TSA to Receive Supply of Expired Respirator Masks

With supplies such as medical masks running low amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) will be sending the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) a large stockpile of expired N95 respirator masks. TSA will distribute the masks to airports as needed.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed to The Washington Post the decision to send out 1.5 million masks. It is currently unknown how many masks will be sent to the TSA or when they will be shipped.

It is not typically advised by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use N95 respirator masks that have expired. However, the large demand for masks by airport and medical workers, along with the general public, have made the need necessary. With the proper storage, the CDC has found that “many models have continued to perform in accordance with NIOSH performance standards.”

According to Fox News, TSA has allowed employees to wear protection in order to lower the risk of contracting the virus. This includes eye protection, N95 respirator masks, surgical masks and nitrile gloves. The use of surgical masks and nitrile gloves have been mandatory since the beginning of the pandemic.

“TSA will continue to follow guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding workforce protection,” TSA said in a statement. “We are working closely with the CDC and will follow any additional guidance that is issued.”

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Botswanas Xigera Lodge set to reopen

The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is scheduled to open the completely refurbished Xigera Lodge in June, its first safari property in Botswana.

Xigera, located on the western side of the Moremi Game Reserve in the heart of the Okavango Delta, comprises 12 fully air-conditioned suites. The focus at Xigera will be on the quality of the service, with 105 staffers attending 24 guests. Facilities include a library, where visiting specialists will give talks and screen wildlife documentaries, a dining room, an interactive kitchen, a bar and wine cellar and a traditional boma for storytelling and stargazing. Wellness areas include a gym, swimming pool and spa.

Travelers will be able to enjoy game drives as well as exploration of the delta by motorboat and traditional mokoro (canoes commonly used in the region). Private walking safaris, photographic safaris and workshops, private yoga sessions, helicopter excursions and bush lunch or picnics will also be available.

Red Carnation is a family-owned hospitality group that currently owns a trio of properties in South Africa.

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Agents use local media to get their message out coronavirus

As Covid-19 continues to spread,
travel advisors are getting in front of local news cameras to
discuss the virus and its impact on the travel industry. It’s also a way to
talk about the benefits consumers get when they book with an advisor.

“This is our time to shine, and this is our time to be
visible,” said Vanessa McGovern, co-founder and CEO of Mooresville, N.C.-based
Gifted Travel Network.

“For years,” she said, “we’ve been crying that we’re not
visible, and here is our opportunity to show in force, in really meaningful
ways, how we’re literally saving people’s vacations and bringing home students
on study abroad programs.”

In some cases, she said, the beneficiary wasn’t even a
client, adding, “It’s amazing what travel advisors are doing under these

McGovern appeared on WCNC-TV in Charlotte on March 10, where
she asserted that the entire industry has been affected and remains in “very
uncharted, unprecedented territory.” 

She encouraged travelers to insure their trips. At the time
of the broadcast, she was still planning to take a group to Paris and hoped
that would inspire confidence in consumers. Unfortunately, European travel
restrictions were announced the next day.

McGovern’s interview was of her own making. Travel industry
representation had been missing from recent coverage, she said, so she wrote to
the station offering herself as a source. The next day, a reporter was in

Dave Hershberger, president of Prestige Travel Leaders in
Cincinnati, got a call from local TV station WKRC, and Prestige has since
participated in four interviews with the news station. He asked why all the
sudden interest  — Prestige hadn’t been on camera in some five
years — and the reporter said other agencies were not
willing to talk.

“Now they know there’s a place they can go to even talk
about difficult stories,” Hershberger said.

Lynn Clark, a partner at Travel Leaders in Delafield, Wis.,
already has a regular presence on “The Morning Blend,” a program on the local
NBC affiliate. She pays to do a regular segment on travel. As her most recent
segment was approaching, though, she felt she needed to deviate a bit. Up
front, she talked about the virus and said advisors were there to help guide
travelers through the confusion.

“The overall importance of being out there and talking about
it ties into, really, the reason people come to us in the first place,” Clark
said. “They come to us for information and guidance, and ultimately, they want
to have confidence in travel plans and their travel decisions. They don’t feel
confident doing it on their own.”

Michelle Fee, CEO of Cruise Planners, said she feels an
obligation to be a voice for the industry. She appeared on Fox Business to talk
about the pandemic.

Cruise Planners is providing talking points, media training
and advice to its advisors, Fee said, so they can “be a voice in their

Even so, one frequent local media contributor is not doing
interviews at the moment. Jennifer Doncsecz, president of VIP Vacations in
Bethlehem, Pa., has turned down several prerecorded interviews for two reasons.
The most important, she said, was a concern about how they would be edited, and
the other was that information might be out of date by air time because the
situation has been changing so rapidly. 

Instead, she recorded an informational video for clients and
posted it to the agency’s Facebook page. It had nearly 5,000 views as of last

But for those who do want to contact local media outlets,
McGovern offered encouragement.

“All you have to do is send an email, raise your hand, speak
from your heart, and they are going to listen,” she said.

Erika Richter, ASTA’s director of communications, said the
Society has received a “near-constant barrage” of media requests as Covid-19’s
spread has unfolded. 

She often floats requests with a closed Facebook group, ASTA
Press Inbox, which has close to 600 advisor members. She also sends leads to
consortia communications teams, who are well positioned to direct news outlets
to the right advisors.

On a recent ASTA webinar, Dina Ruden, senior vice president
of communications and public relations for Travel Leaders Group, offered some
tips to advisors who might be interested in working with the news media.

First, she said, read up on the latest information from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the
State Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

It’s important to acknowledge, Ruden said, that there are
concerns related to travel and that the decision to travel can only be made by
individual travelers. 

Talk about the importance of travel insurance, she advised,
and emphasize that advisors are seeking assistance from the government to keep
working and serving customers.

Ruden also encouraged agents to talk about the value of
advisors and to emphasize why they are the consumer’s best advocate, something
with which McGovern agreed.

“This is the time to tell that story,” McGovern said. “This
is our window to show the consumer why it’s so important to use an advisor, and
we have this opportunity, and we absolutely all need to embrace it.”

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Margaritaville in Nassau to open this summer

The Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau plans a summer opening.

The 284-room property is spread across two towers. The Hotel Tower offers 155 oceanview rooms and suites, and the One Particular Harbour Tower will have 129 residential condos ranging from studios to a four-bedroom penthouse, each equipped with a full kitchen.

The condos are privately owned but will be placed in the hotel rental pool when not owner-occupied.

Resort facilities will include the Fins Up water park with slides, a lazy river, climbing wall, dive pool, grotto, surf machine, beach with loungers and private cabanas and a 45-slip marina.

The entertainment complex features virtual reality sports, karaoke, bowling, billiards and a movie theater.

Eleven food and beverage venues include a two-story waterfront restaurant and lounge, a rooftop cigar lounge, a French bakery, pool bars and a steak and seafood eatery.

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10 essential travel books to read during self-isolation – A Luxury Travel Blog

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are,” according to Mason Cooley. This idea is especially poignant at this time in our history. Myriad global authorities are advising social distancing and self-isolation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, most of us find ourselves with some time to fill in our own company and, perhaps, a renewed desire to see as much of the world as possible when this is all over.

With travel restrictions in place to contain the virus, many around the world have had to cancel or change their travel bookings. This does not mean, however, that you should put your travel planning on hold. On the contrary, this is the time to dream. What better place to find destination inspiration and shared travel fervour than between the pages of great travel books?

The titles on travel shelves run aplenty. There is fiction where descriptions are so rich that the setting takes on the importance of the characters. There are tales of early explorers and modern-day adventurers whose unbridled spirits have left the world graced with incredible stories. There are those who had the courage to leave the familiar to call the land of the exotic home. There are those who explore every nook and cranny in the immediate vicinity around their homes to great literary effect.

As there is no ideal kind of traveller, there is no ideal kind of travel literature. The common ground lies in the power of the written word to be the vehicle across the oceans, through mountain ranges, and through some of the world’s most famous cities – and I can think of little better at times like these. The borders of our imaginations will never be closed.

Of course, there are many titles to satisfy the travel-obsessed reader. I have limited this selection to works of non-fiction touching on a handful of locations around the world. There are, of course, a huge number of books (some by famous and classic writers) which are glaringly absent from the list but, amongst these essential travel books, there are books for almost every kind of traveller.

Whoever you are and however you love to travel, there is almost certainly a book on this list to keep you enthralled for a blissful afternoon at home. Among the pages, you will also, no doubt, stoke the fires for travel and adventure in future. Discover new destinations, feel inspired to explore your hometown and country with a little added interest, feel driven to ride bicycles across continents. Whatever you take from the books you read during this challenging time in our personal and collective histories, I hope these books bring you inspiration, solace where it is needed, and a reminder that we can accomplish great things in far-flung places if we so desire.

A Journey Around My Room by Xavier de Maistre

If you look around the room you are sitting in, do you think it worthy of recording forever in writing? Could you craft excitement and anticipation in the retelling of your days at home? In 1790, Xavier de Maistre was placed into 42 days of confinement in Turin. He was a young soldier for the Sardinian Kingdom and had engaged in an illegal duel. Isolation was to be his punishment.

In his pink and blue pyjamas, he turned his bedroom sentence into a manuscript – creating a travel journal of his daily activities within the four walls. In the grand style of the travel writing of the era, de Maistre created a witty account of his confinement and one which continues to be well-read and enjoyed.

Essentially, it is an apt reminder that life’s great occasions are just a matter of perspective. Altering our viewpoint on circumstances can change them from drab and every day to dazzling – if we choose. While grand adventures and exotic destinations may flavour our lives, there is an art to celebrating the familiar.

Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson

Robyn Davidson’s epic trek across 1700 miles of Australian desert is an exceptional feat by anyone’s standards. In extreme desert conditions, Robyn crossed the country with four camels and a dog. She did not have a long history of survival and desert living; nor did she have abiding experience working with camels. After two years of preparation, this young woman walked into the desert, driven by an idea she couldn’t shake and personal reasons for this challenging, unique odyssey.

She had agreed to write an article for National Geographic detailing the trip. I came across this article many years ago, with unforgettable images of camels on Australian beaches and a story that left me aching for more. The brief meant her solitude was punctuated by meetings with the photographer assigned to the project, Rick Smolan, and a not unexpected romance develops between the two.

One of the most outstanding things about Davidson’s story is that she is not driven by fame or recognition or some hard-sought-after sense of accomplishment. She is motivated by some nameless internal force; one that does not shy away from being alone in remote and dangerous places with only the echoes of her own thoughts and the company of camels. As with any great adventure, she was not left unchanged by the experience, but her transformation extended beyond herself to become an enduring commitment to indigenous Australian peoples and natural landscapes. Tracks was also made into a motion picture in 2013 and this film adaptation is just what Tracks fans need when the pages of the book run out.

Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux is a fantastic novelist and is an institution within the travel-writing genre – so much so that selecting one title is almost impossible. Having lived in Africa for some years, it seems apt to choose one of his books relating to this wild and diverse continent. The Cairo to Cape narrative is one which has become somewhat commonplace these days, but Dark Star Safari will always be remarkable as a tour de force of travel writing. There will never be anything quite like the unique lens Paul Theroux casts over his subjects.

Dark Star Safari is at once an incredible journey, homecoming, and exposé – but one that reads like an adventure story. Paul Theroux throws caution to the wind, passing through areas of danger and upheaval, giving the world a glimpse of the various facets that make this continent so fascinating. The book is astonishingly honest and unavoidably personal. It does not avoid corruption, poverty, decay, and disease and there is an undertone of disappointment of unmet hopes for a place he once called home.

That said, the uncomfortable realities of Africa are juxtaposed against her beauty to make this landmass even more of a marvel. Exquisite landscapes, wildlife, and cultural richness dating back to some of our earliest ancestors are just some of the wonders of the continent visited in the book. From rural villages and great open expanses to modern cities, Theroux gives an expansive view on a continent that often defies description in its diversity. Native Africans and seasoned travellers alike are guaranteed to learn something new about Africa in this amazing book.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

One would be remiss to talk about travel writing without mentioning Bill Bryson. His books are widespread and absorbing. A Walk in the Woods is a firmly-held favourite for many Bryson fans (myself included) and, if you are new to his work, will probably leave you wanting more.

One of the things I love about this book is its potential to remove barriers for anyone looking for an injection of adventure. It reinforces that nothing need stand in the way of a dream and there is something for everyone in every stage of life between its pages.

In 1998, Bryson decided to walk the Appalachian Trail with his friend, Stephen Katz – probably the least likely partner for a hike on a national trail. The Appalachian Trail is one of the most iconic American trails for anyone with a love for the outdoors, covering some of America’s pristine landscapes from Georgia to Maine. The landscape is spectacular and, with wild cats and bears to think about, not entirely without risk.
In his humorous, almost conversational style, Bill Bryson reveals the history of the trail and his plans to walk it. Unseasoned outdoorsmen, their antics are enormously entertaining from cover to cover. This book is a reminder that even half an adventure qualifies as an adventure.

A Walk in the Woods has also been made into a fantastic film starring a very fitting Robert Redford as Bill Bryson and Nick Nolte as Stephen Katz.

Michael Palin’s Hemingway Adventure by Michael Palin

Michael Palin is one of the best-travelled personalities in the world, having seen more countries than most famous people, presidents, and members of the royal family. Palin pairs up with another of history’s great travellers in this charming book, following the global path of Ernest Hemingway.

The book follows the BBC documentary on the same topic, but is easily enjoyed independently of the series as Palin connects the dots in the travel life of this literary figurehead and nomad. Indeed, if you are looking to broaden your knowledge of the world, you might find Hemingway-esque insights into Paris, Spain, and Kenya (to name a few) in Papa’s masculine and long-revered writing.

This book takes us from America to Europe, on safari in Africa, and big game fishing in Key West to Cuba, and the American great plains. From a glimpse into Hemingway’s favourite bars to homage to the writer in the form of the Hemingway look-alike competition, the book is a journey of its own in its diversity. The cacophony of Spanish bullfights, the unhindered spirit of Cuba, the quiet and wonder of Wyoming – there is plenty of fodder for future travel plans in the footsteps of Palin and Hemingway.

Elements of Italy by Lisa St Aubin de Terán

Italy has won the hearts of travellers for generations. The food, the history, beautiful natural landscapes, and la dolce vita – it is a country with multi-faceted appeal to every kind of traveller. Its popularity has made it a subject for the world’s writers in a growing body of literature which researchers would find staggering.

In this wonderful synopsis of everything Italian, Lisa St Aubin de Terán has captured the essence of Italy within the elements of earth, water, fire, and air. She has masterfully cobbled together writings from Dante to Dickens, Da Vinci to Keats, Elizabeth David to Guiseppe di Lampedusa to create a vivid compilation of impressions, memories, and stories from Italy.

A native of Italy for 17 years at the time of writing, one can tell that this book has been created by someone deeply in love with the country. With a fascinating personal history that has seen her live around the world, this book is an interesting focal point for someone who seems to have a fluid sense of home. If you have been to Italy once, if it is a place that draws you back over and over again, you will find yourself smiling at the familiar, gasping at the extraordinary, and basking in Italy’s signature passion, romance, and whimsy.

Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger

Great travel literature gives you a shifting view on countries and places around the world. Arabian Sands has swiftly moved to the realms of classic travel literature over the past decades – and with good reason. It is one of the most abiding contributions to writings about the Middle East, giving a glimpse from a Westerner into a part of the world largely unknown by his predecessors and contemporaries. Dissatisfied with a Western way of life, Thesiger’s travels are in pursuit of the extraordinary. This urge takes him to the Arabian Empty Quarter, a harsh desert land where survival is an art.

His travels take place between 1945 and 1950 at a time when most Arabians had never come across a European in their lives and their religious inclination would be to kill the infidel if he was discovered. With this threat a daily worry, he experienced the contrasts of hot days and freezing nights alongside the Bedu people, gaining unique insights into one of the world’s unknown cultures.

Wilfred Thesiger joins Lawrence of Arabia and Gertrude Bell in giving us a Western viewpoint on Middle Eastern history which would otherwise have been lost with the desert winds. He also joins the realms of the world’s great explorers in the personal fortitude inherent in his travels. His writings are enjoyed the world over even today and gives the world a picture of the Middle East prior to the transformation set in place by the discovery of oil.

Out of Africa by Karen Blixen / Isak Dinesen

First published in 1937, Out of Africa is a collection of stories by Danish writer Karen Blixen about life on her farm in Africa. The Oscar-winning film starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford skyrocketed her story into global fame. The story has resonated with countless people over the years, inspiring African travel and safari dreams for many.

A Danish storyteller revered among her set for her ability to captivate her audience at gatherings and dinner parties, it’s perhaps no surprise that her book and life story received so much acclaim. Running a struggling coffee farm and dealing with her husband’s numerous infidelities, her affair with Denys Finch-Hatton has taken on the status of legend amongst romantics and Africa-lovers.

Out of Africa details daily life in a strange and often harsh land. Blixen proves herself a well of resilience as she faces a slew of challenges – from failed crops and unfavourable weather to personal tragedies and illness. Blixen approaches everything with an unwavering grace and appreciation for Africa’s beauty, building relationships with the Maasai and Kikuyu people along the way.

Her stories cover African stories of birds and animals which become a part of her day in this wild part of Kenya – a land that becomes home in every sense as time goes by. At its heart, Out of Africa is a story of loss – giving up the places held dear and people well-loved.

Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession with the Amazon by David Grann

During the 1920s, English explorer Percy Fawcett travelled into the Amazon in search of an ancient and almost mythical ancient civilization, in the quest for the kingdom of El Dorado. The city was reputed to be rich in jewels and treasure, a legend that captured the attention of history’s treasure hunters. In the build-up to the departure, Fawcett convinced the public around the world that he had empirical information which would guide him to the civilization of the kingdom of Z. He set off with a party, including his 21-year old son, into the depths of the Amazon and the group was never seen again.

The search for clues of the fate of the Fawcett party was approached with a similar fervour and numerous people from around the world have gone missing, died, or lost their minds in trying to find out the fate of Fawcett and the location of the Lost City of Z.

David Grann is one such treasure hunter, having stumbled upon a collection of diaries. One can’t help but be intrigued by the wilderness of the Amazon and the pockets of humankind that live within it. Similarly, the bravery of classic explorers will always pique the interest of anyone who loves adventure and we can’t help but question what we would do differently in a modern setting. Now a major film adaptation, Lost City of Z is the best of both of those things and a definite must-read for anyone who loves a mystery.

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

Co-founder of the Paris Review, Peter Matthiessen is perhaps best known for his nature writing. Following the death of his wife from cancer, Matthiessen travelled to the Himalayas along with naturalist George Schaller in search of the elusive snow leopard. These cats are notoriously hard to find, but life-changing in every encounter.

For Schaller, this was a research trip predicated on gathering information on the snow leopard’s primary form of prey, the blue sheep. These extraordinary creatures are adapted to some of the most inhospitable conditions in the world. For Matthiessen, the trip was more of a spiritual odyssey, with a severe change in external circumstances to spark an internal shift in perspective, to act as a catalyst for growth.

In our hardest times – and throughout the ages – man has sought comfort in nature. For many of us, the world of birds and wildlife has served to reset some sense of priority within us. It has also acted as a reminder that we are part of a greater eco-architecture. There are creatures and landscapes of great beauty that exist without our seeing them very often or at all. The world continues to hold some mystery beyond the well-trodden path of the things we know and the cities we have created.

In the highest mountains, blue sheep treading precariously on rockfaces and searching for food in barren-looking environments, life goes on no matter what human problems befall us. How wonderful that there are pockets of the world preserved in such a way. How wonderful that they grant us acceptance of the world as it is supposed to be. And how wonderful that a print in the snow can keep us curious, keep us searching.

What are you reading right now?

Are there any other recommendations you would like to add to our list?

Please tell us in the comments!

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Florida Keys to Close Lodging Businesses to Tourists

The Florida Keys have become another popular tourist destination to suspend operations in order to reduce the risks of coronavirus transmission, when government officials announced on Thursday that all lodging businesses will close at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 22.

Officials have instructed hotels to stop taking new reservations effective immediately. The government will re-evaluate the tourism closures and make changes when appropriate.

Renters in vacation homes and RV parks will be allowed to remain until the conclusion of their contracts.

According to Bob Eadie, the administrator and health officer for the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County, there are currently no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Keys. However, with Florida’s total number of coronavirus cases reaching 520 as of Friday, officials are concerned about the potential risk spreading to visitors and residents of the Keys.

“We know that closing down the tourism industry is a major inconvenience for our visitors,” said Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers. “But the health and safety of our visitors and residents are paramount.

“We certainly hope our visitors will return to the Keys once the coronavirus crisis has passed,” she added. “We also understand the economic impacts all Keys businesses and families will likely face.”

Carruthers assured the public that Monroe County continues to follow the directives of the Centers for Disease Control, the Florida Department of Health and State of Florida Governor’s Office Executive Orders.

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US and Canada Close Border to Help Stem Coronavirus' Spread

Adding to already-severe travel restrictions in place on international travel, spurred by the global COVID-19 outbreak, President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cooperatively announced in separate press conferences held this morning that all non-essential travel across the U.S.-Canada border will be suspended.

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There was no indication as to when that ban might be lifted, as the fast-moving threat of the novel coronavirus continues to defy predictions.

President Trump had disclosed in an earlier tweet, ““We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected.”

Shutdown of non-essential travel means that both nations’ residents will no longer be permitted to cross the border for purposes of recreation and tourism, as part of a pragmatic approach for limiting communities’ potential exposure to the virus. Trudeau emphasized that “essential travel will continue”, which includes, he said, crossings needed to perform, “essential work and for other urgent reasons.”

Read more about the COVID-19 emergency response package here:

Addressing a media audience, Trudeau also affirmed, “Our governments recognize that we preserve supply chains between both countries. These supply chains ensure that food, fuel and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border. Supply chains including trucking will not be affected by this new measure.”

Just yesterday (March 17, 2020), the European Union likewise announced the closure of its external borders to non-citizens in an increasing effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

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Coronavirus expected to be six times more damaging than 9 11

Fallout from the Covid-19 coronavirus will be six times
worse for the travel industry than the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a new report
from Tourism Economics estimates.

The analysis, which the U.S. Travel Association said it
presented to the White House on Tuesday, forecasts the virus and the resulting
restrictions will inflict a $809 billion hit on the U.S. economy. The travel
industry will be hit harder than any other sector, resulting in the loss of 4.6
million travel-related American jobs this year.

Total spending on travel in the U.S. — including
transportation, lodging, retail, attractions and restaurants — is projected to
plunge by $355 billion for the year, a 31% decrease. That is six times greater
than the impact of 9/11, the report said.

Additionally, the analysis said, estimated losses by the
travel industry alone are severe enough to push the U.S. into a protracted
recession, and the projected 4.6 million travel-related jobs lost would nearly
double the U.S. unemployment rate.

“This situation is completely without precedent,” said U.S.
Travel president and CEO Roger Dow. “For the sake of the economy’s long-term
health, employers and employees need relief now from this disaster that was
created by circumstances completely out of their control.”

Dow said he and other travel leaders met Tuesday with
President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Commerce Secretary Wilbur
Ross to push consideration of a proposed $150 billion relief package for the
travel sector that would provide aid for both employees and small-business

Dow said 83% of travel employers are small businesses.

“The health crisis has rightly occupied the public’s and
government’s attention, but a resulting catastrophe for employers and employees
is already here and going to get worse,” Dow said in a statement.

“Travel-related businesses employ 15.8 million Americans,
and if they can’t afford to keep their lights on, they can’t afford to keep
paying their employees. Without aggressive and immediate disaster relief steps,
the recovery phase is going to be much longer and more difficult, and the lower
rungs of the economic ladder are going to feel the worst of it.”

Jeri Clausing contributed to this report.

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Delta to park up to 300 planes coronavirus

Delta will implement the largest capacity cut in its history
as cancellations are exceeding new bookings for travel over the next four

A 40% capacity cut will last for the “next few months,” CEO
Ed Bastian said in a letter to employees Friday. Up to 300 aircraft will be

A sizeable portion of the cuts will come from Europe.
Bastian said Delta will eliminate flying to continental Europe for 30 days as
the U.S. ban on travel from the continent is ongoing. Service to London, which
isn’t subject to the ban, will continue. 

“The speed of the demand fall-off is unlike anything we’ve
seen — and we’ve seen a lot in our business,” Bastian wrote. 

To counter the collapse, Delta will defer new aircraft
deliveries, reduce capital expenditures by at least $2 billion for the year and
substantially reduce the use of contractors and consultants. The carrier has
also frozen hiring and is offering unpaid leave to employees. 

“We’ll be making more critical decisions in the days to
come,” Bastian said. “The situation is fluid and likely to be getting even

He added that Delta is better positioned to weather a
massive downturn than it has ever been. 

“We will get through this, and taking strong, decisive
action now will ensure that we are properly positioned to recover our business
when customers start to travel again,” he wrote.

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Hurtigruten Updates Policy to Allow Travelers to Rebook Through July 1, 2021

Hurtigruten introduced what it calls a “risk-free,” flexible rebooking policy that allows guests to change their bookings to any cruise until the summer of 2021.

“In the current situation, it is important for us to ensure our valued guests get timely and accurate information, and the necessary flexibility as they are planning their adventure with us,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said. “We want to make sure that you can explore with confidence.”

Guests booked on departures between March 12 through June 30, 2020, can rebook any Hurtigruten expedition or Norwegian coastal cruise from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021. The offer also applies to any new Hurtigruten booking made by April 30, 2020. The voucher is combinable with all other Hurtigruten offers.

Guests who postpone will get a future cruise voucher and a 10-percent discount on the next cruise. The voucher also will include refund on flights booked through Hurtigruten.

“We’ve been operating for more than 125 years and we’ve learned from our past experiences in challenging situations,” Skjeldam said. “We are continuously updating our response to make sure our guests, crew and staff can travel with confidence.”

Hurtigruten has been following the advice of expert authorities including the World Health Organization, Center For Disease Control, Norwegian Institute for Public Health, Cruise Lines International Association, other government agencies, and local health authorities in the areas it operates, since the outbreak began.

“ ‘We care’ is one of our core values,” Skjeldam said. “And make no mistake: The health and safety of you, your fellow explorers and our crew is our number-one priority. We are working tirelessly with all relevant authorities and experts to ensure that you can enjoy your upcoming Hurtigruten adventure.”

Hurtigruten has posted an updated list of embarkation policies here.

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