Sunday, March 7

Travel

Turkey eyes 25 million foreign visitors in 2021, tourism officials say
Lifestyle, Travel

Turkey eyes 25 million foreign visitors in 2021, tourism officials say

Turkey’s tourism sector hopes to bring in 25 million foreign visitors in 2021 as coronavirus vaccines boost hopes of a better year, after a decline in tourist numbers caused by the pandemic. Tourism industry sources say it will take at least two years for the number of arrivals to reach the levels before the pandemic. Tourism revenues account for up to 12% of the Turkish economy. The number of foreign visitors to Turkey in 2019 was 45.06 million; tourism revenues stood at $34.5 billion. In the first 11 months of 2020, the number of foreign visitors arriving in Turkey was 12 million, down 72%. “We need to reach a target of 25-30 million in 2021. 2021 is the year of crawling and standing up. 2022-2023 will be the year of running,” said Turkey Hoteliers Federation (TUROFED) Chairman Sururi...
Most powerful passports 2021 list revealed. India ranks 85
India, Lifestyle, Travel

Most powerful passports 2021 list revealed. India ranks 85

2020 brought travel industry to a halt. While we isolated inside our homes, our passports were also left unused. However, the updated Henley and Partners Passport Index of 2021 has come out with a new ranking of the world's most powerful passports, and India ranks 85th on the new list. INDIA RANKS 85 ON PASSPORT INDEX Indian passport ranked 85th on the updated 2021 list. Last year, India held 84th position. Indian passport got a score of 58, which means Indian passport holders get to visit 58 countries without prior visa. India shared the rank with Tajikistan. Japan, once again topped the list with a visa-free score of 191. The nation has been holding the position for three consecutive years, either solely or jointly, with Singapore. This year, Singapore sits at the second position wi...
Australia on high alert after overseas travellers bring new Covid-19 strains
Lifestyle, Travel

Australia on high alert after overseas travellers bring new Covid-19 strains

Australia's health officials said on Saturday they are on high alert after cases of highly transmissible new variants of the coronavirus, discovered in Britain and South Africa, have made it into the country. Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, on Saturday went into a three-day strict lockdown after the discovery of a virulent strain of the virus that causes Covid-19, linked to Britain. A variant that emerged in South Africa was found in Sydney, Australia's largest city, in a hotel quarantine. Australia has been more successful than most advanced economies in managing the pandemic, with total infections at around 28,600 and 909 deaths, while each state has at some point recorded zero Covid-19 transmissions. But given the new variants, the government on Friday cut the number of tr...
UK music festivals call for help to survive until summer
Lifestyle, Travel

UK music festivals call for help to survive until summer

Britain’s music festivals will have to start pulling the plug on events for the second year in succession if they do not get government support to give them the confidence to book acts and contractors, the industry said on Tuesday. Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, chief executive at music industry trade body UK Music, said event organisers needed a date for when live music could resume and also for the government to back an insurance policy in case the pandemic caused new cancellations. Ranging from Glastonbury, the world’s largest greenfield festival, to events dedicated to opera, folk, rock and everything in between, live music contributed 1.3 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) directly to the British economy in 2019, UK Music said. Njoku-Goodwin said it might seem strange to talk about saving t...
Pandemic empties blue-hued Moroccan tourist town
Lifestyle, Travel

Pandemic empties blue-hued Moroccan tourist town

When Covid-19 hit Morocco, the mountainous town of Chefchaouen was one of the few that registered no cases. The picturesque town, its facades painted in distinctive hues of blue, shut its small population off from the world, and kept the virus out for months. Now, as the North African nation cautiously reopens and tries to resuscitate its struggling economy, Chefchaouen stands subdued, deserted by the tourists that have long been its lifeblood. In the narrow streets, idle youth light cannabis joints and chat, pausing to offer to sell some to passers-by. Fishermen bring their catch of the day from nearby rivers, selling sardines on street corners, as cats linger, waiting to be rewarded with the leftovers. Kids carry trays of pastries made by their families to sell. During the Chris...
Egypt eyes slow return for tourism after revenues dive in 2020
Lifestyle, Travel

Egypt eyes slow return for tourism after revenues dive in 2020

Egypt’s tourism sector is eying a gradual recovery after revenues plunged by nearly 70% to $4 billion in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tourism minister and travel companies said. The number of tourists visiting Egypt sank to 3.5 million last year from 13.1 million in 2019, Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany told Reuters. Foreign occupancy rates in Egyptian hotels dropped to just 10-15% of 2019 levels Tourism accounts for up to 15% of Egypt’s national output, and is a key source of foreign currency. Officials have been unveiling new archaeological discoveries in an effort to revive visitor numbers, and hope the delayed opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum next to the pyramids, expected later this year, will help the sector recover. “The goal right now i...
Singapore Changi reinvents itself for return of business travel
Lifestyle, Travel

Singapore Changi reinvents itself for return of business travel

Singapore’s Changi Airport, routinely voted the world’s best and a key part of the city-state’s psyche, is reinventing itself for the Covid era and beyond. In a bid to keep people engaged until life returns to normal, it’s offering glamping for families at Jewel, the nature-themed entertainment complex open to the public, as well as a host of holiday offerings from canopy park tours that involve topiary walks and bouncing on a sky net, to seasonal dining menus. With an eye further into the future, slices of the nearby Singapore Expo site are being transformed into a giant construction site as 840 guest and meeting rooms are built in short order -- part of Connect@Changi, a sprawling facility to house overseas business visitors as part of a bubble initiative. “There are more people...
Australian states reimpose travel restrictions
Lifestyle, Travel

Australian states reimpose travel restrictions

More Australian states and territories are reimposing travel restrictions to prevent the coronavirus spreading from new outbreaks in New South Wales and Victoria states. The Australian Capital Territory has shut out non-residents who have been in the northern beaches of Sydney, where the outbreaks are most concentrated, Greater Sydney and other smaller centers, unless they have an exemption. The island state of Tasmania has barred anyone directly linked to the latest Victorian cases, listing exposure sites where confirmed cases are known to have been. The move followed Tasmania’s declaration of Greater Sydney and the Wollongong area south of Sydney as medium-risk zones, requiring travelers to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, while those from Sydney’s northern beaches are ba...
Philippines to ban US travellers from Sunday
Lifestyle, Travel

Philippines to ban US travellers from Sunday

The Philippines will prohibit the entry of foreign travellers from the United States from Sunday after the more infectious new variant of the coronavirus was detected in Florida. The travel ban, lasting until January 15, covers those who have been to the United States within 14 days preceding arrival in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman said in a statement. The measure expands the travel restriction that Manila announced on Tuesday, which initially covered passengers from 19 countries and territories and took effect from midnight of December 29. US state health officials have detected the new variant of Covid-19, which has swept through the United Kingdom, in Florida, marking the third known US state to identify such a case.’ Spokesman Harry Roque said the ...
Snowfall in Kashmir valley brings in hordes of visitors
Lifestyle, Travel

Snowfall in Kashmir valley brings in hordes of visitors

Tourists are making a beeline to Kashmir. The famous twin resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam are witnessing a heavy influx of New Year revellers and most hotels are booked for weeks ahead, with the battered industry rejoicing over the return of the “good old days”. With regular operations of international flights suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, travellers from across the country have set their sights on the Kashmir valley which seems to be better placed when it comes to dealing with the spread of the virus The union territory has been witnessing an average of new 250-300 cases per day – much lesser than other states in the country. The recent heavy snowfall in the higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir is also an attracting factor as the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north ...
Quebec calls for airport testing to avoid holiday spread of Covid-19
Lifestyle, Travel

Quebec calls for airport testing to avoid holiday spread of Covid-19

The Canadian province of Quebec on Tuesday urged the federal government to require Covid-19 testing for residents returning from year-end vacations, after images of maskless tourists frolicking on overseas beaches hit social media as cases rose. Canada’s travel restrictions are among the world’s toughest, with non-essential foreigners normally denied entry and citizens returning from abroad mandated to quarantine. But a second wave of the novel coronavirus has led to calls for increased airport testing, as hospitals fill up in the country’s two most populous provinces. Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said he is asking for vacationers returning to the province to be tested before departure, and stricter enforcement of a 14-day quarantine after they are home. Both Quebec and O...
Chinese tourists scale back domestic travel plans
Lifestyle, Travel

Chinese tourists scale back domestic travel plans

Chinese tourists, millions of whom have shunned overseas travel this year because of the global pandemic, are further narrowing the scope of their journeys, visiting nearby cities and avoiding trips out of their provinces. Recent cases of the novel coronavirus in Beijing and northern China have rekindled public concern, already shaken by calls to avoid non-essential travel during the festive season between January 1 and the start of Lunar New Year in mid-February Millions of domestic tourists travel in the week before and after January 1 in a typical year. Although hotel bookings for the upcoming three-day New Year weekend had reached 1.8 times of bookings a year earlier as of December 24, plane tickets were nearly 20% cheaper on average, with many people not travelling far, B...
NYC’s Moynihan train hall is about to transform travel
Lifestyle, Travel

NYC’s Moynihan train hall is about to transform travel

For a symbol of life-altering change in New York City next year, hundreds of thousands of East Coast train travellers and commuters need look no farther than the January 1 opening of the Moynihan Train Hall. The $1.6 billion project expands Penn Station, the nation’s busiest rail terminal, by 255,000 square feet (23,690 square meters) to serve Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak passengers. The new facility is designed to provide more room for the 650,000 people who travelled through the station every day before the pandemic. The hall is named after the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who decried the 1964 razing of the above-ground portion of the historic Penn Station, which made room for Madison Square Garden. After the Beaux-Arts original was destroyed, architectural histor...
Pakistan extends ban on flights from UK
Lifestyle, Travel

Pakistan extends ban on flights from UK

Pakistan on Monday extended the ban on flights from the UK for another week over fears of a new variant of the coronavirus which is reportedly spreading at a much faster rate. The extension was announced by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) after the government decided that the threat level regarding the virus from the UK had not reduced. A communique sent by the CAA said: “The restrictions will remain in place till January 4, 2021, 2359 hours.” The restrictions may be reviewed for further extension later. Initially the ban was imposed last week at the recommendation of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) and it was to stay until the midnight of December 29. The restrictions introduced through the previous communique are still in place. Pakistani passport holders ...