of course, the “Covid-19” pandemic has put an end to nearly every plan or prediction for 2020, and the world as we know it has changed irreversibly.
Like many destinations that rely heavily on revenue from international visitors, the Seychelles, which lie 1,600 kilometers off the coast of Tanzania, have been hit hard by the coronavirus.
While the country of 115 islands managed to ward off the virus relatively well, with only 3,798 cases and 16 deaths, its economic impact was enormous.
According to the Seychelles Tourism Board, the number of inbound tourists decreased by 70% and the sector’s revenues for 2020 decreased by $ 368 million.
“The country has almost ceased in terms of tourism activities,” Seychelles Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism Sylvester Radegund told CNN.
“Since our economy is so dependent on tourism, this means that other activities have slowed down as well, from fishing and agriculture to the arts, restaurants and bars. So we started the year in very bad shape,” said Radegund.
Officials are pulling back all barriers to ensure travelers return quickly and, most importantly, safely.
Starting Thursday, March 25, Seychelles has lifted restrictions on all visitors, except those from South Africa.
Although visitors are required to submit a negative PCR result within 72 hours of their departure, travelers no longer need to be subject to quarantine or movement restrictions during their visit.
On Thursday, just hours after the restrictions were lifted, Radegund said they had received “more than 300 travelers this morning, the largest number the country has seen in a single day in a long time.”
“So far, our weekly numbers have been around 200, so having a plane full of passengers is great,” said Radegund.
The country expects to receive hundreds of more travelers in the coming days.
A ‘robust’ reopening strategy
This step coincides with the end of the plan to launch a “strong” vaccination campaign, which aims to vaccinate at least 70% of Seychelles’ estimated 98,000 people.
Officials put the plan into effect after receiving a donation of about 50,000 doses of vaccine from the government of the United Arab Emirates.
According to a New York Times report, Seychelles is second only to Israel in the race to become the first country whose entire population is vaccinated.
“More than 90% of our population received the first dose of the vaccine, and more than 45% had actually received the second dose,” Radegund said.
He added, “We hope that we have reached our goal within the next few weeks, or certainly within the month of April.”
Of course, the ever-changing border restrictions and the emergence of the third wave of Coronavirus in Europe will likely mean that many travelers will be reluctant to book the vacation for the time being.
But the Seychelles tourism team was encouraged by the number of bookings received so far and believed this was the right time to invite travelers to return.
“The health facilities are in place and the procedures we have implemented are working. We are satisfied that we have achieved the immunity we deserve. So we are comfortable reopening our borders,” said Radegund.
After closing its borders for the first time in March 2020, Seychelles began reopening its borders in stages in June last year with the aim of gradually easing restrictions on visitors from countries considered “low risk”.
Last February, the country reopened its borders and dropped quarantine requirements for all travelers who were fully vaccinated against Covid-1 on the condition that they present a negative “PCR” test result within 72 hours of travel.
Of course, reopening while most of the world is still grappling with the virus will not be without its challenges.
Hayat Hotels Group today announced the official opening of the Alila Napa Valley Hotel in St. Helena, California, the brand’s 1000th hotel in the world.
This coincides with the grand opening of new hotels in the Middle East, such as the Grand Hyatt Al Khobar Hotel and Residences in Saudi Arabia, and Alila Hino Bay Hotel in Amman.
The founder of Hayat Hotels Group, Jay Pritzker, bought the brand’s first hotel in 1957 to fulfill his vision that aims to nurture people to be at their best, and from then to this day, Hayat continues to adhere to this vision.
After more than 60 years, the brand has cemented its ongoing commitment to expanding its growth into destinations that matter to guests, members, customers, and owners alike, thanks to the distinctive designs of Hyatt hotels, the award-winning ‘World of Hyatt’ hotel loyalty program and strategic acquisitions. .
The opening of Alila Napa Valley, the brand’s second hotel in the Americas, is a move to expand the luxury lifestyle brand Alila portfolio. Likewise, Hayat intends to increase its presence in the Middle East with the announcement of the opening of new hotels under the Alila, Grand Hyatt, and Hayat Centric brands.
Ludwig Boldukian, Regional Vice President of Development, Middle East and Africa, said: “We remain focused on expanding our global presence and building our business in the best places that enable us to care for guests and make a positive impact on them and their communities.
With the brand’s new opening and growth plans moving forward in the Middle East and around the world, we are sparing no effort in providing unique experiences that will meet the growing demand for leisure destinations that our guests will visit when they travel again. ”
Flydubai announced that it will start its flights to Tirana, the capital of Albania, to be the first Emirati carrier to provide direct flights to this city.
Flydubai will operate two flights per week between Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Tirana International Airport (TIA), effective March 28.
Commenting on the announcement, Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai, said: “As countries within our aviation department continue to lift travel restrictions, we continue to look for new opportunities to connect previously underserved markets in Dubai. Wataniya operates direct flights between Dubai and Tirana. “
Tirana, the capital of Albania, offers visitors a wide range of heritage and cultural attractions including many museums. Additionally, Albania is famous for its castles and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Nature parks, lakes, and thermal waters attract visitors seeking activities and adventures.
“The start of direct flights between Dubai and Tirana provides a more convenient travel option for Albanian citizens living in the UAE and for many tourists visiting Albania for leisure, business, or transit traffic,” said Ermal Derrida, Ambassador of the Republic of Albania to the United Arab Emirates. People have the opportunity to discover the beauty of Albania, which is located in the heart of the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Albania also offers excellent food and a range of attractions at an affordable price. Albanians are known for their hospitality, which makes visitors from the UAE and GCC countries feel at home. “.
“The flights to Tirana will be available for booking starting today on the airline’s website … and through our travel partners with a flight from Dubai of less than six hours, Tirana has a location,” said Jehun Effendi, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations and E-commerce at flydubai. Central in southeastern Europe with easy access to the beautiful coastlines and mountains along the Adriatic Sea. We look forward to welcoming our passengers on our flights. “
Flydubai provides comfortable and reliable travel services, and passengers will have the option to experience Business Class and enjoy the space and privacy in the cabin, the spacious comfortable seat, and entertainment on board with the latest movies and TV programs available to watch and a range of dining options. Passengers will also benefit from priority check-in service at Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport.
Economy class passengers will enjoy a Recaro-designed seat that provides ideal levels of space and comfort in the air. Flydubai continues to deploy Wi-Fi service across its fleet, allowing passengers to stay in touch during their flight, can surf the web, send emails, use social networks and get the latest news. Passengers can choose from various packages of prices, whether combined, flex or value, according to their travel needs.
The flights on this destination will be part of the codeshare flights with Emirates Airlines, providing passengers with smoother connections through Dubai Airport as a global hub for aviation to 155 destinations between the Emirates network and flydubai networks including Australia, China, the Indian Ocean, Japan, South Asia, and the United States.
The flydubai passenger experience has been redesigned to enable travel in a safe environment that minimizes crew and passenger contact and provides passengers with the confidence to travel every step of their journey. Flydubai provides comprehensive multi-risk travel insurance that includes coverage against COVID-19 to give passengers greater peace of mind when traveling.
A year after world travel abruptly shut down due to the pandemic, American Express is releasing its latest research on grounded travelers’ sentiments about getting back on the road. In the most basic terms: they can’t wait. The American Express Travel: Global Travel Trends Report compiled in seven major markets including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and India found that 76% of respondents are actively creating wish lists of where they want to go when they can and 87% are using that as motivation, giving them something to look forward to.
Where do they want to go? For many, prime destinations are cities with active culinary reputations since culinary travel, on the upswing in recent years, shows no signs of abating. 62% of respondents list eating as their major focus on the next trip. For U.S. travelers, Miami (which, apart from its own dining scene, is currently the site of an influx of major New York restaurants opening outposts such as Carbone, Cote, and Red Rooster;) San Francisco; Chicago, and Houston are the main draws. International travelers are planning trips to Singapore, Mexico City, and Tokyo.
privacy, a key component in the social distanced traveling that did occur in 2020, is also not going away as an important element in travel plans. 75% responded that ultimate privacy is vital in luxury travel plans along with personalized experiences and high cleanliness standards. The good news for travel agents is that 59% indicated that they would use a travel organizer to arrange and customize their next trip instead of doing it themselves. 80% also indicated that they’re willing to go to destinations off-season when they’re less crowded and 69% expressed interest in going to lesser-known destinations or second cities instead of a country’s more famous ones. As Dino Michael, Senior Vice President and Global Category Head of Hilton Luxury Brands explains, “Privacy, exclusivity, and wellness have been pushed to the forefront as consumers look for more intimate, impactful, and purposeful travel. Luxury travel continues to blur the lines between the desire for privacy and experiential opportunities.”
Early in the global pandemic, travel experts scrambled to shape the recovery; Will it be “L” shaped or will it be more “W” shaped?
A year later, perhaps despite a short recovery and a lot of pent-up demand, the travel boom has yet to happen.
However, there is a glimmer of optimism both for the industry and for people eager to dust their bags, travelers are now starting to book trips they hope to take months or more in the future.
Few markets, including Africa and Antarctica, are doing so well that their stocks have sold out most of the upcoming peak seasons – winter and summer respectively in the southern part. Some destinations are also booming now.
In Miami, as an example, with only four exceptions, all of its fifteen five-star hotels, which can be booked on the Expedia website, were booked during the President’s Day weekend. The rooms available were limited to the most expensive only.
In St. Regis Ball Harbor, only a handful of suites valued at $ 3,500 a night were booked, and the remaining stock at One Hotel South Beach was mostly limited to the 4,500-square-foot Presidential Suite at a cost of $ 50,617. Per night, that’s nearly half a million dollars to book for the entire February vacation.
The future of travel in the time of “Corona” For US travelers, Miami is the prudent return point for tourism, according to an informal survey of more than a dozen travel service providers, online booking sites, industry groups, analysts, and consultants.
These people said that despite the continued effective lockdown of desirable destinations across Australia and much of Europe, enthusiastic travelers are exploring opportunities around the world, and their choices are dominated by open borders and a feeling of safety to a large extent.
And travelers eager to return to their favorite spots simply place early bets, hoping their destinations will welcome them when the time comes.
Among the most popular options are the wide open spaces. There are also signs of increased demand in destinations with high vaccine use.
Hair salons expect a large influx with re-opening; Where the results of a survey revealed that one in 3 Germans would like to go to a barber.
Hairdressing salons in Germany will resume their work from Monday, after a nearly 6-week closure due to restrictions imposed to contain the Corona pandemic.
And salons have been closed since March 23 due to the Corona pandemic, and they open their doors today, subject to conditions.
The sector expects a large influx of customers with the reopening, as the results of a survey revealed that one in 3 Germans would like to go to a barber. The results indicated that 10% said that they booked an appointment, 4% said that they wanted to book an appointment but were unable to, while 18% said that they did not book an appointment but that they “want to go to the barber soon after the opening.”
“There will be inconsistencies,” the executive director of the German Association of Hairdressers, Jörg Müller, told the German news agency DPA.
An innovative mask to prevent corona while shaving However, due to the new regulations in the Corona crisis, salons will only be able to provide service to a limited number of customers.
According to Mueller’s data, many salons will be forced to reduce the number of chairs available to their customers to the limit stipulated by the new regulations, and salons will now be prohibited from providing services that require proximity to the face, such as eyebrow dye, eyelashes, face shaving, and beard care.
According to the results of the poll conducted by the YouGov Institute for Opinion Measurement for the German News Agency, about 70% of Germans said that they missed a visit to the barber during the Corona crisis, with 15% saying that they missed her “severely”, while 28% said that they “somewhat” missed it.
The results showed that men were more inclined to visit barbershops compared to women, as the percentage of men who were eager to visit the barbershop was 47%, while this percentage among women was 40%.
Canada decided to extend the ban on cruise ships until February 2022, due to Covid-19, which will lead to the suspension of popular summer trips to Alaska for another year.
The Canadian government said in a statement on Wednesday evening: The ban will allow the authorities to focus on rolling out the Coronavirus vaccine and limiting the spread of new virus variants.
The decision is a setback for an industry trying to return to work, after being stuck in dry docks for nearly a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alaska is one of the industry’s top destinations – attracting a record 1.33 million cruise passengers in 2019 – and the ban will also affect cruise ships in New England, which travel north to Montreal and other destinations.
In this context, Carnival Corp, the largest cruise operator, said in an e-mail: “This extension, if it is not modified with the improvement in the conditions of the epidemic, or through the measures taken by the US authorities, it is will likely require our company to cancel the cruise holiday seasons in Alaska and Canada / New England this year. “
Hopes to return again For its part, the company, “Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings”, which also sails to Alaska, said that it is studying the orders issued and has not yet canceled the cruises heading to Canadian ports.
The Norwegian company added, “We are currently exploring several initiatives that may allow such cruises to continue, especially in the important Alaska season.” The company stated: “Given the current liquidity situation, we will also continue to work with the Canadian government to amend its current suspension.”
Royal Caribbean Cruises did not comment directly upon requesting its comment on this news. The outbreak of Covid-19 onboard cruise ships early at the beginning of the epidemic resulted in deaths among passengers and crew members, and many ships were stranded as a port after port drove them away, which eventually stopped their travel. The industry is still stalled in the United States, but cruise companies have aimed to gradually return to service, returning most of their fleets to the sea by the end of the year.
Maritime Law And maritime law prohibits foreign-flagged ships from transporting passengers directly between two US ports, so Alaska cruises usually stop in Canada. Alaska accounts for about 5% of the world’s popular cruise lines, according to the International Cruise Line Association, the trade group known for short as CLIA.
“While this is out of our control, we remain committed to operating any portion of our Alaska season, we hope that the positive progress in connection with the pandemic will accelerate to such an extent that it will allow the Canadian Minister of Transport to revoke this temporary order and allow the resumption of flight holidays,” Carnival Corp said. Navy in 2021. “
In Finland, during its dark and cold winters, and in the midst of a pandemic and what the world is experiencing, the ship workers of the “Mayer Turku” company are working hard to install a giant roller coaster onboard a cruise ship, the first of its kind in the world.
Their other colleagues are installing a beverage plant using filtered seawater, which will serve an enormous audience of 6,500 passengers on board this vessel.
Passenger health protection Carnival is planning its inaugural flight in April, with the introduction of week-long routes throughout the Caribbean. However, this matter maybe just a dream, given that the CDC will oblige all ships to submit requests for certificates (the details of which have not yet been determined), as well as conduct test flights to prove the ships’ preparedness for the epidemic.
The first natural gas cruise ship This ship may also be the first cruise ship in North America to operate on liquefied natural gas, which reduces fine particles by more than 95% and reduces 20% of carbon emissions, compared to marine diesel fuel.
Build a roller coaster on a ship The “Ultimate Sea Coaster” contains small buggies that accommodate two people, and takes them on a journey of sharp turns and turns on a track length of 243 meters.
The speed of the roller coaster can be adapted for children or experienced thrill-seekers, as the accelerator pedal inside their vehicles allows the speed to be controlled. Where these vehicles can be driven using a turbocharged engine and can reach speeds of 40 miles per hour.
This roller coaster may not be the largest or the largest on land, but it exerts its superiority in the oceans. And there is a good reason why no one has ever built a roller coaster on a cruise ship.