This Week in Travel News
Active travelers have a need to know! Every week, there are things that can and do impact the art and act of travelling. Things you need to know about. We’ll report the highlights here, so you can focus on what you do best: Travelling! In case you missed it, here’s what happened This Week in Travel News!
Two Words that Ruled them All: Travel Ban
The last thing we want to do is get political, but President Trump’s travel ban dominated news in America, and made headlines around the world. Whether you support it or not, one thing is certain: It is causing confusion. And that is costing the travel industry money. Lots of it.
In response to the Executive Order and court actions surrounding it, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued a statement recognizing the need to maintain national security, but warning that the order could have unintended consequences that hurt business and leisure travel to the United States. Case in point: The Global Business Travel Association said that U.S. business travel had been increasing before the ban was issued, but fell 2.2 percent the week after. That led to approximately $185 million in lost business bookings over the course of that week. Overall, they estimate that U.S. business travel transactions fell up to eight percent from December to January.
The GBTA also released a set of polls showing nearly half of travel professional sin Europe said their company expects to reduce business travel over the next three months due to the ban. 31-percent of American respondents said the same. That’s not to say that any of the respondents protest the President’s order, but the GBTA argues the uncertainty it creates could continue to have a chilling effect on business travel.
A Tea as Old as Time
On to happier news: Lucky Beauty and the Beast fans in London are in for a treat! The luxurious Town House at The Kensington Hotel is whipping up a Tale as Old as Time Afternoon Tea, inspired by the live-action remake of Disney’s classic. Sweet and savory treats will include Spiced Snowball Macaroons, inspired by Belle and Beast’s snowball fight, a Chocolate Clock Tart resembling Cogsworth, and venison pie Gaston would swoon over. The star of the show is a Vanilla and Gold Jelly, presented in shot glasses with the symbolic rose petal immersed. (Speaking of swooning!)
The Afternoon Tea will, served on Mrs. Potts and Chip Potts dishware, and is £35 per person, or £45 with champagne. The trick will be getting in. The originally scheduled two-week run starting on February 13th quickly sold out. Weekends through March were going quickly, so the menu has been extended to the end of November. You’ll need a reservation, which can only be made online.
Town House is located on the corner of Queen’s Gate and the Old Brompton Road in Kensington.
From Zika to Yellow Fever: Brazil gets hit again.
The Brazilian Ministry of Health is reporting ongoing outbreaks of Yellow Fever, just one year after the Zika Virus epidemic. Officials say it is the worst outbreak in more than a decade. Dozens of people in three Brazilian states have already died, prompting the government to begin emergency vaccinations.
The Centers for Disease Control says travelers to the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo, and Sao Paulo should be vaccinated against Yellow Fever. Anyone 9 months or older may get the vaccination, or a booster if their last Yellow Fever vaccination was more than 10 years ago. The Brazilian Ministry of Health maintains a list of municipalities for which the vaccination is recommended.
Wild monkey populations have been decimated in the state of Espirito Santo, where the disease has not been seen before. After farmers reported the forest was “unusually quiet,” scientist found more than 400 dead monkeys. They’ve warned that endangered species in the region could wiped out by the outbreak. Unfortunately, Yellow Fever vaccinations are only effective on humans, leaving wildlife susceptible to the mosquito-borne virus.
Club Med is Booming Again
Hard to believe that Club Med was once little more than a collection of straw huts on a beach with no amenities, or even electricity. Since those humble 1950s beginnings, the company has seen boom and bust. After being sold for more than $1-billion in 2015, the company is booming again.
This week, Club Méditerranée announced ambitious plans to open fifteen new resorts over the next three years. Included in that list is the re-opening of Club Med Cefalu in Italy. Originally opened in 1957, the new version will be the company’s first 5-Trident resort in Europe. The seaside site overlooks Cefalu Bay and it’s medieval city, and will open in 2018 with three restaurants, four bars, and a signature Club Med Spa.
In France, a new flagship resort will open in December 2017. The Club Med Samoens will be a family-friendly ski resort in the French Alps, about an hour from Geneva airport. The all-inclusive ski resort will have 360-degree Alp views, and separate ski areas for beginners (Le Grand Massif) and experienced skiers (Flaine).
Another 5-Trident Luxury Space, the Club Med Lombok, will open in 2019. Pualu Lombok is a preserved Indonesian island next door to Bali. The new property will be ‘eco-chic’ and offer complete immersion into Indonesian traditions and cultures.
Does Everybody Get a Cruise?
O, The Oprah Magazine has joined an exclusive partnership with Holland America Line, providing exclusive programming for guests. More than 300 Holland America Line cruises sailing in North America from August 2017 through 2018 will feature activities that “bring the magazine to life.” Guests can join staff for meditation, tai chi, healthy cooking demonstrations, and more.
The partnership sets sail in March 2017, when three lucky readers will be chosen to join Lady Oprah and her bestie, Gayle King, on the inaugural O, The Oprah Magazine Share the Adventure Cruise to Alaska in July. (If you’d like to be in the running, you can enter here.) Four special sailings will feature appearances by O, The Oprah Magazine editors, and inspirational thought-leaders and visionaries from the SuperSoul 100:
- November 29, 2017 – 11-Day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale on Koningsdam
- March 3, 2018 – 7-Day Eastern Caribbean roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale on Nieuw Amsterdam
- August 11, 2018 – 7-Day Alaska roundtrip from Seattle on Eurodam
- October 28, 2018 – 7-Day Western Caribbean on Nieuw Amsterdam
Complete details are available at Holland America Line.
Troubles Down Unders
It hasn’t been the best week for cruising in the Southern Hemisphere. A crew member onboard Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas was seriously wounded on Wednesday while the ship was sailing the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island towards Brisbane. The cruise line gave no details except to say the female crew member from India suffered injuries while performing her regular duties, and was taken off the ship by helicopter for hospital care.
On Thursday, an explosion onboard Princess Cruises’ Emerald Princess killed one crew member while the ship was in port in New Zealand. According to a statement from the cruise line, the incident occurred during technical work on the hydraulic system used to launch tender vessels. No passengers were injured in the accident, and there was no indication on whether the cruise – a 12-night round trip from Sydney – would be delayed.
And finally, the Norwegian Star suffered a propulsion system malfunction on Friday, about 20 miles off-shore of Australia. According to a statement from Norwegian Cruise Line, the ship has full power and all onboard services are fully operational while the ship is towed to Melbourne for repairs. The cruise began 6 February in Sydney, and will conclude in Auckland once repairs are complete. Guests were invited to enjoy the extra time in Melbourne, but would be compensated for flights home if they chose. Each passenger was also refunded the cost of the cruise, plus a 50% future cruise credit. No word yet on what the issue is, or when repairs would be complete. However, Norwegian does expect the Star to sail from Auckland on a scheduled cruise departing 18 February.
Surely these incidents, all coming a few days apart, are simply coincidence. Right? We are sure some new South Seas Bermuda Triangle is not “a thing.” Is it? Besides, if you’re going to have to take an extra day ashore, there are worse places to be than Melbourne!
The Weekly Win
We are huge fans of Travel + Leisure and their annual World’s Best Awards. Even more so when they give away stuff, and that’s exactly what’s happening right now. Vote in the 2017 World’s Best, and you’re in the running to win a $10,000 Dream Trip! That sounds a lot like a World’s Best prize to us! Details at the Weekly Win. Good luck!
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