BRUSSELS and GENEVA – Europe’s airline and airport associations have written to Prime Ministers, Transport, Health and Home Affairs Ministers across the European Union, Schengen and the UK, setting out deep concerns over their failure to implement coherent and science-based approaches to travel restrictions.The letter, sent jointly from Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe), Airlines for Europe (A4E) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), is highly critical of the introduction of new restrictions relating to selected countries. Many of these restrictions, state the organisations, are inconsistent with the principles laid out by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).The aviation sector has been dealt a crippling economic blow by the pandemic. Despite repeated calls for a science-based, harmonised and coordinated approach to new restrictions – differing national approaches have emerged. Some of these unilateral national measures are contrary to expert guidance and further damage consumer confidence. Moreover, the imposition of such restrictions fails to take into account other options governments have to protect their citizens, such as effective track-and-trace systems.“The European Aviation sector is urging EU/Schengen States and the UK to reconsider restrictions to travel that have been imposed between them – including quarantines”, state the three associations in the letter. “We fail to see any valid science-based and proportionate justification for such restrictions from a health policy perspective”.The aviation associations assert that renewed efforts must be urgently put into: Effectively co-ordinating and aligning responses to the evolving epidemiological situation at EU level and in close co-operation with the UK, to be addressed urgently and jointly by home affairs, transport and health ministries and the European Commission;Re-enforcing the principle of risk-based and proportionate measures – localising restrictions and NOT imposing blanket country bans, with quarantine used as a very last resort – following ECDC guidance;Ensuring the interoperability of contact tracing apps, as none of the existing apps are interoperable; A harmonised implementation of the EASA/ECDC and ICAO Take-Off Aviation Health Safety Protocols;Informing the public accordingly and in close cooperation with the travel and tourism industries.The full text of the letter can be read here.
IEG, the Palacongressi di Rimini successfully carries off the first fully in-person event
RIMINI – As is customary, participants arrived from all over Italy, as well as some from abroad. They were all certainly very happy to finally be able to meet up in person. The Grand Lodge 2020 meeting of the Grand Orient of Italy, held from 11-13 September at IEG’s Palacongressi di Rimini was proof that…
RIMINI – As is customary, participants arrived from all over Italy, as well as some from abroad. They were all certainly very happy to finally be able to meet up in person. The Grand Lodge 2020 meeting of the Grand Orient of Italy, held from 11-13 September at IEG’s Palacongressi di Rimini was proof that it could be done: getting back to “normal” for in-person conferences and events, respecting the Covid19 safety measures and precautions, which have by now become daily practice in our lives.The event that took place, for the 20th consecutive year at the Palacongressi in Rimini, was in complete attendance without having to resort to hybrid formulas, and recorded numbers not very far off past years – about 1,500 participants – and was organised without significant changes to the usual format. The Sala della Piazza was set up as per usual to host the Temple of the Grand Lodge, with a rich programme of conferences, and cultural events such as exhibitions and book presentations. The traditional socialising lunches and dinners were also confirmed.Italian Exhibition Group, with the fundamental collaboration of its catering partner Summertrade, confirmed its signature professionalism and experience when faced with even the most complex challenges, responding to customer needs and requests. The location of the Palacongressi, with its flexibility, large open spaces and advanced technological equipment, guaranteed immediate answers, which would not have been possible elsewhere.”The synergy between our structure and the GOI – explains Director of the IEG Event & Conference division, Fabio De Santis – in applying all the association rules and institutional protocols on Covid19, was fundamental and guaranteed an event in total safety, demonstrating with facts and figures that conferences and events can be held in the presence of more than a thousand people, without mass gatherings”.
Intrepid launches new retreats for parents and children as family travel booms
NEW YORK – Despite uncertainty in travel due to COVID-19 border closures and regulations, global tour operator Intrepid Travel has seen unprecedented demand for its family tours over the last several months, prompting the company to create new Retreat-style tours geared towards the demographic, with safety and quality as top priorities. Intrepid has found that a…
NEW YORK – Despite uncertainty in travel due to COVID-19 border closures and regulations, global tour operator Intrepid Travel has seen unprecedented demand for its family tours over the last several months, prompting the company to create new Retreat-style tours geared towards the demographic, with safety and quality as top priorities. Intrepid has found that a quarter of the top 25 itineraries booked by its customers globally over the past three months have been family-themed tours, compared to just 12% during the same period last year, indicating a desire for families to go abroad in 2021 after months spent distancing.Currently, the top family trips booked globally are all based in Africa and Asia, including the South Africa Family Safari with Teenagers and a family tour of Vietnam, while North American families are also interested in adventures in the Middle East, particularly Jordan and Egypt.“After months spent indoors away from friends and classmates, we’ve seen families are eager to get out and explore the world once it is safe to do so, and have a desire to reconnect with both nature and like-minded people,” said Dyan Mckie, Intrepid’s family product manager.The four new Family Retreats, based in Morocco, Turkey and England, will have groups immerse themselves in one location in handpicked accommodation with nearby experiences. This new tour style celebrates ‘slow travel’ and allows adventurers to engage with the surrounding communities away from the crowds and in a more controlled setting. Each itinerary has been designed to benefit local communities affected by the pandemic, while also providing enriching activities for children and parents who have spent the majority of 2020 indoors due to the pandemic. For example, in Turkey, families will visit a sea turtle rescue center – supported in part by donations from Intrepid travelers – to learn about conservation efforts and rehabilitation. In Morocco, they’ll break bread with a local Imazighen family in their village, getting an insight into daily life in the High Atlas region.The new Family Retreats include:Turkey Family Retreat: FethiyeThis tour has families reconnecting with the natural beauty of the world with a retreat that celebrates nature, wildlife and local cuisine. In addition to visiting a a turtle rehabilitation center, they’ll also enjoy the clear, blue waters of the Mediterranean and enjoy an easy hike through the stunning mountainous terrain between Kayakoy to Oludeniz Beach. Travelers will also learn some new family favorites in a traditional meze cooking class with locally foraged produce. Morocco Family Retreat: Ouirgane The calm and comforts of Amazigh (Berber) hospitality await on this retreat to Ouirgage, on the edges of Mt. Toubkal National Park. Travelers will leave the modern world of Marrakech behind and journey to a home away from home to enjoy time to reconnect with their family. Families will hike the hills through small villages and farms, hang out with the locals, try their hand at making some iconic local dishes and enjoy a pool overlooking the mountains.England Family Retreat: CornwallTravelers will explore England’s southwest coast, soaking up the views of sun, sand and sea from their family-run accommodation and during walks through the history and nature of this proper ‘ansom section of Cornish countryside. Also included is a private yoga and wellness session and a visit to a small, family-run bakery that makes Cornish pasties the traditional way.England Family Retreat: Peak DistrictFamilies will enjoy Britain’s first national park and explore its forested valleys and small stone villages threaded by walking trails during this new retreat. Based out of the quintessential country town of Castleton, travelers will walk their way to the scenic villages of Bamford and Bakewell, along the banks of the River Derwent, passing farms, woods, cottages and more, while stopping along the way to grab a tea in a shop that supports, and is run by, the local community.Due to the continued demand, Intrepid also has plans to launch several family-focused tours within the U.S. and Canada later this year for those who can’t or won’t feel comfortable going abroad yet.Each tour will operate under Intrepid’s new Safe Travels health protocols, developed in partnership with the WTTC. All travelers will complete a health screening at the start of the trip and be required to wear masks in certain settings, in line with local laws and regulations. Groups are accompanied by a local leader who has received specific COVID-19 training, which covers hygiene, sanitation, physical distancing, PPE as well as supplier monitoring. In preparation for travel to resume, Intrepid recently introduced a new Flexible Bookings policy to make travelers feel at ease when booking their holidays, which permits changes to travel plans 21 days before a scheduled departure, allowing for new travel dates or an entirely different trip with no change fees.
Airline CEOs to address major industry event
Chief executives from some of the world’s leading airlines will be in attendance at Routes Reconnected to discuss the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business models and how they intend to rebuild passenger demand.In open and frank discussions, industry heavyweights including Board director & Chief Executive Officer Air France-KLM Group Ben Smith,…
Chief executives from some of the world’s leading airlines will be in attendance at Routes Reconnected to discuss the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business models and how they intend to rebuild passenger demand.In open and frank discussions, industry heavyweights including Board director & Chief Executive Officer Air France-KLM Group Ben Smith, Wizz Air CEO József Váradi, KLM President and CEO Pieter Elbers, Avianca CEO Anko van der Werff, airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss, Air Astana CEO Peter Foster, and Stefan Pichler President & Chief Executive Officer Royal Jordanian will address the week-long hybrid event, taking place from 30 November – 4 December 2020.As the leading group in terms of intercontinental traffic on departure from Europe, the Air France-KLM Group is a major global air transport player. Having steered the SkyTeam alliance members through the worst of the crisis, Ben Smith and Pieter Elbers are focused on rebuilding the airline’s balanced global network and reasserting its place in the market.With plans to double passenger numbers to 80 million by 2025, Wizz Air has continued to expand rapidly despite the disruption that coronavirus has brought. Under József Váradi’s leadership, the Hungarian low-cost carrier has announced more than 200 new routes over the last six months, opened a string of new bases, and launched a start-up in Abu Dhabi.Latvia’s airBaltic connects the Baltic region with over 60 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and the CIS. Martin Gauss expects measures taken by the airline, including the reduction of capacity and costs, will mean the carrier is in an excellent position to fully redeploy its A220-300 fleet as the market recovers.Despite effective debt reprofiling in 2019 and the successful execution of its “Avianca 2021” plan through Mid-March, Colombia’s Avianca was forced to file for voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 in May due to the impact of the pandemic. Anko van der Werff will outline the carrier’s turnaround plan and recovery strategy during the conference.Royal Jordanian has been an essential part of the country’s economy, contributing 3% of the national GDP. With extensive experience in leadership roles across the aviation and tourism sectors, Stefan Pichler is well placed to outline the financial considerations and actions that airlines must take to rebuild from the crisis.Steven Small, Brand Director at Routes, said: “By uniting leaders from across the sphere of aviation, we can help to shape the collective industry action that must be taken to stimulate the recovery.“Over 30 hours of live and on-demand content at Routes Reconnected will provide unmatched insight, inform future business strategies and the recovery plans of the global route development community.”Routes Reconnected will bring together the world’s aviation community to tackle the impact of COVID-19 and develop strategies that will support the industry’s recovery. This five-day event will consist of three virtual days of meetings, on-demand content and virtual networking opportunities, as well as two full days of in-person meetings at the Hilton, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.The airline CEOs join a strong line-up of big-name industry speakers. Association leaders including ACI World’s Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira; IATA’s Regional VP, Americas, Peter Cerda; and WTTC’s SVP, Membership & Commercial, Maribel Rodriguez will outline how aviation stakeholders can work collaboratively to develop networks that create long-term economic benefit and positive local impacts.More than 115 airlines and 275 airports and destinations are expected to attend Routes Reconnected, both physically and virtually, to engage in conversations that will go on to rebuild the world’s air services.The hybrid event will support the airlines, airports and destinations in navigating and adapting to the new market patterns, regulations and business practices that are emerging in the post-pandemic era.