Categories
Destinations

Take a Peek Into Denver's $600 Million Project Snowmass

Aspen has always been a destination for those who love skiing and luxury, but thanks to Snowmass, a $600 million project just 20 minutes northwest of downtown Aspen, there is a place to go for families who want even more.

Snowmass is 5,500 acres of land consisting of four mountains, 362 trails and 41 lifts. Conveniently, you only need one lift ticket to experience all the skiing you could ever want. since Snowmass is somewhat out-of-the-way, with the closest airport only having direct flights from Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Minneapolis, Utah and Atlanta, it doesn’t tend to get the crowds that other skiing hot spots like Denver tend to receive. Translation: There will be tons of times you’ll feel like you have the mountains to yourself, whether you’re an amateur or an advanced skier.

But skiing is far from the only thing to do in Snowmass.

The $600 million project included an entire kids complex that has an indoor ball pit the size of a swimming pool, an interactive wall mural, air hockey, a ping pong table, games, foosball and lots of spots to chill and take Instagram pictures.

There’s also a brand new ice rink, two large outdoor jacuzzis overlooking the ice rink, a roller coaster that zips you through the snowy forest and a five-story indoor climbing wall.

Arrive during the summer months, and you’ll experience an entirely different scene: ziplining, ropes courses and trails await.

When looking at places to stay, The Limelight Hotel is a brand new ski-in, ski-out hotel found smack dab in the middle of the new Snowmass village. It’s a modern hotel that offers so many complimentary activities that we’d venture to describe it as a resort. Stay here, and the ice-skating, rock climbing, daily breakfast buffet and kids’ complex are all free. They also do gratis s’mores daily after skiing is done for the day.

The Westin Snowmass Resort, which is also ski-in, ski-out, has an unbeatable location but it’s a little older.

Wildwood Snowmass is the third spot in Snowmass, and while it’s not ski-in, ski-out, it’s adjacent to the slopes.

After a long day of skiing, you’ll probably want to refuel with a delicious meal. Our favorite spot to eat is called Sam’s Restaurant, a barbecue turned Italian restaurant that just completed its $2.5 million renovation in November. It’s so good that you may be tempted to close your eyes so you can really savor the food. But here’s the catch—it’s located at the top of Sam’s Knob, which is 10,620 feet in the air, and the only way down is to ski down. If you’re not a proficient enough skier, don’t worry, Elk Camp Restaurant is a shockingly great spot just off the top of the gondola. It’s essentially a very high-end food court, and the salad bar is out-of-this-world.

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Categories
Travel

WATCH: Travel Expert Mark Murphy on COVID-19's Impact on the Industry

Travel expert Mark Murphy recently appeared on Fox Business to break down the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’s impact on travel in the wake of the U.S. State Department’s latest advisory warning Americans of “increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.”

“Originally over the weekend when cruise executives met with administration officials it wasn’t ‘don’t take a cruise,’ it was ‘if you’re elderly, your immune system is at risk or you have underlying health issues, avoid it.’ That makes sense,” said Murphy. “For everybody else, feel free to travel.”

“But it’s worded differently today. So we see a disconnect,” he added, referring to the sometimes inconsistent information coming from government agencies and health officials.

Murphy, who predicted that the coronavirus will no longer be a news story in 60 days’ time, noted that the industry can take comfort in its long record of overcoming health threats and encouraged travelers to maintain a proper perspective.

“There are people making a ton of money right now based on this hysteria. And I call it hysteria because we in the travel space have gone through everything from Ebola to Zika to H1N1. You go down the line, we’ve never seen this kind of action as a result,” he said. “Put the numbers in perspective. We’re talking a couple of million people got off a cruise ship last month and we had two ships that had an issue. The metrics are very minimal. I’m not saying go jump on a cruise but apply logic to your decision making.”

The travel expert also pointed out that many travelers stand to benefit amid the outbreak “because the folks in the industry want to encourage people to travel. They’re giving you the opportunity to book way out and have a cancellation up to 48 hours prior to your trip in most cases.”

See below to view Murphy’s appearance on Fox Business in its entirety.

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Categories
Cruises

Opening Soon: Kalesma in Mykonos, Greece

WHY IT RATES: Greece’s new Kalesma hotel will house twenty-five 63 square meter suites and two 240 square meter villas. – Mackenzie Cullen, Editorial Associate

Once home to Greek gods and a favorite destination of Jackie Kennedy as well as artists, poets, designers and actors, Mykonos has long been in the spotlight. But the whole story of the island is rarely told. Enter Kalesma. With 25 suites and two villas, the hotel will open on June 1, 2020 to introduce a luxury experience that balances fun and privacy with genuine insider knowledge of off-the-beaten-path sites.

The seasoned trio behind the project – who also established Athens hotspots Sea Spice, Pere and Ubu – are all local to the island, and the resort will share a modern expression of Mykonian traditions. Translating to “invite” or “calling,” Kalesma welcomes guests to become a part of the island’s community.

Classic Mykonian warmth and hospitality will be on full display with experiences like shared guest-only dinners; sunset celebrations at the restaurant, which has 360-degree views of the horizon; a dedicated concierge who can direct guests to the best beaches depending upon the day’s winds; yacht charter opportunities; and a personal shopper to help the fashion-conscious discover local shops. Upon waking, guests will be greeted by the smell of freshly baked horiatiko bread, handcrafted hourly by a local baker in the restaurant’s brick oven.

DISCOVER

Set on a hilltop above Ornos Bay and just under two miles from Mykonos town, Kalesma’s accommodations will be spread across five acres and set against a lush hillside blanketed with 20,000 plants. All suites will offer unobstructed lookouts from the private patio, as well as a full-sized personal heated pool. Suite rates begin at €1,200 and villas at €3,500 per night.

At 680 sq. ft., the suites accommodate up to three adults, or two adults and two children. Each will feature private 970 sq. ft. terraces. Kalesma’s two- and three-bedroom villas can be rented together to sleep larger groups. At 2,600 sq. ft. each, both villas will have an open-plan living room with separate dining areas, a fully equipped kitchen with a pre-stocked refrigerator, wine fridge and private chef available upon request. Additional amenities will include a private gym and 24/7 butler service. Guests can also book in-room spa treatments, and a full spa will open in 2021.

DINING

For a truly unique vantage point, guests can venture up to Pere Ubu, the restaurant at the property’s peak that offers Cycladic specialties, with cheese and fish sourced from nearby islands. Steps from the hotel’s infinity pool, Pere Ubu shines with its panoramic perspectives of the sea, offering guests the rare opportunity to catch both the sunrise and sunset from the same spot. Serving light lunches and dinner, the restaurant embodies Kalesma’s community ethos with nightly sunset celebrations, evening DJ entertainment and weekly culinary events like intimate dinners exclusively for Kalesma’s guests. All are encouraged to partake in the lighthearted island lifestyle over a shared meal – and plenty of wine – before sleeping soundly just down the hill.

DESIGN

Kalesma has been brought to life by Athens-based K-Studio, the architect behind the new Mykonos Airport (set to open 2021), with interiors by Greek designer Vangelis Bonios – Studio Bonarchi. Rooms will feature original artwork by Serbian artist Aleksandar Vac, whose ceramics evoke traditional Cycladic minimalistic forms. The lobby will take on an effortlessly cool look with furniture by Rick Owens, making Kalesma the only hotel in the world to have pieces by the celebrated designer. Kalesma’s design is inspired by Mykonian tradition, local history and the “aloni” – an existing threshing floor on the property that became the source of inspiration for the style and character of the project. Local materials and artisans have played an essential role in the identity of the resort, with wood, marble, stone and osier giving a contemporary look to traditional Cycladic style. Cool earth tones like taupe, grey, dark brown and charcoal will blend together with white-washed surfaces and bougainvillea-filled archways to give a strong sense of place and to allow the brilliant blue of the Aegean Sea to stand out.

DESTINATION

Surely a place to see and be seen, Mykonos is so much more than its nightlife. Known as the Island of the Winds, Mykonos was the birthplace of Aeolus – appropriately, the wind god. His gusts pushed Odysseus toward home, only to have him return when a shipmate opened a bag that contained a fierce breeze that drove him back. Aeolus’s cave is located just below the Armenistis Lighthouse. Guests of Kalesma will be invited to explore the island’s history, including its much-photographed windmills that date back to the 16th century – now ornamental, they were once essential to the island’s economy.

Of course, Mykonos isn’t all culture and no fun. Greeks are famous for prioritizing carefree vibes. What form that takes is up to the vacationer. Kalesma’s beach concierge can reserve sunbeds in advance at different beach clubs, providing recommendations based on the desired mood – bathers can opt to be completely secluded, to party, to enjoy family time or to partake in water sports.

It’s been said that there are as many churches on Mykonos as there are local families, and a quick scan of the white-washed skyline underscores the anecdote. The abundance is largely due to the number of ancestral churches built on private property. Kalesma’s own chapel can serve as a picturesque backdrop for weddings.

For its inaugural season, Kalesma will be open from June through October, and from April through October in the future. For additional information and media requests, contact Sybil Pool, Alice Marshall Public Relations, [email protected], 212 861 4031.

SOURCE: Kalesma press release.

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Categories
Travel

How Hotel Cancellation Policies Are Changing Amid Coronavirus



a large building with The Ritz Hotel, London in the background

The coronavirus, or COVID-19, has had major repercussions for the travel industry. Cruise lines are exercising flexibility for customers, prescreening passengers before they board, and revving up their already stringent cleaning measure. Airlines, too, are continuing to monitor the situation, shifting their cancellation and change policies in response to new information and State Department updates.

The hotel industry is also taking the virus and the threat it may pose to guests and staff seriously. With flights being rebooked and travel plans being bumped, hotels are doing what they can to minimize the impact on guests whose travel plans have changed. But depending on where you’ve booked, the hotel cancellation policy may not always be as flexible, since cancellation coverage often depends on whether you booked directly with the hotel or through a third-party agency. It is important to note that this situation is fluid and shifting circumstances continue to affect the policies in place.

What to know if you booked directly with a hotel

Hotels around the world, both big-brand and boutique, are showing flexibility in response to the virus. Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts is waiving cancellation fees until March 31 for guests traveling to any Four Seasons property in the Asia Pacific region and Italy. Cancellation fees are also waived until March 31 for those traveling from Italy, South Korea, China (including the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau), and Taiwan to any Four Seasons property around the world. It’s also continuing to review the latest information from health experts and government authorities, and is passing along the most up-to-date and relevant information to its properties. “Across our global portfolio, we have implemented heightened precautions in food handling, sanitization, disinfection, and cleaning measures,” says a Four Seasons spokesperson. The hotels are placing hand sanitizer dispensers in restaurants and common areas, and reducing hours for certain facilities, including pools and spas. “Each individual property has also implemented specific precautions based on the guidance of local health authorities as well as the specific situation in their region and country,” the spokesperson added. Four Seasons is also providing masks and thermometers to guests upon request.

Hilton has enacted a similar response, issuing modification and cancellation waivers in especially affected area and demographics. Under the new rules, fees are waived for guests traveling to, through, or from China with stays from January 23 to March 31; those traveling to, through, or from Italy with stays from February 24 to March 31; to, through, or from South Korea with stays from February 24 to March 31; and those traveling to, through or from Saudi Arabia with stays from February 27 to March 31. Like Four Seasons, the brand is stressing its grasp on disseminating the newest information with its staff, crafting “Hilton-specific procedures” and talking points that staff can use during interactions with guests. “We are closely monitoring updates from the World Health Organization, and responding based on the best advice of medical professionals and public health authorities,” says a Hilton spokesperson. “If additional social isolation, enhanced cleaning, or other operational actions are required, we put those into action.”

Marriott, the world’s largest hotel company, and IHG are also offering case-specific refunds to guests booked in areas considered to be high-risk zones. As of publication, no large-scale hotel brand has implemented a cancellation or change-fee waiver company-wide, as most major airlines have started doing.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but our guide will help you eliminate most of the most pressing questions.

What to know if your trip is booked with a third party

Virtuoso, a luxury global agency network with more than 20,000 advisors, and over 1,800 hotel, cruise line, and tour operator partnerships, is proactively taking measures. “As travel advisors, our current role is to listen to travelers’ concerns and provide the most up-to-date options so they can make informed decisions at a minimal cost,” says agency executive Mary Kleen. Virtuoso advisors are suggesting that clients take a “wait-and-see” approach where possible, because of the rapidly changing nature of the situation. If you’re traveling to Europe later this summer, for example, and you’ve booked somewhere with a 30-day hotel cancellation policy, you can wait until May to take any action.

Agents are also strongly urging clients to purchase insurance, and in particular, cancel-for-any-reason (CFAR) policies for any trips they’re booking now. Even if you’ve already booked your travel and are beyond the 21-day window after making your deposit to purchase CFAR insurance, you can still add travel insurance, and in particular, the kind that will cover medical expenses should it become necessary. Please note that standard travel insurance may not be the most helpful in navigating coronavirus restrictions.

Expedia is also proactively approaching the continually changing circumstances. “We are working closely with our partners to make sure travelers have as much flexibility as possible,” says global PR director Nisreene Atassi. “Expedia is working hard to enhance our user experience so that refundable hotels are more prominent when searching. Just look for our ‘Free Cancellation’ messaging throughout to help identify the flexible hotel offerings.” The company also recommends purchasing a Vacation Waiver (if you book a package through Expedia), which covers all change or cancel penalties for any reason, on a single occasion, so that you have options if circumstances change.

What to know about Airbnb and VRBO policies

Short-term rental companies are also softening cancellation policies in light of the shifting travel market, though it remains important to do your homework before booking if you might need to cancel. Airbnb has a six-tier cancellation policy already built into its operation, which are generally set by the host. However, the company has an Extenuating Circumstances policy, which will protect travelers from cancellation penalties due to unforeseen circumstances. This currently protects travelers going to or coming from areas deemed to be high-risk for the virus, but had not been implemented portfolio-wide to protect travelers who may wish to make a pre-emptive cancellation. And, critically, do not assume that because your plans have been forced to change due to the coronavirus, that you will be covered by the Extenuating Circumstances policy. VRBO has yet to amend their policies to support forced coronavirus cancellations, and their Book with Confidence Guarantee does not cover force majeure circumstances.

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Categories
Cruises

Carnival to the Rescue as Ship Plans Impromptu Wedding

When an itinerary change canceled a mid-cruise wedding on land in Jamaica, officers and crew on Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Freedom pulled off an impressive impromptu ceremony for the couple on the ship.

San Antonio couple Liza Garcia and Theodore Herrera planned to marry in Jamaica, but island officials were working through their coronavirus policies.

Without assurances that the ship would be able to dock, Carnival revised the itinerary to Key West instead so guests would still get a three-port vacation.

“All of us on board were heartbroken when we learned that Liza and Theodore weren’t able to go ashore for their wedding. We got together as a team and promised to deliver the dream wedding that they deserve,” said Nikhil Khanna, hotel director on the Carnival Freedom. “At Carnival, we want to make sure our guests are provided the vacation of a lifetime and when these types of unforeseen circumstances come up, we take great pride in creating these surprises and delightful moments that our guests will remember forever.”

The crew surprised the couple with an impromptu wedding for them and their guests sailing with them, with Captain Francesco La Farina presiding over the ceremony.

To get wedding ready, the bride had her hair and makeup done at the ship’s Cloud 9 spa, complimentary, of course.

Following the nuptials, the Carnival Freedom team pulled out all the stops with a reception with a buffet, a three-tiered wedding cake, an ice sculpture and a DJ who got everyone on the dance floor.

In addition to providing the shipboard wedding at no charge, Carnival even reimbursed the couple the funds for their canceled wedding in Jamaica. The couple also received a couples’ massages and dinner at Farenheit 555 Steakhouse during the voyage.

Congratulations to the happy couple and a hearty well-done to Carnival!

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Categories
Cruises

Insight Vacations Launches First Women’s Only Journey

WHY IT RATES: To celebrate International Women’s Day, Insight Vacations is offering a 12-day, women-only tour through India. – Mackenzie Cullen, Editorial Associate

As Insight Vacations, the leader in premium guided journeys, celebrates International Women’s Day 2020, it is thrilled to launch a new women’s only journey for the first time ever – Inspirational India, A Wander Women Journey.

As the first journey in Insight’s new “Wander Women” journey program, it will take place in India in 2021 and will offer immersive learning opportunities, wellness experiences and Deliciously Authentic Dining while featuring the power of impactful tourism on women’s economic empowerment.

With this year’s International Women’s Day theme being #EachForEqual, Insight is aligning itself with a gender equal world, showcased by launching these journeys created and led by women. Just like with all Insight journeys, clients who embark on this journey will get all of the sights and the insights, up close and personal, in comfort and in style.

“On International Women’s Day, we recognize the power of impactful tourism. With 57% of our guests being women along with the rise of women’s only travel, our new journey which is designed and run by women, makes it a perfect fit for those who want to get below the surface and experience India as a culturally immersive destination as well as have opportunities to give back and empower women in the local communities while learning about their day-to-day lives,” says Ulla Hefel Böhler, Global CEO for Insight Vacations. “This journey is also a great opportunity to connect and meet with other fabulous women from around the world and provides economic empowerment to local women.”

This exclusive women’s only journey is only available on a limited departure date, so clients are encouraged to book early to secure their space. Below is a sample of the itinerary:

Inspirational India, A Wander Women Journey – 12 Days (Departing March 24, 2021)

Insight’s new 12-day women’s only journey in India starts in Delhi with a morning experience visiting Old Delhi and absorbing the vibrant culture. A choice between a “glassperience” with jewelry making where guests will make their very own piece of wearable art with glass or an ayurvedic treatment with two massage therapists is offered as Insight Choice the following day. Guests will visit Sheroes, a one-of-a- kind café in India. Unlike any other café or a general restaurant, it is solely run by acid attack survivors and promotes social integration as well as economic empowerment.

A visit to the Taj Mahal is included before embarking to Jaipur to enjoy Holi, the ancient festival of colors. On the eve of the Holi festival, visit an Indian family to join their Holika Dehan tradition, which includes a home-hosted dinner and a bonfire that’s meant to ward off evil before the festivities begin the following day when clients wear local Kurta attire and take to the streets for a colorful celebration. The following day enjoy morning yoga with a female guru.

Guests enjoy a Pink City rickshaw ride offered by Pink City Rickshaw Company, providing new aspirational employment opportunities to 200 women from low income households in Jaipur and then choose between an evening Bollywood dance class or a henna demonstration. Women will also visit the Sunder Rang arts and crafts project at Chandelao village where an average of 20 women work at the centre, producing traditional Rajasthani textiles and handicraft items for both local and export markets, creating a sustainable source of income for the artisans.

A meeting with a local astrologer reveals the secrets of the stars and after travelling to Udaipur, guests relax and rejuvenate at the Taj Aravali Resort & Spa. Clients also visit the Seva Mandir Organization, an NGO supporting natural resource development as well as health and women’s empowerment before embarking on an evening boat ride at Lake Pichola and visit Jagmandir.

For reservations, contact your district sales manager, call Insight Vacations at 1-800-582-8380 or visit www.insightvacations.com.

SOURCE: Insight Vacations press release.

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Categories
Travel

Insight Vacations launches new women-only India trip

Hot on the heels of International Women’s Day, Insight Vacations has launched a new women’s only trip – Inspirational India, A Wander Women Journey.

As the first itinerary in Insight’s new ‘Wander Women’ journey programme, it will take place in India in 2021 and will offer immersive learning opportunities, wellness experiences and deliciously authentic dining.

It is also designed to demonstrate the impact tourism can have on women’s economic empowerment.

Insight continues its efforts to champion a gender equal world, with its latest effort being the launch of this wholly new programme of journeys created and led by women.

Just like all Insight journeys, clients who embark on this experience will get all of the sights and the insights, up close and personal, in comfort and in style.

“With 57 per cent of our guests being female, along with the rise of women’s only travel, our new ‘Wander Women’ journey is a perfect fit for those who want to get below the surface and experience India as a culturally immersive destination.

“Designed and run by women, this new journey provides myriad opportunities to give back and empower women in the local communities while learning about their day-to-day lives,” said Rachel Coffey, director of sales and business development for Insight Vacations.

“This journey is also a great opportunity to connect and travel with other fabulous women from around the world.”

The journey is only available on a limited departure date, so clients are encouraged to book early to secure their space.

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Categories
Travel

Coronavirus Disneyland: Is Disneyland closed amid coronavirus outbreak?

COVID-19 has bloomed in Europe over the last two months, with more than 10,000 cases in the continent. Some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations lie within the infected countries, amongst them Disneyland.

Is Disneyland closed?

France is amongst some of the most COVID-19 affected countries in Europe.

There, cases number 1,209, giving it the second-highest case count on the continent, and the fifth worldwide.

Health officials recently confirmed one of the thousands of cases came from within Disneyland Paris.

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According to Reuters, a Disneyland Paris maintenance worker has tested positive for COVID-19.

A spokesman told the publication officials confirmed the case over the weekend, but they had not come into contact with visitors.

They added they had quarantined anyone in contact with the worker, who was on sick leave before he tested positive.

Disneyland Paris said it was making supplies of hand sanitiser available to its guests and was ensuring they stand apart in long queues.

So far, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not advised against travel to France.

They have advised people travelling to France to stay up-to-date with local warnings and alerts.

The FCO said: “There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus in China and elsewhere, including France.

“The French authorities are dealing with confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Oise, Haute Savoie and Britanny.”

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“If you’re in these areas you should follow the advice of the local authorities (town hall or prefecture).”

France is currently in the second stage of its government coronavirus response plan, which aims to contain COVID-19, according to the country’s Health Minister Olivier Véran.

The country has seen a total of 19 deaths as the virus rages on, with the government focused on responding with “proportionate” actions.

Amongst the new measures is a ban on gatherings of up to 1,000 people, which doesn’t affect protests, exams and public transportation.

The French government also said it plans to requisition all stocks of face masks now coming into production.

In a Tweet, President Emmanuel Macron said: “We will distribute them to health professionals and to French people infected with the coronavirus.”

Officials have also closed 120 schools in areas where the virus has impacted the most and cancelled school trips.

Both primary and secondary schools have closed in Oise, to the north of Paris.

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Categories
Cruises

Suppliers girding for long fight as Covid 19 takes toll

As the coronavirus outbreak continued to spread through
Europe and the U.S. last week, the travel industry began signaling that it was
girding for a protracted fight. 

And while some analysts seemed to think it was an
existential battle, others viewed it as yet another crisis the industry would
eventually overcome. 

In a video message to travel advisors, Richard Fain, CEO of
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., was blunt about the toll the outbreak was taking
on the company. 

“In fact, to use a technical term I learned in business
school, it sucks,” Fain said. “Like you, we’re hurting. We’ve had to cancel
cruises. We’ve lost revenue.”

But he also reminded advisors that the industry has
weathered many other crises that at the time seemed insurmountable, including
9/11, H1N1 and Ebola.

Royal Caribbean and the cruise industry at large is “strong
and growing,” he asserted, and when the crisis ends, “We are going to be in a
position to take advantage and move forward in a fast pace, and you will be,
too.”

Analysts echoed that sentiment, even though cruise companies’
share prices have plummeted around 40% over the past month and cruise lines are
cutting prices and relaxing cancellation policies to stave off a booking
slowdown and a rise in cancellations. 

UBS financial analyst Robin Farley said that cruise sellers
were reporting cancellation rates of between 20% and 30% and website and call
center traffic being down in the mid-20% range. On the upside, she said, they
indicated that summer bookings and beyond were “holding up.”

Farley also said it was an “encouraging sign” that booking
activity had improved almost immediately after the Diamond Princess quarantine
until it was hit again by the Italy outbreak.

“There was visible resilience to underlying demand,” she
wrote in a note to investors. 

Robert Kwortnik, associate professor of services marketing
for the School of Hotel Administration at the Cornell SC Johnson College of
Business, said he also believes that the cruise industry will survive this.

“If there is a vertical in hospitality and travel that is
prepared for this, it is the cruise industry,” he said. 

Kwortnik cited the industry’s adaptability and ability to
move its assets. 

“You build a resort somewhere and all of a sudden there’s a
geopolitical shock, and you’re kind of in trouble because the building is not
going to go anywhere,” he said.

Being able to move ships means cruise lines can “hunker down”
as they did after 9/11, when people were afraid to fly. 

“That’s when the whole homeporting model happened,” Kwortnik
said. “If they’re afraid to fly, let’s move the ships closer. … It was a way
to wait out the consumer’s hesitation.”

That doesn’t mean it’s easy.

“It’s not like you can do that effectively overnight,” he
said. “You’ve got all kinds of considerations,” such as crew visas, the time it
takes to move ships from one region to another and then having to fill them,
especially ships with 2,000 or more cabins. 

“That’s not something you can just fire emails to travel
partners and say, ‘OK, we have a great deal, let’s fill the ship for next week,’”
Kwortnik said. “Cruising is something consumers take a lot of time thinking
about.”

He added that another industry advantage is that while the
lines might fill ships for less, “a significant portion of revenue is driven
onboard.”

Hotels reeling

Some hotel analysts last week predicted the crisis would
have a significant and sustained impact on the sector.

David Eisen, director of intelligence for the hotel
benchmark service HotStats, said, “When the hotel industry talks about black
swan events that have the potential to disrupt business and cause irreparable
damage, [Covid-19] is it. The outbreak and worry over further contagion has
left the hotel industry reeling in its wake.”

Eisen said the virus has had a “deleterious impact already
on hotel profits.” As an example, he cited Marriott International reporting a
RevPAR decline of nearly 90% in China and Taiwan for February.

“The virus’ impact on domestic travel has been smaller,”
Eisen said. “But containing it and stamping out its spread quickly is all the
hotel industry can hope for to erase what likely will be a difficult first
quarter, at the least.”

He also expressed concern over the “worry and uncertainty”
that permeated many of the hospitality industry’s recent fourth-quarter 2019
earnings calls, with Eisen calling moves like Hilton’s decision to shutter some
150 hotels across China “extraordinary.”

Jan Freitag, senior vice president of lodging insights for
the hotel data firm STR, echoed a heightened concern, saying that what had been
a more regional issue in Asia is now “clearly a global issue, the depth of
which is yet to be determined.”

STR has seen significant impact ripple across key markets
beyond mainland China, including in Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan, where
occupancy dropped 97%, 64% and 59%, respectively in recent weeks, and Bali and
Thailand, where occupancy plummeted by 26% and 24%, respectively.

Given the developing situation, analysts said they expect
the crisis will be a drag on hotel performance in North America. Freitag said
STR is waiting to see which sector of the region’s hospitality industry will
become “the canary in the coal mine,” with the firm paying close attention to
airport hotels, convention travel and gateway cities such as New York, Los
Angeles and Vancouver.

Thus far, U.S. performance appears soft, with STR reporting
that U.S. hotel occupancy fell 2.1% from Feb. 16 to 22, as RevPAR dropped 1.4%.
The steepest U.S. occupancy decline, 4.8%, was at airport hotels.

Drop in airline bookings

After early carnage to Asian carriers, the virus has begun
wreaking havoc on U.S. carriers, including their domestic and transatlantic
networks.

Citing stagnating demand, United planned to unveil on March
7 a new domestic and Canada schedule for April, with a 10% cutback in flying.
The carrier also said it has begun planning similar cutbacks for May.

Those cuts will be accompanied by a 20% pullback by United
on international operations next month and likely for May, as well. The carrier
has also suspended hiring, postponed planned raises for management and
administrative staff and begun offering optional unpaid leave. United and
several other U.S. carriers have also suspended change fees on new bookings.

Data shows why such measures have become increasingly
necessary.

Globally, airfare transactions were down 34% year over year during
the seven days ending Feb. 25, compared with the previous week’s year-over-year
decline of 24%, ARC and IATA data shows. Of particular importance to U.S.
carriers, though, is that ticket sale transactions for flights to, from and
within North America were down 8% year over year during those seven days. That
was the first year-over-year weekly decline for the region since Covid-19 was
identified. It came in the same week that outbreaks occurred in northern Italy
and South Korea, sowing fears of a pandemic.

The Italy outbreak has dealt an especially large hit to the
transatlantic networks of U.S. carriers. According to analysis by Forward Keys,
bookings for arrival to Europe from North America were down a whopping 68.1%
year over year during the last week of February. The dismal figure corresponded
with a global collapse in bookings to Europe in the immediate aftermath of the
northern Italy outbreak. 
___

Robert Silk, Christina Jelski and Nancy Trejos contributed
to this report.

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Categories
Cruises

Address Jumeirah Resort on schedule to open later this year

Address Jumeirah Resort has announced the structural completion of its two 310-meter towers.

The topping out of the two towers marks the first key turning point towards the completion of the project, which is due to be unveiled toward the end of the year.

The 77 double-height levels were completed in just 799 days – an average of three levels completed per month.

The resort is now in an interior fit-out phase and in the final structural topping out of the 310-metre high sky bridge, which will link the two skyscrapers at the very top.

The sky bridge will feature an infinity pool, once completed, boasting the distinction of the highest infinity pool in the world.

The 443 fully furnished and serviced apartments and 478 unfurnished residential apartments offer living areas, and are fitted with branded fittings.

The apartments will offer its residents views of the Arabian Gulf, the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and Ain Dubai (Dubai Eye) and direct beach access.

In addition, residents will also enjoy signature Address services and the Spa at Address facilities, multiple pools for adults and families, a fitness centre on the 75th floor, Qix Club for children, world-class food and beverage outlets, gentlemen and ladies hair salons and high-end retail outlets, including fine jewellery.

Additional services will include a 24-hour concierge, weekly cleaning and maintenance, in-room dining services and a U by Emaar Silver Card membership.

Looking ahead to completion, which is on track to coincide with the launch of Expo 2020, Emaar Hospitality Group have also announced key restaurant and retail spaces within Address Jumeirah Resort.

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