National travel and tourism week at the Iowa Great Lakes


(KUOO Radio) – National Travel and Tourism Week runs from May 2nd to the 8th.

Rebecca Peters of Okoboji Tourism says the theme of this year’s travel week is “power of travel”.

Peters says, “I think that that definitely rings true right here in the Iowa Great Lakes Area, because travel really helps define a community. It offers a lot of amenities for the people that live here that improve our quality of life, but it also has a huge economic impact. And so right here in the Iowa Great Lakes Area Dickinson county sees over $312 million in economic impact from our visitors and so that definitely ripples down and that benefits everybody who lives here. So we definitely appreciate the power of travel and all of our visitors who come every year.”

The Okoboji Tourism Committee worked closely with the Arnolds Park Amusement Park and Imagine Iowa Great Lakes to light the arches along the promenade at Arnolds Park for a rainbow of colors on Thursday night.



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Travel and tourism in Lexington on the rise


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – It’s National Travel and Tourism Week and restaurants and hotels in Lexington say they’re starting to see more visitors.

“We’re looking at 2021 as the year of rebound to rebuild our industry,” Borden said.

Like many others, the travel and hospitality industry hit a stand still during the shutdown.

Vice President of Marketing at VisitLex Gathan Borden says about 225 meetings and conventions were canceled. That lost the city over $100 million in revenue.

“Travel has this trickle down affect people don’t realize and so when people come and stay in hotels that trickles down to getting traction into your bars, your restaurants, transportation. All those areas of the travel industry that people don’t really think about,” Borden said.

Now, events are starting up and businesses are opening, which is drawing people to the area for the spring and summer season.

One project VisitLex is doing to help draw more people in, is providing Lexington post “vaccination” cards for people to invite friends and family to the area.

Innkeeper at the Lyndon House Bed & Breakfast Anton Giovanetto says tourism died and it’s slowly coming back to life.

“The trend is increasing. It’s good. It’s good to have people here,” Giovanetto said.

He says when people stay at the downtown Lexington b&b, the money he makes goes back into the community because it’s important to support local.

“I’ve noticed that most of my guests in April were here just to get out of the house. I have a couple coming for a romantic getaway, I have another couple that coming from point A to C and Lexington is point B, we have folks coming just to experience the area,” Giovanetto said.

He says most visitors come during Keeneland and UK sporting events but some people will also come to see the Bourbon Trail, the Equine Trail and to visit historical sites.

Either way, he says it’s exciting to start seeing people face to face again.



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This Week Marks The Observance Of National Travel & Tourism Week


(Arnolds Park)– This week marks the observance of National Travel and Tourism Week. Rebecca Peters of Okoboji Tourism tells KUOO news this year’s theme is “Power of Travel”…Peters and Tourism Week01 

Peters says they’ll be commemorating the week in a special way locally…Peters and Tourism Week02 

And when it comes to the upcoming season in the Iowa Great Lakes, Peters is urging everyone to do their part in welcoming visitors and going the extra mile in being courteous.





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Explore Georgia launches marketing campaign, travel guide to support tourism recovery – On Common Ground News


Gov. Kemp approves $1 million in grant funding to bolster tourism across variety of digital + print media

ATLANTA Explore Georgia, the state tourism office within the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), announced several new initiatives today(May 3) to increase visitation and support tourism recovery in the state. During a virtual event held at the Georgia Aquarium, Explore Georgia launched a new marketing campaign, ‘Ready. Set. Georgia.,’ unveiled the latest ‘2021 Explore Georgia Official State Travel Guide,’ and highlighted $1 million in new grant and co-op opportunities for the tourism industry made possible by Gov. Brian P. Kemp’s amended FY21 budget.

“As more people are vaccinated and eager to travel, tourism is a top priority for Georgia’s economy, and I am committed to ensuring both its recovery and continued success. I was glad to approve an additional $1 million to support communities throughout the state to restart their tourism marketing after a year when their primary funding source was impacted dramatically,” said Gov. Kemp. “This will continue to bolster our recovery efforts, helping our state’s tourism industry get back on its feet, and welcome more visitors to Georgia.”

State officials say Georgia is experiencing positive trends in tourism.  National visitation data tracked by Arrivalist shows that total trips to or within the state were up 75% in March year-over-year and up 23% compared to Q1 2020.

“Despite the challenges tourism has faced, our team at Explore Georgia found creative ways to promote safe travel to Georgia. With the support of Gov. Kemp and our tourism partners across the state, we’ve been able to ensure that Georgia is in the best position possible as we begin recovery,” said Pat Wilson, Commissioner of GDEcD. “All across the state, we are seeing evidence that tourism – despite the pandemic – has remained strong and will prosper for years to come.”

Ready. Set. Georgia. launches this week across a variety of digital and print media in celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week. Informed by traveler sentiment, the campaign highlights a mix of city, coastal, and small town destinations throughout the state, pairing iconic imagery with active calls to travelers to get out and explore, officials stated in a news release.

In time for summer travel planning, the “2021 Explore Georgia Official Travel Guide” includes ideas for exploration throughout Georgia. Produced by Blue Sky Agency in Atlanta, the guide’s cover features a call to action: EXPLORE. Within each letter, a photo – taken by actual Georgia travelers – provides a glimpse of the state’s most beloved, inspiring, and unexpected destinations. The “2021 Explore Georgia Official Travel Guide” is produced in partnership with Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and is available for free. The guide can be requested online at ExploreGeorgia.org, by calling 1-800-VISIT GA, or at any of the state’s nine Visitor Information Centers.

“Georgia’s ‘open for business’ approach and success with vaccinations has given the travel industry the license to operate, meeting a steady increase in demand as travelers convert a year’s worth of pent-up demand into solid travel plans,” said Mark Jaronski, Deputy Commissioner of Tourism at GDEcD.

Across the U.S., the travel industry is celebrating the annual National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), May 2-8, 2021. Through the theme Power of Travel, it shines a spotlight on the critical role that travel will play in driving economic recovery efforts and building the path forward. The celebration unites communities across the country, highlighting what travel means to American jobs, economic growth, and personal well-being.

“NTTW takes on a special significance this year as the travel industry looks to rebound quickly from the pandemic and accelerate recovery efforts,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “The past year was incredibly challenging, but we saw the full power of the travel industry on display in the way we united and supported one another through this crisis.”

For more information about National Travel and Tourism Week, visit www.ustravel.org.



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‘Travel and Tourism’ Week kicks off in Bay area


Visit Tampa Bay and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater are working with the U.S. Travel Association to celebrate the “power of travel” for national travel and tourism week.

The organizations say it is important to commemorate businesses in the travel and tourism industry after a tough year.  There is optimism though as the economy is rebounding quickly.

“I feel very confident, the Spring was unbelievable for everybody in the hospitality business. And now the summer is going to be even better because people want to get out, they want to enjoy the weather, they want to travel with their families and they want to be outside,” said Mark Ferguson, the owner of Ferg’s Sports Bar in St. Petersburg.
 



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Coalition of Travel Organizations Fear US Falling Behind in Resumption of Tourism


A coalition of travel stakeholders is urging the Biden Administration to speed up the process of allowing more international tourists into the U.S.

The group, which includes Airlines for America, the U.S. Travel Association and unions representing pilots and flight attendants, say the United States should have a “risk-based data-driven” plan to ensure the industry isn’t caught off guard when restrictions are lifted.

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The fear is that the U.S. will fall behind other countries, according to the Washington Post.

“The entire travel industry, and airlines in particular, like to plan,” said Sharon Pinkerton, senior vice president for legislative and regulatory policy for Airlines for America, which represents major U.S. airlines. “It takes time to pull planes out of storage. Several carriers have announced they’re bringing pilots back — and that takes time.”

Travel leaders have been buoyed by the success of the coronavirus vaccinations, with more than 100 million people already vaccinated in America alone. With the exception of some hot spots in the U.S. and the world, such as India, COVID-19 positive cases have seen a dramatic reduction with a consistent drop since February.

As a result, several European nations have begun laying out criteria for reopening. Greece recently lifted its ban on visitors from the United States if they provide proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test result within 72 hours of their arrival, and will start accepting visitors beginning May 15.

France and Spain announced plans to reopen to international visitors. And officials in the United Kingdom hope to restart some international travel by May 17. The European Union is making plans to reopen to U.S. travelers this summer.

“We should be leading,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy for the U.S. Travel Association. “Airlines, airports … all these folks need to be able to prepare. What’s going to be required? We don’t want people to be scrambling.”





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Maldives launches tourism vaccination drive | News


Visit Maldives has launched a new campaign, under the heading ‘I’m Vaccinated’.

The project aims to share a positive message regarding the vaccination of staff working in the tourism sector, as well as promote the initiatives undertaken to ensure the Maldives remains one of the safest destinations for travellers.

The goal of this campaign is to ensure the Maldives is the first fully vaccinated tourism sector in the world.

Along with the unique geographical formation of the islands which offer natural physical distancing, as well as the stringent health and safety measures in place, a fully vaccinated tourism sector will be an added advantage in encouraging tourists to visit the destination.

The campaign was launched during a press event organised by Visit Maldives and the Maldives Ministry of Tourism.

Joining the event were the Maldives minister of tourism, the minister of health, the secretary general of Guesthouse Association of Maldives and the vice chairman of Maldives Association of Tourism Industry.

The event commenced with opening remarks by the Maldives minister of tourism, Abdulla Mausoom, who remarked on the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry.

He emphasised the immense sacrifice, effort and hard work of the health industry, tourism industry, and all members of the Maldivian society.

A microsite will display a counter showing the number of tourism industry staff who have been vaccinated and will provide employees with information about how to register for their vaccination, as well as the latest HPA guidelines.

The campaign aims to reassure travellers that the Maldives continues to be one of the safest destinations to travel to in the current climate and will highlight to visitors the immense effort and investment the destination has taken in ensuring the safety of both the local population and travellers.

The Maldives’ vaccination programme began in February and the government aims to provide free Covid-19 vaccinations to all residents of the Maldives in the upcoming months.





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The destinations pulling out the stops to restart tourism


The Oxford Dictionary shortlisted “overtourism” as a word of the year for 2018, but 2021 might be a year of “desperate for tourism” — with even the likes of Venice, Barcelona and Reykjavik eager for the visitors to return. Places that used to simply sell beauty spots and sunsets are now marketing their low infection numbers and high vaccination rates, adding enticing offers from free vaccinations and financial incentives to long-stay visas for remote workers. The aim is to appeal to governments as well as holiday makers, in the hope that travellers will be allowed quarantine-free access under schemes like the UK’s “traffic-light” system. Here we look at some of the places working hardest to kickstart tourism for this summer.

Greek islands

Greece, where a fifth of jobs and GDP depend on tourism, is currently one of the most open countries in Europe — with EU residents, as well as those from the UK, US, Israel, Serbia and the UAE already allowed to visit provided they have proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours before arrival or that they have been fully vaccinated. Tourists from the rest of the world are due to be allowed to enter from May 15.

In March, tourism minister Harry Theoharis announced that, as soon as the most vulnerable group had been vaccinated, the country would be prioritising those working in tourism. Authorities have also been targeting their vaccination programme, dubbed Operation Freedom, at tourism-dependent islands, using army planes, helicopters and coastguard boats to manage the complex task of delivering jabs. Vaccinations on islands with fewer than 1,000 residents were due to be completed by the end of April, with the effort then accelerating to larger islands. The plans seem to have won the confidence of airlines: Ryanair is launching new services from UK airports to Kos, Santorini and Corfu; Delta is due to restart flights to Athens from New York on May 28 and launch a new direct route from its main hub, Atlanta, at the start of July. “We are more than optimistic, we are ready,” Theoharis told a recent travel conference.

Israel

Six Senses Shaharut in the Negev desert
Six Senses Shaharut in the Negev desert

Israel’s early vaccine rollout means it currently has a higher proportion of fully vaccinated people than any other country besides the Seychelles, at 56 per cent (the EU, by way of comparison, is on 8 per cent, the US on 29 per cent). Tourism minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen held a press conference earlier this week announcing plans to capitalise on its vaccine advantage. “We cannot miss this opportunity — and as minister of tourism I won’t,” said Farkash-Hacohen. The US, UK and UAE will be key targets, with digital billboard advertisements soon to go up in Times Square, Piccadilly Circus and Dubai (tagline: “2020 Holy Moses, 2021 Holy Land”) as part of a global campaign. The government will also offer incentives to airlines to fly into Eilat, and will promote a series of large international events, including the Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, a music festival in Timna Park and a joint Israel-UAE cycling race.

The timeline for reopening is relatively cautious, with the first small groups of vaccinated tourists arriving on May 23, and vaccinated independent travellers only allowed to follow in July. American Airlines is due to start flights from New York in May and Miami in June, and in early April Etihad inaugurated the first ever service from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv. More generally, Israel’s travel hotspots have never seemed more ready — from the increasingly cool ancient city of Jaffa to the vast and wild Negev desert, where the smart Six Senses Shaharut is finally due to open in August.

Malta

The Valletta skyline, featuring St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral
The Valletta skyline, featuring St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral © Getty Images

A 2018 stint as European Capital of Culture and a series of flashy architecture projects, including the upcoming MICAS art museum, have brought some much-needed buzz to the evocative capital, Valletta, and raised Malta’s tourism profile. The Mediterranean island has also been handy with its vaccination programme, with a higher proportion of fully vaccinated citizens than any other European country, bar the microstates of Monaco and San Marino. Earlier this month health minister Chris Fearne said the accelerating programme meant the country would reach herd immunity by June rather than September as previously thought. Borders are already open to tourists from 50 countries worldwide, subject to a negative test, and from June fully vaccinated visitors from those countries will be free to enter without a test.

Eager to get a head start on the competition, the Maltese authorities are also offering to pay visitors who come for at least three nights this summer. According to plans laid out by tourism minister Clayton Bartolo, anyone booking a five-star hotel in Malta will get a €200 handout (funded half by the government, half by the hotel), while four-star hotels will offer €150 and three-stars €100.

Alaska

Sheldon Chalet, above Denali’s Ruth Glacier
Sheldon Chalet, above Denali’s Ruth Glacier

Alaska’s vaccination effort has brought tales of vaccine supplies arriving on bush planes, water taxis and snowmobiles — with remote corners like the isolated St Lawrence Island having some of the highest vaccination rates in the US. The state is now planning to extend that drive to visitors, with Governor Mike Dunleavy recently announcing that tourists will be able to get free vaccinations from June 1 on arrival at Juneau, Fairbanks, Ketchikan and Anchorage airports. Both domestic and international tourists will be eligible for the Pfizer or Moderna shots, and those staying for three weeks or more will also be able to get their second shot in the state.

No date has yet been given for the lifting of the US travel ban on those coming from the EU and UK but many in the industry believe a resumption of tourism is likely this summer. Earlier this week European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen indicated vaccinated Americans would be able to travel to the EU, subject to continuing improvements in the epidemiological situation.

Alaska’s move comes partly out of desperation. The state has been hit particularly hard by the continuing ban on cruise ships, which brought 1.3m passengers in 2019, more than half the total number of visitors. One factor in Alaska’s favour might be that many of its smartest accommodation options are naturally social distanced: like the Ultima Thule Lodge or Sheldon Chalet, deep in the wilderness and reachable only by bush plane or helicopter. 

Gibraltar

The north face of the Rock of Gibraltar
The north face of the Rock of Gibraltar © Getty Images

Life in the diminutive British Overseas Territory at the southern tip of Spain has already returned more or less to normal, with restaurants and bars open (inside and out), no restrictions on the size of gatherings and the cinema reopening this weekend. Gibraltar announced itself free of any Covid-19 cases on April 8, and it has topped global vaccine league tables with 95 per cent of adults fully vaccinated. Those figures mean it is the surest bet of any destination to win “green” status on the UK’s traffic-light travel system, due to be announced in early May and to take effect from May 17. Green means tourists can return to the UK without quarantine, though they will still have to be tested.

That status will be crucial to Gibraltar: the UK is the most important source market for tourists after Spain, with which the land border is already open. Airlines are predicting “the Rock” will find strong demand: new routes this summer include Wizz Air from Luton, Eastern Airways from Birmingham and Southampton and British Airways from London City. 

Madeira

A surf class at Seixal, Madeira
A surf class at Seixal, Madeira © Alamy

While politicians in Portugal have been vocal about their hopes to welcome visitors without quarantine, the mainland still lags behind the autonomous region of Madeira. It opened its borders to international tourists on July 1 last year, with the requirement either to have negative test in the 72 hours before arrival or to take a free test on landing. In March, it introduced a “green corridor”, meaning that arriving tourists with proof of full vaccination would be free to enter without testing or quarantine.

Madeira has been pushing hard to rid itself of a slightly fusty reputation, with a new brand identity unveiled this month and moves to play up its appeal to surfers, adventure travellers and digital nomads. Take sleepy Ponta Do Sol, which has been reimagined as the “Digital Nomad Village”, with free workspaces for up to 100 people staying more than a month.

Iceland

Skogafoss, a waterfall on Iceland’s south coast
Skogafoss, a waterfall on Iceland’s south coast © Getty Images

Tourism has been booming in Iceland since 2010, so much so that some Icelanders saw last year’s 75 per cent drop in visitor numbers as a welcome break for the country’s sometimes crowded waterfalls, geysers and hot springs. But the country is nevertheless desperate to get its foreign visitors back, and the $3.8bn they brought to the country in 2019.

On March 18, Iceland opened its borders to visitors from any country who could prove they had been fully vaccinated, becoming one of the first countries in the the world to do so. At the start of June, those rules are likely to relax further, meaning most passengers will be able to visit quarantine-free with a negative Covid-19 test. Iceland is also targeting remote workers, with a new long-term visa offering 180-day stays with no income tax liability to non-EU residents earning at least IKr1m ($8,000) per month.

The country’s wide-open spaces seem likely to appeal to post-lockdown travellers. US airlines, in particular, are anticipating demand: Delta is adding a new daily service from Boston to Reykjavik in May, and reopening routes from New York and Minneapolis; while United Airlines is starting a new route from Chicago in July.

The Seychelles

The picturesque beach of Anse Source d’Argent
The picturesque beach of Anse Source d’Argent © Getty Images

A heavy reliance on tourism, which supplies just under a quarter of its GDP, has spurred the Seychelles’ vaccination programme: with 58 per cent of the population fully vaccinated, it is currently the leading nation. That rate gave the Indian Ocean country the confidence to reopen its borders to tourists on March 25, with no requirement to be vaccinated or quarantine but the proviso of a negative PCR test taken in the 72 hours pre-arrival. The policy applies to visitors from anywhere in the world apart from those coming from South Africa, Brazil, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. While arrivals dropped by 70 per cent last year, there are signs that this one will be much better, with new air routes to the islands including an Aeroflot flight from Moscow that began in early April.

The Maldives

The arrival pontoon at the new Ritz-Carlton Maldives
The arrival pontoon at the new Ritz-Carlton Maldives

With its island resorts naturally suited to social distancing, and with tourism directly and indirectly accounting for two-thirds of GDP, the Maldives opened its borders to all visitors in July 2020, subject to a negative test. Some resorts reported a bumper winter season — Soneva Fushi and its sister property, Soneva Jani, saw occupancy up 16 per cent in November against the same month the previous year — and in April the country announced fully vaccinated tourists would be able to enter without testing. Tourism officials now hope to attract 1.5m visitors this year, compared to 1.9m in 2019.

A higher proportion of the population (54 per cent) than in the UK or US have had at least one jab, and in April, tourism minister Abdulla Mausoom said that among frontline tourism workers the figure was approaching 90 per cent. Once all locals are vaccinated, the country will roll out its “3V” tourism strategy: “Visit, Vaccinate, Vacation”, with visitors offered free jabs on arrival.

Confidence in the tourism recovery seems high: Ritz-Carlton, for example, is pressing ahead with the opening of a new 100-villa resort in the Fari islands on June 1, the brand’s first hotel in the Maldives. The US-based Capella hotel group will open the flagship property in its new Patina brand on the same archipelago on May 18.

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