Voices of Travel

Arabian Travel Market Postponed

Cruise Lines Make Changes, Destinations Prepare

Reed Travel Exhibitions is postponing the Arabian Travel Market (ATM).

The event was scheduled to be held from April 19 to April 22, 2020 at the Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai, U.A.E and it has now been rescheduled to run from June 28 to July 1, 2020 at the same venue.

In a statement, Reed said:

“We at Arabian Travel Market want to express our concern for everyone impacted by coronavirus. Like all of you, we have carefully monitored the global health crisis related to COVID-19 coronavirus. Our top priority is the health and safety of everyone involved in Arabian Travel Market; employees, partners, customers and exhibitors.”

It explained that:

“Due to the escalation of the COVID-19 epidemic around the world, after consultation with all our stakeholders, the venue management, supporting associations, and in alignment with the advice from the UAE public health authorities regarding travel to and from impacted countries, we have taken the decision to postpone our event which was due to take place on April 19 to April 22, 2020 in Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

The statement continues:

“Whilst the UAE is following the strictest medical and hygiene protocols in line with international standards, we have made this decision in the best interest of the industry to enable us to organize an event which provides effective participation and experience for all. The announcement has been made at the earliest opportunity to give as much notice as possible to all stakeholders enabling them to make the necessary arrangements to reschedule their plans.”

Reed noted that:

“We are fully aware of the important role that ATM 2020 plays for industry professionals across the Middle East region and beyond, we are grateful for the full endorsement that we have received from our customers and partners.”

And the statement concluded:

“Moving forward, we are continuing to liaise directly with all relevant United Arab Emirates and Dubai authorities on a regular basis, whilst monitoring and complying with the World Health Organisation guidance, and rest assured we will keep you informed of any new developments as we receive them.

Our thoughts are with all those affected in these difficult times.”

For additional information, go to https://arabiantravelmarket.wtm.com/forms/customer-service-form/ .

CLIA Meets With Vice President

CLIA issued a statement following a roundtable discussion with US Vice-President, Mike Pence and Acting Homeland Security Secretary, Chad Wolf.

In it, CLIA says:

“We thank the Vice President for a productive meeting marked by our shared focus on public health. We have committed to do even more to protect our guests, our crew and the communities where we sail. This includes more stringent boarding procedures, adding additional onboard medical resources and temperature screenings at embarkation.”

The statement continues:

“We will also develop industry funded protocols to care for guests on land in the event of an incident to eliminate future incidents of onboard quarantine. We are pleased to know the government agencies are prepared to work with us in developing these aggressive new measures.”

And it concluded:

“We expect to report back this week with further details of this enhanced approach to protecting public health.”

Before that meeting, CLIA had issued a response to speculation about U.S. Government action, pointing out that:

“Any action to restrict cruising is unwarranted, and at odds with the World Health Organization which “continues to advise against the application of travel or trade restrictions to countries experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks.”

The statement made it clear that:

“Singling out the travel and tourism industry, and cruise lines specifically, will have significant detrimental impacts—some possibly irreversible—on the national and local economies. The cruise industry is a vital artery for the U.S. economy, supporting over 421,000 American jobs and contributing nearly $53 billion to the U.S. economy in 2018.Cruise activity supports travel agencies, airlines, hotels and a broad supply chain of industries that stretches across the United States.”

And it concluded:

“With the proactive measures in place by the cruise industry based on prevailing guidance from global health authorities, restricting cruising is unreasonable and will have long-lasting detrimental effects on the U.S. economy well beyond the travel and tourism industry.”

HAL Launches Book With Confidence Program

In order to give travellers greater peace of mind surrounding their upcoming vacation plans, Holland America Line has announced new programs to offer greater flexibility and choice during these uncertain times.

For guests currently booked on upcoming cruises, Holland America Line is temporarily changing its cancellation policy and allowing guests to cancel their cruise or Alaska Land+Sea Journey departing through May 31, 2020.

Any cancellation will receive a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) for the amount of the paid fare which can be used for another cruise in 2020 or 2021. The FCC must be booked by Dec. 31, 2020, and the cancellation must be made with a minimum of 72 hours in advance of departure date but no later than March 31, 2020. However, guests booked between now and March 9, 2020 may also cancel under this new policy despite being within 72 hours.

For those who choose to keep their cruise plans on departures through May 31, 2020, an Onboard Spending Credit of $200 per stateroom/$100 per person for voyages longer than 7 days and US$100 per stateroom/US$50 per person for voyages less than 6 days will be automatically applied to their shipboard account as a thank you.

In announcing the program, Holland America noted that: “We also know that there are people with specific individual health situations that impact their ability to safely travel during these times. For those guests who are able to provide supporting documents from their health care provider, Holland America Line will issue them a Future Cruise Credit. This “Compassion Policy” offer is available for guests booked on any sailing, regardless of departure date.”

As well, to help cruisers feel more secure when making a future booking, Holland America Line also is offering a new Book with Confidence program that allows for cruise and Land+Sea Journey cancellation.

Under Book with Confidence, guests who make a new booking by April 30, 2020, for itineraries that depart on or before Oct. 15, 2020, can cancel for any reason and receive a FCC in the amount of any cancellation fees applied. The cancellation must be made up to 30 days before departure.

Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president, said: “We fully understand that travelers are uncertain about their future vacations, so we have created two new programs to give both our current booked guests and those who want to cruise later this year more options and confidence for their planning. It’s always important that travelers protect their vacation investment, and our Cancellation Protection Plan is one of the most robust available, allowing guests to cancel for any reason. And our plans cover today’s circumstances, which many policies do not; so when combined with our new programs it’s one of the most assured ways to confidently plan your cruise today.”

For more, sail on over to www.hollandamerica.com .

A Little Reassurance From Regent Seven Seas

Regent Seven Seas Cruises unveiled details of a new temporary change to its cancellation policy to give travellers additional time, if needed, to feel confident in their decision to sail on a currently booked Regent voyage or to sail on a future one.

Regent Reassurance includes all Regent voyages embarking March 10, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2020. Guests who have paid in full on any of these voyages now have the option to cancel their voyage up to 48 hours prior to sailing and receive a 100% Future Cruise Credit, which can be applied to any new reservation within one year on any Regent voyage sailing between today and Dec. 31, 2022.

Regent Reassurance is applicable to all existing and new reservations made by April 30, 2020.

Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, said: “At Regent, our extended family of guests is always at the centre of everything we do. With so much information coming from around the world very quickly regarding the global health environment, we understand our guests may feel uneasy about travelling. Regent Reassurance is designed to provide our guests with maximum flexibility and give them the confidence to take a Regent voyage on the most luxurious fleet in the cruise industry.”

Go to www.RSSC.com for more.

Cayman Islands Is Prepared

While there are no cases of COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands, officials of the Ministry of Health, Public Health Department and the management of the Health Services Authority (HSA) report they are in a high state of preparedness.

The Cayman Islands National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) was opened last week, bringing together government and community partners to prepare for the possibility of the virus reaching Cayman.

NEOC is coordinating efforts including health, economic continuity, uniformed and support services and utilities. Teams are meeting at least once daily to share information and take key decisions.

While there are no confirmed local cases, the Public Health Department continues to work with international health partners, to monitor and prepare for the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Lee commented: “With confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida, the Dominican Republic and St. Barts concerns among local residents are real.”

He added: “As more cases are confirmed worldwide, the overall risk of the coronavirus (COVID-19) coming to the Cayman Islands is high and the situation is evolving rapidly. Continuing preventative measures such as washing hands regularly and avoiding others with respiratory illnesses are essential. Increase your distance from people to a minimum of three feet, and preferably six feet. Having a family and household plan can also help to slow the spread of the disease.”

And he concluded: “A review of our plans to protect residents and visitors is an ongoing process. We remain vigilant while working with stakeholders to ensure our borders are protected and that any imported case is managed efficiently to minimise the impact.”

The Cayman Islands’ Minister for Tourism, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, noted that coronavirus poses unique challenges for the local tourism industry. The Ministry and its agencies are continuing to work closely with public health and with security officials to protect the well-being of visitors and residents. “The Ministry of Tourism is in close contact with cruise line partners and are adhering to established medical protocols with respect to the landing of cruise ships and passengers. Similar measures also apply to stayover visitors,” he stated.

Go to www.gov.ky/coronavirus for more.

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