Tag Archives: Live

20 minutes with: Juan Fernandez from Elli Travel Group | Instant News

The pandemic has made 2020 the year of tranquility. As the vast majority of Americans were confined to their homes for long periods of time, few industries suffered as much as travel, with flights, hotels and vacations canceled. Last year, travel spending in the United States fell 42% to just $ 679 billion, according to a Tourism Economics study. International and business travel were particularly hard hit, with spending by the former falling 76% and spending by the latter 70%. But with millions of Americans now vaccinated, the future looks brighter for travelers and the industry as a whole. Penta spoke with Juan Fernandez, operational partner of the travel agency Elli Travel Group, based in Larchmont, New York, to find out what to expect for the industry as the pandemic subsides. slowly. PENTA: How did you feel when the pandemic hit? Juan Fernandez: It was a surreal experience. The first few months we were under overwhelming pressure as we navigated an ever-changing landscape and made sure all trips were reimbursed. Then frustration set in, as states, countries and cities implemented different restrictions. On a personal basis, the biggest frustration was not being able to see family in Puerto Rico. After 10 long months, we were grateful to land on the island and celebrate Christmas with my parents. What does the travel slowdown mean for small travel providers like you? The downside of the pandemic was that our revenue was down 64% from 2019. The upside is that our customers have become more loyal than ever. Small boutique agencies have never had the high fixed costs of large agencies, which struggle with many in-house staff responsible for booking air and hotel travel for leisure and corporate clients. Our cost structure has always been weak, but we were still able to reduce our costs by renegotiating contracts. What will the pandemic mean for the travel industry as a whole? I think the pandemic shock of 2020 is the complete opposite of the slowdown we saw during the economic crisis of 2009-2010. This period took several years to recover the lost ground. This time around, the devastating downturn will translate into increased demand for luxury travel. During the lockdown, people stayed home and spent less on dining, entertainment, or traveling. Do many clients now have more disposable income than ever before? Research by private equity firms shows credit card fees in 2020 are down 14%. Meanwhile, high-end luxury customers have seen their investments rise in value as stock markets hit all-time highs. The balance sheet of the traveler is in the best shape possible. So are people eager to hit the road? Our avid travelers call their current planning “revenge journey”. These clients send us an 18 month travel plan and have already booked their trips for 2021. Currently, our summer bookings are comparable to 2019. The big difference, however, is that 80% of trips are domestic, for example. compared to our typical summer where domestic travel would have been 25%. Bookings in Europe are still down 85% from 2019. What destinations are people looking to go to? In the short term, we will see moderate demand for urban destinations. Places like New York or London will experience more difficulties in the next few years. But destinations that focus on the outdoors will recover very quickly – we’ve seen this before, as spring trips to national beach destinations like Florida and South Carolina are extremely strong and the best luxury hotels are close to full capacity. For the summer, Hawaii is the perfect place for families and honeymooners. Demand has doubled from summer 2019. Yellowstone and Jackson Hole are another popular destination. Do you plan more vacation in the car? Driving vacations will again be in high demand in 2021. Federal testing guidelines make traveling abroad extremely risky, so we believe families who typically travel to Europe will explore domestic destinations. For example, we anticipate that New Yorkers will continue to head to luxury destinations on Cape Cod, Rhode Island and New England. How will traveling itself – from checking in on planes to hotels – be different in 2021? It will be a complex problem that will evolve slowly. Each country, city, state will have different ways of implementing policies. It’s impossible to put all travelers into one category when it comes to tests, passports, or policies that interfere with privacy and freedom. In the United States, attitudes differ regarding the new protocols. In general, everyone welcomes the new sanitation programs and intensified cleanings implemented by the airline industry. But many of our luxury customers would really like to see the plexiglass disappear. As one client who checked into a luxury hotel in Miami put it, “It felt like walking into a bodega.” What technologies are used by industry to keep people safe? Recently, during a visit to the Cliff House in Maine, management highlighted the sensors in the lobby measuring their guests’ temperature during check-in. On a recent visit to the Ocean House in Rhode Island, they highlighted the new HEPA air filters located in each of their rooms. Major hotel brands have also invested in new technologies to disinfect rooms with misters before customers arrive. What is the impact of the vaccine on travel? Since February 1 he has been extremely busy. We have customers calling and saying, “I have the vaccine! Where can I go tomorrow? And in a few days, they fly to Mexico or the Caribbean. We are already seeing the positive impact of vaccines on travel. It may be a bit early to find out if [vaccine] passports will belong in the future, but we are already seeing investments in this type of infrastructure. What type of person calls you to book a vacation? Most of our calls came from parents exhausted from work, homeschooling and lack of family activities like sports. These families book national beach destinations like Florida and South Carolina. Couples without children and with working flexibility extend their usual vacation and work remotely. For example, we had a couple at Belmond Cap Juluca in Anguilla who was originally planned for a seven night stay but eventually left after 15 days. Considering the adverse health consequences of the pandemic, both physical and mental, are you seeing an increased interest in wellness travel? The need for wellness travel has certainly increased, but local guidelines are hampering some of the services that customers need. To insist, most spas have had to limit class sizes or cancel some experiences due to local health guidelines. As these are lifted, we believe we will see a marked increase in trips to spa and fitness hotels. In the meantime, customers are on the lookout for great hiking and biking spots. Finally, what will “luxury” travel mean in a post-pandemic world? For some, this means being able to have the privacy that will help protect their families from Covid; but others crave the exact opposite. They want the freedom to appreciate and explore the human relationships that only travel can bring. This interview has been edited for clarity and length. .

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Arrows – a place for travelers and those who are unable to eat, stay and rest with respect | Instant News

Asylum is a basic necessity for travelers, along with two meals, of course. This is what Panahgah Pakistan has to offer.

The newly opened arrows, the Korangi chapter, also provide assistance for those who cannot afford it. This is for everyone: for travelers coming from other parts of the country to Karachi and to Karaci from other cities in the metropolis; for workers, students, day laborers, unemployed… all can come for breakfast or dinner.

As part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative, the federal government has set up five Panahgah centers with the aim that no one sleeps hungry and leaves without food.

Panahgah, the Korangi branch, one of the five centers, offers two free square meals a day for every guest no matter which class is included; all served with respect.

It welcomes everyone with open arms. It’s free, safe, clean and very respectable. It provides three days of clean living quarters with basic facilities for those who come to the city from elsewhere for job interviews or other purposes.

For patient attendants who require accommodation for a longer period of time, special dispensation should be provided by management. “If a patient is treated at the Indus Hospital near Panahgah for more than three days, we cannot expect the officers to find another place to stay after three days. We have to use our own discretion to extend the stay from case to case, ”explained Syed Wasim Akhtar, district officer of Korangi / Landhi, who is assistant director of Panahgah.

At Panahgah, the day starts with breakfast. The guests then departed for their assignments and returned for dinner.

“The process is very simple; all who wish to stay register at the reception. Cards are given to each person in lieu of their CNIC. They are given bunk beds in rooms in the building. At one time, 100 people can live here. Most people who are in Karachi for some assignment or job interview and patient attendants at the nearby Indus Hospital live here. “

Tahir Lone is a local businessman who has taken responsibility for providing food. He eats almost every day at Panahgah to ensure the quality of the food is maintained. His wife, Ibu Saiqa Lone, is often seen leading from behind the counter, checking the food and making sure everything is healthy and clean.

“The Korangi branch in Panahgah is just over a month old. The building itself is near the main road, making it easier for people to access. The buildings and staff totaling around 22 are funded by Bait ul Maal, ”said an official working at the center.

“Anyone can come to eat and register at the counter with their CNIC. They are given a card by the supervisor at the reception desk in lieu of their CNIC, which will be returned to them at the end of their stay. We make sure that the rooms and toilets are always clean. For our staying guests, we have a TV room too where they can relax and watch TV. Besides, we have a room where people can pray, ”he said.

An attractive feature for the community besides free rooms and lodgings is the cleanliness of the place even though it is a government building.

“Akhtar personally ensures that the building is kept clean,” said Mr. Lone.

“People must be able to eat in a clean environment in a dignified manner. Currently, up to 250 people eat here. They started arriving after 5pm. Once they are registered, they are shown to the dining table set on the lawn. Dinner time from 18:00 to 21:00. They are served on a first come first served basis, because 54 people can eat at once. There were chairs in the corridor where people could wait their turn. About 250 people eat here every day, and the menu is set by the government for each day of the week. Breakfast is chanay and tea, dinner can be biryani, daal sabzi, qorma, etc., according to the day, “added Pak Lone.

So what makes Mr. Lone adopted this chapter of Arrow?

“My brother, Shahid Lone, has done the same job in Lahore. When this Panahgah branch opened in Karachi, he told me about it, ”replied Mr. Lone.


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The increase in the Transtasman bubble: A positive move as the number of infected Australian tourists is revealed | Instant News

The new data was greeted by experts as a positive step towards a transtasman bubble. Photo / 123RF

Emerging data shows only three people who traveled directly from Australia to New Zealand tested positive for Covid-19 for eight months.

This has been welcomed by experts as a positive step towards a transtasman bubble – but they say New Zealand needs to up its border game to Australian level to reduce the risk of creating a Covid-19 outbreak.

Data showing the three positive cases came through the Official Information Act request to the Ministry of Health seeking the number of positive cases of Covid-19 since March last year. That shows that there were 39 positive cases in March and April last year – then almost none.

One case was identified in August, one in November and another in January. NZ statistics show that during the same period 23,447 people traveled from Australia to New Zealand.

Otago University epidemiology professors Dr Nick Wilson and Dr Michael Baker support the data which add strength to the argument for the bubble but add a note of caution. Academics last year conducted research on alternative ways to manage incoming travelers.

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Wilson said a “prudent” system was needed for quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand.

It includes a development process so that every incoming Australian traveler is required to download a Ministry of Health app to scan a QR code, activate its bluetooth function and agree to use it at every opportunity during the first few weeks.

He said a saliva test at the airport would also reduce risks, as would a ban on attending large-scale events and conducting spot checks on travelers with fines for those who circumvent the rules.

“I hope they talk about these things now. The economic benefits are huge.

“In general, I would be more concerned with New Zealand border controls than Australia. We just have a loose process.”

He said quarantine rules in Australia offered a higher level of protection from the virus, including rules such as restricted arrivals in their rooms upon arrival. In New Zealand, areas of risk include bus travel for exercise, movement in MIQ facilities, smoking mingling in outdoor areas without masks, and other areas.

He said New Zealand’s approach had been locked in a “pathway dependency”, meaning the government was struggling to deviate from systems developed as the pandemic approached.

Wilson said the vaccination programs in both countries are also encouraging and as the percentage of the population being vaccinated has increased, so has the belief to free travel.

Professor Michael Baker (left) and Professor Nick Wilson.  Photo / Provided
Professor Michael Baker (left) and Professor Nick Wilson. Photo / Provided

Baker said the figures were “very supportive evidence” for the transtasman bubble. That’s not suggesting risk-free travel but a new system – as outlined by Wilson – could reduce risk to a manageable level.

“It’s never ‘without risk.’ There will always be risk. It’s about managing it successfully.”

He said he prefers to use the term “green zone” to identify low-risk countries, whereas those with high risk are in the “red zone”. He said a greater job in “red zone” countries managing those traveling to New Zealand would reduce the likelihood of border breaches.

“This is an opportunity to compare our borders with Australia. The world needs a model of success. This is a great opportunity to show a model that can be rolled out globally.”

Baker said those who travel should accept that outbreaks of the communities they visit can lead to being trapped there.

“That would be a trade-off – all travelers have to do this with their eyes open. Things can change very quickly.”

University of Auckland associate professor of microbiology Dr Siouxsie Wiles said the data showing the three infected travelers from Australia were encouraging.

“There’s always a complication that not everyone infects others – and some become super spreaders.”

Wiles said it was important for those traveling from Australia not to share planes with those transiting from other countries because of the possibility of contracting Covid-19 while flying.

He said one possible risk to manage was the opening up of space in MIQ and an increase in travelers from less safe countries.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said he was aware of the figure and Australia was seen as a lower risk for origin cases, which is why so much work has led to the transtasman bubble.

“But as we have said before, low risk is not without risk. While we are always clear, we want to open this particular bubble as soon as we can, it will not happen until both countries feel equally comfortable with the risk.”

Hipkins said the time it takes to travel to Australia has reinforced New Zealand’s positioin for a “wider reopening of travel”, including issues such as insurance, a clear message for those who have to seek cover, and the impact on airlines and airports that face numbers. more passengers. arrival in the Covid-19 environment.

“Strengthening our position in terms of travel between here and Australia will help us set a sustainable pattern for the future.”

BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope said there was a desire to bubble travel with Australia.

“But if those costs raise the alert level in Auckland, it’s a zero-sum game. The economic costs outweigh the benefits.”

Action Party leader David Seymour said questions remained about the quality of New Zealand’s border controls even as Australia had upgraded its system.

Seymour said New Zealand needed to stop seeing the world as having an equal risk around the world and develop a system that is responsive to the “hot spots” of Covid-19.

Until that happened, he said it echoed an Australian question: “New Zealand, where the hell are you bleeding?”

A Health Ministry spokesman said the data – along with other information – was being used to develop New Zealand’s response to Covid-19. “This includes potential travel bubbles and when this could occur.”

Data showing the three positive cases was collected through the ESR database based on people being asked about the last three countries in which they spent time.


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Valve will host the Steam Next Fest live broadcast this summer | Instant News

The latest live stream is added to the cramped planner

Do you have a live broadcast?Are you personally if not, then Who are you even? All related to live broadcasting. You need two-no, one week-no, one day every month. In this brave new world, real-time streaming is where it is now. Live broadcast work makes live dreams come true.

Valve is the latest publisher to join the broadcast trend and announced that it will see major publisher hosts in the summer of 2021″Steam next festival“This multi-day event showcased the upcoming Valve’s digital store, showing the boldest and brightest PC version.

Essentially, Steam Next Fest is a new brand formerly known as the Steam Game Festival. Between June 16th and 22nd, PC enthusiasts will be able to get all the hot gossip about the latest news, trailers and announcements, as well as developer meetings, Q&A sessions, interviews and more. As always, some time-limited demos will be put on the Steam platform, so that players can get a glimpse of the various upcoming versions.

Although the Entertainment Software Association continues to hope to hold a return E3 event this summer, If nothing else, in digital form -It seems that most publishers and platforms have planned to promote and display products for 2021 and beyond through their own communication channels. It seems that the 2020 “Endless 3” season may return in the summer of 2021.

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Icebreaker’s City Label is a game-changer for the brand | Instant News

New Zealand brand Icebreaker may be best known for their travel clothes that you would wear well outside of any dense concrete setting, but their still-fresh City label follows a different set of rules. While the timing might have been a bit off, Icebreaker’s City capsule launched early last year and instantly became a staple of the brand. Springboard for the idea that “nature moves faster in the city”, each piece in this collection is based on the idea of ​​presenting lightweight and versatile clothing for everyday wear while using the famous high quality and high quality natural merino wool. brand performance. There are only 7 pieces in the capsule, but many more ways to wear them. Versatility is the design record, perhaps best showcased by the collection’s fascinating Cool-Lite Merino Men’s Jacket ($ 550). Now that Australia is heading for the wetter months, having this versatile jacket as a staple in your wardrobe just makes sense. First of all, it has a surprising and unique look, borrowing a few ideas from a stylish hooded blazer and gently blending that with the type of outdoor-friendly jacket you’d expect from Icebreaker. The Cool-Lite Merino Jacket is made with soft merino wool on the inside and lined with Icebreaker’s signature Cool-Lite fabric on the inside – a blend of Merino and Tencel. The highly breathable, moisture-wicking interior and heavy-duty exterior is perhaps one of the best examples of how Icebreaker can marry form and function while still allowing itself to experiment a bit with aesthetics. The rest of the capsule is made up of men’s and women’s clothing, ranging from The Men’s Merino Zip Hoodie ($ 300) to the Women’s Cool-Lite Merino Trench Coat ($ 600) – a big, bold piece that takes the same approach. than the above. jacket. The Icebreaker’s City label is available exclusively in two of their New Zealand stores, but Australians can easily purchase capsule parts online. More to Explore on the AU: Chris Singh Chris Singh is Deputy Editor of AU Journal and Freelance Travel Editor. You can reach him on Instagram by following @chrisdsingh. .

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