Super User

Super User

Thursday, 27 February 2020 14:14

Test Full Width

Orosi Valley Paradise Experience

Costa Rica is a cultural and natural paradise, but most travelers only see it from a traditional tourist perspective, missing much of the key beauty and challenges that are its reality. Globe Aware's Costa Rica volunteer travel programs offer a unique opportunity to help small communities improve their well-being and create a sustainable future in ecologically important areas.

Volunteer Work Projects in Orosi Valley

About an hour from the city of San Jose, in a gorgeous, hidden valley (Orosi), rests the tiny community of El Yaz, known for its clean water, rich soil, eternal spring-like temperatures (about 75 degrees every day) and organic, agricultural way of life. Although the villagers love their natural paradise, they have struggled to make ends meet, as even low paying jobs are rare. Most villagers may not live in abject poverty, but have no access to hot water, cars, or many of the amenities to which a North American may be accustomed.

  • IMG_0734
  • Photo_Mar_29,_11_55_56_AM
  • Photo_Mar_17,_1_11_38_PM
  • DSCN0812
  • Photo_Apr_05,_2_55_42_PM
  • Photo_Apr_21,_2_19_20_PM

Globe Aware is building a multi-use center which, in addition to providing refuge for those affected by earthquakes and natural disasters, etc, will be where many locals receive sustainable job skills. The government has agreed to provide ongoing maintenance costs and instructors for training locals in plumbing, farming, construction, sewing, and many other self-sustaining technical job skills when the building is complete.

As side projects to the heavy manual labor of construction, volunteers will work in a variety of community development projects such as:

  • English teaching at public schools
  • Maintenance to Community Facilities
  •  Maintenance and upgrades to local families homes’
  •  Arts and crafts / activities or fitting reading glasses for elderly people group
  •  Chicken coop construction for local families

Projects will vary depending on the number of volunteers, which projects were finished with the prior group, what priorities have changed, weather conditions, which supplies are available, and often the interest and fitness level of the volunteers. For these reasons, specific projects are often not fixed until the week prior to your arrival and can even change upon arrival.

  • Ian_in_CA_2014_and_Costa_Rica_Trip_2015_065
  • DSCN6610
  • UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_7062
  • Photo_Mar_09,_8_38_30_AM_(1)
  • 11224307_10153517927753115_4973445702407607021_n
  • 122215Project12

Some Completed Orosi Valley Volunteer Work Projects:

  • Promote requested perma-culture gardening to locals through demonstrations
  • Organize butterfly garden
  • Repair pedestrian bridges
  • Provide environmental education and conservation
  • Solar cooking projects
  • Bury and installed new PVC water pipe to bring new clean water source into community
  • Paint school and build fence around it
  • Plant trees
  • Build book shelves for school
  • Make and install road signs to community
  • Paint communal hall
  • Build recycling stations
  • Build waste receptacles
  • Paint and install identifying signs in rain forest

Meet some of Globe Aware's service vacation volunteer coordinators - click here..

Volunteer Holiday Food and Lodging

Volunteer vacationers in this paradise location stay in one of two side by side mountain top houses. Built in traditional Costa Rican style, furnished with fans & comfortable beds. These include Western-style bathrooms and showers, and hot water. On the 9 acre property are many fruit trees, spectacular views, hiking paths, many tropical birds, a covered Gazebo social area, basketball court, and hammocks. Volunteers are fed plenty of fresh, healthy, abundant, Costa Rican dishes, heavy with fresh fruits, vegetables, rice and beans, with some chicken, egg and beef dishes. Electricity is available, though on a more limited basis than you may be used to at home. Laundry facilities are available on site.

Possible Leisure Activities During Your Service Vacation

  • Excursion to Irazu Volcano or Tapanti Rainforrest, Cachi Dam Lake
  • Nature hikes
  • Bathe in the many nearby natural hot springs
  • Cheese making
  • Traditional sugar cane processing
  • Bird-watching
  • Incredible star gazing
  • Coffee tasting, coffee plantation tour
  • Challote farm
  • Relaxing in a hammock
  • Visit one of the last remaining colonial towns, Orosi, and its famous church
  • Guayabo, the nation’s most famous archeological site

Sample Costa Rica Orosi Valley Itinerary - Click Here

Arranging Your Volunteer Vacation Airfare

You will need to arrange to be at the meet-up point in San Jose by 2:30 pm on the Saturday your program begins. The program ends the following Saturday morning and it takes approximately 1.5 hours to return to San Jose. The airport is one of the return drop-off stops our driver will make.

For return flight home, unless you are staying to tour independently a few days afterward, book your return flight for 7:00 am or later on the Saturday the program ends. It is not unusual for volunteers to make the airport transfer starting at 4am for a 7am flight (the trip takes only one hour at this time of day.)

 

 Spain is a popular tourist destination, second only to France.


This country’s tourist arrivals hit a new record high in 2019 - can you guess where?

TOURISM is a key element to every country's infrastructure, providing an opportunity to increase revenue and awareness to what the country has to offer - and one particular location reached a tourism record high.

By LEAH SINCLAIR
Express
February 4, 2020

The number of international visitors to Spain hit a record high of 83.7 million in 2019, Industry and Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said last month.

According to Reuters, tourist arrivals rose one percent last year. Spain is officially the world’s second-most visited country after France.

“We address 2020 with optimism, because we have a strong and consolidated sector, capable of tackling the challenges ahead of us,” said Maroto.

The minister added that one of Spain’s main priorities will be to lure visitors from new countries along with working to have visitors all year long and not only in the summer season.

The Secretary of State for Tourism, Isabel Oliver said: “This magnificent data allows us to face 2020 with solid foundations and with the confidence that we have a strong sector capable of maintaining Spain as a world leader in tourism competitiveness."

Britons still represent the highest proportion of tourists visiting Spain, with 18 million Britons choosing Spain to visit in 2019. However, this was a half a million less than in 2018.

Additionally, Spain has seen more visitors from Asia and the United States which offset the decline of travellers from Britain and Germany.

spain fields

A recent study from CompareTheMarket.com found that Spain remains as one of the key holiday destinations for Britons of all generations.

Spain is most visited by those aged 65 and over and in 2018 it was least visited by 24 to 34 year-olds, accounting for only 13.6 percent of their holidays – but it was still one of their top choices.

Other countries which were popular among all demographics were France, which like Spain, is popular across all age groups, and again fares best among the 65 and over group. 12.5 percent of their holidays were to France in 2018. And like Spain, 25 to 34 year olds visited France least, with only 10 percent of their holidays taking place across the Channel.

For those looking for ways to save money on holiday, the experts from Travelzoo say that you could be saving money before the holiday has even begun.

During the booking process, it can be hard to know whether you are overspending on flights and hotels, especially with so many to choose from.

According to Mr Clarke, though, timing is everything when it comes to making savings.

“Look at shoulder season – this is the time outside of peak, either side of the main holiday periods,” Mr Clarke told Express.co.uk.

“There are some serious bargains available if you can be flexible with your time.”

Shoulder time is an industry term which tends to mean the period outside of school holidays.

During school holidays, popularity for flights and hotels skyrockets, dragging the cost with them.

However, the time between these periods is the perfect opportunity to get your hands on a budget-friendly trip.

“Traditionally this means outside of school holidays and peaks,” explains Mr Clarke.

However, some destinations prices are affected on a seasonal basis too.

“Places like the med are wonderful in May and October,” Mr Clarke continued.

“Always wanted to go to New York? Prices plummet in Jan and Feb due to the cold.

“But if you prepared to wrap up warm there are some seriously good packages.

“And a winter day in New York is usually bright blue skies so it can be a lovely experience.

“Or try Iceland in October before the peak season hits – you can still see the Northern lights but also there the benefit of whale season too before it all freezes over!”

Thursday, 27 February 2020 11:27

Q: What about coronavirus?

Regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and measures we are taking to keep our Globe Aware community healthy and safe

We have been monitoring the coronavirus situation closely since the outbreak began. The U.S. State Department considers the risk of travel to all of our open locations at this moment to be low and there are currently no travel restrictions to those countries. As of February 27th, there are far more confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States than in the following countries where we operate in Asia: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam or in Europe (Romania). We have currently suspended our China program. To date, there are no reported cases in any of our Latin American or African locations. This is clearly an evolving situation and we will continue to watch closely. If there is a need to make any changes to our programs or itineraries, we will certainly communicate with you immediately. The safety and health of your children is obviously our first concern.

The majority of cases are considered mild, those 70 and older and particularly those with underlying health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are considered at higher risk. Very few children have been effected.

The State Department, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have issued regular updates to increase public awareness about lowering the potential risk of spreading the virus. The CDC, WHO, and U.S. Department of State have provided specific advice for international travel, enhanced entry screening procedures at airports nationwide, and detailed guidance to help minimize the spread of the virus in the general public.

Should the State Department issue a new advisory against travel to a given country, airlines will usually cancel flights, issue refunds or rebooking credit, depending on a variety of factors. There are currently CDC travel guidance warnings for China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran and Hong Kong. Globe Aware, like the airlines, follows the lead of the CDC and State Department recommendations.

If traveling to any areas where disease transmission is present, the CDC recommends that Americans:

Avoid sick people
Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands
Wash your hands often

Globe Aware’s group insurance policy with Axis addresses the medical care of anyone who might become sick, and would attempt a medical evacuation if medically mandated. For those concerned about trip cancellation/trip interruption, additional coverage can be secured through a variety of sources, including, but not limited to: Nationwide and HTH Gold. The source you can use to evaluate options is: www.squaremouth.com

To encourage more visitors from the European Union and Western Europe, Turkey is relaxing its Visa rules by abolishing associated fees.


By Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
The Independent

February 20 2020

One of the most popular countries for British holidaymakers will abolish its current visa rules for UK tourists from next month.

At present, British travellers must apply online for a permit to travel, which costs US$35 (£27).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara announced: “As of 2 March 2020, Turkey has decided to exempt visa requirements for the members of the European Union Schengen area, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland as well as the United Kingdom citizens for touristic travels to Turkey for every 90 days within 180 day period.

“This step aims at increasing our tourism potential with these countries as well as further developing our trade, economic and cultural relations.”

More than two million Britons travelled to Turkey in 2019.

aya sofia 915076 1920Turkey has applied fees to British visitors for decades. Until recently, UK tourists had to pay £10 in cash to enter the country.

The move has been welcomed by leading travel figures. Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: “The removal of Turkish visa charges is fantastic news for British holidaymakers, as it means more money in their pockets.

“Turkey is one of our most popular destinations, and this news makes it much easier for hard-working British families to enjoy a well-deserved holiday to this beautiful country.”

Ted Wake, director of Kirker Holidays, called the visa abolition “a very smart move at a time when Turkey needs a boost to tourism throughout the country”.

He said: “It’s a decision which would, no doubt, have also pleased Turkey’s 16th-century ruler, Suleiman the Magnificent.

“Arguably Turkey’s most distinguished and outward looking leader of all time, Suleiman has left behind an extraordinary array of treasures, especially in Istanbul.”

The move comes as British travellers face much tougher red tape when entering the European Union from 1 January 2021.

Thursday, 20 February 2020 10:45

Travelling to a Disaster Zone

Considering a vacation to a country or region recently damaged by a natural disaster? Here are some of the ethical questions.


Australia’s recent bushfires are the latest in a spate of terrifying natural disasters across the planet. Can tourists help more by visiting or by donating?

By Tim McDonald
BBC - TRAVEL
19 February 2020

Lorena Granados and Gaspar Roman have set up a temporary leather goods stall by the edge of the road in Mogo, a bushfire-ravaged town in New South Wales, Australia. It sits in front of their old store, which was reduced to warped corrugated iron and ashes when the fires tore through this tiny tourist town of about 300 on New Year’s Eve.

“We can continue to have a purpose in life and get up in the morning and have something to do,” Granados told me. The next few months will be a grind, they said. They’ll be seeking government assistance and dealing with insurers and depending on help from family and friends.

forest fire 3905864 1920The small stall won’t replace their large store and leather workshop. But it’s a start. And every purchase is a step towards returning to normal. Their message is clear: Mogo is safe, and tourist dollars are badly needed, so please visit.

Australia’s recent bushfires, which started raging in September, are the latest in a spate of terrifying natural disasters across the planet. The fires were particularly devastating in New South Wales and Victoria, killing at least 33 people and destroying thousands of homes. More than 11 million hectares of land – an area nearly the size of England – were burnt.

Now that the immediate danger seems to be over in NSW and Victoria, locals want tourists to return to make up for a summer season that was lost to a disaster.

But can tourists help more by visiting or by donating? And is it ethical to travel in a disaster zone, where people are traumatised by their recent experiences?

Tourists can definitely make a difference to these disaster-hit regions, but there are a number of things they should consider before they go.

Should I cancel my trip?

If safety is a concern, then probably not. Heavy rains have put out dozens of the remaining fires in NSW and helped firefighters effectively contain many more. There are only a few areas where bushfires persist. Tourists can check with local authorities in New South Wales and Victoria to see any areas of concern.

Although the immediate bushfire crisis is over, travellers should be prepared to see burnt forests and destroyed homes (Credit: Credit: Phillip Wittke/Getty Images)

Although the immediate bushfire crisis is over, travellers should be prepared to see burnt forests and destroyed homes (Credit: Phillip Wittke/Getty Images)

Hotels and airports in urban centres are open, and the major highways connecting the NSW South Coast region to Sydney and Canberra re-opened in mid-January after catastrophic bushfires, although a few back roads are still closed. In Victoria, the major highways are open, although many roads through the Gippsland region remain shut. And, after it was closed for more than a month, the road to Mallacoota, a town in Victoria from where more than 1,500 people were evacuated by naval ship, was reopened in the second week of February.

Even after a fire has passed through, there are other hazards, like falling branches from fire-damaged trees, downed power lines and asbestos in damaged housing. These are generally avoidable, however, as the authorities seal off areas that are might be dangerous.

Tourists wanted

The fires scuppered many holiday plans but affected areas have slowly been reopening to tourists. One of the hardest hit regions was the South Coast of NSW, which is a summer playground for Sydney and Canberra residents as well as international tourists. Many who come here are repeat customers, heading down year after year to holiday on their favourite stretch of beach, on a coastline that’s known for clear water and soft sand.

We’re just asking people to come to the region and do what they would normally do

“For a lot of people, [NSW’s South Coast] is like a home away from home. And we want people to know that’s still here. There are people that will smile at you on the beach, and cafes that will remember your order from the last time you were here,” said Shannan Perry-Hall, acting tourism manager for Shoalhaven Council, an area several hours drive south of Sydney that includes roughly 80km of coastline.

Many towns were shut down for weeks during the November to February summer season and they need customers to help make up for their lost business. In Shoalhaven, Perry-Hall says, local businesses do nearly a third of their annual trade in the January peak season. This summer, they lost up to 80% of that business.

Jervis Bay on New South Wales’ South Coast is a summer playground for Sydney and Canberra residents (Credit: Credit: Roman Skorzus/Getty Images)

Jervis Bay on New South Wales’ South Coast is a summer playground for Sydney and Canberra residents as well as international tourists (Credit: Roman Skorzus/Getty Images)

“We’re just asking people to come to the region and do what they would normally do,” she said.

Many tourists are happy to help.

fire 1265718 1920Maree Gwynn travelled from her home in Canberra to Batemans Bay, which is perhaps the most accessible beachside retreat for residents of the capital. She came for a few days of rest and relaxation several weeks after the fires swept through the area. It was a deliberate choice, because she wanted to help an area that had not only faced a natural disaster, but also economic stress.

“It’s a considered decision. I will buy gifts for my family. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s something to put into the town,” she said.

Many others are doing the same. A social media campaign has emerged, encouraging people to head to the region with empty eskies (the Australian term for cooler) to fill up on food from local businesses. Tourism bodies are urging Australians to holiday domestically this year, and local councils want people to return.

Go, or just give?

It’s possible to help fire-affected towns without visiting. Cobargo is one of the hardest-hit towns in southern NSW. The fires destroyed 823 buildings (both homes and other structures such as sheds) according to the Bega Valley Shire Council.

Peter Logue is a director of the town’s folk festival, which was due to take place at the end of February. The organisers cancelled it, because some of them lost their homes in the fires, but also because the fire danger hadn’t passed and looked like it could potentially persist for months.

The festival’s website now points people to a community bushfire recovery fund, aimed at helping the town rebuild. And there are plenty of other options for anyone wanting to donate, whether that’s to help injured wildlife or aid indigenous communities affected by the fires. For those who want to donate goods (something some charities discourage), Givit helps link people with items they need.

Major highways in NSW and Victoria are open, although some back roads remain closed (Credit: Credit: mikulas1/Getty Images)

Major highways in NSW and Victoria are open, although some back roads remain closed (Credit: mikulas1/Getty Images)

A few weeks ago, Logue would have advised people to donate rather than visit. But now that the fires have subsided, he thinks the town desperately needs visitors. He said many businesses have faced a drastic downturn because tourists didn’t come over the summer, but they aren’t eligible for government assistance, which is focused on people who have lost property. He said more customers will help revive the town, and tourists will enjoy themselves despite the damage.

“There’s plenty to do, and plenty to see. Music venues are open again. Cafes are open,” he said.

Is it altruism or voyeurism?

I witnessed people pulled up on the side of the road watching a bushfire at village of Bodalla, about four hours’ drive south of Sydney – and in truth, I was among them. I also watched a group of people snapping pictures of burnt houses near Batemans Bay. Perhaps it’s human nature to stop and stare.

Visiting the scene of a disaster or an atrocity can be powerful and moving. But there’s a difference between visiting a museum commemorating a catastrophe years after it happened and traipsing through someone’s recent tragedy, said Matt Beard from the Ethics Centre, a Sydney-based non-profit.

“Visiting a bushfire site to have this experience now might mean putting your own moral experience above the basic needs of those who have been directly affected by what's happened,” he said.

Some in political leadership positions appear to agree. The Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has encouraged people to return to bushfire-affected towns. But he wants them to spend money rather than just being “stickybeaks”.

Given the scale of the fires, visitors won’t be able to avoid seeing burnt forests, and it’s likely that they’ll see destroyed homes too. They should bear in mind that for some locals, the memories will be recent and very raw.

How else can I help?

Ursula Vonbergen and Heinz Wigner are Swiss tourists volunteering with BlazeAid, a rural charity that helps farmers get back on their feet after natural disasters. The married couple took a detour on their three-month tour of Australia to work for several weeks with the charity.

“It was a very good experience,” said Vonbergen, explaining that they made new friends, enjoyed the work and came away with the satisfaction of knowing that they helped people in need.

At present, there are more than 20 BlazeAid camps across the fire zone, with about 50 people at the Braidwood camp, located between Canberra and the coast, where Vonbergen and Wigner are volunteering. Most volunteers are tourists on lengthy trips in caravans or campervans, who have put their travels on pause to help. Some are older “grey nomads”. Most of the work here has been stripping out burnt fences and replacing them with new ones, a labour-intensive task that many farmers are faced with after a bushfire passes.

Small towns and villages on Australia’s east coast were filled with smoke and illuminated by otherworldly red and orange skies (Credit: Credit: Tim McDonald)

Small towns and villages on Australia’s east coast were filled with smoke and illuminated by otherworldly red and orange skies (Credit: Tim McDonald)

According to camp operators, the work doesn’t require any special skills. Anyone who’s reasonably fit can help, and the work has an immediate positive impact on the farmers who were affected.

But volunteering or working in a disaster zone is sometimes a more fraught decision. Although many people are willing to put their hands up to help, they may not have the skills or the equipment to really make a difference.

During the response to Indonesia’s tsunami and earthquake in Palu in 2018, for example, the authorities kicked out a number of aid groups and volunteers because they didn’t seek permission, and in some cases because they didn’t have the equipment to take care of their own needs and to help others.

“As a general ethical principle, it's just as important that you're competentin being able to offer help as it is that you're well-intended,” Beard said.

It’s for this reason that volunteering opportunities in the bushfire zone are fairly limited. For example, the Red Cross and WIRES (an Australian wildlife rescue organisation) won’t send untrained volunteers into emergency zones.

The Victorian government encourages anyone who wants to volunteer to get involved with an emergency volunteering organisation well in advance of any disaster. Anyone who does have specific skills that might be helpful can register with Australia’s peak volunteering body.

Complex decisions

Lorena Granados stands among several old sewing machines. They were completely destroyed by the fire and are useless now. She shows me a video on her phone of their panicked retreat from the town when they realised they wouldn’t be able to save the business they worked so hard to build.

She tears up at times. It was clearly a traumatising experience, and now she’s dealing with the financial fallout. Tourist dollars could help her small community of Mogo rebuild. And there are many other towns going through hard times.

“All the little towns are relying on tourism to come back to get us back on our feet. If people want to help, this is one way you can help,” she said.

Many other business owners will feel the same.

Monday, 17 February 2020 10:55

Global tourism and the coronavirus

What impact will the coronavirus have on tourism in 2020? Some predict the effects will be felt globally, into 2021.



The Coronavirus’s Effect on Tourism Will Carry Into 2021, Experts Say And it won’t just affect China, either.

By Nikki Ekstein
February 13, 2020
Blookberg

Coronavirus May Affect Tourism Into 2021

Earlier this week, even as infections of the novel coronavirus seemed to be slowing, the effects of the epidemic on the global tourism industry were accelerating rapidly.mouth guard 4787642 1920

The impact of the pneumonia-like disease caused by the virus, called Covid-19, is already being felt across the Asian continent, where leisure and business travel contributed $884 billion to gross domestic product in 2017, the most recent year for which data has been compiled by the World Travel and Tourism Council. (Projections for 2018 are about $1 trillion.) For China alone, inbound tourism brought in $127.3 billion in 2019, according to the country’s tourism bureau.

But as diagnoses tick upward again, travel agents, operators, and hoteliers are bracing for at least months, if not a full year, of economic disruption from the outbreak, with long-term effects that may ripple well into 2021.

“The numbers of trip cancellations—not just to China but to the entire continent of Asia—is growing every day,” says Jack Ezon, founder and managing partner of luxury travel agency Embark Beyond. “People are put off. Sadly, a lot of them are just saying, ‘I don’t know if I want to go anywhere right now.’ Or, in many cases, ‘I’ll just go next year.’ ”

So far, almost 75% of his travelers have canceled their February and March departures to Southeast Asian countries, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still considers to have a lower, level one risk for coronavirus. “They’re worried about being anywhere close to the outbreak,” he says, “or of getting stuck with canceled flights if other hubs become infected.” A full 100% of the honeymoons his agency had booked to the region have been canceled and rebooked for alternate destinations including the Maldives, Southern Africa, and Australia.

Hilton Chief Executive Officer Chris Nassetta told investors on Feb. 11 that he expects the impact of the new coronavirus to last anywhere from six to 12 months: “Three to six months of escalation and impact from the outbreak, and another three to six on recovery,” he said. He estimated the cost to his company could be from $25 million to $50 million.

Why so long?

Weather, Weather, Weather

When it comes to leisure travel, the biggest question usually revolves around location, location, location. Once that’s been decided, weather dictates all. “North Asia you can do year-round, but Southeast Asia is much more challenging,” says Catherine Heald, co-founder and CEO of the Asia-focused travel specialist Remote Lands. “Thanks to monsoons and very hot temperatures in most of that region,” which last roughly March through September, “people aren’t looking seriously at rebooking until the fall,” she says.

For families, school schedules can complicate plans. “We had one family looking at traveling over spring break, and they won’t have that same window of time until next year’s spring break,” she says. “They’re rebooking for 2021.” The same logic applies for those who specifically wanted to see cherry blossoms in Japan or flowers blooming alongside treks in Nepal—common reasons to plan a spring trip.

Heald’s clients are among the most likely to help the industry rebound. So far her company has seen fewer cancellations than have her competitors because of the way she targets leisure and high-spending travelers. An average trip with Remote Lands costs $1,500 per day for two people, which makes her a purveyor of bucket-list vacations—trips that people are desperately hoping to realize.

“People spend a lot of time and money planning these trips,” she says. “They want to make it happen.” Her workaround so far has been to simply reroute airfares through unaffected hubs, replacing routes through Hong Kong or Shanghai with connections in Tokyo, Seoul, or Dubai. The cost, she says, can range depending on availability of fares and type of tickets booked. “On a scale from 1 to 10, the disruption to our business has been about a 2 or 3,” Heald says, explaining that travelers’ willingness to postpone, rather than cancel, keeps her balance sheets mostly intact.

China vs. the Rest of the Continent

The spa treatment room at Anantara Quy Nhon Villas in Vietnam.Source: Anantara Quy Nhon Villas
Business in China was already low this year because of negative press about trade wars. Heald says only 3 out of 400 trips she booked last year were China-only. Ezon agrees: “China was a little soft this year for leisure anyway, and Hong Kong was a mess from July” and the ongoing protests there.

The broader Southeast Asia region had been benefiting from the overflow, but that momentum is on hold. “People are canceling Sri Lanka and India just because it’s part of Asia,” Ezon says. “There haven’t even really been cases there, but so much is unknown that people are just staying away.” (Sri Lanka has reported one case of someone infected with the new coronavirus and India has reported three so far, according to Bloomberg’s coronavirus tracker.)

Hotels understand travelers’ fears, nonsensical as they may seem. Many have extended gracious policies allowing people to change their plans throughout the Asia-Pacific region at no cost, as long as they rebook before the 2020 festive season. Like Heald and her fellow travel specialists, many hotels are hoping to best retain their 2020 revenues and mitigate outright cancellations.

That’s less of an option for operators such as Guy Rubin, founder of Imperial Tours, whose entire business is based on luxury trips to the Chinese mainland. “Obviously, we have had cancellations and postponements for January, February, and March,” he says. But even travelers with itineraries for October have been inquiring about cancellations.

Others are in a holding pattern, waiting to see if the current strategy of quarantining people to contain the virus works. “If the containment strategy works, then I imagine people will be traveling in China again by summer,” Rubin says. “If it does not work, then I imagine it will take a year for people to regain trust in China.”

Recent History

Guangzhou Flight Arrives In Perth As Australia Issues Entry Restrictions On Foreign Nationals
Passengers from China Southern Airlines Flight CZ319 arrive at Australia’s Perth International Airport in February.Photographer: Paul Kane/Getty Images AsiaPac
Severe acute respiratory system (SARS) is one example the industry is studying for guidance. It took WHO roughly four months from the moment it announced a global alert about SARS until it said the disease was contained, and then an additional five months for the organization to wrap up its efforts to tally new cases. According to aviation analysts at AirInsight, the SARS outbreak cost airlines $10 billion, and that was at a time when global business was less developed.

If it similarly takes nine months for the Covid-19 outbreak to pivot into “recovery” status, which is consistent with the industry outlooks cited here, aviation will take a bigger hit. And it will take longer still for hotels and destinations to fully return to tourism levels before the disease’s spread.

“Think about Fukushima,” Heald says, referring to the 2011 nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. “People didn’t regain trust or interest in travel to Japan for years.” The flip side is that when they did, she says, there was such pent-up demand that it led to a boom in tourism: Overseas arrivals rose from 13.4 million in 2014 to 31.2 million in 2018. After many years of reassuring travelers they didn’t need to worry about radiation exposure, Japan suddenly became the fastest-growing destination in the world.

Ezon agrees this tide will ebb and flow. “If SARS was bad, this will be worse,” he says. “But remember Ebola? It’s still in Africa, and safari bookings are stable. Remember chikungunya? Once the news cycle moves on,” he says, “people will forget. Just like everything else, it’ll bounce back.”

Saturday, 01 February 2020 13:42

Travel and Tourism Challenges of Coronavirus

Coronavirus is posing a challenge to the global tourism industry. The health sector and tourism and industry groups are working together to protect the global travel industry as concerns and questions mount. 


The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre is rapidly emerging as a new and important to go organization for the global travel and tourism industry in times of challenges.

Leadership and coordination are needed to protect this global industry, and the Center is ready to work with everyone, but urges it’s time to act now.

UNWTO issued a very general statement today, WTTC CEO Gloria Guevara addressed coronavirus when talking to eTurboNews saying don’t cancel flights yet, don’t close your airports, ETOA CEO Tom Jenkins said: Coronavirus fear is a powerful deterrent to tourism. The African Tourism Board answered the question if you should you still travel to Africa? PATA CEO Mario Hardy is convinced there is a lot of misinformation and said: Destination and tourism marketers will need to play a critical role in correcting the vast amount of misinformation surrounding the ongoing Novel Coronavirus outbreak that is hurting travel and tourism businesses across Asia.

Today the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre center calls on the action by the private sector, academia, public sector, and multilateral agencies to act now, as the situation of protecting Anthropocene Earth is impatient of Time.

The man behind the Center, Minister Bartlett just 3 days ago said the recent threats of global pandemics and the frequent occurrences of natural disasters heightened the need for a Global Tourism Resilience Fund.

earth 11595 1920

The global travel and tourism industry is struggling to deal with the emerging coronavirus crisis.

The ongoing coronavirus crisis may very well be the biggest challenge this normally booming industry could face. Stopping more than a billion people from traveling would be the ultimate and devastating consequence putting the livelihood of millions working in the travel industry in jeopardy.

Chinese travelers have been seen as the most potential development in travel for the last 20 years. Today countries are closing their borders to Chinese visitors, airlines, trains, and ships stopped serving Chinese destinations. The Chinese government quarantines millions of their citizens stopped domestic travel routes during the busiest travel season, the Lunar New Years.

One global organization, the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre under the leadership of Edmund Bartlett and Dr, Taleb Rifai is taking an urgently needed hands-on approach.

Edmund Bartlett is the Minister of Tourism for the Island Nation of Jamaica, a region dependent on the mighty tourism Dollar.

Bartlett is seen by many as a global player. Together with former UNWTO Secretary-General, Dr. Taleb Rifai, he established the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre headquartered in Jamaica. Over just one year the center opened satellite stations around the world.

The center calls on the action by the private sector, academia, public sector, and multilateral agencies to act now, as the situation of protecting Anthropocene Earth is impatient of Time.

Our planet and the human race face multiple challenges. These challenges are global and serious — climate change, food production, overpopulation, epidemics. the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.

Human beings have existed for just 200,000 years, yet our impact on the planet is so great that scientists around the world are calling for our period in the Earth’s history to be named the ‘Anthropocene‘ – the age of humans. The changes we are now making have exacted a heavy toll on the natural world around us. It’s vital that people underst and the impact we have. Help us persuade other organizations to tell them the truth.

It took humanity 200,000 years to reach one billion and only 200 years to reach seven billion. We are still adding an extra 80 million each year and are headed towards 10 billion by mid-century.

The coronavirus threat has been elevated to crisis level following yesterday’s declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the virus is now a ‘public health emergency of international concern.

The WHO emergency declaration came as a result of the rising death toll and infections associated with the virus.

The Jamaica minister said: “While the Latin American and Caribbean region has not yet reported any cases of the coronavirus, it is only logical to assume that the virus is likely to hit the region’s shores at any moment now, considering its current geographical spread and trajectory.”

Bartlett added: “For all intents and purposes, the coronavirus threat now constitutes a global emergency – one that requires a coordinated, foolproof global response to contain this looming pandemic.

The travel and tourism industry, in particular, is in a very precarious position and faces the highest probability of significant economic fallout from the emergent global health crisis.

This is for two main reasons.

One, the coronavirus threat has created a heightened fear of traveling globally. Two, China is the world’s largest and highest-spending outbound tourism market. Against this background, the global travel and tourism industry is being called upon to play a pivotal role in shaping global response efforts.

At this point, the main focus of the global response to the coronavirus threat is to prevent further exposure beyond the currently affected areas as well as to isolate infected persons from uninfected populations.

Accomplishing these two targets will require the mobilization of significant human, technological and financial resources to establish reliable systems to monitor evaluate and isolate risks especially at the various points of entry.

Large investments are urgently needed to procure modern health technology to screen risks, to conduct vaccine research, to develop public education campaigns and to ensure real-time information- sharing and coordination across borders.

We applaud the swift action of the Chinese health authorities who have constructed a 1000-bed coronavirus hospital in four days and who have demonstrated cooperation with other countries to stem its global spread. We are now calling on all public and private sector funding entities globally to support the various emergency initiatives that are being developed and deployed to deal with the looming coronavirus pandemic that is threatening global human and economic security.

The International Bill of Human Rights Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads: (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. This right is now under threat.

Working in a Global Tourism Market

Dr. Peter Tarlow of Safer Tourism has been working with the Hon. Minister Bartlett on tourism safety and security ever since the center was established.

Dr. Tarlow said in the webinar today: If there ever was a time to change sheets in your hotel room every day, it is now. If there was a time for Boeing and Airbus to allow fresh air to their aircraft instead of circulating the same air, it was now. Forget the masks, but avoid using pillows and blankets on aircraft, avoid crowds of people, wash your hands and avoid handshakes, take Vitamin C, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water.

Saturday, 01 February 2020 14:26

Don Fundraising

From putting roofs on homes in Puerto Rico, installing water filtration for trafficked kids in hill tribes of Thailand and beyond, Don’s heart has led him to all corners of the earth.

Don is making a difference, often with the help of his friends like you.

He often finds a special project on location, and if you’ve come to this link, it’s because he thinks you too like spreading light and love and want to contribute to his current project.

Monday, 03 February 2020 12:20

Projects Close to Don's Heart

From putting roofs on homes in Puerto Rico, installing water filtration for trafficked kids in hill tribes of Thailand and beyond, Don’s heart has led him to all corners of the earth.

Don is making a difference, often with the help of his friends like you.

He often finds a special project on location, and if you’ve come to this link, it’s because he thinks you too like spreading light and love and want to contribute to his current project.


Wednesday, 22 January 2020 11:07

Canadians Seek Meaningful Travel Pursuits

Travel is a way of life for many young people, including many Canadians. However, finding the ideal, unique and life-changing destination and adventure is difficult. Instead of lounging on a beach, drinking to excess and being herded about with hundreds of other tourists, the goal, for many, is to take the road less traveled and experience other countries and societies while immersed in local communities.


CANADIANS SWAP “FLY AND FRY” VACATIONS FOR MEANINGFUL TRAVEL PURSUITS

By Michele Sponagle

January 22, 2020

Source: YouAreUNLTD Magazine

Many Canadians in their teens and 20s travel as a rite of passage between finishing school and getting serious about career, family or both. Later in life, the motivation changes. Having been there and done that, mature globetrotters are moved to explore by a bigger purpose, whether it’s to learn, to volunteer or to pursue newfound passions.

For Anita Draycott, 68, from Stouffville, ON, travel means hitting the links: “I took up golf late in life and have been addicted to the game now for about 25 years.” She’s turned her passion into a pursuit and is now a professional golf writer who has played more than 500 courses on six continents.

Because the season is short in Canada, she and her husband, William, bought a timeshare in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, 12 years ago. “Our one week in the sun has morphed into three months every year,” says Draycott.

She still travels internationally to feed her wanderlust. “I love to experience new places, customs, cuisine, etc.,” she says. “You could say I am addicted to travel and get itchy feet if I don’t have an upcoming trip in my calendar. I really believe that one learns a great deal by travelling – about other people, places and yourself.”

A passion for golf turned into a new career for one woman.

The travel boom

4Draycott is part of a demographic now dominating travel. According to data from the Canadian Tourism Research Institute, travellers aged 55 and older are filling planes and hotels more than any other age group. They take an estimated 2.3 million trips within a five-year period and spend more than $35 billion annually.

And to boot, travel is good for you. According to a joint study from the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, travelling keeps you healthier. Women who vacation at least twice a year have a significantly lower risk of coronary disease and heart attack compared to those who take a vacation only once every six years or more. Men who skip an annual holiday have a 20 percent higher risk of death and 30 percent more heart disease.

Heading to a new destination also lessens stress, increases creativity, lowers the risk of depression, and boosts happiness and life satisfaction, according to recent research. The Global Coalition on Aging also did a deep dive on the subject in a white paper meta-analysis titled Destination Healthy Aging: The Physical, Cognitive and Social Benefits of Travel. It found that travel is closely tied to successful aging. Its benefits are linked to being physically active, reducing stress, meeting new people and engaging in meaningful social interactions.

As Dr. Paul Nussbaum, president and founder of the Brain Health Center, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA, notes: “Because it challenges the brain with new and different experiences and environments, travel is an important behaviour that promotes brain health and builds brain resilience across the lifespan.”

Post-retirement, Jennifer Budd was able to combine her love of felting and travel with a visit to the Shetland Islands.

That’s true for Paris, ON resident Jennifer Budd, who retired in 2016 after 35 years working in healthcare. For the 58-year-old, being able to travel more is all about nurturing her creativity. The long-time artist and painter shifted gears in 2008 to make colourful works of art using felt. Her passion for the technique opened the door to unique opportunities when she started selling her work through her company, Woolscapes.

Recently, she was invited to teach felting to women raising sheep in Fetlar, one of the Shetland Islands, off the coast of Scotland. “It was an incredible experience,” says Budd. “As an artist, it was inspiring to see landscapes just waiting to be created in felt.”

Now, Budd seeks out other felters wherever she goes. “It’s a wonderful starting point for meeting locals who share my interest in fabric art.” Next year, she plans to go to Australia and New Zealand, destinations well known for their wealth of sheep and wool.

Hand in hand, travel and creativity are the perfect combination, promoting wellness for the mind and body.

For more, check out this cool infographic on 10 way travels can improve your health and happiness, courtesy of Bookmundi.

Route to Healthy Aging

Along with creating great memories, travel can do wonders for your overall well-being and quality of life.

  • The Framingham Study, which has continued to be updated since it began in 1948, showed that women who went on holiday every six years or less had significantly more risk of developing a heart attack or coronary death, compared to those that vacationed at least twice a year.
  • One study found that women who do not take vacations are twice as likely to develop depression as those who choose to pack their bags and head out of town.
  • The Mayo Clinic cited a reduction in stress as a good reason to travel since it helps reduce the chances of developing a wide range of maladies, from headaches to irritable bowel syndrome.
  • There’s no need to go on a long vacation. With breaks of just a day or two, 89 percent of respondents to one survey said they were able to leave stress behind.
  • Being more active while exploring is key to health. According to a 2012 study published by The Lancet, for people over 40, eliminating physical inactivity can result in an increase in life expectancy roughly equal to that achieved by eliminating obesity, nearly on par with the impact of eliminating smoking.
  • Neurogenesis – the creation of new neurons in the brain – is driven, in part, by new experiences, including travel.

Travel Tips

  1. Buy travel insurance if you are going anywhere outside of Canada. Keep in mind that one 24-hour stay in a US hospital costs $20,000 on average. Answer health questions honestly or risk invalidating your insurance.
  2. Be smart with meds. Keep them in the original prescription bottles, and have pharmacy receipts handy should you be questioned by customs agents.
  3. Consider compression wear: Long periods of sitting can cause blood to pool in the veins in the feet and lower legs, leading to localized swelling, tiredness and aches, or in a worst-case scenario, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a clot that forms in the vein. Compression socks boost circulation, curb swelling and soothe weary limbs.
Back to top