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Bringing it all back home

Trade Publication of the Year / July 2020

With Britons expected to wholeheartedly embrace domestic tourism, we examine some of the lesser known places to visit in Cornwall

Keeping green

A look at the future of sustainable tourism in the age of Covid-19

Bridging the gap Why the new ‘traffic light system’ is a positive start

Bouncing back

The measures you need to implement as lockdown eases


– VIPAVA VALLEY, SLOVENIA –

Fascinating landscape

Diverse terrain and Mediterranean flora, charming stone houses and bell towers paint a dream rustic imagery. Reminiscent of Tuscany perhaps, though the steep slopes and many clear water springs give it a special vibe. The climate, too is distinctive and gentle. All year round.

Wine and cuisine for the gods

The wine region impresses with its indigenous old varieties and award-winning natural wines. The tables of its restaurants and agritourism farms are filled with seasonal dishes based on home produce. Likewise, local haute cuisine with its modern interpretations of tradition has been winning over some of the world's most prestigious publications. A heaven for foodies and wine lovers!

Thrilling outdoor adventures

There's plenty of hiking and cycling trails, great conditions for hang gliding and paragliding, climbing, paddling the river, horse riding, fishing and more, countless activities to please the hearts and minds of nature lovers. True adventures are provided by the local guides, spicing up your perfect day outdoors with hidden treats and surprises.

#ifeelsLOVEnia #vipavavalley

www.vipavskadolina.si


Bringing it all back home

Trade Publication of the Year / July 2020

With Britons expected to wholeheartedly embrace domestic tourism, we examine some of the lesser known places to visit in Cornwall

Keeping green

A look at the future of sustainable tourism in the age of Covid-19

Bridging the gap Why the new ‘traffic light system’ is a positive start

Bouncing back

The measures you need to implement as lockdown eases

This may be the start of the long road to recovery…

W

hisper it, but this may be the start of the long road to recovery. In June, the government announced a series of plans to ease lockdown, beginning with advance notice that, from early July, the hospitality sector will reopen. As social distancing rules were relaxed from two metres to one, pubs, restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions were told to prepare themselves to once again welcome customers, prompting hopes of a major boost in domestic tourism. As Kate Mavor, chief executive of English Heritage, has said – despite the obvious drawbacks of restricted inbound travel – this summer does provide Britons with a unique opportunity. “It’s going to be much, much quieter than usual because [fewer people are] going to come from overseas,” she said, noting that 65 per cent of visitors to Stonehenge normally come from abroad. One region that is likely to see a huge number of visitors is one which has traditionally been cautious to avoid overtourism, but, as Nathaniel Cramp examines on p24, Cornwall has much more to offer than its best-known towns. As we write on p28, midway through June, the likes of Spain and Portugal announced they were opening up to Britons but the Foreign Office continued to advise against all but essential travel to anywhere in the world, while the heavily criticised (and belatedly introduced) blanket 14-day quarantine measures remained in place. The announcement, then, of reciprocal travel arrangements – variously called ‘air bridges’, ‘air corridors’ or the ‘traffic light system’ – was welcomed wholeheartedly by the industry as a positive start, even before exact destinations were announced. However, there was frustration at early reports that suggested an “explosion” in bookings, given the various obstacles, including reduced capacity and restrictions to all but a handful of countries, that stand in the way of a prosperous travel industry. It is true that agents and operators have been seeing bookings grow, albeit from a standing start, and the appetite for travel is still strong. Since our last issue, in May, there is far more to be optimistic about, but difficult times and difficult decisions lie ahead. From p14, we share resources from ABTA to help you through this period, while the Travel Trade Consultancy share their advice on p18. Don’t forget to sign up to our weekly mail here. We hope you enjoy reading.

ABTAmag.com

January July 2020

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In the July issue

24

28

36

03 06

Editor’s letter Is this the start of the long road to recovery?

14

ABTA section Including information on Covid-19 related refunds and the latest webinars

18

Advice Martin Alcock of Travel Trade Consultancy on how the travel industry can best survive the challenges the pandemic poses

22

Comment Donovan White from the Jamaica Tourist Board on how the island is reopening

24

UK holidays: Cornwall With staycations set to be more popular than ever, a look at some alternative and quieter options in the beautiful southwest county

28

Feature: air corridors Why air corridors or air bridges are a good way of helping the industry to minimise the impact of the pandemic

32

Globetrender: insights Jenny Southan looks at what will constitute the ‘new normal’ for travel and tourism in a post-coronvirus world

36

Feature: sustainability Before Covid-19, sustainable tourism was high on many travellers’ list of priorities. We look at some countries’ green highlights

News All the latest travel headlines during the Covid-19 pandemic

ABTAmag.com


SLOVENIA. MY WAY OF ABSOLUTE SERENITY. Find peace of mind amid flowing rivers, towering peaks and lush forests. Explore your favourite trail, cave or natural reserve and discover pristine Slovenian experiences in your own special way.

#ifeelsLOVEnia #myway

www.slovenia.info


News

News July 2020

All the latest travel headlines amid the Covid-19 pandemic

AIR BRIDGES

BUSINESS TRAVEL

Government expected to announce the introduction of ‘air bridges’

BTA warns half of jobs at risk By ABTA Magazine staff

By ABTA Magazine staff The government is expected to imminently announce the countries with which the UK will form ‘air bridges’, giving Britons the green light to holiday abroad from July. The reciprocal agreements mean travellers from approved nations can enter the UK without having to quarantine for 14 days, proving a boost to inbound tourism. Senior figures in the travel industry say it is being kept in the dark over plans, but the list is expected to involve France, Greece and Spain. Portugal’s ambassador to the UK has said the country was keen to come to an agreement that would allow British tourists to visit this summer, but there is some doubt as to whether Portugal will make the list. “We think the situation is under control and we would be happy to receive, as before, as many British as possible,” Manuel Lobo Antunes, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. An ABTA spokesperson said: “It is encouraging that the government has concluded its first review of its public health measures at the border, and that passengers

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July 2020

arriving from certain destinations will not be required to quarantine. “Confirmation of the list of countries is eagerly anticipated by the travel industry, and should encourage customers to book. The blanket Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel is still a major impediment to travel, however, and we look forward to the government adopting a similar risk-based approach to that advice.” Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO, The Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “We welcome confirmation from the government that a ‘traffic light’ system will be implemented whereby visitors to and from those countries designated as green and amber will not be required to quarantine and that British leisure and business travellers will be able to start travelling again from early July. It’s important that, while we see the industry begin to move forward, travellers’ safety is of paramount importance and without the corresponding FCO advice to support this system British travellers would not be able to secure insurance.” ABTAmag.com See more on p28

The Business Travel Association has warned that 50 per cent of jobs in the sector are at risk. In a recent speech to the BTA’s Virtual Conference, Clive Wratten, the association’s CEO, criticised the 14-day quarantine, and said that travel corridors would focus on leisure destinations despite a pent up demand for business travel. “One in two jobs in the business travel sector are at real risk. The blunt force of quarantine has made the UK a closed island and our government is not listening carefully enough to the grave challenges our sector is facing.” The BTA has urged the government to introduce travel corridors and pilot testing on arrival for business travellers. He added: “We have made it very clear to the Transport Secretary, and the Home Secretary, that travel corridors cannot just focus on tourism. Business travel hotspots such as Amsterdam, Paris and Hong Kong must be included. Without effective and focused business travel we will jeopardise the £220 billion our industry contributes to UK GDP each year.” Wratten concluded: “This government cannot allow the destruction of the business travel sector to be a legacy of Covid-19. Extending the furlough scheme will be both a saviour for our industry’s jobs and a solid investment in much needed growth.” The BTA’s members account for more than 90 per cent of UK expenditure on business travel, employing 14,500 people, and making over 30 million annual transactions which result in turnover in excess of £11.5 billion. ABTAmag.com

ABTAmag.com


FINAVIA

Electric dreams

MALDIVES

The UK’s new long-haul destination of choice

By ABTA Magazine staff

By ABTA Magazine staff

Finavia and the Helsinki Electric Aircraft Association have have announced plans to create a new generation of electric aircraft in Finland. The first electric passenger aircrafts will be best suited for shorter flights, but mark a step in a more sustainable direction. “Finavia’s objective is to continue the reduction of emissions caused by airport operations, to which all available resources must be targeted. Electric aviation is one of those solutions. We want to invest in the introduction of new aircraft technology and expedite the electrification of domestic flights,” said senior vice president Henri Hansson, who oversees infrastructure and sustainability at Finavia. According to the research conducted in cooperation between the University of Jyväskylä in Finland and Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, an electric aircraft would be the preferred option for travelling distances of more than 400km in Finland due to the aircraft’s speed. If the electricity used to power the aircraft was produced only by wind or solar energy, the it would be able to fly with zero emissions, Finavia said. “With electric aviation, flying will become more and more ecological and electric aircraft will become an environmentally friendly method of transport. Electric aviation is quiet, which also reduces noise nuisance,” added Janne Vasama, chairman of the Helsinki Electric Aircraft Association. Finavia has cooperated with the Helsinki Electric Aircraft Association since the association was founded about two years ago, and has supported the testing and development of electric aviation and the first electric aircraft in Finland. Finavia Oyj, formerly the Finnish Civil Aviation Administration, is responsible for maintaining and developing Finland’s airport network. ABTAmag.com

With its white sand beaches, turquoise waters and isolated resorts, the Maldives appears to be establishing itself as the UK’s long-haul destination of choice. In May, there were 74,000 searches for ‘Maldives holidays’ in the UK – more than for any other destination– and Kuoni says it currently accounts for 56 per cent of its bookings for 2021. Chief executive Derek Jones said that the country was always its top seller, but was “soaring even further ahead” as holidaymakers look ahead to next year. If Only said its popularity was part of “sway towards those destinations which best offer bespoke touches, seclusion and the ability to social distance with ease”. Gordon McCreadie, product and distribution director, told ABTA Magazine, that, throughout the month of June, If Only took more calls for the Maldives than any other Indian Ocean destination, and it accounted for over 20 per cent of overall business. “Covid-19 is definitely still on people’s minds, and they are looking for an escape where they can avoid crowds and enjoy quality time together without worrying about other people around them. Whether it be arranging in-room dining, private sandbank picnic lunches or spacious family

Read more news on ABTAmag.com and sign up to our Weekly Digest email here: ABTAmag. com/suscribe

residences with their own leisure facilities, our Indian Ocean experts have been on hand to help craft the perfect Maldives escapes, offering hassle-free getaways for families and couples. McCreadie said the company had also spotted a trend towards longer holidays, suggesting that “consumers are prepared to pay more for an extra special trip, and extended time away, since they’ve been unable to take their usual holidays this year.” “Our average duration for holidays in the Maldives is around 10 nights at present, with many customers opting for an all-inclusive board basis, suggesting that people are keen to treat themselves to an all-round luxury package. While good value is still a key factor in purchase decisions, it’s evident that the cheapest option is not necessarily what consumers are looking for just now – their longanticipated holiday has to be memorable, and truly worth the wait.” Jones said: “While there is still so much uncertainty around plans to open borders, the 14-day quarantine and social distancing people are telling us that they’d rather plan ahead for next year and save to make the trip an extra special one, upgrading what they’d normally do. “It’s clear from the conversations we’re having with customers and booking patterns that many people will opt to stay closer to home within the UK this year as they see overseas travel in the near future as being too risky.” Kuoni said that, after the Maldives, the next most popular destinations were Mauritius, Thailand, Spain and India. Some resorts on the island are targeting the ultra-luxury market for 2020 holidays, with the Milaidhoo Island Maldives and the Nautilus Maldives offering an exclusive charter of a 100-seat private jet, in order to run a special flight from London to the Maldives this summer. The one-off flight will depart from one of London Stansted’s private terminals on August 16, returning from Malé on August 31. ABTAmag.com


CLIA

LEGER

Clia extends the suspension Leger snaps of cruises from US ports up Shearings By ABTA Magazine staff

By ABTA Magazine staff Clia has issued a statement announcing that it is to voluntarily extended the suspension of cruise operations from US ports until September 15. “Due to the ongoing situation within the US related to Covid-19, Clia member cruise lines have decided to voluntarily extend the period of suspended passenger operations. The current No Sail Order issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will expire on July 24, and although we had hoped that cruise activity could resume as soon as possible after that date, it is increasingly clear that more time will be needed to resolve barriers to resumption in the United States. “Although we are confident that future cruises will be healthy and safe, and will fully reflect the latest protective measures, we also feel that it is appropriate to err on the side of caution to help ensure the best interests of our passengers and crew members. We have therefore decided to further extend our suspension of operations from US ports until September 15. The additional time will also allow us to consult with the CDC on measures that will be appropriate for the eventual resumption of cruise operations. “This voluntary suspension applies to all Clia members to which the No Sail Order applied (vessels with capacity to carry 250 persons or more). Clia member cruise lines will continually evaluate the evolving situation and make a

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July 2020

determination as to whether a further extension is necessary.” “During this unprecedented pause in our business, we have continued to assess the operating environment and confer with public health, government and industry officials,” Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy told booked guests and travel agents. But while ocean cruise lines are extending suspensions, river cruise is closer to recovery. The French government has announced that it is to allow river cruises to continue from July 11. “We are very happy with this decision,’ Lucas Schmitter, e-commerce and sales director of CroisiEurope, told SeaTrade. “We had expected a recovery on July 13 with our itineraries.” The company plans recommence cruises on all French rivers with a reduced fleet on some of them, such as the Rhône (three ships instead of four) and the Seine (two instead of three). International cruises will begin in late July/early August. Cruises on Portuguese and Spanish rivers are currently slated to return in August. Meanwhile, A-Rosa restarted its Rhine river cruises on June 17, with the successful departure from Cologne of its 10-day Experience the Northern Rhine and Moselle itinerary. The move follows A-Rosa Alba restarting Douro cruises on June 17 and the line’s Danube cruises recommenced on June 20, while itineraries in France are due to re-start on July 11. ABTAmag.com

Leger Holidays, the escorted touring company, has announced the acquisition of the assets of former competitor, Shearings. The deal will see Leger Holidays acquire the Shearings brand, website and customer database. Shearings closed after more than 100 years trading, when parent company Specialist Leisure Group went into administration in May. Leger Holidays’ chief executive Ian Henry said: “I am delighted that Leger Holidays will be bringing the iconic Shearings brand back to life and relaunching it as a stand-alone brand in our escorted tours portfolio. “We have gone into this deal knowing that the two brands already have many synergies – similar product, customer demographic, experience values, impressive repeat business and customer loyalty and, as such, we already have the business model in place to seamlessly relaunch Shearings. Leger Holidays has nearly 40 years’ experience in escorted tours – we are not recklessly helicoptering into unknown territory! “We are particularly keen to develop Shearings’ popular UK tours portfolio and increase our UK tours market share. Post Covid-19 we are predicting an increase in staycations and will be very quickly launching around thirty new UK tours for 2021 and beyond. “This deal will not only save the Shearings brand but will reinforce Leger Holidays’ position as the UK’s largest coach holiday operator.” Leger Holidays said it will be working with travel agents on the commissionable sale of Shearings’ tours and is also open to talks with Shearings’ former suppliers. ABTAmag.com

ABTAmag.com


PITCHUP

Boost for UK bookings

TRADEWIND

New cruise line launched by former Saga COO

By ABTA Magazine staff

By ABTA Magazine staff

Domestic tourism has been given a boost after the government announced that the hospitality sector would reopen on July 4. In the first 24 hours after Boris Johnson revealed plans to ease lockdown on June 23, Pitchup.com, which lists outdoor accommodation, revealed that its top 50 destination searches from users in the UK were for destinations in the UK. Bookings quadrupled after the announcement and Pitchup saw its highest number of bookings in one day for the UK since it was founded, over ten years ago. Over 98 per of bookings were for holidays in the UK. In total, more than 8,200 British holidaymakers booked domestic accomodation. Last year Pitchup sent almost 800,000 UK holidaymakers on a staycation, most of whom travelled during July and August. While visitor numbers are yet to reach those figures, over 2,903 bookings relating to 8,291 holidaymakers have booked for England over the last day alone. Cornwall tops the table for most popular destination with 14 per cent of all bookings, closely followed by Devon on nine per cent. The site said for those looking to escape the crowds, Pembrokeshire, East Sussex and Norfolk are good choices with two per cent of bookings each. It noted that interest has shifted towards domestic holidays, with fewer than two per cent of bookings made by UK customers since May 1 for sites abroad, compared to more than 10 per cent for the same period last year. The most popular booked period recorded was the week beginning July 5, the day after the government’s earliest potential date for accommodation reopening. The next most popular week is the start of the school holidays, followed by other periods during the school holidays in July and August. The most popular week outside of main school holidays was the week commencing September 6, which is 11th most popular, showing how dependent the sector is on the summer peak.

Tradewind Voyages, a new UK-based cruise line, has launched with some wellknown names from the industry. The company will operate the square rigged sailing ship, Golden Horizon – the largest of its type in the world – with ex-UK cruises in April and May 2021. The 272-passenger ship, a near replica of the 1913-built ocean vessel France II, which will operate under charter, will run nine cruises from the UK before heading to Bali where it will sail itineraries featuring Indonesia, Australia, Japan and Alaska. Tradewind Voyages will be run by Stuart McQuaker, former COO of Saga. Jeremy McKenna will be sales & marketing director while Amanda Norey (Darrington)

will be head of marketing and distribution and Oliver Hammerer will be product director. Rachel Healey and Mark Schmitt have also joined the company. “The team is hugely excited by the opportunity to operate this fabulous ship,” said McQuaker. “We are looking forward to her introductory season in the UK and then taking her to some unique parts of the world, on itineraries that are planned to ensure we use the prevailing winds and currents to capitalise on her sailing credentials.” McKenna added “We are looking forward to working with our trade partners to give our mutual guests a true sailing experience on board this stunning ship as part of an unforgettable holiday.” ABTAmag.com

Read more about UK holidays from p24

ABTAmag.com

July 2020

9


News

ITALY

UK

UK tourist boards join forces Guidelines published for new industry standard By ABTA Magazine staff The tourist boards of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have launched a UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark for tourism. The ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark means businesses can demonstrate that they are adhering to public health guidance, have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment and checked that they have the required processes in place. Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “I want to encourage the public to experience a great British holiday this summer and be

confident that they can do so safely. “This new industry standard will show people that tourism businesses, destinations and attractions are adhering to the guidance. It puts safety first and is an important move in getting this industry back up and running.” VisitEngland Director Patricia Yates said: “With millions of jobs and local economies across the country reliant on tourism it is essential that businesses can get up and running as soon as the respective government advice allows to capture the peak British summer season. “We want visitors to be able to enjoy their holidays and to support businesses to be confident they have the correct procedures in place. Our priority is to make sure tourism rebounds to once again become one of the most successful sectors of the UK economy and this ‘ring of confidence’ is a crucial step on the industry’s road to rebuilding.” To obtain the mark businesses must complete a self-assessment through the online platform including a check-list confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the We’re Good To Go mark for display in their premises and online. ABTAmag.com For more on domestic holidays and the reopening of the hospitality sector, see p27

By ABTA Magazine staff The Italian Tourist Board has published a set of guidelines and protocols on for travellers heading to the country this summer. The information covers both operational guidelines for businesses and general information for tourists on the protocols and social distancing measures that have been implemented throughout the country. The guidelines are available on the Italian Tourist Board website and includes links to pages outlining specific protocols on every aspect of a holiday experience, including restaurants, seaside and beach areas, accommodation facilities, swimming pools, parks and museums. “With the extensive and thorough protocols available online for travellers, we hope to reassure visitors that Italy is ready for tourists and has the correct measures in place to both ensure their health and safety while having a fantastic experience in the destination,” said Flavio Zappacosta, manager for UK and Ireland. The guidelines include information on the mandatory wearing of face masks in enclosed spaces and that a one metre social distancing rule applies to all public areas. The full list of protocols is available at italia.it/en/useful-info/guidance-standardsfor-hospitality-reopening.html. ABTAmag.com

10 minutes with…

Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO at Advantage Travel Partnership How are you supporting your agents? To help our members with their preparations for reopening, we’ve created marketing assets and different types of signage for both shops and offices. These include digital assets for use on social media, websites and in store/office TV screensavers which will promote members’ reopening to clients. In-store signage such as door stickers, floor stickers and posters have also been created to remind and encourage clients about hygiene procedures and social distancing

10 July 2020

measures that are in place. We’ve compiled a list of preferred suppliers and negotiated discounted rates for relevant PPE equipment that can be used in both retail units and offices, such as protective screens, hand sanitiser stands and signage. Members will also receive the latest government advice and guidance, to cover topics such as cleaning and hygiene processes and recommendations for spacing within offices and retail units as and when this information is updated. All of these can be accessed through their

ABTAmag.com


SAGA

Adventure in November

BARBADOS

BELIZE

Flights to resume

Airport set to reopen

By ABTA Magazine staff

By ABTA Magazine staff

By ABTA Magazine staff

Saga Cruises’ newest ship, Sprit of Adventure, will set off on its first cruise on November 5. Nigel Blanks, Managing Director of Saga cruises, said: “For her first voyage, the Spirit of Adventure will leave Southampton on November 5 to sail the Mediterranean, before returning to the UK. My team is in the process of calling all passengers booked on the inaugural cruise to update them with this latest development and we look forward to welcoming them on board. “We have been working with the industry and government to put in place state-of-the-art appropriate health protocols, putting guest safety first to ensure a return to service.” ABTAmag.com

Barbados is set to reopen after it eliminated cases of Covid-19. On July 18, British Airways will resume a weekly flight out of London Gatwick. Intraregional flights on Caribbean Airlines are expected to resume in mid-July, while Virgin Atlantic’s weekly service from London Heathrow will return on August 1 and increase in October for the Winter season. On August 5, American Airlines will resume flights out of Miami, Florida. On arrival, travellers will be required to present evidence of a negative result of a PCR Covid-19 test, and barcode to clear immigration. ABTAmag.com

The Prime Minister of Belize made the official announcement that Belize’s international airport (BZE), the Philip Goldson International Airport, will be opened on August 15, 2020, as part of the country’s five-phase re-opening strategy for tourism. The opening of the international airport will kick-off Belize’s third phase of re-opening, allowing for further travel relaxation and open entry for chartered flights, private aviation and limited re-opening of international leisure travel with approved hotels only Belize was able to enjoy over 50 days of a Covid-19 free environment. ABTAmag.com

Continued from page 10 dedicated Covid-19 content hub on their members’ extranet. In addition to this, to support our members when it comes to selling, we’ve created a ‘Hot Offers’ Facebook page which is a closed group for members where we share the best offers available from our supplier members. Members can then use these offers for their own websites, email and social media channels. We’re also in the process of rolling out an appointment booking app for our members so that agents and their customers can easily book in pre-arranged appointments to manage footfall in shops. What will travel retail look like going forward? In the short term, a lot of our members will be operating a closed door policy so they can manage the number of people in their shops as the UK eases out of lockdown. We know that now more than ever, consumers will realise the value of a travel agent and be more inclined to book with one. A recent consumer survey that we conducted found that as a result of Covid-19 two thirds of Brits now plan to book through a travel agent. Throughout this pandemic, what people have really wanted is to pick up the

ABTAmag.com

phone and speak to a human being, who can help them with their booking and offer relevant support and guidance. The survey also told us that now more than ever a younger demographic will be looking to book with travel agents so we need to support members with accessing this market and also engaging with them in different ways. Are your agents reporting any booking trends? Initially, a lot of consumers were planning their trips for summer 2021, but we are seeing holidays being booked for winter 2020 and even as early as September 2020 which is really encouraging. A lot of this is Europe and the Med, but we’re also seeing US bookings. A lot of the holidays being booked are longer in duration, with the return of the two-week holiday and an increase in the average spend. Members are becoming more comfortable with promoting offers which are gaining a lot of interaction from customers, so we believe that there is definitely a pent up demand and a will to travel. Do you think the government has done enough to support the trade? No, they have not done enough to support

the trade or the travel industry as a whole. Other industry associations and I have written to the Foreign Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Transport Minister imploring them to revoke the 14-day quarantine measures on arrivals in the UK and to reassess the indefinite FCO ban on travel. We requested the urgent implementation of international travel corridors and suggested a ‘wish-list’ of destinations in order to kick start the travel industry, but no action has been taken. What changes would you like to see operators put in place in the case of a second wave of Covid-19? Many suppliers that we work with have done a fantastic job throughout the crisis at communicating regularly with agents on what’s happening in their businesses and managed the refund process efficiently which has been invaluable. The dynamic of the tourism industry will change and I think that the companies that offer a more transparent service will be the ones to ultimately come out the other side in a stronger position. Strong partnerships have been key throughout this and as we start to emerge these will become more important than ever before for both us and our members. ABTAmag.com

May 2020 11


Canadian adventures

Whether it’s coming within touching distance of thundering Niagara Falls, or sitting back and taking in the scenery on a Rocky Mountaineer train, there are few places that hold as much wonder as Canada. Bigger than the United States, but with a population ten times smaller, Canada boasts some of the world’s most untouched and pristine parks and forests. Saga, the over 50s specialist tour operator, has a rich and diverse Canada programme, with five different itineraries taking your clients right across this vast country. These holidays offer the perfect blend of outdoor adventure and stays in some of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities – all while taking in the famous Canadian hospitality.

Highlights of Eastern Canada

On Saga’s Highlights of Eastern Canada itinerary, guests are taken on a 10-night tour of some of the most interesting sites that the country has to offer. From Toronto, which boasts everything from some of Canada’s best shopping, found downtown, to the huge CN Tower, where you can walk on the

glass floor that sits 1,122 feet above ground. Then, en route to Montreal, a cruise takes guests along the historic St Lawrence River, past the Thousand Islands and the Frontenac Arch UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Once in Montreal, guests can explore beautiful Mount Royal Park – which in winter features ice rinks and sledging – or the Old Montreal district, that feels distinctly European with its cobbled streets and boutique shops. Given that Montreal is one of the world’s largest French speaking cities, that might not come as much of a surprise. In Quebec – North America’s only walled city north of Mexico – guests will be able to explore the 17th and 18th century Place Royale and Petit Champlain Quarter, the Citadel and the picture postcard Chateau Fronenac Hotel. If your client wants to go off on their own steam, then point them in the direction of Lower Town where they will find the beating heart of the old Quebec – and the largest collection of 17th and 18th century buildings in North America. From Quebec, guests will travel on to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. Here they will visit Parliament Hill, Canada’s seat of government and, if they have time some of Ottawa’s famous museums – from the Canadian Museum of Nature to the War Museum – there’s something for everyone.


It’s then on to Niagara Falls, one of the world’s seven natural wonders. Here guests ride the Hornblower Niagara cruise to the foot of the falls on an included excursion – weather permitting – or, if they want to take in the full glory of the two waterfalls and the surrounding area, board a helicopter for an even more memorable excursion.

Rocky Mountains and Alaskan Adventure

What can be more Canadian than sweeping through the Rocky Mountains on one of Rocky Mountaineer’s beautiful scenic railway carriages? Getting the best possible view of the incredible scenery, guests take a railway journey from Jasper to Kamloops, taking them right into the heart of this fabled part of the world. Having already seen the perfect blue streams cutting through the jagged mountains of Banff – and maybe spotting a bear on their travels. Before boarding the Rocky Mountaineer train guests are treated to a trip on Lake Louise, often called the Jewel of the Rockies, which reflects the Victoria Glacier and the mountains around it. Adventures through the Rocky Mountains are just the beginning of this 16-day trip of a lifetime. Guests disembark the train in Vancouver – one of the coolest cities in Canada – and visit Gastown, known for its whistling steam clock and great restaurants, to see an edgier side of the city before overnighting and boarding the Holland America Line ship Koningsdam for an Alaskan cruise. For many, an Alaska cruise is a bucket list experience and

it’s easy to see why. It’s a region that can only be properly accessed via the sea. Traverse the Inside Passage, past beautiful fjords, forested islands and snow-capped mountains to the land of prospectors. You can pan for gold in Juneau, see the incredible ice formations in Glacier Bay National Park before returning back to the Koningsdam to spend the evening in BB King’s Blues Club.

Saga Difference

By booking with Saga, you can rest assured that your client will be travelling with one of the most renowned companies in the industry. That difference includes the Saga Price Promise – booking early ensures that guests never miss out. If Saga drops its prices after booking, they will automatically refund the difference. This is valid on all 2021 departures. Saga is also so confident that your client will love their holiday that if there is an issue that they can’t resolve within 48 hours of arrival they will fly your client home and give them their money back. That’s on top of Saga’s VIP door-to-door chauffeur service with unlimited mileage.

Covid-19 policy on travel insurance

Saga has always included optional travel insurance for those travelling on its holiday. However, in light of recent events, the company has taken the ground-breaking step of including Covid-19 cover on its travel insurance from June 1, 2020.


ABTA News

News Looking to the future ABTA publishes a post pandemic recovery guide to help destinations and the tourism industry as travel restarts

By ABTA Magazine staff ABTA has published a post pandemic recovery guide to assist destinations and the travel industry in the transition to restarting travel. Post Pandemic Recovery: A Guide has been produced to support travel providers, suppliers and destination governments to identify areas that should be considered when making modifications to operations as a result of the global crisis. Developed by ABTA’s destinations team and a range of external experts, it provides a holistic view of the actions that suppliers of travel and tourism services can take to transition through the operational recovery planning and management process. The guide is not intended to replace local government or public health authority guidance but has been designed to complement the ABTA Tourism Accommodation Health and

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Safety Technical Guide and other ABTA publications and guidance. Users of the guide will be able to identify key operational, service and safety factors that should be considered and introduced in accordance with the local authorities and local public health requirements before they recommence operations and introduce processes that make sure these factors are maintained once their operations resume. Topics include: • The customer journey • Management responsibility • Risk assessment • Refinement of operational and service provisions and procedures • Health, safety and security • Communication • Supply chain management • Prevention of spread of infection Angela Hills, ABTA’s head of destinations, says: “For many years the ABTA destinations team has worked with destination

governments, local authorities, accommodation, transport and excursion providers, and other suppliers of tourist services to support good health and safety management for the benefit of customers and workers in the tourism sector. “As we collectively embark on the road to restarting travel, it’s important that we continue to collaborate with and support relevant stakeholders to give confidence that people can travel safely again. Any changes to operations or safety practices as part of the recovery process should be made in a balanced and proportionate way, with the primary focus being the safety and wellbeing of staff and customers and should be in accordance with the legislation and public health requirements of the destination concerned.” “I’d like to thank the team of international experts and health and safety consultancy companies who contributed to the production of this guide: BeSafe Ltd, IGI Ltd, Intertek Cristal, Preverisk Group, Professor Rodney Cartwright and Travelife for Accommodation. Their expertise has been invaluable.” The guide is available for free to all ABTA members, who are encouraged to share it with their destination management companies and the accommodation, transportation and excursion providers that they work with. ABTA Partners and non-members can purchase it via abta.com/shop. It is available in English and is currently being translated into eight further languages – Arabic, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. ABTA’s destinations team has also developed a Country recovery plans page, available in the member zone on abta.com, to host guidance documents that ABTA has received from destination governments or their tourism associations, detailing their own countries’ specific recovery plans and health and hygiene initiatives. Members can utilise this as part of their own destination recovery planning process and this area is updated as further destination recovery plans are received by ABTA.

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Ask the expert Do you have a burning question you can’t find the answer to? Be it travel trends, a regulatory riddle or destination dilemmas, send us your query for an expert response

Do Covid-19 changes equal a refund?

I have a customer who is due to travel later in the summer and we have been informed that the buffet service in their all-inclusive hotel will not be available due to Covid-19 social distancing and they will be served at table. The customer is not happy and wants their money back, what are their rights?

Firstly, being an all-inclusive it sounds like this is almost certainly a package holiday. Like all packages it will be governed by the Package Travel Regulations, which give customers the right to a refund if there has been a significant change to a booking. In many instances it is very clear that a change is significant: different dates, a different resort, a cancelled sporting event when the package was specifically advertised and sold around that event. In other cases whether a change is significant is not so clear; sometimes customers feel very strongly that a change is significant whereas the tour operator does not. There can be grey areas and a degree of subjectivity involved and the changes in the holiday experience that will be introduced to stop the spread of Covid-19 may not be to every customer’s liking. However, since these measures – social distancing, waiter service, etc – are being done specifically to safeguard customers we would hope that the vast majority would welcome them rather than see them through the lens of their holiday being significantly altered. We have guidance on this in the Member section of abta.com, which I would recommend you have a look at. Ultimately, though, there may be cases where the client feels so strongly that their holiday has been altered significantly where legally this is far from clear and that would be a matter for the courts to decide in the end. Daryl Nurthen, member support manager

15 July 2020

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ABTA Meet the team

Meet the team Each issue we speak to an ABTA employee about their work. This time: Claire Biddle, partnerships manager

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s ABTA’s partnerships manager my role is to support the 180 corporate partners that provide business products and services to Members. The partners are a friendly and diverse bunch, specialising in various sectors such as law, finance, marketing and communications, technology and also include tourist boards and ground handling services. Many of the partners have been with ABTA since we first launched the scheme back in 2007, which is a testament to the value they place in it. On a normal day, I arrange meetings with partners to understand more about their expertise and work that they are involved in. This helps me to think of ways in which they could best support our Members. I then work with the partners to help them communicate to Members via our range of partnership benefits. Popular partnership benefits include speaking opportunities at ABTA events, contributing to ABTA’s Travel Law publication, and arranging targeted marketing campaigns. This year has turned “normal” upside down and brought immense new challenges. I have worked in the travel industry for over 20 years with a background in product development and retail travel. Over this time I’ve supported customers through events such as 9/11, the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud, tsunamis and numerous terror attacks. However, Covid-19 has taken us all by surprise; four months seems a very long time ago. It has impacted many of ABTA’s Partners in similar ways to Members with many businesses providing services exclusively to the travel sector, services which they have seen cease overnight. Many partners have the resources to help members throughout the ongoing crisis, but due to travel and social distancing restrictions our main communication channel, ABTA’s events, have had to be postponed. So how do we now keep Partners and Members connected? How do we keep the support networks open and people talking? The pandemic has changed everything. Overnight, Members were required to think about how to retain their most important asset – their employees – with no new income; how to receive funding to keep themselves afloat; how to protect the health and safety and mental wellbeing of staff with new ways of working at home; how to manage contractual risk and negotiate with suppliers; how to manage communication with customers at a highly charged emotional time; and when and how to return to the workplace. Not least what legal risks might be posed to business owners and

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directors. Never has there been a time when so many decisions have had to be made in such a short space of time. ABTA responded to this crisis by moving its events to a new webinar series, delivering practical information to help businesses navigate through some of these concerns. These events were made free for both Members and Partners to join. We also developed a new Partner Support Hub. The hub aims to share information and industry news. ABTA’s partners have been active, sharing regular updates to create a library of resources for Members and Partners. To date, some of the free resources provided include helplines, virtual workshops, technology trials, risk assessment documentation, articles, whitepapers and more. This new resource has been well-received with over 1,000 unique views in the first few weeks. Partners continue to contribute to the hub keeping Members informed of any changes that are happening in the industry. It is probably worth me ending with the fact that, in order to become a partner, businesses are required to apply and are subject to various due diligence checks, so we would always recommend looking for the ABTA Partner logo when selecting a service provider.

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Webinars

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ABTA is holding a series of virtual webinars to provide practical guidance for the travel industry during the global coronavirus crisis ocusing on business resilience, the weekly webinars will be delivered in collaboration with trusted ABTA partners and will offer business support and advice during this time. The webinars are free-of-charge for ABTA members and partners. Non-members are welcome to pay to attend. ABTA’s live webinars are launched on abta.com/webinars at least one week before the event takes place. You can view on-demand recordings of all previous webinars on abta.com/webinarsondemand.

Destination Health and Safety for Post Pandemic Recovery

Getting your Contracts Right: Learnings from the Coronavirus Crisis

July1, 14:30-16:00 Designed for health, safety and operational teams offering practical guidance on how destinations and the travel industry can develop appropriate health and safety measures to help facilitate a safe reopening of travel around the world. The webinar will be available on-demand from July 2.

July 8, 14:30-16:00 This legal webinar will provide guidance on future consumer and supplier contracts within the travel industry. Hear how the industry can learn from the Coronavirus crisis and adapt their contracts going forward.

Consumer Attitudes Towards Sustainability Post Covid-19

Consumer Sentiment in Travel

July 15, 14:30-16:00 Reflect on customer trends prior to the pandemic and learn how the crisis has affected their views on the environmental and social impacts of tourism. Hear from ABTA’s Head of Sustainability and travel industry representatives as they share their findings from the past months and predictions going forward.

July 22, 10:30-12:00 Get the latest insights from ABTA partners on consumer attitudes towards travel brands and customers’ priorities for holidays going forward. Explore changing expectations and how to respond in order to promote confidence in travel and your brand.

Webinars on demand Visit abta.com/webinarsondemand to view recordings of ABTA’s virtual webinars. These include: • • • • • •

Find out more and register at abta.com/webinars

• • • •

17 July 2020

Maximising Brand Awareness During the Coronavirus Crisis Managing your Workforce through the Coronavirus Crisis Returning to the Travel Workplace Bolstering your Travel Business During the Coronavirus Crisis Delivering Customer Service in the Coronavirus Crisis Cyber Security and Remote Working: Protecting your Travel Business Supply Chain and Contract Risk Management Restructuring and Funding Options for your Travel Business Remote Working: Protecting your Employees' Mental Health and Wellbeing Financial Resilience for Travel Businesses

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Advice TTC

How we can bounce back

Martin Alcock, owner and director of the Travel Trade Consultancy, on how the travel industry can best survive the challenges it faces as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic

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elling travel is a hard slog at the moment. The last few months have been a gruelling war of attrition for those on the front line, doing what they can to survive. But we’re an optimistic and resilient sector and we know that people will want to travel again. There is a long way to go, and the size and shape of the future travel industry is still anyone’s guess. All we can do right now is keep asking the right questions and be ready to react when the answers finally reveal themselves.

18 July 2020

In this article, we’ve highlighted a few key areas to consider, along with some important questions you should be asking your business.

Financial consequences

The first phase of this crisis has been all about survival. Travel companies have been doing what they can to stem the cash outflow haemorrhage. They are issuing credit notes, deferring tax bills, and negotiating hard with suppliers and landlords. At the same time, they have been drawing down government loans and

overdraft facilities to provide a liquidity cushion. It’s been high-octane, backsagainst-the-wall stuff. But all of these actions have consequences that will come home to roost. Those government loans might be cheap, but they will eventually need to be serviced. Deferred tax bills will still need to be settled at some point, and refund credit notes will unwind over the coming weeks. The risk to medium/ long term cash flow is much more insidious, and without careful monitoring, cash problems can creep up.

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You should embed laser-focused cash flow monitoring into your regular processes. To avoid any nasty surprises you should have a mechanism of tracking actual cash vs forecasts on a monthly or weekly basis, that recalibrates the forecasts based on actuals, along with a feedback loop that investigates variances between actual and forecast (both positive and negative).

Customers

The uncertainty of Covid-19, together with a global recession, will inevitably dent confidence. In these circumstances, customers will delay committing to bookings until much closer to their planned departure date. In addition, market forces may dictate lower deposits, later final balance payments or more flexibility in cancellation rights. Such changes will cause problems with yield management and could well cause pricing volatility. However, they may provide opportunities to win market

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share. You should explore your ability to capture late bookings, price dynamically and manage your yield in such an environment.

you have in place with your suppliers, to ensure they are clear and do not expose you to greater risk than you are comfortable with.

Suppliers

Regulatory

The pain of Covid-19 has rattled around the whole supply chain and your suppliers won’t be immune to the resulting downturn either. Hotel groups may have laid off service staff, theme parks may be struggling to afford maintenance capex, transfer companies may not be able to renew their own business liability insurance. Vulnerable suppliers could fail, service and satisfaction levels could drop. If you’re a tour operator, packaging up these services, then all of that additional risk rests with you. Make sure you have adequate systems in place for managing your potential exposure to each of your suppliers and monitoring their service levels. You should also review the terms and conditions

Holding adequate licenses to carry sufficient customers will be imperative to ensuring your business can trade out of the lockdown and ride the bounce back wave. Many Atol, ABTA and Iata holders will find it harder to meet the various regulators’ financial conditions at their next renewal date. You should begin assessing your chances as soon as possible, to identify any potential issues and give yourself as much negotiating time as possible. It’s also worth thinking about other areas including; marketing, legal, insurance, merchant facilities and destinations. A list of questions to consider for these is available here. Good luck to everyone. See you on the other side.

July 2020 19


Promotion

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New horizons… The Seychelles Islands With its exceptional climate and sublime beauty, Seychelles is the perfect holiday destination where you can do everything or nothing The Seychelles archipelago consists of 115 islands scattered across the western Indian Ocean; 115 islands of pristine beauty unaltered since the dawn of time. Islands where magnificent granite boulders, among the oldest on Earth, flank powdersoft beaches often rated among the most beautiful on the planet. It is a token of the richness of its amazing ecosystems that Seychelles has not one, but two UNESCO World Heritage sites: the legendary Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, unchanged since prehistoric times, and Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll. With its exceptional climate – temperatures average 29°C all year round – Seychelles is ideal for island-hopping. Discovering them is like discovering the members of a majestic, ancient family, each with its own personality and history.

20 July 2020

Together they form another world, one of calm, harmony and sublime beauty that offers a wide range of accommodation from luxurious five-star hotels to enchanting beachside bungalows. Seychelles is the perfect place to do everything or absolutely nothing. It is the perfect destination for relaxing to the soothing rhythms of nature, or choosing one of the many types of more energetic, sports-orientated holidays on offer. If diving, sailing, fishing, island-hopping or ecotourism is your thing, the islands have what you need. Or, if you want a spa to recharge your batteries and liberate your mind, there is a wide choice of those, too. Few people would deny that these islands of love are the ideal settings for weddings, honeymoons or romantic getaways. The combination of unrivalled natural beauty

and the Seychellois’ warm welcome guarantees the holiday of a lifetime. There is a wide choice of accommodation, from world-class establishments through to more affordable small hotels to family guesthouses and self-catering units for a first-hand experience of the prized island lifestyle Visiting Seychelles is to enter the home of a large family with roots in all four corners of the globe. Here, where harmony is a way of life, visitors will find a vibrant culture that is the product of over two centuries of intermingling and exchange; a mix of African, European and Asian influences that is reflected in the country’s music, dance, culture and architecture and in its cuisine, one of the most mouth-watering anywhere. It’s a place like no other; another world.

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Reasons to choose Seychelles 1. Unique flora and fauna Seychelles’ remoteness from its neighbours has endowed it with over 1,000 species of endemic flora and 75 of endemic fauna. 2. Carefully controlled tourism Despite the building of new hotels, the islands are so varied and diverse that Seychelles can still play host to private resorts and exotic hideaways without damaging its environment. (Buildings are not allowed to be taller than the surrounding palm trees and hotels must be set back from turtles’ nesting beaches.) 3. Perfect climate Seychelles has a pleasant tropical climate all year round: as the country is outside the cyclone belt, there are no extremes. The temperature rarely falls below 24°C or exceeds 34°C – the average temperature of the air is 29°C and the water is 27°C. From October to March the trade winds blow from the north west and the sea is generally calm, with temperatures typical of a warm tropical climate. From December to January the weather is a little warmer and humid and from May to September the trade winds blow from the south east and the weather is generally drier and less humid, with slightly lower temperatures (26°C) and choppy seas, particularly on the south-eastern coasts. 4. No visa needed Whatever the nationality of visitors, or

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Pictured

of members of their family, no visa is needed to enter Seychelles. All that is required is a valid passport.

Left: Grande Soeur Island (Chris Close). Above: Vallee De Mai (Ennio Maffei)

5. There’s only a small time difference Seychelles is only two hours ahead of continental Europe in summer and three hours in winter. 6. Malaria free With the archipelago free from infectious diseases, no vaccinations are required except, when your client is combining a stay in Seychelles with one in Africa (other than South Africa), vaccination against yellow fever. 7. Endless deserted beaches Visitors, whether lovebirds or family travellers, all agree: Seychelles’ beaches are breathtakingly beautiful. Of the world’s 10 most beautiful beaches, seven are reputed to be in Seychelles. 8. Two UNESCO World Heritage sites Nature being omnipresent, Seychelles strives to preserve its bounty intact. Every Seychellois is proud of this natural heritage and nature reserves account for 50 per cent of the country’s land area and it boasts not one, but two UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve and the Aldabra coral atoll.

whole range of fishing thrills and the exceptional underwater environment of its mix of granite and coral islands. 10. The charm of the Seychellois In Seychelles, hospitality is not an empty word. Thanks to their colourful and harmonious mix of nationalities, the Seychellois are always discreet and considerate of their guests. A warm welcome is their keynote and they will be proud to help your clients discover our islands, another world.

Contact

Seychelles Tourist Office 132 Buckingham Palace Road, Ground floor, London, SW1W 9SA Seychelles@uksto.co.uk | seychelles.travel

9. World-class fishing and diving For the sports lovers and explorers among your clients, the archipelago offers the

To become a Seychelles expert please visit seychellessuperstar.co.uk

July 2020 21


Comment Jamaica

Opening up Donovan White, director of tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board, explains how the Caribbean island has safeguarded tourism as it reopens its borders

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t has undoubtedly been a challenging year for the travel industry globally, and Jamaica was no exception as travel ground to halt in March and holidays to our beautiful island were put on pause due to the coronavirus. We are now in July and, while every country around the world will have a long way to go before tourism numbers return to close to normal in the coming years, I have never been more proud of everyone working in the Jamaican tourist industry than I am today. On June 15, as a result of the extensive protocols that we have

22 July 2020

introduced, we reopened our international borders and began welcoming visitors to our vibrant country once again, thanks to the hard work and determination of so many. Up to June 25, Jamaica saw 659 cases of coronavirus and very sadly, 10 deaths. Due to the incredible work of our health care service and government response we have acted quickly and effectively to ensure that many more were not affected by the virus. In Jamaica as many as 350,000 people are employed by the tourism sector, around a third of

the total workforce. It has therefore been imperative that as a country we support the tourist industry as much as possible and reopen as soon as we deem it safe and responsible to do so. As part of our strategy for reopening, during the earlier period of the pandemic, with many tourism workers on furlough, our priority was to protect as many jobs as possible. We therefore launched a series of online training programmes and certification courses that have been rolled out. To date we have had over 8,000 of our tourism workers registering

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for the course Our training programme has been implemented to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic so that, as we begin to emerge, our staff are fully trained in health and safety procedures and protocols. This will help to ensure that Jamaica is recognised as one of the most prepared and committed destinations when it comes to both staff and visitor health in a post-Covid-19 world. With training for the ‘new normal’ firmly in place, I am pleased that we were able to reopen our borders on June 15. New, robust measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of residents and visitors. Every traveller must complete an online travel authorisation form. The process takes approximately five minutes and is very simple – with a response provided almost immediately. This authorisation is required upon check-in for a flight, and it cannot be completed more than 72 hours before departure to ensure the data is as up to date as possible. Once travellers arrive in Jamaica,

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healthcare professionals greet all arriving passengers in the airport and carry out face-to-face interviews. All visitors from countries where there is high community transmission of the virus, including the US and the UK, will be tested in the airport. Once through the airport, guests will be able to travel to their accommodation in the ‘resilient corridor,’ an area along the north coast of the island that is reopening to tourism and has been thoroughly reviewed to ensure the health measures are in place at hotels and resorts. All guests will be required to remain in resort until the results of the test are available – usually within 48 hours. In spite of the opening, we of course proceed with caution, reviewing our processes and protocols regularly, with health remaining the number one priority for Jamaicans and visitors. In the longerterm, I foresee a gradual re-emergence of the hospitality sector, as holidaymakers become accustomed to the ‘new normal’. We have reopened from an aviation

perspective to many of our key markets, with both airports now operational; and are very much looking forward to welcoming holidaymakers from the UK once the FCO advice is amended to allow Brits to travel. In the meantime, as we look forward to the return of direct flights from the UK specifically, our JTB team in the UK has been committed to supporting its valued agent partners and stakeholders through online training webinars, quizzes, virtual fam trips and fam trip incentives. I encourage all UK agents to reach out the amazing team for the latest destination updates. We are keen to support you so that you are in the best position to support us when it comes to welcoming visitors in a post-lockdown world. It is a long journey ahead, but tourism is a resilient business and we are a resilient nation – if we continue to do the right things, and do them properly by working together with our travel industry partners, we will be in a strong position in terms of tourism recovery.

July 2020 23


UK holidays Cornwall

UK holidays

Cornwall


Cornish tourism chiefs were redirecting tourists from hotspots long before Covid-19. Nathaniel Cramp seeks out some of Cornwall’s quieter spots

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Porthleven is on the Lizard Peninsula, making it an ideal base for walks

n mid-March, before the UK formally entered lockdown and amid confusion over travel restrictions, Visit Cornwall made sure it was unequivocal in its message to potential holidaymakers. Launching the #ComeBackLater campaign, the tourist board’s chief executive Malcolm Bell said: “We want you back and we love you and it will be a very warm welcome when this is over – but you must stay where you live.” This attempt to keep people away from the beaches and beauty spots of one of the UK’s most popular staycation destinations is nothing new, however. In 2018, long before the coronavirus pandemic, Visit Cornwall revealed that it had actively stopped promoting some of the county’s beaches because of overcrowding. But as it becomes safe to return, there are still plenty of places in Cornwall that remain relatively quiet, but which boast facilities and attractions that are just as good as their more popular counterparts. Padstow has had a reputation as the foodie capital of Cornwall ever since Rick Stein opened his Seafood Restaurant in the town in 1975, but Porthleven offers a

fine alternative. The picturesque fishing port is much quieter than its north coast equivalent and boasts an annual food festival each April and number of very good places to eat. Kota is a Bib Gourmand restaurant in the Michelin Guide and serves local, sustainable seafood with a subtle Asian twist (it also offers four-star accommodation); The Mussel Shoal is a more laid-back harbourside eatery serving mussels, fries and hearty chowder; Rick Stein even has a franchise here, which caused controversy in the local fishing community when it opened six years ago because of his reliance on fish merchants rather than the local supply. Porthleven’s location on the Lizard Peninsula means that it is an ideal base for walks where you can enjoy a famous local delicacy from Ann’s Pasty Shop at the southernmost point of mainland Britain, or simply get away from it all in a number of hidden coves and bays. Kynance Cove near the tip of the peninsula might be familiar from the recent BBC adaptation of Winston Graham’s Poldark novels. If you are seeking surf, rather than seafood, then the north coast is the place

Pictured

Left main: Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsula (Matt Jessop); left: Sand dunes in Bude (Adam Gibbard)

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July 2020 25


Pictured

Above: the pretty town of Portheleven, a fine alternative to Padstow; far left: Widemouth, the start of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Adam Gibbard); left: rowing on the Bude Canal (Matt Jessop)

to be. Newquay’s Fistral Beach is the most well-known surfing beach in the UK, but Bude, further along towards the border with neighbouring Devon, is just as good. With its west facing beaches, it is ideal for surfers who are looking for good, consistent waves. Crooklets Beach – which has been nicknamed “the Bondi of Britain” – is ideal for more experienced wave riders, while Summerleaze Beach is better for beginners, and is home to the Bude Surfing Experience and the Big Blue Surf School. Even Prince William chose to surf here during his stag do stay at nearby Hartland Abbey, hiring gear from local surf shop Zuma Jay. Bude itself it a quaint, down to earth town that is a lot more peaceful than Newquay’s noisy party hub. Despite its Sainsbury’s car park tunnel famously becoming the top local attraction on Tripadvisor thanks to the ironic votes of local residents, it does boast a number

of fine attractions and accommodation options, including the boutique The Beach at Bude and the eclectic Hebasca Hotel. Nearby Widemouth Bay has a huge and family friendly beach and marks the start of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which stretches all along the county’s north coast to Pentire Point. St Ives has been the go-to place for artists in Cornwall, ever since the coming of the railway in 1877, through the St Ives School of artists in the early 20th century and the opening of Barbara Hepworth’s studio in 1949. The reputation was cemented when the Tate opened a gallery in the town in 1993. However, it is Penryn, towards the south coast of the county, that is fast becoming Cornwall’s creative hub. The small town has long been in the shadow of its near neighbour Falmouth, ever since it lost its market rights and customs house after siding with the Parliamentarians during the Civil War.

This eternal outsider status means it’s the perfect place for creative enterprises to flourish. The award-winning Jubilee Wharf development on the banks of the Penryn River was the catalyst for this, providing a sustainable home for arts, craft and independent businesses such as Brickworks Pottery alongside eateries such as the Muddy Beach Café. When it first opened in 2007, The Guardian described it as “the greenest British building to date”. Its success has led to the conversion of neighbouring Jubilee Warehouse into workspaces and there are now a number of interesting events and exhibition spaces nearby, such as Grays Wharf and The Fish Factory, which also hosts live music and has its own vegan cafe. Up the hill, the town centre also boasts a number of galleries – Open Space, Fannie & Fox, Terrace Gallery – showing work by both local artists and those from further afield.


HOSPITALIT Y

Reopening of pubs and hotels is welcomed

STAYCATIONS

Domestic tourism increasing By ABTA Magazine staff

By ABTA Magazine staff The reopening of pubs, restaurants, hotels and attractions on July 4 will come as a huge relief to businesses across the tourism and hospitality industry, UKinbound has said. Announcing the reduction of social distancing from two metres to one last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said that pubs and restaurants in England can reopen both outdoors and indoors. Hotels, bed and breakfasts, holiday homes, campsites, caravan parks and boarding houses will all be able to reopen. Funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks, amusement arcades, aquariums, wildlife centres, zoos and safari parks will also open as will museums, galleries and theatres, but not for live performances. Joss Croft, CEO of UKinbound, said that businesses in the sector who have earned very little revenue since the beginning of March welconed the move. “Reducing social distancing from two metres to one will ensure that many more businesses will be able to viably reopen,” he said. “We’re pleased that the government has also listened to industry and is on the verge of agreeing ‘air corridors’ with a number of countries – a step that signals that the UK’s tourism inbound industry is keen to welcome international tourists again. Although these

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measures are very much to be welcomed, the government needs to recognise that while some businesses will hopefully be able to recoup a small proportion of their losses over the much shorter summer season, many businesses, especially those that rely wholly or mostly on inbound tourism, will have gone through the equivalent of ‘three winters’ and will need further financial support if they are to survive and continue to drive jobs and growth.” An ABTA spokesperson said: “The measures announced to ease lockdown further are a step in the right direction on the road to restarting travel in earnest. With travel restrictions in place for the last few months, there is latent demand to travel with people wanting to visit close family and friends and have something to look forward to. “However, the travel sector remains in a perilous state, with redundancies announced each week, and more needs to be done to help the whole sector recover. We need a more comprehensive roadmap as soon as possible that includes timeframes for relaxing international travel restrictions, so businesses and customers can plan ahead. The process of sending people on holiday is not like turning on a tap; as much advance notice as possible from the government is required for travel companies to restart operations.” ABTAmag.com

The chance to see London without international tourists could spur on domestic tourism, according to Kyle Haughton, MD of City Cruises. “We are hearing and seeing from research from VisitBritain that there is consumer demand for an English staycation this summer. However, we see demand for staycations occurring in pockets across England as travellers look for countryside, smaller towns or seaside escapes,” he said. “While this will be good for our York and Poole operations, we hope that Londoners and those living in the South East will reignite the London tourism market as they will be able to experience the city without the usual international summertime crowds.” It echoes sentiments by Kate Mavor, chief executive of English Heritage, who has said 2020 could be a good year to visit UK attractions that would normally be busy with international tourists. “It’s going to be much, much quieter than usual because no one is going to come from overseas. Sixty-five per cent of our visitors to Stonehenge normally come from overseas,” she said. Data released by lastminute.com in June showed a 45 per cent week on week increase in UK hotel bookings at the start of the month, with city breaks appearing to still be on the cards. Hotpots were London, Manchester, Blackpool and Bristol. “In London, we’ve also just launched new Open Tickets which allow customers to purchase an undated ticket with a booking window until the end of 2021,” Haughton added. Meanwhile, VisitBritain has made the case for an extension of the UK’s summer season and an extra bank holiday in October to help the domestic tourism sector’s recovery. ABTAmag.com

July 2020 27


Feature

Air bridges

Bridging the gap The industry will need grander plans and more support if it is to weather the impact of Covid-19 but, for now, air bridges – which allow quarantinefree travel between two nations – are a good start. By Anthony Pearce

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att Hancock, the health secretary, infuriated the travel industry back in May when he declared the summer holiday to be cancelled, but – finally – it looks as if Brits might get abroad from July. The government has announced the lifting of quarantine measures to a number of EU destinations, lending support to the idea that a quick summer season can be rescued by shorthaul tourism. Bilateral talks began in June about ‘travel corridors’ – sometimes referred to as ‘air bridges’ – and include

28 July 2020

Portugal, Spain, Greece and France. The move gives a green light to British holidaymakers desperate to get abroad and comes after months of inaction and obfuscation from the government, despite calls from ABTA and other industry leaders for clarity. At the height of it, in June, a number of destinations – including Spain – said they were lifting quarantine restrictions for British travellers, yet the Foreign & Commonwealth Office retained its advice against all but essential travel. In one of the most prominent signs of a partial recovery, Tui outlined its

plans to restart holidays from the UK from July 11. It will begin flying to eight destinations in Greece, the Balearics and the Canaries from three UK airports – Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham – under “phase one” of the company’s plan. A statement from Tui said that up to 8,300 holidaymakers could travel on up to 44 flights per week to Ibiza, Palma, Corfu, Crete, Kos, Rhodes, Lanzarote and Tenerife. By the end of July, the company plans to be flying from five UK airports and be offering a choice of up to 19 destinations. The company has

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Pictured

Above: Destinations such as the Greek island of Crete may soon benefit from tourism as restrictions are eased; Below: Marbella’s Orange Tree Square

also implemented new health and safety measures including digital check-in, making face masks mandatory on all flights, increased cleaning protocols and social distancing at hotels. In its resorts it has set up hand sanitising stations, while restaurants will serve fewer guests but be open for longer. In many properties table service will also replace buffets. Andrew Flintham, managing director, said: “We’re really excited to be talking about taking people on holiday again; we’ve been working really hard behind the scenes and we’re ready to start taking holidaymakers away again in just a few weeks’ time. Initially, we are focussing on destinations where we anticipate air

bridges being in place, such as Greece and Spain. But we know many Brits are eager to travel again, and we have ambitious plans to rapidly increase our programme as soon as possible, to offer even more choice when it comes to holidaying this summer.”

Where will Brits head to?

Although much is likely to change – depending on the whims of the government and R-rates home and abroad – green shoots may finally be appearing, providing hope to the longterm future of the travel industry. Cirium, a travel data and analytics company that tracks airline data, gives a good indication


Feature

Air bridges

of where Brits are likely to head to this summer. It notes that the countries that will be best served by UK airports in July are, unsurprisingly, Spain, Greece, Italy France and Turkey. The most popular destinations are Palma de Mallorca (with 1,396 flights currently scheduled, which is 19 per cent down on flights scheduled on this route in 2019), Amsterdam (948 flights, down 28 per cent); Malaga (928 flights, down 26 per cent); Faro (822 flights, down 27 per cent); and Alicante (809 flights, down 27 per cent). The Dutch capital is anomaly in northern Europe, which has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of flights – spared some reducation in numbers due to Schiphol’s position as Europe’s major hub. Although the volume of passengers is down considerably, it may make for familiar reading in terms of the destinations Britons are travelling to, with Turkey’s Gold Coast, the Algarve and the Canary and Greek islands likely to be among old favourites returned to. Aside from a potential scramble to get away in July and August, there is also talk of an October half-term boost as families who shied away from summer flights decide to head on their holidays. The still-warm south-eastern reaches of Europe may well be the major beneficiaries. Some holiday types, such as villa stays, are likely to fair particularly well. Tristan Symondson, managing director of CV Villas, said: “With social distancing, hygiene and cleanliness top of holidaymakers’ agendas, a villa holiday is the perfect choice of trip when we are able to travel again.” He notes that a villa offers a “home away from home, where features such as swimming pools, spacious gardens, games, home entertainment and well-equipped kitchens mean that guests don’t even need to leave the property if they prefer not to do so”.

Long-term prospects

The government’s 14-day quarantine policy – announced as many European countries began to relax their own restrictions, which had been in place since March or April – has been widely criticised by the travel industry, resulting in British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair launching joint legal action. Indeed, in June, Cirium recorded an uptick in tracked passenger jet activity for Western Europe-based operators, led by France, Italy and

30 July 2020

Pictured

Above: The Algarve is a long-time favourite of British holidaymakers; Right: a CV Villas property in Corfu

Germany where travel restrictions were progressively relaxed, but UK airlines were found to be lagging behind due to the Home Office’s quarantining measures. The government has said it does not want to “import” cases of coronavirus, but the UK – where infection rates remain higher than in many other countries – may pose more of a risk to other countries that they do to us. With new outbreaks throughout the world an inevitability – and travellers carrying the risk of spreading the virus across borders – the long-term future of air corridors is not guaranteed. A scenario

where travellers are asked to either quarantine themselves or to pay for a test – a policy adapted at Vienna airport – appears to be one logical option in a world waiting for a vaccine. Either way, the current move to allow travel – even if only to a handful of countries – is incredibly welcome. On p32, Jenny Southan shares further thoughts on the future of travel – revealing trends identified in Globetrender’s Travel in the Age of Covid-19 report, while we also consider how domestic tourism is likely to enjoy a bumper year of sorts on p27

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Features Trends

All change

by Jenny Southan, business travel editor

A look at how the travel and tourism industry will get back to business – and what will be the new normal – in a post-coronavirus world

A

fter months of lockdown, during which half the world’s population has been ordered to stay at home, some governments are opening borders and allowing airlines to start flying again. But moving from a “collective pause” to getting back to business will be challenging. Since the beginning, Globetrender’s defining remit has been the future of travel. Now, the entire industry is looking for answers as to what lies ahead. As trend

32 July 2020

forecasters, we aim to provide a reliable degree of illumination. In our most recent report on Travel in the Age of Covid-19 (free to download at globetrender.com/downloads), we have identified ten trends that we think are most relevant for the short- to mid-term (summer 2020 to early 2021), as well as stories of innovation, new ideas, expert predictions and sector deep dives. Here is a precis of four of the trends that we examine…

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Germaphobia

Most airlines will be taking extreme measures to increase hygiene on board by using electrostatic spraying to kill germs and viruses in the cabin, for example, as well as handing out sanitising kits and boarding via the back of the plane (from row one onwards) to minimise passengers coming in contact with one another. Etihad is trialling Elenium contactless kiosks that measure passengers’ temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate, and airports in both Hong Kong and Tokyo are giving rapid Covid-19 tests to passengers arriving home from high-risk areas. Hotels will also be working hard to eliminate contagion. Four Seasons has partnered with Johns Hopkins Medicine International to roll out a new health and safety programme that includes contactless check-in, blacklight room inspections, air purifying technology and room service that arrives in sustainable, single-use packaging.

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Airline hunger games

Airlines are fighting for survival in a way they’ve never had to before. For the past few months, fleets have been almost entirely grounded around the world. British Airways is in redundancy consultations with 12,000 staff and exiting Gatwick; Virgin Atlantic is cutting a third of its workforce, while owner Richard Branson is selling stakes in Virgin Galactic to bail it out. This summer, travel bans will start to be lifted, but reviving route networks and reassuring passengers that it is safe to fly will be a major challenge. Boeing CEO David Calhoun has said that air traffic won’t even be back to 25 per cent by September and a major US airline will “most likely” go out of business. Pent-up demand will no doubt be something all airlines want to capitalise on, allowing them to inflate prices and start recouping some of their losses. Seat sales to stimulate bookings will always be a useful tactic though.

July 2020 33


Features Trends

Pictured

Hotels and other business working in tourism will have to be diligent in their hygiene measures and transparent in communicating them

Reassuring passengers that it is safe to fly will be a major challenge Anti-viral arrivals

This year, 1.1 billion fewer trips are expected to be made globally (the global travel and tourism industry was predicted to rake in US$700 billion but is on track for US$447 billion). Tourism revenue in Europe will likely drop from US$200 billion in 2019 to US$124 billion in 2020. The European Commission has issued guidelines on how countries might reopen their borders, suggesting “a phased and coordinated approach that starts by lifting restrictions between areas or member states with sufficiently similar epidemiological situations”. These so-called “air bridges” could be an alternative to quarantining.

34 July 2020

An IATA survey found that 69 per cent of people “would not consider travelling if it involved a 14-day quarantine period”. Another deterrent might be heightened racial intolerance, with reports of coronavirus-related attacks and Africans in China being turned away from hotels and restaurants, blamed for carrying the so-called “second wave” of coronavirus.

Sustainability paradoxes

One of the few benefits of the pandemic has been the environmental bounceback we have witnessed, with daily emissions in the EU down 58 per cent since the outbreak and global levels of nitrogen dioxide at record lows.

The silver lining is temporary and, as soon as governments tussle to revive ailing industries, environmental initiatives may well take a back seat. Colossal revenue losses may well leave airlines with little option but to discard offset plans. “Any sound business will prioritise their existing liabilities and payroll over voluntary investments in future sustainable aviation fuel volume,” says Adam Klauber, a technical advisor at the Rocky Mountain Institute. The question now up for debate is whether travel brands will scramble to return to normalcy or be galvanised to maintain and go further in their environmental and social commitments.

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GLOBETRENDER THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL

Travel in the Age of Covid-19 – read the new report now


Features Sustainable tourism

Green shoots Before Covid-19, sourcing commendable sustainable tourism products for clients had never been so easy. Here we take a look at a few countries’ sustainable tourism highlights, writes Karl Cushing 36 July 2020

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ABTAmag.com

July 2020 37


Features Sustainable tourism

A

report by ABTA, published in February, found that sustainable travel concerns are playing an increasing role in booking behaviour. Animal welfare emerges as the major concern for family groups (66 per cent), followed by nature conservation (63 per cent) and the preservation of culture and heritage (61 per cent). With the range of frameworks for destinations to develop sustainable tourism and the sustainable tourism certifications such as Travelife for Accommodation, there’s a wealth of choice to offer your clients. Tour operators and travel agents can get further support through ABTA’s Better Places Programme.

Smooth operators

Some of the best practice can be found in the adventure travel sector. Take Chimu Adventures with its Pass It On programme, or G Adventures’ products created under its G for Good banner, or developed with not-for-profit partner Planeterra. Others helping ensure tourism benefits local communities include Intrepid Travel. Back in January the company, which has been carbon-neutral since 2010 and aims to become ‘climate positive’ this year,

38 July 2020

announced a partnership with travel publisher Lonely Planet, launching carbon neutral day- and multi-day Lonely Planet Experiences across 65 countries. More mainstream operators making it easier for agents to match clients with sustainable picks include Olympic Holidays. Its future brochures will feature a ‘Green Flame’ symbol flagging properties with solid sustainable credentials, such as Travelife Gold Certified Creta Maris Beach Resort, in Crete, with its zero-waste policy. TUI and Saga are among other firms investing in sustainability and both are engaging with Travelife. Airlines embracing the challenge include Finnair. In March, prior to lockdown, the carrier announced plans to halve its carbon emissions by 2025 year-end, switching to more sustainable aviation fuels and investing in new, more efficient aircraft with a view to becoming carbon neutral by 2045 (the airline has since approved changes to its Articles of Association, ensuring that sustainability is written into the core of its businesss). Standouts among the major hotel players include RIU Hotels & Resorts – an excellent example of a chain that invests heavily in sustainability and opens their doors to external auditors. All of their

98 properties around the world are now Travelife Gold Certified.

South Africa

The country has made great sustainable strides since playing host to the signing of the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism back in 2002. The Cape St Francis Resort in Port Elizabeth is now Travelife Gold Certified. Safari lodges such as andBeyond’s Phinda, in KwaZulu-Natal province, enjoy enviable track records in sustainability, while Cheetah Plains (cheetahplains.com), which relies heavily on solar power, is to introduce electric-powered Land Cruisers on its game drives. Attractions leading by design include Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary, where an education centre is under development, and Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium which exhibits only local species and has earned praise for its conservation and educational programmes. Both scooped gold in last year’s Africa World Travel Market World Responsible Tourism Awards, along with Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in Western Cape. Over at South African Tourism current focuses include spreading the benefits of inbound tourism by showcasing ‘hidden

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gem’ attractions and smaller operators in lesser-visited areas. Another has it overseeing a programme of planting native spekboom plants to offset the carbon footprint of inbound flights. This after the tourism body announced late last year it had switched to using sustainable or recycled promotional materials in the UK market.

Scandinavia

Agents pitching trips to the clean living, nature loving Nordic countries can rest assured their clients will be in safe, sustainable hands. Take Finland where the Helsinki’s Think Sustainably initiative helps visitors and suppliers reduce their environmental impact, and the tourism board’s ‘Be more like a Finn’ campaign features among recent efforts to show visitors the merits of the locals’ healthy, responsible approach to life. Other green capitals include Copenhagen, which has adopted electric buses, solar powered street lighting and renewable energy projects, including a power station run on wood chips, as part of its drive to become carbon neutral by 2025. Sweden’s Lidö island, meanwhile, is now more commonly known as Zero Island in light of the tourism project of that name initiated by local energy company

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Neste. Since launching its ‘Zero Vacations’ offering the island quickly achieved carbon neutral status and now plans to offer Zero Weddings from the summer. Accreditation and labelling schemes help agents quickly identify suitable products. A good example is Visit Norway’s website where products are flagged with a tuft of grass symbol, or its Sustainable Destination labelling scheme.

Accreditation and labelling help agents quickly identify suitable products

Spain

Spanish tourism chiefs are among those who have adopted a taxing solution to greenifying the country’s tourism industry. Once tourism begins in earnest again, agents can do their bit by pushing clients towards destinations such as the Balearics, where revenue from the Sustainable Tourism Tax levied on visitors is helping finance eco-tourism projects such as the rehabilitation of Menorca’s Camí de Cavalls trail network and a new series of mountain refuges on Mallorca, such as Ses Figueroles in Escorca. Prior to Covid-19, Barcelona was wrestling with overtourism. The city has also embraced the taxing of tourists, in part to support local projects and ensure locals receive a larger slice of the revenue that tourism generates. Programmes such as

July 2020 39


Features Sustainable tourism

Barcelona as a People City and the Urban Mobility Plan seek to ease the pressure on the city’s heavily-touristed areas, breathing new life into tired old districts such as Sant Martí and Eixample, creating ‘people first’ zones where traffic and parking are restricted – something that other cities may adopt in the age of coronavirus. Other Spanish green heroes include El Hierro in the Canary Islands. The island aims to become ‘energy autonomous’ in the next four to eight years.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica aims to become the world’s first carbon neutral country by 2050

40 July 2020

As the country’s tourism chiefs will happily tell you, sustainability is not a practice but a way of life in Costa Rica which instituted its trailblazing Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) scheme back in 1997, measuring and rating suppliers according to their sustainable records. Since then, Costa Rica has made great strides, reversing the earlier pattern of deforestation and creating a true wildlife haven, the country home to around five percent of the world’s known biodiversity.

More than a quarter of its landmass enjoys protected status and the country also plays a pivotal role in driving regional projects such as the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor project. Current government focuses include becoming the world’s first carbon neutral country by 2050 and working towards the goals set out by the United Nations, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Meanwhile, last year saw the UN award the country its highest environmental honour – the UN Champion of the Earth award – in recognition of its efforts towards conservation and combatting climate change. Local operators such as Cayuga (cayugacollection.com/sustainability/) and lodges such as Kasiiya Papagayo have clearly taken the matter to heart. What’s more, clients can easily get involved in conservation efforts themselves at wildlife rehabilitation centres such as the Sloth Sanctuary near Cahuita, the Jaguar Rescue Centre near Puerto Viejo and Eco Centre Danaus.

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ABTA Magazine – July 2020  

In this issue, we consider the impact of two recent government announcements: the reopening of the hospitality sector and the proposed forma...

ABTA Magazine – July 2020  

In this issue, we consider the impact of two recent government announcements: the reopening of the hospitality sector and the proposed forma...

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