Trump National Doral laying off 560 workers

President Trump’s golf resort and spa on the outskirts of
Miami, the Trump National Doral, has filed notice with the state of Florida that
it will lay off 560 employees.

The filing, attributed to Trump Miami Resorts Management
LLC, said the layoffs consist largely of food-and-beverage, hotel service and
golf course personnel. It said the resort has begun shutting down operations
because of the coronavirus pandemic and its attendant restrictions.

“Based on the fluid and rapidly evolving nature of this
situation, at this time we are unable to provide a specific date at which we
will be able to recommence regular resort operations and return affected
employees to work,” said the filing, which was dated March 30 but only recently
published on the state’s online bulletin board.

Doral’s “Blue Monster” course is known as one of the best
18-hole golf courses in Florida. In October 2019, President Trump proposed the
resort as a site for an upcoming G-7 economics summit meeting, but he abandoned
the plan after objections that it was an abuse of his position.

The layoffs at the 700-room Trump National Doral are
comparable in magnitude to those at the Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key in
downtown Miami, which filed to lay off 488 workers three days earlier.

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Folks Can Now Virtually Tour an Ancient Egyptian Tomb

As self-quarantine continues, the Egyptian Tourist Board is offering free virtual tours of the 5,000-year-old tomb of Queen Meresankh III that viewers can take from the comfort of their own homes.

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The Egyptian Tourist Board has offered four virtual tours of historic Egyptian sites. While it is hard to substitute seeing some of the greatest wonders of the world in person, Harvard University was able to create the next best thing with 3D modeling.

The tour begins at the entrance of the tomb, where viewers can click various tabs to learn more about key features in the tomb. In this section, viewers can find funerary monuments, statues carved into the walls and murals depicting Queen Meresankh III, her parents and hundreds of servants bearing offerings for the royal family.

From there, viewers can delve deeper into the tombs to explore Meresankh’s burial chamber, where American archeologist George Andrew Reisner found her black granite sarcophagus in 1927.

To make exploring easier, viewers can click a tab in the lower-left corner to see a rotatable 3D model of the tomb.

Other tours visit the Coptic Red Monastery in Upper Egypt, the Ben Ezra Synagogue and the off-limits Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Barquq.

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Covid 19 coronavirus: German zoo to feed animals to each other

With visitors shut out over what should have been a busy Easter weekend, funds and foodstuffs are dwindling at a north German zoo as the coronavirus pandemic is beginning to bite.

The animal park in Neumünster, 50km north of Hamburg, has said it may have to begin feeding some animals to others to survive.

Zoo Director Verena Kaspari told Die Welt reporters that this ‘modest proposal’ would have to be brought into action by the middle of May if the park continued to be shut.

“The problem of having to feed meat eating animals is nothing new. But even if business stops we need to feed our carnivorous animals are to survive.”

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10 reasons safari apparel makes the best outdoor clothing and gear – A Luxury Travel Blog

Whether you’ve got a luxury African safari planned for the future or if you’re looking to get out into nature a little closer to home, what you wear makes a difference. The glamour of Africa and the outdoors can quickly lose its allure in the face of sunburn, insect bites, and blisters – and clever products can help to circumvent this. Prepare for blissful summer excursions, exciting adventure travels, and your next game drive in Africa by looking to the world of safari for guidance.

From local walking trails to lazy hours of river fishing, these are ten reasons why safari clothes and gear make the best outdoor gear.

It’s tested in Africa to be tough

As anyone who has been to Africa will know, the continent can present some pretty unique travel conditions. It can be very hot and dusty, with malaria and ticks a worry you tuck away in the back of your mind. This gives clothing and accessories made for Africa a unique suitability to most outdoor conditions.

The lightweight technical clothing used for safari is sure to serve its purpose as you sweat on your next hike along a national trail. The bag made to get squashed into the hold of a small charter plane on the way to remote safari lodges will perform exceptionally well in the boot of your Volvo for a mini-break.

Fun in the sun protection

Sunburn can be extremely uncomfortable – and it can have long-term effects on the skin. When one imagines Africa, it is usually bathed in bright sunlight. Whether you are basking in equatorial heat or exploring a fell in veiled sunlight, sun protection should factor in your thinking – and the rules that apply to safari apply to the outdoors in general too.

Technical safari and outdoor clothing usually feature built-in sun protection properties. Make the most of it by wearing long-sleeved shirts and rolling the sleeves up and down to suit your preference and the conditions. And, of course, don’t forget the sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat.

Adventure is a sweaty business

Moisture control is an important feature for outdoors, adventure travel, and safari. Whether you are travelling in hot conditions or exerting yourself as you explore outdoors, your clothing should wick moisture away from your skin to keep you dry and comfortable – and also to keep you cool.

The make-up of moisture wicking technical clothing also gives it the ability to dry quickly and release wrinkles fast – something every traveller will love. A warning here, however: many anti-insect clothing brands on the market compromise moisture wicking in treating their fabrics and so it is worth looking into this before you buy.

Beat the bugs

If you are travelling to enjoy natural landscapes, there’s little better than getting out in nature, but insects can be a real pest. The last thing you want is to get to your destination only to find out that the insect repellent you have bought doesn’t actually work while a cloud of midges circles your head and mosquitoes bite your ankles. That’s why you need to look to which insect repellent is used to keep insects at bay in places like Africa and Australia.

Apart from an effective insect repellent, you can also let your clothing do some of the work. Anti-insect clothing is another way to deter insects and reduce bites – and anti-insect clothing which has been tried and trusted to work in Africa sets the benchmark in terms of performance.

Universal rules of layering apply

No matter where your outdoor pursuits take you, layering is an effective way to dress in Africa, as well as days on the trail or on the river. The premise is simple: dress warmly for the chill of early mornings and evenings and add or remove layers as the day progresses and to suit conditions.

Lightweight, compact outer layers are a must – jackets and fleeces designed for the outdoors, but which are light enough to carry with you in your day pack without taking up too much space.

Outdoor accessories: the full complement of comfort

If you love walking, some accessories could come in handy to keep you comfortable on your feet for longer – and this applies to multi-day walking safaris and day walks in equal measure. Things like gaiters (a cover for your shoes and trousers) are an essential for many outdoorsmen and women for keeping debris out of shoes and dew at bay, as well as insects off ankles.

Double-layered socks can prevent crippling blisters and keep you on the move. A good hydration pack is a great way to carry your water without you on the trail.

Binoculars for the best view

Arguably the number one safari essential, a pair of high-quality binoculars will enrich any outdoor experience. From taking in the scenery to active birdwatching, this is the way to see the world in enhanced detail. It is worth investing in quality here. The more you enjoy using your binoculars, the more the clarity and performance of your optics will matter to you.

Not willing to take the plunge and buy your own? There are rental options available, so you can take the best binoculars along on weekend retreats, weeklong holidays, and safari and adventure travels.

Bags made to take a beating

Safari is synonymous with soft, strong bags – from bug duffels to stylish shoulder bags. The bag you take on safari needs to take a beating. It’s going to be jammed into the crammed hold of small planes and bump along dirt roads to safari lodges.

In the case of shoulder bags, they will accompany you on game drives and bush walks, while looking stylish around camp. Safari bags big and small are made to withstand the travel rigors of Africa – and look good at the same time. This makes a luxury safari bag well adapted to the outdoor, business, and leisure traveller.

Head to toe safari style

On safari, the tendency is to wear closed shoes in case of insects and snakes and to always have comfortable walking shoes handy. Walking in the bush in Africa is a top recommendation of things to do on safari and wearing all-terrain, hardy shoes is always advisable.

This translates well into all outdoor activities – never pass on the chance to walk and always be sure that your shoes live up to the task. Oh, and when you want to put your feet up at the end of the day, a pair of sandals can be a godsend.

Safari is always in style

It helps to dress the part on safari but, no matter where your adventures take you, investing in the technologies and designs of safari apparel means you will always be in style. Safari is all about luxury in every setting (even unexpected, remote, and wild places).

It is the meeting point of wild outdoors and elegance. This makes safari clothing and accessories abiding in their appeal. Clothing has features for the outdoors, but it also has classic styling for the discerning outdoorsman and woman. Luggage collections are made from safari-grade materials which are rugged yet undeniably luxurious. Everywhere you go, safari is always in style.

Steve Adams is Founder of The Safari Store. The Safari Store are providers of specialist safari and outdoor clothing, luggage and accessories that have been expedition tested to perform in even extreme African conditions.

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Why Dutch people don't mind you staring into their homes

For many visitors to the Netherlands, one of the great discoveries when wandering through the streets of Amsterdam or other towns and cities is that you can often take a look inside people’s homes when it gets dark.

a woman standing in front of a window

That’s because many Dutch people never close their curtains or blinds. Often, people don’t even have curtains or blinds.

At a time when coronavirus restrictions are confining people all over the world to their homes — with only a window for contact to the outside world — this national quirk seems even more intriguing.

The Dutch themselves don’t think it unusual. It’s so interwoven in their culture that researchers have struggled to figure out exactly why people in the Netherlands care so little about their privacy.

Those who look for an explanation for this rather curious exhibitionism quickly get caught up in major sociological tangles.

Is it an “I’ve-got-nothing-to-hide” or a “look-what-I’ve-got” mentality? Or both?

The most popular explanation stems from the Protestant religious tradition of Calvinism, which insists that honest citizens have nothing to hide.

Closing the curtains could indicate otherwise. And by letting people have a look inside, you let them know: Look, I’m a decent person!

A desire to show off possessions could also be an explanation.

As standards of living have risen over time, materials and interiors have become more luxurious and opulent. And even now people like to show off their custom-made open kitchens, designer couches or latest-model flat-screen TVs.

Some city guides explain the openness as a way that business was done in the old days. People would leave curtains open to show off a room full of the finest of furniture, decorations and art as a way of proving to merchants that they were trustworthy.

Others say it’s a tradition that only really dates back to the 1950s, and has already begun to change.

Open culture

a close up of a busy city street in front of a building: Windows help foster the open culture for which the Dutch are known.

Anthropologists Hilje van der Horst and Jantine Messing researched the phenomenon in 2006 and observed that people in tight-knit neighborhoods were more likely to leave their curtain open — and more likely to decorate their windows with statues, vases, and (fake) flowers.

Another reason, of course, is the desire of residents to watch the world go by. It’s fair to say that Dutch people typically like to look outside and see the lights, the hustle and bustle of the streets, and people walking by.

The interaction between inside and outside helps foster the open culture for which the Dutch are well known.

As a Dutch citizen, I grew up in houses without curtains.

And when I moved out, I didn’t use them for the first 10 years. I have them now because I have a bigger home and they bother me less.

My mother, Astrid (interviewed below) still has no curtains, which is common in De Jordaan, the now gentrified working-class district of Amsterdam that I grew up in and where she still lives.

Here, four Dutch residents with no curtains tell CNN Travel about why they still like to peek and be peeked at through their unadorned windows. 

Astrid Brokke, 68, lives on the first floor

a person standing in front of a building: Astrid Brokke: Curtains are too bourgeois.

When I moved to live here in 1987 I tried curtains, but I found them smothering and removed them. My street is quite narrow, but until 10 years ago I had no neighbors opposite. Only a garage in a low-rise building and a company building in the distance. So there was no need. Besides, I don’t like them.

Ten years ago they started to build apartments just across the street and I had to get used to close neighbors, about 10 meters from window to window. Soon it became clear that my closest neighbors had roller blinds which they shut down day and night, so the need for me to get something in front of my windows wasn’t very urgent.

Why I don’t like curtains, I’m not sure. I never had them apart from for a short time in the ’80s. Maybe I don’t like the bourgeois side of it. Maybe because I’m too lazy to do anything about it, but I don’t care on the other hand.

Until a year ago I had neighbors next to me who were real Jordanesen [original residents from the the Jordaan]. They lived on the ground floor and liked showing everybody their knick-knacks, porcelain figurines and cozy lights. Especially during the holidays their house was filled with colorful fairy lights and other Christmas decorations. Even guides with groups of tourists stopped by to have a look.

A lot of the original inhabitants of De Jordaan like to showcase their interior. Sadly most of them have passed away or were forced to move because of the rental and house prices going through the roof.

Since there’s been an increase of outsiders — mostly expats — more and more curtains close. Also young people tend to want to have more privacy. Unfortunately the openness disappears; the lights in the streets coming from the living rooms, the social control that comes with it and the gezelligheid [a Dutch concept meaning conviviality, coziness or fun]. It’s getting darker every year.

Jan Willem van Hofwegen, 41, lives on the third floor

a man sitting in front of a window: Jan Willem van Hofwegen: Curtains are too stuffy.

For the past five years I’m living in this house, on the third floor — so pretty high — and I always thought people couldn’t look into my living room which is in the front part facing the street and the apartments opposite. From across the street it’s too far away and from the street it’s too high. I thought.

Then I was buying groceries across the street and my partner turned on the lights. I looked up and realized people passing by could see everything happening.

I wasn’t aware of this, but it will not make me use any blinds or curtains. I never have, primarily because of aesthetic reasons. I don’t like blinds and they are not practical since my windows open inward. Curtains I find a bit stuffy and they don’t match my modern interior.

Besides the aesthetics and stuffiness I like to see the outside lights when it’s dark. I don’t mind neighbors looking into my living room. It’s quite a distance and I’ve never seen anyone with binoculars lurking outside my house, so I don’t care.

I think a lot of Dutch people don’t use curtains because we like the light and we don’t have anything to hide.

When I was a kid I delivered the mail as a side job and during my shifts I could follow popular TV shows by riding my bike from house to house. I like peeking in people’s homes at night, especially the canal houses in Amsterdam with their beautiful ceilings, paintings and closets. I’m not staring or anything, just peeking inside while walking by.

Marianna Beets, 51 lives on the ground floor

a bicycle parked in front of a brick building: Marianna Beets: Most of the time people smile and wave back.

I have lived here for over 25 years, but it’s only for the last 13 years I’ve not had anything to cover my windows.

Thirteen years ago I demolished my old house and built the one I live in now. Buying curtains was on my to-do list, like hundreds of other things, and apparently the curtain part wasn’t that urgent since I still have uncovered windows in the living room.

The room is located directly on a street and canal in Edam, a touristy fishing village next to Volendam, where I’m originally from.

There are always people walking by. Sometimes they stop and stare. When I wave they get shy, promptly aware of what they were doing, but most of the time they smile and wave back. I don’t mind.

I like watching tourists and the interaction. I think otherwise I might feel secluded and this way I am always in contact with the outside world. It’s an extension of my house. It’s gezellig.

I understand why people peek inside, I enjoy it too. Other people’s interiors inspire me and the best time to do so is at night when it’s dark and the lights are on.

When I was living in Amsterdam I had neighbors who were not aware of the possibility they could be seen because they lived on the fifth floor, but I saw things that did not belong to my eyes!

I have no problem walking through the house in only my sleeping shirt and undies. Only on Sunday morning, during the Sunday Mass in the church across the canal, I make sure I’m more covered.

In the end I do want curtains, for sure. It’s on my list again now I have more time due to corona. Why? Because I want to have a choice. To close them, or keep them open.

Natasja Wielandt, 34, lives on the second floor

a view of a living room in front of a window: Natasja Wielandt: I don't want to block that view with any curtain or blinds.

In December 2016 I moved from the city center of Amsterdam to IJburg, a relatively new suburban area with lots of space and nature around.

My house is located next to a big lake called IJmeer so the views from the front of the house are spectacular. One side of my house borders several walking paths and the other side a courtyard and some apartment complexes, but not close by.

I have a panoramic view on the water and a city beach and I don’t want to block that view with any curtain or blinds. Day or night.

The view during sunsets are amazing and I get very happy waking up and walking into the living room with my coffee and looking outside. It creates a feeling of calmness and freedom and with the city life continuing outside it gives that city feeling I need.

I can’t imagine living somewhere secluded on a meadow. I like the wideness and the water in particular. The view is a very pivotal part of the reason I’m living here.

To create some privacy I placed my couch in a way I can relax and lay down without people noticing.

At my grandparents’ house the curtains were always open too. I think they didn’t mind people looking inside. Their generation was more open and more social anyway. Everybody was always welcome.

I myself only look at people’s houses when I see something I like or that inspires me, like a beautiful furnished room or a beautiful garden. I have no need to watch people eating or sitting on the couch watching television.

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Are billionaires really self-isolating on superyachts?

When entertainment mogul David Geffen shared an image of his superyacht “Rising Sun” at sea alongside the caption “isolated in the Grenadines” last month, it’s fair to say the post ruffled a few feathers.

a large ship in a body of water

However well-meaning his message may have been intended, many felt the billionaire came off as tone deaf, pointing out that self-isolating on a $590 million superyacht (pictured in 2017, above) during the coronavirus pandemic didn’t seem like much of a hardship.

In fact, the reaction was so strong, he later deleted the post, which included the message, “I’m hoping everybody is staying safe.”

However, in the weeks since then, various stories have emerged of the uber rich hopping on private jets and going into quarantine onboard a luxury yacht.

But given the ongoing travel restrictions across the world — not to mention that, while advice may differ from country to country, people are by and large being instructed to “stay at home” — is yacht operation even possible at the moment?

For those owners with a full crew who are stationed in a location where supplies can be brought over to them, it seems it’s very much possible, albeit something of a rarity.

“We have a limited number of private yacht owners who have elected to isolate on their yachts,” Rupert Connor from Luxury Yacht Group LLC tells CNN Travel.

“The most amazing sanctuary”

a large ship in a body of water: A police boat pulls over a yacht sailing in the waters of Australia while unnecessary travel is prohibited.

“When you know your yacht and crew well, it is a very wonderful oasis from the madness that is enveloping the world. 

“Many of the larger yachts have supplies for long range cruising, their engineering systems can support them for months at a time and most of the crew have medical training.”

According to Connor, those who are isolating on their yachts aren’t actually moving.

Instead they’re “sticking to an island group where they can receive air freight provisions” and plan to remain there until the global restrictions are lifted.

While a few customers have expressed an interest in long-term yacht charters for the purpose of self-isolation, this isn’t a service the company is currently able to offer due to the level of risk involved.

“The truths of this disease have changed too rapidly for anyone to make solid decisions that involve a yacht charter where the client doesn’t know the crew or owner’s health history,” he explains.

“And I don’t think the science is yet available to be able to state that a yacht is ‘clean’.”

However, it seems there are some yacht brokers who are continuing to offer charters in special circumstances.

Jonathon Beckett, CEO of luxury yacht broker Burgess, recently told luxury lifestyle magazine Robb Report that a select few customers have booked seven-week and four-week charters for their families “to see out the pandemic.”

“They will be home schooling, but the children will also have cooking lessons with the chef and spending time in the engine room with the engineers learning the more technical sides of yachting,” he said.

Luxury Yacht Group hopes to be able to offer a similar experience when yacht charter companies are able to carry out adequate testing on both passengers and crew.

“Once we have onboard testing for both Covid-19 antibodies for people who have had the disease and testing for the actual disease itself, a yacht is going to be the most amazing sanctuary.”

For many of us, an enormous yacht situated in an exotic location certainly seems like an “amazing sanctuary” for self-isolation, so it’s no surprise that customers are keen to get on board.

Stationery yachts

a large ship in a body of water: Oceanco, the shipyard behind luxury yacht Bravo Eugenia, are continuing to work on new projects during the crisis.

However, Rumble Romagnoli, CEO of Relevance, a luxury digital marketing company specializing in Monaco yacht marketing, is skeptical of the notion, pointing out that the practicalities involved make it an unfeasible choice for most.

“I think it’s a bit unrealistic to think people are going to swan off, get on board a yacht and just sit in the middle of the sea,” he says.

He also stresses that being stuck in the middle of the sea for weeks on end would prove tedious for most, even if they have lavish amenities at their disposal — “Rising Sun” has a wine cellar and a basketball court onboard.

“These billionaires and multi-millionaires don’t just stay on a yacht for two to three months. It’s not that pleasurable,” he adds.

“They fly over, get on a yacht, go to a restaurant, get off the yacht for lunch, go to a nightclub, get a helicopter somewhere else.

“It’s not like a villa. It can be quite claustrophobic.”

Also, with a full crew on board, as well as passengers, the risk of possible infection cannot be ignored.

But if no-one is getting on or off, it’s easy to see why some would choose to remain at sea, particularly if supplies are being brought over in a regulated manner and members of the crew are medically-trained.

However, those hoping to charter a luxury yacht in order to follow suit shouldn’t get too excited just yet.

The current global travel restrictions make reaching a yacht very difficult — a group of Cannes-bound passengers on a private jet which flew from London to Marseilles Airport earlier this month, breaching a ban on non-essential travel within France, was met by police and refused entry.

Taking a trip on a yacht would also be going against the current “stay at home” instructions in place across the world — many of those who’ve sailed off to destinations such as the Caribbean and the South Pacific will have done so before restrictions were put in place.

Then there’s the rather important fact that almost all charter bookings have been canceled, crews are being sent home, and the upcoming Mediterranean season is in jeopardy.

Packed ports

a harbor filled with clouds: Hundreds of yachts and boats docked on the harbor in Auckland, New Zealand.

“Everyone’s on hold, waiting for some idea of when the season will open,” says Romagnoli.

“I believe there are no yachts out there. Some crew members are being released from their duties. Captains and first mates are losing their jobs.

“Some boats are coming out of the water and being wrapped up.”

Connor also notes that most of his company’s charter fleet have “taken up long term dockage.”

“The docks in Fort Lauderdale (and everywhere in the world) are full and crew are bunkered down onboard, if they are fortunate to have been kept on contract.

“Our main charter season runs from spring to late September, so we are projecting that coronavirus will decimate our 2020 revenues.

“Any charters already booked for the summer are nervously waiting for good news but realistically face cancellation.”

But although almost all sailing has stopped, work is continuing at shipyards across the world.

Paris Baloumis, marketing manager for Netherlands-based Oceanco, tells CNN Travel his team is working “with enhanced measures” on various projects, despite the high level of uncertainty.

“The coronavirus has definitely also affected the yachting industry,” he says, lamenting the many industry events that have been postponed or canceled.

“As a builder we have various projects under construction and have therefore taken all necessary safety measures to secure this process as far as possible.”

Not only are shipyards like Oceanco carrying on with projects, people are still buying and selling yachts, with brokers offering virtual tours in some cases.

“I’m already fielding calls from strong sellers and trying to connect them with the few prospective buyers who have already started to sense an opportunity,” says Connor, adding that some clients will likely be forced to sell as a result of the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis.

And while no at-home tests have been approved by bodies such as the US Food and Drug Administration as yet, he’s optimistic this will change in the coming months, opening up many doors for charters.

“The timing for at-home testing will hopefully coincide with the re-opening of international borders and we can then send our yachts out to sea before the summer is completely gone,” he adds.

Romagnoli is also staying positive about the future of yacht chartering, stressing that customers are more eager than ever to get back out there.

“As soon as they drop the restrictions on movement,” he says. “I’m sure there will be the biggest Black Friday of yacht charters ever known.”

Until then, everyone is just waiting for the current situation to play out, but a select few just happen to be waiting onboard a yacht in international waters.

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Virgin threatens administration, reports

After entering a trading halt on Tuesday, Virgin Australia is reportedly considering going into voluntary administration as the airline races against the clock from buckling under a net debt of $5 billion.

The airlines have copped a battering during the coronavirus crisis, and Virgin has already suspended all but one domestic route, stood down 8000 workers and had its credit rating downgraded.

For the second time this month, Virgin was placed in a trading halt on Tuesday morning, asking the Australian Stock Exchange to put the pause in place for at least two days or until it makes an announcement.

The Federal Government has been under pressure to help Virgin Australia, with chief executive Paul Scurrah asking for a $1.4 billion loan to help keep the airline afloat. Without a bailout, aviation experts say Virgin could struggle to exist beyond September.

RELATED: Virgin Australia goes in to trading halt

The future of Virgin Australia is unclear. Picture: Darren England/AAPSource:AAP

RELATED: Virgin Australia wants $1.4 billion bailout

In a statement sent to, a spokesperson for the airline said they were in talks to find an alternative financial restructure if the Government didn’t assist the airline.

“Virgin Australia has requested a trading halt as it continues to consider ongoing issues with respect to financial assistance and restructuring alternatives,” a spokesman for Virgin Australia said.

“This has arisen due to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis which has particularly impacted the aviation sector.

“Virgin Australia has been keeping the air fair in Australia for 20 years and we want to continue to provide a valuable service to all Australians, the 16,000 people employed directly and indirectly, and enable the broader economy to restart quickly once we emerge from this crisis.”

According to The Guardian, the airline has hired insolvency and turnaround experts at Deloitte to work on restructure scenarios, indicating voluntary administration is on the cards. Virgin Australia declined to comment when approached by

Virgin CEO Paul Scurrah has reportedly asked experts at Deloitte to work on a restructure scenario. Picture: Glenn Hunt/The AustralianSource:Supplied

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said any public funding for aviation would not be provided to one specific airline, but be spread across the entire sector.

“We haven’t been picking any winners or picking any favourites here,” he told Nine.

“What we have been doing is ensuring sector-wide support, which has been already quite significant for the aviation sector.”

The Government has already confirmed it will provide financial support for regional routes and stump up $100 million to address the cashflow crisis among a dozen small airlines.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is now working directly with Qantas and Virgin on ways to subsidise flights between major cities.

Virgin is now only flying one domestic route each day. Picture: Darren England/AAPSource:AAP

“They have already worked together on international routes that are vital not just for bringing people home or getting people to their homes, but also to support much-needed freight and the transfer of medical supplies,” Mr Morrison said.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, however, said that while the Government was “committed to the aviation sector” he was unable to confirm if a bailout for a single airline was an option.

“We look at all these issues on an objective basis and again there is still quite a way to go in terms of the aviation sector and some of the challenges that those particular companies you are referring to are working through,” he said.

“We’ve been very consistent in that message that we will support the aviation sector, but we’re doing so with a sector-wide approach and you’ve seen that in the announcements to date.”

Currently, Virgin Australia has just one plane in the air each day, leaving 129 grounded.

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CLIA Responds to CDC’s No-Sail Order

The day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended a no-sail order, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) defended the industry’s reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic and its contributions to the U.S. economy.

“While it’s easy to focus on cruising because of its high profile, the fact is cruising is neither the source or cause of the virus or its spread,” CLIA said in a statement. “What is different about the cruise industry is the very stringent reporting requirements applicable to vessels that do not apply to comparable venues on land where the spread of communicable disease is just as prevalent. It would be a false assumption to connect higher frequency and visibility in reporting to a higher frequency of infection.”

The CDC on April 9 extended its no-sail order for all cruise ships for 100 days or until the Covid-19 pandemic is deemed over.

CLIA said the cruise industry has taken responsibility for protecting public health for more than 50 years, working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as the World Health Organization and others.

“To this end, in March and April the industry submitted proposals to the White House Coronavirus Task Force that are far reaching in prevention, detection, and care — and, importantly, would be led and funded by the industry,” the CLIA statement said.

It continued: “We are, however, concerned about the unintended consequences the no-sail order issued on April 9 has in singling out the cruise industry, which has been proactive in its escalation of health and sanitation protocols and was one of the first industries to announce a voluntary suspension of operations.”

The suspension of cruise operations is having a ripple effect on the U.S. economy, including transportation, food and beverage, lodging, manufacturing, agriculture, travel agencies and travel agents, plus a broad range of supply chain industries and small businesses.

“Should the suspension of sailing extend well beyond the appropriate time to resume business, the economic impact could be significant given each day of the suspension results in a total economic impact loss of about $92 million and the loss of more than 300 direct and 620 total American jobs,” CLIA said. “Over time the pace of the losses will increase and could result in a total economic impact loss to the United States of $51 billion and 173,000 direct and 343,000 total American jobs if the order were to remain in effect for a year.”

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Emirates scraps refund policy for cancelled flights

Emirates, the biggest carrier of intercontinental passengers in the world, has belatedly transformed its coronavirus cancellation policy from onerous to one of the most traveller-friendly in the world.

The Dubai-based carrier had expected to fly around 60 million people to, from and through its hub.

But the government of the UAE imposed a ban on flights on 25 March, which has wrecked the travel plans of millions of travellers.

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Emirates is now flying again – but passengers are allowed to travel only outbound from Dubai, which is of no use to transfer travellers who make up the bulk of the airline’s passengers.

The UK represents a large proportion of Emirates’ worldwide business. When an airline cancels a flight on an itinerary starting in Britain or the European Union, it must refund the fare in full within a week of the planned departure date.

But Emirates, in common with some other carriers, was heavily criticised for only offering travel vouchers – which, if unused, could be exchanged for cash after a year.

Now the airline has published a global policy that meets its obligations under European air passengers’ rights rules.

Passengers who have tickets issued before 31 May 2020, for travel before 31 August 2020, can apply immediately for a refund.

Travellers are able to ask for their money back, even if they have already accepted a voucher or opted to keep their ticket for future journey.

But for many passengers, Emirates has an alternative offer which may be even more valuable: to keep their ticket for up to two years and five weeks for use on the same, or a similar, route.

Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ chief commercial officer said: “The travel and airline industry have complicated rulebooks for how fares, re-bookings or refunds are applied, which also differ depending on market regulation.

“We understand that explaining and unravelling all of that is confusing and frustrating for customers.

“We sincerely hope that our customers will choose to rebook and fly with us again at a later time, and that is why we’re offering up to two years validity on their current tickets.

“However, if they would still like to opt for a refund, we will process that. We would just like to seek our customers’ understanding that refunds will take time as we have a significant backlog to manage.”

The airline said: “Their ticket will be accepted for any flight to the same Emirates destination or to another city within the same Emirates region with no fees for changes.”

This could benefit anyone who bought a cheap ticket to the Middle East, Asia, Australia or Africa for during the April and May off-peak season. They can exchange it for travel during a very busy time such as Christmas and New Year, and even change the route – for example exchanging Perth in Western Australia for Auckland in New Zealand.

There is no need to make an immediate decision.

Emirates, which previously operated six Airbus A380 jets a day between Dubai and London Heathrow, is currently flying just four times weekly. The only other multi-frequency destinations are Frankfurt and the Afghan capital, Kabul.

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Travel Leaders Group Debuts Armchair Explorer Campaign

To help travel advisors stay engaged with their clients during the coronavirus crisis, Travel Leaders Group unveiled a 12-week series of Armchair Explorer emails, which provide virtual tours, audiobook links and other compelling content that is personalized with the agents’ contact information.

Advisors participating in the campaign are from the company’s Travel Leaders Network, Barrhead Travel, Nexion Travel Group, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists and Travel Leaders Vacation Centers brands.

The emails, which are being sent to approximately two million consumers every Thursday, include virtual tours of national parks, such museums as the Louvre in Paris and Guggenheim in New York City, the Taj Mahal in India, the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt and more.

The Armchair Explorer emails also include links to audiobooks like Robin Davidson’s “Tracks,” which details a young woman’s journey through the Australian desert; and Alain de Botton’s “The Art of Travel,” which takes a philosophical look at how and why people travel.

“With Armchair Explorer, travelers can fill their extra time with dreams of travel,” said Travel Leaders Group CEO J.D. O’Hara. “Travelers can virtually explore from the comfort of an armchair, couch or bed, letting their mind wander the earth to sample a world of experiences.”

The Armchair Explorer emails also include anecdotes on how travel advisors have come to the aid of their clients amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“When this crisis ends, and travelers are ready to turn those travel dreams into reality, our advisors are here with ideas and advice about a host of journeys,” O’Hara said.

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