Airfares are crazy, baggage handlers are on strike, and it’s 100 degrees outside. And this month, a tide of regulations, taxes, fees and protestors is asking people to please just stay away.
But nothing, it seems, will stem the tide of tourists this summer. Still, the world’s top destinations are hoping new provisions will make the crowds manageable—even if that means restricting access to those who can afford to pay up for the privilege of visiting.
Just this month, Norwegian Cruise Line cut a deal with the city of Venice to use motor boats to shuttle groups of passengers rather than parking its cruise ships too close; starting in January, the city also will institute a new tax for day-trippers. Barcelona capped the size of tour groups walking its streets and made the use of megaphones illegal, and anti-cruising protests recently made headlines in Norway. Marseille, the oldest city in France, introduced a tourist quota and reservation system to visit the famous Calanque de Sugiton, allowing only 500 visitors a day rather than the usual 3,000, and an Outside the Walls system that deploys 50 seasonal workers at the busiest tourist spots to manage the flow of people. Corsica capped the number of tourists allowed to visit the island; tourists to Lavezzi Islands, Restonica Valley and Bavella Needles must have a prior reservation.
Bhutan, which traditionally restricts the number of tourists in a given year, is upping its mandatory visitor’s fee from $65 USD to $200 per day. In Italy, the Amalfi Coast has restricted the number of tourist automobiles on its coastal road. Rome, Amsterdam and Dubrovnik are likewise considering measures aimed at moderating the crowds of tourists on their streets and at popular points of interest.
Domestic destinations not immune
In the United States, too, the locals in the most popular destinations are up in arms over the crowds. Two years of peaceful coexistence with nature during Covid lockdowns reminded many of the beauty of their quiet vistas—and this summer’s crazy surge of travelers has run headlong into a shorthanded service industry, making tourists more cranky, demanding, and unwelcome.
The national parks and our favorite vacation state of Hawaii have cut the crowds with mandatory registration systems. In Hawaii, visitors must get a number not just to visit Pearl Harbor, but also for Hanauma Bay, Haleakala at sunrise, Maui’s Waianapanapa State Park, Haena State Park on Kauai and Diamond Head on Oahu. Even the bar at Duke’s Waikiki is now reservations-only.
On the Great Lakes, members of the expanding cruise ship industry—including newcomer Viking Cruises, which is bringing the biggest ship, the 665-foot Viking Octantis, carrying 378 passengers—have already or are expected to soon agree to a series of sustainability initiatives in response to the increasing traffic.
In Glacier Bay, Alaska, the National Park Service has started an unannounced inspection system under which third-party inspectors will randomly board ships to monitor their compliance with environmental standards.
For travel advisors, meanwhile, the new regulations are one more thing to track, one more form to fill out—but also one more reason for customers to seek professional advice.
Some industry insiders predict destinations will come to rethink their decisions when they begin to feel the pinch of lost visitor revenues; others say the rules will just shift the crowds from one city to the next. Most customers will do what they must to get where they want to go—and by and large it is the destinations, not the customers, that are concerned.
“Like many things in today’s world, there is a group of clients and potential clients that take these concerns and causes to heart. I see a couple of hot buttons in a few of these anti-cruise posters that I am sure will make some reconsider,” says Dave Sobczak at Holiday Road Travel – Independent by Liberty Travel in Collegeville, PA. “I have to wonder though, if moving people to alternate ways to visit the country actually solves the problem, if there is in fact a problem.”
Following on the heels of Royal Caribbean’s decision yesterday to no longer require Covid testing for passengers on short cruises, Carnival today followed suit. A press release issued Friday afternoon said Carnival Cruise Line is “adjusting certain protocols to reflect the lifting of CDC requirements for the U.S. cruise industry.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: The Rosen Report
File under Something We Never Thought We’d See. Struggling to keep up with strong demand, long hold times and cranky customers, many travel advisors are turning business away for the rest of the summer—or maybe the rest of the year.
It’s just one of several unlikely strategies in the works in, arguably, the craziest year ever in the travel industry. Jumping right from famine to feast, many advisors are finding that even charging fees is not enough to keep their workload acceptable.Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
Emerald Cruises’ newest Star-Ship Emerald Luna was christened today during a ceremony in Amsterdam. In attendance for Scenic Group, parent company of Emerald Cruises, were Rob Voss, COO – Scenic Group; David Winterton, Global Director of Brand & Marketing; Maggie Carbonell, VP Marketing – Scenic Group USA; and Ann Chamberlin, VP Sales – Scenic Group USA; as well as Monic van der Heyden, Commercial Director, Cruise Port Amsterdam, Johan Kaasjager, Managing Director of the Den Breejen Shipyard, embarking guests, and local dignitaries. Award-winning US travel industry advocate and educator Vanessa McGovern took the honors as godmother during the official ceremony.
Posted In: Soundings
Taking one more step toward opening cruising, Royal Caribbean Group in its quarterly report today announced it will be allowing vaccinated guests on voyages of five days or less to board without Covid testing — and is “transitioning to the point where everyone will be able to vacation with us.”. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Outposts
JetBlue Airways Corporation and Spirit Airlines, Inc. today announced a merger agreement had been approved by their boards of directors. Under the agreement, JetBlue will acquire Spirit for $33.50 per share in cash for an aggregate fully diluted equity value of $3.8 billion. Yesterday, Spirit terminated its proposed merger with Frontier Airlines. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Departures
Southwest Airlines yesterday announced the elimination of expiration dates on all Southwest flight credits unexpired on or created on or after July 28, 2022. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Gatherings
Posted In: Point-to-Point
If a potential client asks you to recommend a cruise, the worst thing you can do is start rattling off cruise lines and destinations. Unless you know them very well, before you jump in with suggestions, engage them in a conversation in which you weave in the following questions. These will help qualify them as potential cruisers and help you to guide them to the best choices.Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Spotlight
Katarina Line, Croatia’s premier small ship cruise company and DMC, has added a new mix of seven-night cruises that introduce travelers to Croatia and Montenegro’s natural beauty by both land and sea. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: 60-Second Geography
New York City has its share of experiences for all manner of travelers. It is a city of many cultures showcased in the food, culture, architecture, art, and the heartbeat that thrives throughout NYC. This makes it a versatile city, able to provide a spectrum of travelers with tours and new memories of wonder at how so many people have called it home and evolved the rhythm and sites of this iconic city. With all there is to do, Beyond Times Square has curated a few luxury tours to show the traveler how it’s done in the most multicultural city in the United States.Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Publishers Corner
There are times when the business of travel planning can be a bit overwhelming. There are bills to pay, meetings to attend, and marketing that needs to be done. Clients are calling with completely unreasonable requests, and that hotel still has not paid the commission on a trip completed in June. Your desk is covered in paper.
The drawbacks to disorganization are all too familiar to me. I’m not a detail person, and my inability to work methodically shows. I clean my offices in flurries of activity and almost always uncover some important detail that was due to be completed yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Supplier Profile
Sail beyond the coast of sunny California with American Cruise Lines’ 8-day “San Francisco Bay” itinerary, its first California cruise. Operating round trip from San Francisco, the 190-passenger American Jazz —launched in 2020 —will carry guests along the Napa, Sacramento, and San Joaquin Rivers for a truly unique week spent sailing the Golden State. Cruise into the heart of wine country with a stop in Napa, joined by calls in Vallejo, Stockton, and Sacramento. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Mike's Monday Cup of Mo-Joe
If you believe what I am about to tell you, and make it your business to do something about it, your future success will almost be guaranteed.
Not enough of the right people know you are alive.
The lesson shared in today’s lesson is also what I term “a keeper.” That means that, if you learn nothing else from our time together, I want you to (at the very least) believe the ten words printed above. And if, by chance, a good number of people know you are alive, I want you to memorize the following eleven words.Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Editorial Musings
At the risk of jinxing it, I think I can safely say that the travel agency is finally emerging from the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic that shut off our livelihoods in March of 2020. It’s been a brutal two years, but here we are with the fantastic news that just screams… TRAVEL IS BACK! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
The weakness of the Euro (and the strength of the U.S. dollar) is unfortunate for the Europeans. Citizens in the Eurozone appear to have a tough winter and a potentially deep recession to endure in the months ahead. We hope that doesn’t come to pass, but what is clear is that the Euro is in decline, which may, or may not, be transitory.
Earlier this week, the Euro and U.S. dollar reached parity, and in fact, the Euro even dipped slightly below one U.S. dollar on Wednesday. Parity between the two major world currencies hasn’t happened in 20 years, and some analysts posit that the Euro has even further to fall. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Departures
While American Airlines yesterday reported positive results year to date, capacity remains an issue as domestic airlines continue to struggle with pilot and staffing shortages. American will continue to fly below 2019 capacity levels in the third quarter, but nevertheless, projects increased revenues resulting from higher fares. Delta, United, and American have now all reported Q2 profits due to a strong travel rebound and higher fares.
Posted In: The Rosen Report
Travel advisors know that the key to a successful trip is putting the right customer in the right place, and then matching their expectations to reality. And there’s no place that’s truer than in Alaska.
Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to cruise Alaska three times. But I never saw the vast and wild interior of the forty-ninth state until last week, when my husband and I and a couple of friends set off on our first-ever Globus bus tour to explore the 49th state from the ground. With 37 other curious explorers and one terrific tour director named Kip Wheeler, we drove almost 100 hours on the highways and byways, rode the train to Denali National Park, took a paddle boat to a native village, played with a litter of seven-week-old Iditarod dogs, and watched the sea lions line up for lunch on opening day of pink salmon season.
For hours, as the bus rolled on through the sun and the rain and the detours around washed-out roads, we were immersed in the vast emptiness of Alaska’s forests, mountains, and glaciers. On Day Three alone, we drove 370 miles. We often ate what the locals ate: fried cod and chips, buffalo meatloaf, the inevitable choice of turkey or ham sandwiches.Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Crossings
United Airlines (UAL) yesterday reported second-quarter 2022 financial results. The company achieved the highest second-quarter revenue in its history, delivering its first profitable quarter since COVID-19 began, despite record-high fuel prices. Read the rest of this entry »