Posts Tagged With: COVID

There are 17 articles tagged with “COVID” published on this site.


In last week’s survey asking What, If Anything, Is Holding You Back From River Cruising In Europe, more than half of respondents (52 percent) said that it was war in the Ukraine that made them hesitant to river cruise this year. We did not ask readers to elaborate, something we may do in a future post.

War in the Ukraine was followed closely by the Covid surge in Europe. Nearly 30 percent of you expressed concerns about the variant tearing its way through Europe. I am on barges traveling in France now with a group of 20+. On the last morning of our first barge trip, two people tested positive. Both were mild cases. When I Read the rest of this entry »

France To Suspend Pass Sanitaire

It wasn’t long after we published last week’s post, Seven Workarounds To France’s Pass Sanitaire, that we learned of the French government’s plans to drop requirements for the health pass. This comes as welcome news to travelers heading to France this spring and beyond. In fact, Britton is headed to France on Monday. See I’m Going To Paris On Monday.

While we won’t know the full details until next week, this site, www.gouvernement.fr/info-coronavirus, (translated from French), suggests that the Pass Sanitaire will not be required for most activities: From March 14, the application of the “vaccination pass” will be suspended in Read the rest of this entry »

Have a group that’s concerned about traveling in a time of Covid? Why not have their questions answered and their concerns put to rest by a concierge doctor who will go over everything they need to know—or even come along with you?

That’s the newest business venture of ER physician Yvette McQueen. She heard the concern of so many travel advisors, meeting planners, and frequent travelers that she set out on a new business venture as a private travel health consultant.

McQueen has been scratching her own travel bug for the past 14 years as a traveling ER doctor, going from one hospital to the next to fill in for staffers who were on leave, or when there was a staffing shortage. As a frequent traveler herself, she had a particular interest in safe travel, and quickly became an expert in how to avoid getting sick—and what to do if Read the rest of this entry »

Cuba and COVID in 2022

I was surprised to see a Reuters article that said, “U.S. CDC urges Americans to avoid travel to Japan, Cuba, Armenia over COVID cases.” Why Cuba? I wondered. Why Japan, too, for that matter? As for Cuba, it ran counter to the information that I’ve been getting about the country’s handling of COVID over the last year and a half, which has been impressively successful. But Cuba tends to be a good whipping boy for the news media. In the travel media, reports on Cuba are almost always glowing. But in the news media, portrayals tend to be negative.

The American people are attracted to Cuba and fascinated with it. They jump en masse at the opportunity to travel there whenever the word gets out that the restrictions have been relaxed. But there is still an establishment that tries to punish Cuba at every opportunity. It must be the oldest political grudge in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Every time American society suffers a severe trauma, people re-evaluate their lives and re-prioritize. “Spending time with family” always rises in the list of priorities.

As it relates to the travel industry, every big shock causes an increased demand for family travel. In 2000, when the Wall Street tech bubble burst, the stock market lost a third of its value, causing stock portfolios to plunge in value and some retirement funds to evaporate entirely. It was a devastating blow to many families.

YPB&R’s National Leisure Travel Monitor marketing survey showed that people’s main priority had shifted from making money to travel.

The lesson of the crash was painfully clear. You can work years building up your assets only to see them slip through your hands like water. Your travel experiences with your family, on the other hand, will always Read the rest of this entry »

The travel industry is rolling with the punches again, as 2021 rolls to a close and every day brings a new news cycle. Again.

Just two weeks ago at the US Tour Operators Association, the speakers were bullish about what 2022 would bring and travel advisors were looking forward to a great year. But this week, there’s a slight hesitation in everyone’s step, as omicron spreads on land, air and sea.

This is going to be a tough week,” says Zena Beaver in Selinsgrove PA. “Three days ago all was good—but after the six o’ clock news last night, I received three emails and two texts about postponing trips from January to later in the year.”

“Those take-home Covid test kits are the new toilet paper,” joked Jennifer Trinin at ProTravel in Westbury, NY. “Maybe we can get ones with logos on them to Read the rest of this entry »

Half the cruise ships are sailing, carrying half the passengers they once did. At each port, they are beset by differing and ever-changing protocols, negotiating life-and-death decisions with new players with whom they do not have the usual long-term relationships.

And yet, guest satisfaction is off the charts. The new-to-cruise customers that many expected to be frightened off are instead showing up. New ships and new partnerships, new terminals and new ports are on the horizon—and they promise to share the wealth with local communities and to promote a healthier environment for all.

“We built this industry over more than five decades; we deliver a phenomenal experience that our customers love, and the Caribbean is an unbelievably popular destination for our core markets,” said Royal Caribbean International president and CEO Michael Bayley at the Caribbean Spotlight: A Focus on the Future breakout session. “We need to just stay focused and trust each other and, in another year or so, we’ll be looking back trying not to remember any of this.”

In short, this week’s Seatrade Global conference was unlike any other Read the rest of this entry »

Longwoods: The Bad News and the Good

Ever true, tried and trusty, Longwoods International continues to monitor the changes in demand for travel with its latest survey, COVID-19 Travel Sentiment Study – Wave 46, published last week. The snapshot, taken a year and a half into a grisly pandemic, indicated that consumers have now settled into a “new normal” in regard to travel.

The study was conducted Sept.15. Longwoods surveyed a national sample randomly drawn from a consumer panel of 1,000 adults, ages 18 and over. The sample was tailored to match Census targets for age, gender, and region to make the survey representative of the US population.

About the best thing you could say about the results is that “it could have been worse.” And it certainly could have been. Just recall how it was before the vaccines came on the scene.

But with the recovery we saw gaining strength at the beginning of summer stalled by a resurgence in Read the rest of this entry »

First Things First

This week I am going to remind you of the well-known phrase, “What goes around, comes around.” Maybe it would be more accurate if I said, “What was old is new again.”

What I am trying to say is that you do not always have to come up with something new to (1) capture attention, (2) become more effective, or (3) to deliver a message worth delivering.

Today, I have decided to turn back the clock and repeat one of my messages from 2015. Here goes:

Regardless of the length, girth or the simplicity (or intricacy) of your business plan, your persistent adherence to the basics is essential if you want to continue to build a business you can be proud of. Read the rest of this entry »

Bekah Eaton came home from ASTA’s annual conference with new ideas, new relationships, and a case of Covid. She believes she caught it from the woman who sat next to her for two hours. “I felt betrayed and almost angry that she would put me in harms way, and expose me without warning or anything.”

Another travel advisor, who asked to remain anonymous, was on a fam trip to Italy when she thanked the woman sitting next to her, whom she knew was opposed to vaccines, for getting vaccinated before the trip. “She went off on me about how she felt forced to get the vaccine—and that was very alienating in a small group atmosphere.”

Then she saw someone attending a FAM in Europe after being at an ASTA event where there were positive cases. “And I’m thinking, weren’t you in that room at ASTA with people who tested positive? Shouldn’t you be quarantining and not on this AMA cruise in Europe?”

Those experiences changed the way she sees those people. Read the rest of this entry »

When AmaWaterways invited me to the Christening of AmaSiena, I said yes immediately. The prospect of going on a river cruise for the first time since the summer of 2019 excited me so much that I agreed to come on the trip without giving any of the details a second thought. But, as my cruise approached, I found myself questioning my decision to cruise during Covid: What happens if I test positive for Covid on board the ship? Do I need to pack anything extra? What do I need to do to be cleared to fly to the Netherlands and, on the way back, to the United States? And, most importantly, how will my cruise experience differ to the cruises I’ve taken in the past?

I realize that many of you are considering river cruises as well but traveling during the pandemic leaves you with similar questions, which I want to share with you how I prepared for my return to Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

Michael was born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago. He attended Northern Illinois University where he received a BS in Biological Sciences. It didn’t take him long to realize the routine of scientific testing work didn’t match with his personality.

Following a 29-year career working for the airlines in increasing sales roles, Michael joined Sky Bird Travel & Tours in 2015 as Sky Bird’s first Business Development Manager. As the sales team grew, Michael took on the role of Director as well as overseeing the Customer Service division. He is often the face of Sky Bird at industry events and the voice of Sky Bird on webinars featuring our WINGS booking engine.

Read the rest of this entry »

(Caution: there’s some science and math ahead. But Norwegian solves the equation for you—and in so doing, offers a lot of hope for the future of selling cruises during a pandemic.)

Question: Is 100% really that much better than 95%?

Answer: Yes.

It’s a math problem Norwegian Cruise Line has been tackling for months, and the result is a little painful.

When we set sail earlier this month on Norwegian Encore’s first post-Covid cruise to Alaska, many lamented that the strict vaccine mandate meant families with small children could not sail—a big loss for a family-friendly cruise company and its loyal customers and partners. Read the rest of this entry »

Triple-Vaxxed Is the New Standard for Many Travelers

On Friday, one of my doctors asked me, during a regular video appointment, “Have you gotten your third shot?” I replied, “No, I didn’t think I was eligible yet.” He told me that the latest CDC recommendation to doctors states:

People with weakened immune systems are more likely to get COVID-19 than people with normal immune systems. And if they get infected, they are more likely to get seriously ill and spread the virus to other people in their homes.

The CDC is pushing the notion that only “immunocompromised” people are eligible for a third shot right now Read the rest of this entry »

Last week, I flew roundtrip from Los Angeles to Oakland to see my grandson and his parents. It was my first time in the air in more than a year. Here’s a report card on how everyone did.

Southwest Airlines: Grade B-

Southwest was nearly the same as it was pre-pandemic. Fast on-time flights, courteous service by flight attendants with a sense of humor, and reasonable prices. Except for wearing masks on the flights, it was like the Delta variant of COVID-19 didn’t exist.

Because my wife and I are both fully vaxxed, but are “Infected Flier Hesitant,” we took an aisle and window seat in the front of the plane and put this sign on the middle seat between us. Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Release is Here: Are You Ready?

After a year of being pent up, the Great Release is upon us, and now it seems sudden. Things are opening faster than predicted just a few months ago.

In March 2020, the COVID pandemic submerged us in the exponential growth of new infections and, before we could comprehend what was happening, we were virtually imprisoned, taking shelter to save our lives. We settled in and got used to being confined. Now the release is happening all around us. And it seems to be happening faster than almost anyone expected.

The demand for travel is, unsurprisingly, going through the roof. But to say “it’s complicated” is to vastly understate the circumstances. World travel now is an extremely tangled web. Read the rest of this entry »

Austin Adventures: Places You Can Go Now

As the world moves unsteadily toward eliminating the threat of COVID-19, navigating the world can seem like moving across a map on which all the countries are different colors. The pandemic has been global, but the response to it is highly fragmented. There is no standard international code for how to create a safe environment while COVID continues to be present. Every country is going about it in its own way.

That’s great for the spirit of independence, but it creates a whole lot of annoying complications for travelers who, a couple of years ago, used to cross many international borders with ease. For Dan Austin, president of Austin Adventures, an operator of tour programs on several continents, it has become like an endless series of changing conditions Read the rest of this entry »