Tag Archives: way of life

What are the most overrated places to travel? Travel writers share everything | Instant News



Bucket list destinations have high expectations – and often large crowds, too. While overtourism can wreak havoc on many vacation destinations, that’s not the only reason vacations miss the mark. Here, travel writers who contribute to CNBC’s Global Traveler share the worst disappointments of their professional careers. Stonehenge, United Kingdom “Although I can have my passport withdrawn for saying this as an Englishman, I found Stonehenge to be really disappointing.” It didn’t help. that at the time i was a university student working as a tour guide, so [I] had to convince 45 Americans on our bus that they were about to have a life-changing experience: seeing up close a 4,500-year-old testament to man’s relentless creativity, brilliance and spiritualism. in the rain, a collection of large, somewhat abandoned gray stones, about 30 meters away – as close as possible. A broken down truck on a busy road past the site didn’t really help with the mystical reveal. “- Chris Dwyer, UKHa Long Bay, Vietnam” The karst-strewn seascape of northern Vietnam is one of the country’s undisputed visual highlights, but the reality of the visit isn’t always so appealing. I have been there several times – first as a tourist and then on a mission – and struggled to see the charm of the destination despite its obvious beauty. Floating communities hawking “sticky” memorabilia and similarly constructed “identikit” boats are two critiques of travel writer Duncan Forgan. The famous Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. Linh Pham | Getty Images “From identikit junks that block water to overwhelming excursions to mundane caves and floating communities selling sticky memorabilia, it’s a sightseeing experience that needs an upgrade.” – Duncan Forgan, United Kingdom Bhutan “Curious and fascinated by the stories about the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’, did I go? [to Bhutan] to explore the culture and the country and photograph the Paro Tshechu festival. These religious dance festivals started in the 17th century and are definitely worth a visit. The festivities are held in monasteries across the country each year and last for five days. Buddhist monks perform 1300 year old dance rites wearing beautifully embroidered costumes and colorful masks. Although Bhutan performs well in its own internal index of ‘gross national happiness’ (a measure invented in Bhutan in the 1970s ), the country ranks 95 out of 156 countries in the 2019 United Nations World Happiness Report, a gap that Bhutanese media have argued is due to differences in the criteria and methodology of the survey. by Petra Loho “As Bhutan bans independent travel, a local tour guide and driver accompanied me on my trip Discussions with them revealed the lack of prospects Bhutan’s younger generation face – limitations in terms of education, no work, no money. ”I knew that moving freely between cities and changing the ad hoc route was not allowed. My two escorts even tried to keep me away from the main streets of the city. Ignoring their protests, I made my way down the small roads. Life there has revealed the disappointing truth of a carefully crafted image for the outside world. Instead of happiness, alcoholism, poverty and violence determine the fate of many people in Bhutan. “- Petra Loho, Austria Machu Picchu, Peru” It was a place I had always dreamed of: a lost city, in the Andes, hidden from the rest of the world. “I knew that there was no road connecting this Inca kingdom to the outside world, and that to get there, you had to take a train and then a bus, or walk the rugged Inca trail for 10 days. Lack of time. , I opted for the train from Cuzco. The locals selling overpriced trinkets in the aisles may have been a signal for me to adjust my expectations. Tourists visit the Machu Picchu complex on April 24, 2019. PABLO PORCIUNCULA BRUNE | AFP | Getty Images “The buses were packed with people who looked like me. Barely able to maneuver around each other, they made a few hairpin turns – choked by the exhaust fumes of others. vehicles – up to the top of the mountain. A crowd of vendors surrounded the entrance gate to Machu Picchu. “For a moment, a breathtaking view of the magnificence unfolded before me as if I had just woken up from ‘a dream – until a long line of people under the direction of a red flag The tour guide walked down the rocky staircase where I was standing, almost knocking me over. “Everywhere I walked, wherever I looked, there were people thronged, huddled together, waiting to squeeze through an archway or hallway to get the perfect selfie. People mingling was slow and laborious. , and all I wanted to do was jump off the narrow path we all had to follow. “I managed to escape the crowds to gaze at the landmarks and vistas for just a few minutes. a while before others come, trying to do the same. It was exhausting and demoralizing. When I finally sat down on the train, I felt relieved to be away from the masses, but sadly dissatisfied that I had barely experienced – and not even seen all of – the sacred “lost city of the Incas”. “- Kevin Cox, United States, Venice, Italy” The uniqueness of the atmospheric canals, medieval bridges and crumbling iconic palaces of this floating city puts Venice firmly on many lists. sailing the port of Venice on the last leg of a memorable Crystal Serenity Adriatic Antiquities cruise was a dream come true. Once landed in the sweltering heat of August – nostrils assaulted by the suffocating stench of ancient canals – and reality set in. The increase in the number of tourists to Venice has prompted the local government to control the ticket office for the city’s famous “vaporetto”, or water bus. Marco Secchi | Getty Images News | Getty Images “Long lines of hot and sweaty tourists waited for overpriced gondolas and vaporettos run by irritable workers in the tourism industry (not Venetians themselves – hardly anyone actually lives in Venice). C was a salutary reminder that I had broken a cardinal European rule. Travel: don’t visit big cities in summer! Choose April, May or even June. Or wait until things cooler in September or October. “- Verne Maree , South Africa Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto, Japan “The bamboo forests of Arashiyama have been weighed heavily by their Insta-worthy fame. Because everyone who strives for that perfect moment on social media is waiting for the groups to dissipate before taking their photos there, the crowds never disperse along the green expanses. Another reason to go to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove – the area around Gioji Temple. Courtesy of Morgan Awyong “In all You honestly have seen similar bamboo swabs in Vietnam and China. But those looking for a dose of tranquility in Arashiyama can find it at the end of a trail: Gioji Temple has a moss garden, maple trees, and undisturbed bamboo groves. “- Morgan Awyong, Singapore Choquequirao, Peru” We were in Peru, a country that has treasures beyond measure. Even Machu Picchu, which is so excited you might think it could never live up to expectations, was utterly amazing. Our last adventure was a hike to Choquequirao, another ancient Inca site. “When we told the locals where we were going, they greeted the news in disbelief. We didn’t know, it’s a tough trip. [It’s] all uphill to get there, although normally the mountains are covered in clouds. Not this time. It was hot; the sun was fierce. Its rays bounced off the shale on the laces that burned our eyes. And it’s just warmer. Also, there was no time to linger because we were on a short timeline. It is the “only surviving image” of writer Carrie Hutchinson’s trip to Choquequirao after her computer “died” on her return from Peru, she said. At sunset, after two extremely difficult days, we arrived in Santa Rosa. In the distance we could see the doors. That’s when the guide told us that we wouldn’t have time to go to the ruins. It took another two hours. on foot, and he had to get us back to Cusco in less than 48 hours. “Disappointed? Oh, just a little. It would be great to come back someday, but this time I would make sure there was enough time to enjoy it.” – Carrie Hutchinson, Australia.



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Which countries let in vaccinated people | Instant News



Traveling abroad becomes less complicated for vaccinated travelers. A growing list of countries is reducing or eliminating quarantine and Covid-19 testing requirements for those who have been fully vaccinated, while maintaining restrictions for those who have not. travelers will be reduced to zero to two days, during which they will be able to move around their hotels. Unvaccinated visitors, however, should stay in their hotel rooms until they pass a Covid test on day five, and wait several more days for the results. New protocols begin May 8. Children are not yet eligible for the vaccination, making family travel plans difficult this year, but Barbados is not leaving them out. Children under 18 who travel with vaccinated parents are subject to the same rules as vaccinated travelers, according to the Barbados Tourism Marketing website. Mixed groups of vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers are not so lucky. Vaccinated adults traveling with unvaccinated adult companions who “choose not to be separated” are subject to increased demands on the unvaccinated. Barbados’ relaxed policy towards vaccinated travelers begins May 8. Atlantide Phototravel | Documentary Corbis | With its new forked restrictions, Barbados joins Estonia, Guatemala and Slovenia in creating different entry requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Most require vaccines to be completed within two weeks of arrival, and some will only accept vaccines made in the United States or made in Europe. Here’s how several countries are approaching the divide: Croatia: Vaccinated travelers only need to present vaccination certificates to enter, but unvaccinated travelers must test negative for Covid-19 (or show proof of recovery) and possibly self-isolate while awaiting test results. · Iceland: Allows vaccinated (and already infected) travelers, regardless of their origin, to enter if they are negative on arrival. Many unvaccinated European travelers – as well as residents of Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand – can enter by testing negative twice and quarantining for five. to six days. All other unvaccinated travelers, including Americans and Canadians, are not allowed entry. Belize: Vaccinated travelers do not need testing to enter, but unvaccinated travelers (including children 5 years of age and older) must test negative before or after landing. Those who test positive should be quarantined for at least 14 days at the traveller’s expense. Georgia: Vaccinated travelers from all countries can enter by air, while unvaccinated travelers must be from certain countries and test negative before and after arrival. policies based on? Yes, said Gloria Guevara, president of the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council. “As vaccine deployment continues to accelerate, more countries will no doubt follow,” she said. work to allow vaccinated visitors to bypass testing and quarantine requirements, according to local media. Lt. Gov. Josh Green said children will still need to test negative to enter, but children of vaccinated parents could be exempted from testing if Hawaii achieves herd immunity, as reported by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Harry Nelson, founder of Nelson Hardiman, Phuket, Thailand and Greece said less restrictive vaccination protocols are being developed. Hardiman. “I predict that this will eventually be the rule in the vast majority of countries and that at some point in the future … we will see some countries move to compulsory vaccination,” he said. Are these policies fair? No, said Nelson, “but the fairness complaints are, in my opinion, ludicrous.” He cited long-standing precedents for countries requiring proof of vaccination for visitor entry, particularly with yellow fever. He said the continued threat of Covid-19 variants makes it “completely reasonable for countries to impose vaccination requirements.” Regarding Hawaii’s vaccination plans, Lt. Gov. Green told local Honolulu TV station KHON, “We don’t discriminate against anyone. If they’re against vaccination and they want to travel, they can just get [a] “Every country has the right to define its public health policy as it sees fit,” said health lawyer Harry Nelson. for travel, the organization is supporting the introduction of a short-term health pass such as the European Commission’s “digital green certificate” to allow more safe international travel. “We must not discriminate against those who wish to travel but who have not been vaccinated,” We know that it will take a long time to vaccinate the world’s population, especially those in less developed countries, or different groups of age.” Travel security company International SOS is working with the International Chamber of Commerce to set the standards for digital AOKpass, said Dr Robert Quigley, Global Medical Director of International SOS. but conversely to help the travel industry get back on track and to help ensure the health and safety of citizens and travelers. Nelson said “the politics” of fairness arguments and opposition to vaccine passports is a hindrance. ” We need to recognize the practical reality with which we live in and face these times, ”he said. .



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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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Thailand faces growing epidemic ahead of New Year’s travels | Instant News



Authorities in Thailand struggle to contain a growing coronavirus outbreak just days before the country’s traditional Songkran New Year holiday, when millions travelBy BUSABA SIVASOMBOON Associated PressApril 9, 2021, 9:58 am • 4 min read Friday , Thai authorities have struggled to contain a growing coronavirus outbreak just days before the traditional Songkran New Year’s holiday in the country, when millions of people travel. Health officials have reported 559 new infections across the country. the country on Friday, after an increase of 405 cases and 334 cases the previous two days. Authorities responded by ordering the closure of entertainment venues in 41 provinces for two weeks starting Saturday, while governors in some provinces impose restrictions on travelers from elsewhere. Such daily increases are rare for Thailand, which has weathered the coronavirus pandemic much better than many countries thanks to measures, including strict border controls, which have decimated the country’s lucrative tourism industry. Thailand has also occasionally experienced curfews, alcohol bans, and closures of schools, shopping malls and restaurants. Travelers and businesses alike hoped this year’s Songkran vacation could go smoothly without a peak. ‘infections. The holiday was canceled last year to slow the spread of the disease, as the country experienced its first major outbreak. The national government has so far refused to issue general travel restrictions this year, though provincial authorities be allowed to set quarantine rules for people coming from high-risk areas like Bangkok. Several provinces have done so, questioning many people’s travel plans. The director-general of the Department of Disease Control, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, said on Wednesday that according to projections by the Ministry of Health, the number new infections could reach 10,000 per day if no adequate action is taken. The current outbreak is the largest the country has seen since December, centered on a fresh produce market that employs a number of migrant workers from Myanmar. This time around, the outbreak has been attributed to a number of bars and nightlife spots in the heart of Bangkok, many of which are popular with the rich and powerful. Cases are now on the rise in at least 20 provinces, with authorities saying some of those infected had a more contagious variant of the virus first detected in Britain. self-quarantine – is a growing criticism of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s government and its handling of the pandemic. While Thailand has only recorded 30,869 infections and 96 deaths since the start of the pandemic, critics say the government has not given enough vaccinations or support to people whose livelihoods have been shattered by the pandemic. million people and has a relatively limited supply of Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines. While there have been a few high-profile vaccination events – including the most recent vaccinations for workers at now-closed entertainment venues in areas affected by the latest outbreak – there is still no specific timeline for know when the general public can get vaccinated. The government’s response to the latest outbreak has so far focused on closures of nightlife spots. Earlier this week, Bangkok city officials ordered the closure of all nightclubs in three affected neighborhoods. The country’s central authority handling the coronavirus situation extended this Friday to bars, nightclubs and karaoke lounges in 41 provinces. Bangkok authorities have set up mass testing sites in some affected neighborhoods, attracting large crowds of people who often had to wait for hours. line. Efforts to detect possible infections have been complicated now that a number of Bangkok hospitals have said they are suspending COVID-19 testing due to the shortage of chemicals needed to process the tests. government ordered preparations to set up field hospitals to deal with any surges. among patients and said vacant rooms in Bangkok hotels could also be converted to accommodate infected people if the number continues to rise. .



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NRA CEO LaPierre reportedly told travel agent to hide certain stops on his private jet flights | Instant News



A travel consultant who testified in the National Rifle Association bankruptcy case said chief executive Wayne LaPierre asked her to omit certain flight stopovers from invoices she sent to the human rights group. firearms for Mr. LaPierre’s private jet trip, a disclosure that NRA lawyers are disputing. keep out of court record. The travel counselor testified, in a video filing released in bankruptcy court Thursday, that some invoices she sent to the NRA omitted stopovers in Nebraska and the Bahamas, at Mr. LaPierre’s request. Some of Mr. LaPierre’s relatives who frequently traveled on private jets paid for by the NRA live in Nebraska. The NRA chief previously said he travels frequently to the Bahamas to stay for free on a 108-foot yacht in the Bahamas with family members, provided by an NRA vendor, for safety reasons. Testimony that Mr LaPierre sought to hide some private jet stops from the NRA’s own accountants could be evidence that he knew what he was doing was wrong and that he was deliberately hiding it, legal experts have said . “If this is true, it appears to be a clear and documented example of misusing NRA assets and covering up this abuse,” said Elizabeth Kingsley, a Washington nonprofit lawyer. .



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