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Holiday

Dreaming about your next vacation? The perfect Galapagos itinerary – A Luxury Travel Blog

If you are at home, you are probably missing the last time you went on vacation and dreaming about the moment when you go on the next one. We would like to take you to an adventure through this itinerary so that you can escape for a while to a paradisiacal island filled with adventures and comfort.

Cruising the Galapagos on a yacht takes you to a new horizon each day, giving you access to places in the Galapagos Islands that few people will ever get to know, all in the highest comfort. An adventure on a yacht will allow you to enjoy unparalleled attention to detail and personal service. A cruise is the perfect opportunity for exploring some of the most beautiful, yet remote parts of the Galapagos Islands. An adventure like this will stay with you for a lifetime.

Visit Black Turtle Cove

Navigate on this large mangrove lagoon, during this quiet navigation. You will see curious pelicans and herons. After a while, if you look into the water, you will have your second encounter of the day, sea turtles and marine rays swimming peacefully next to you. What a way to start a week!

Visit Genovesa Island

This island is a paradise for bird watching enthusiasts. So, if you are one, this is a must during your cruise itinerary. As you walk up the path to the island, you will understand its nickname “Tower Island,” but don’t worry, it will be worth it as soon as you encounter the birds nesting in their natural habitat, not being bothered by human presence. As you keep going further, you will finally find the coast to encounter sea lions as you snorkel along the bay.

Visit Bartolome Island and Sullivan Bay

Prepare to refresh your knowledge in geology, Bartolome is a geological wonder. After walking up the wooden stairs that will take you to the top of this island, take a deep breath because the view will take it away for sure. From Bartolome, it is easy to visit Sullivan Bay which is a fascinating place. You can walk on a recent lava flow of pahoehoe lava, observe the lava bubbles, pioneer plants growing directly from the lava, and of course, don’t miss the endemic Galapagos penguins along the shore!

Visit Rabida and Dragon Hill

Be camera ready when you are going to Rabida, this unique island has red sand. It resembles a Martian landscape. Crazy, right? Well, that is not it. While you slowly explore this island, you will encounter yellow warblers, mockingbirds and the tiny celebrities of the Galapagos, Darwin’s finches. Due to the distance, Rabida is usually complemented with a visit to Dragon Hill, and if you are looking forward to spotting some flamingos, then that is precisely where you will find them.

Visit North Seymour and head back to Santa Cruz

We know all of Galapagos is incredibly special, but North Seymour is simply stunning. This island must be included in your cruise. You will be overwhelmed by its nature from the moment you set foot on this island. You will see sea lion pups and their mothers, magnificent frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, and if you keep walking further you will see marine iguanas and swallowed tail gulls.

After that, get back to Santa Cruz and stay for a day or two in town.

Meet the locals

If you decided to follow my advice and stay for a day or two, then it is time to relax. Head to Tortuga Bay and enjoy the beautiful landscape, swim on its crystal-clear waters, and be one with nature. Go to Las Grietas or the Charles Darwin Station and spend the day at your own pace, dine in a local restaurant and enjoy every second of it.

Carlos Beate is the Commercial Manager at Andando Tours. Andando Tours offers exclusive traveling experiences, specializing in sailing around the Galapagos Islands and overland along the magnificent Avenue of Volcanoes on the Ecuadorian Andes.

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Travel

Revealed: Which countries could open up their tourist industries first – full list

Holidays and trips abroad have been a no-go recently due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. But as countries begin to ease their lockdown rules, the prospect of restarting the tourism industry becomes more likely. Countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Japan are all beginning to look to future tourism as a way of bringing in revenue.

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The World Travel and Tourism Council has predicted that the tourism industry could lose $2.1trillion (£1.7trillion) because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The shocking amount equates to around 75 million jobs worldwide.

WeSwap, the UK’s largest P2P travel money provider has looked into which countries could reopen their travel industries across the world.

These are the countries who could reopen their travel industries first.

Vietnam

Vietnam has had one of the lowest case and death rates in the world, despite being just next door to China.

The country has had just over 320 cases and zero death rates.

The country has not had an infection in the last month and so is beginning to reopen its doors.

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Fiji

The country has only had 18 confirmed cases and no deaths.

Tourism makes up 40 percent of the country’s GDP so it has suffered immensely from the coronavirus pandemic.

But currently, it is not known whether Fiji itself is happy to kickstart its travel industry.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka usually has a booming tourism industry which has been hit very hard this year.

However, the country has had a low case rate compared to its neighbours India and Pakistan.

With just over 1,000 cases and under 10 deaths, the country could likely reopen its tourism industry quickly.

Seychelles

This is one of the most stunning holiday destinations in the world which has had a very low coronavirus infection rate.

The country has had a total of 11 cases and no deaths.

Despite being a popular holiday destination, the country has just banned cruise ships until 2022, meaning that travel may not be on the cards for a while.

Matt Crate, Managing Director of WeSwap, said that there are countries that will need to reopen the tourism sector to restart their economies.

He continued: “There are countries across the world that have dealt incredibly well with the infection rate of the disease and should be commended.

“Suspending travel has been an important part of these safety measures but there are countries that will need to look at reopening these sectors to restart their national economies.

“Hopefully, as the world starts to deal with the rate of infection, these industries can begin to slowly begin again and the countries that have dealt best with the disease can lead the charge to help the world travel in safety.”

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Holiday

Kent travel: Living the Dreamland on tour in the beautiful south

Down on the south coast, in the far-east corner of Kent, the resorts of Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate offer fabulous sandy shores with year-round appeal, as well as fascinating history and a funky art scene. Trudi Roche spent 72 hours exploring the Thanet district, with her dad, 77, and children, aged 12 and nine.

DAY 1: BROADSTAIRS 

We set up camp in a stunning Airbnb (of which there are many) in the pretty resort of Broadstairs. It boasts seven awesome sandy beaches. The three most popular areViking Bay, a huge horseshoe-shaped beach in the centre of town which has children’s rides in the summer, a boardwalk and a row of colourful beach huts.

Botany Bay has its photogenic chalk stacks that the kids loved climbing, and Joss Bay, located half way between Broadstairs and Margate, is the local surf beach and home to the longest established surf school in the area.

Broadstairs was author Charles Dickens’ favourite holiday spot and this year is the 150th anniversary of his death. You can visit Dickens House Museum or try the costumed St Peter’s Village Tours. Not for me I’m afraid, I still haven’t finished Little Dorrit, which I started in 1985 for my A-level English.

As well as an array of independent shops, the place is packed with restaurants, cafes and ice-cream parlours to satisfy your taste buds.

Wander along the beautiful promenade to Victoria Gardens which have sweeping sea views and plenty of benches for resting. The pathway is lovely and smooth for skateboarding too, so the kids inform me.

DAY 2: MARGATE 

Margate is Broadstairs’ noisier sister, just a 10-minute drive away.

With its kitsch shops and cafes, there’s a really cool vibe here, plus it’s got a huge sandy beach, fish and chips shops, seafood stalls and rides, all with a bit of a modern twist.

We visited the Turner Contemporary art gallery on a particularly windy morning. From here you get a great view of the rolling tides and tempestuous skies that inspired his great works. Inside the eye-catching space, the collections change frequently and it’s small enough that the kids (and my dad) didn’t get bored plus there’s a great gift shop. Margate is also home to Dreamland, a 100-year-old amusement park with vintage rides including the UK’s oldest wooden roller coaster, plus lots of pop-up entertainment, live music, bars and restaurants.

The old town has been totally regenerated with loads of trendy bars, micro breweries, cafes, retro stores, art galleries and junk shops.

If shopping’s not your bag, you can while away an afternoon exploring the mysterious Shell Grotto, a subterranean passageway where almost all the surface area of the walls and roof is covered in mosaics created entirely of seashells.

There’s also adventure golf, theatres and the old Tudor House, built in 1525, the oldest building in Margate and well worth a visit. The interior is undergoing repairs, but the garden and exterior can still be viewed.

The Margate Caves, originally dug as a chalk quarry in the 17th and 18th centuries, re-opened last year following 15 years of closure, huge investment and restoration of its beautiful chalk carvings and murals.

DAY 3: RAMSGATE 

The historic waterfront of Ramsgate, a 10-minute drive south from Broadstairs, has a cosmopolitan feel. The picturesque marina has the greenest water I’ve ever seen and there are more of those huge, yellow sandy beaches the area is famous for.

It also has plenty of beautiful architecture including the Italianate Glasshouse erected in the grounds of East Cliff Lodge in 1832, as well as Georgian terraces and regency villas.

Ramsgate’s Maritime Museum is worth a visit to see the Ramsgate Meridian and the steam tug Cervia, and Sundowner – which was one of the Dunkirk “little ships”.

Our absolute favourite afternoon was spent on the underground tour of the Second World War Ramsgate Tunnels. Wearing the hard hats provided, we had a fascinating walk through the two-and-a-half miles of deep shelter tunnels that were built in 1939 to protect inhabitants during the war. By 1940 more than 300 families were living permanently in the underground city. Our guide brought its absorbing history to life and there’s some original household goods in the little museum. You also get a free cup of tea with entry.

One word of warning: it’s not a place for very small children, the toddler on our tour screamed her head off all the way round and you can’t just wander off back to the entrance once you’re in!

Thanet is gorgeous in all seasons, there’s plenty to do to keep the whole family entertained, but you can’t beat a bracing walk on a beach followed by tea and cakes in whichever town you happen to find yourself in…

visitthanet.co.uk

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Holiday

Britain’s historic ghost villages

Most of Britain’s ghost towns were abandoned after a previous pandemic – the Black Death – wiped out entire populations from hundreds of villages. The greatest losses were in Norfolk and Suffolk, often the landing points for plague-infested ships.

Coastal erosion also contributed to settlements in these counties disappearing into the sea. The most famous, Dunwich, was a thriving port, equivalent in size to 14th-century London, before the sea swallowed it and its eight churches, earning Dunwich the name England’s Atlantis. While the majority of British “ghost villages” have all but disappeared, a few still offer rewards – and warnings – for the curious.

At the outbreak of the second world war, the Ministry of Defence commandeered several villages for target practice and manoeuvres. Imber, in Wiltshire, is still used for this purpose. On Open Days, visitors can wander deserted streets lined with skeletal houses, a Norman church and a bullet-riddled pub (Imber hopes to be open for August bank holiday this year).

Equally eerie is Tyneham in Dorset (currently closed, but usually open most weekends). Six days before Christmas in 1943, it was requisitioned for D-day landings practice by order of Winston Churchill. On the day they left, residents pinned a note to the church door: “We have given up our homes where many of us lived for generations, to help win the war … We shall return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly.”

Churchill’s promise of a postwar return was never kept. In the schoolroom, pupils’ nature books remain open from their final lesson: a study of corvids, archetypal harbingers of doom.

A hundred miles east, Balsdean, in the South Downs near Brighton, was once a hamlet with manor house, church and “lunatic asylum” but suffered the same fate as Imber: its only remains are desolate farm buildings. In 2012, musical duo Grasscut released an album called 1 inch: ½ mile, complete with a map and walk around Balsdean. But be wary: Balsdean is a cold, strange place. Local folk singer Shirley Collins is not alone in having seen spectral figures here.

Abandoned or drowned villages are bound to attract ghost stories. The bells of Dunwich are said to peal below the water at midnight, while children’s voices ring in empty village buildings. Our politicians would do well to heed such warnings: after a crisis, it seems the ghosts of land and water never forget a promise.

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Travel

End of holidays to Spain? Tourists MUST arrive in June or nation faces ‘complete calamity’

Fourth vice-president and de-esclation chief, Teresa Ribera recently poured cold water on the idea of a June opening, saying July was more realistic because Spain could not dice with people’s health. “We have to be very careful about how the person who comes is not at risk, because they arrive at a safe destination, and at the same time it does not pose a risk to the local population.

“Our idea is that we can work on origins and safe destinations rather thinking of July than June. If it is opened massively, we could be incurring irresponsibility,” she said.

But Spain’s “Mesa del Turismo”, a powerful body made up of tourism leaders from all regions, says international travel MUST resume before or on June 15th at the latest and has warned that losing the summer season “would be a complete calamity”.

It has also called for the elimination of tourist taxes, saying “they are very inadequate measures in the current circumstances”.

“In mid-June, the Spanish tourism sector should have the possibility to become active, giving its citizens the maximum possibilities to resume travel and all foreign tourists to enjoy their holidays in Spain again, as they are accustomed to doing,” said Joan Molas, president of the Tourism Board in an open letter.

“We have said it before and we insist: with all the health guarantees that we are in perfect conditions to offer, we must return to the activity without further delay.”

“There is no economy without health, but neither is health without economy, and for this reason it is strictly necessary to develop an action plan that allows the two to progress in parallel, seeking a balance between the two that allows us to move forward.”

The board is estimating that the accumulated losses for the tourism industry until the end of May will reach 40,000 million euros.

“This figure will double, exceeding 80,000 million euros at the height of August if tourism is not reactivated immediately,” Molas warned.

n mid-June, the Spanish tourism sector should have the possibility to become active

Spain holidays

The Mesa says the tourism sector has been one of the hardest hit in the coronavirus crisis, so it requires additional support to minimise the loss of business and job fabric. It has called for a string of measures, including extensive financial aid and a reduction in VAT to seven per cent “which would help keep Spain competitive.”

“It is known that for each euro spent on tourism products, 1.96 euros more are generated in other sectors of the Spanish economy,” said the board’s president.

The tourism leaders also want the tourist tax scrapped in places where it is in force, such as the Balearics, saying this would have “a positive effect on the activation of demand.”

This call has been echoed by hoteliers in Mallorca and Ibiza but the Balearic government has refused to do so.

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The board also wants borders reopened to allow international travel.

“Italy has already announced that It will open on June 3. Spain cannot delay this decision,” said Joan Molas.

“There is an urgent need to convey a clear message to foreign tourists, that Spain is safe and that they are welcome.

Tourism is a company in which all of us Spaniards are shareholders; a company that has always paid us back in great amounts what we have invested in it and that has contributed to the earliest overcoming of other crises . Let us not now abandon it to fate.”

Spain’s State of Emergency is expected to end on June 7th and at the moment, travel is restricted with anyone coming into the country subject to 14 days of quarantine.

The government hasn’t said when this will be lifted but it is widely tipped to be rescinded once the State of Emergency order is lifted.

Spain is still recording coronavirus deaths every day but the24-hour figure has been below 100 for the last week. So far, nearly 28,000 people have died. 

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Holiday

UK competition watchdog investigates holiday firms over refunds

The UK competition watchdog is investigating package holiday firms after receiving thousands of complaints from consumers who have been unable to recoup money on cancelled breaks.

The Competition and Markets Authority said it had received 60,000 complaints related to the coronavirus crisis, including difficulties getting money back and price rises.

Holiday firms and airlines were the subject of almost 27,000 of the complaints, and those businesses accounted for three-quarters of the submissions involving cancellations and refunds.

The CMA said package holiday firms would be added to the list of businesses its Covid-19 taskforce was investigating. It said it had concerns about firms that refused refunds, made it difficult for consumers to obtain refunds, or insisted that consumers rebook or accept vouchers.

If firms were found not to be complying with the law, they could be taken to court, the CMA added.

The lockdown has forced hotels and holiday parks to close and prevented people from travelling to planned breaks.

The CMA said that in most cases it would expect customers to be offered a full refund if the service they had booked was not provided, including when the customer had cancelled themselves if it was due to the lockdown.

In many cases, holidaymakers have been told that deposits are unrefundable, or that they need to make a special request if they want a refund rather than a voucher. Many are struggling to get through to customer service teams, whose members are working from home and are often short-staffed.

The CMA said that with summer holiday season approaching, “the potential harm to consumers from companies failing to respect consumers’ cancellation rights is set to grow”. It has referred complaints about airlines to the Civil Aviation Authority, which oversees those companies.

The CAA is separately reviewing the way that airlines are treating their customers, and last week warned them that it did not “expect airlines to systematically deny consumers their right to a refund”.

In late April, the CMA said it would be investigating firms providing holiday accommodation along with those in the wedding and childcare sectors. In its update, it had opened cases against some companies in those sectors.

The CMA stressed that most businesses were doing the right thing, saying that complaints related to just over 16,000 individual private-sector businesses in the UK.

“The vast majority of businesses are behaving in a reasonable way, but the CMA will not hesitate to take enforcement action if there is evidence that businesses have breached competition or consumer protection law,” it said.

Between 11 and 17 May, an average of 1,200 people a day got in touch to make a complaint, of which about 850 involved cancellations and refunds. Most of the rest involved price rises, typically on food and drink or hygiene-related products.

The CMA said the largest price increases reported to it concerned hand sanitiser, with a reported median rise of just under 400%.

The travel sector has been hard hit by the crisis, with the accountancy group UHY Hacker Young saying average turnover among agencies and tour operators slumped by 56% in March.

Total turnover was £1.2bn that month, compared with £2.6bn last March, it said, adding that companies had faced cancellations at what would have been some of the highest-revenue points in their calendar.

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Travel

Holidays 2020: UK summer staycations to be allowed in weeks in major announcement

Holidays have not been an option for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Britons are not permitted to travel abroad unless for “essential” reasons. However, there is now cause to be optimistic about UK holidays.

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The Culture Secretary said on Wednesday the government hopes for domestic travel to be possible from July.

This could see Britons enjoying staycations in several weeks time.

However, this will only be the case if such travel is considered safe.

Minister Oliver Dowden shared the travel advice at the Downing Street press conference.

“I would love to get the tourism sector up as quickly as we possibly can,” he said.

“We’ve set this very ambitious plan to try and get it up and running by the beginning of July.

“Clearly, we can only do it if it’s safe to do so because I think the worst thing for our tourism sector would be to start, then see the R rate rise out of control, see a second peak that overwhelms the NHS that we then have to slam on the brakes again.”

Dowden added: ”Believe me, when we get to the point when we can have British tourism back, perhaps apart from the Prime Minister you won’t get a bigger champion of the great British break than me.”

Restoring tourism in the UK will provide a much-needed boost for the economy.

According to VisitBritain, the tourism industry has seen losses well into the billions.

Hugh Graham-Watson, Managing Director of The Hotel Guru, recommends that those who are looking to get away this summer should act fast.

To get the best deals consumers need to book now to avoid the spike in holiday prices,” the travel expert told Express.co.uk.

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However, it’s important to be careful when booking – check the fine print.

“Make sure that any cancellations terms are flexible,” advised Graham-Watson.

“Most hotels are offering free cancellation even for peak dates.”

Rowland King, director of QualitySource, also spoke to Express.co.uk about summer holidays this year.

“We think it will be possible for people to practise social distancing when travelling in the future,” he said.

“Of course, this will depend on where and how we plan to travel.”

“Travelling across the UK by car, for example, will be easier to practice social distancing rather than travelling abroad via plane,” Rowland said.

King added: “There are plenty of cheap and accessible camping parks to visit, and you can even go off-grid to save more money and ensure you practise social distancing more effectively.”

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Travel

Holidays 2020: Australia seeks surprising quarantine exemption for UK travel

Australia has been praised for its handling of the pandemic, with only 7,081 cases and 100 deaths.

The British government is planning a 14-day quarantine for most people arriving in the country in the coming weeks to try to prevent a second peak of the pandemic, with details to be finalised next month.

Heathrow Airport has proposed Britain should set up “travel bubbles” with low-risk countries exempt from the requirement.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said in a statement that the country’s handling of the pandemic should allow it exemption.

Birmingham said: “Australia has led the world in the successful containment of COVID-19, which clearly means that travellers coming from Australia would pose a low risk to the rest of the world.”

Birmingham also spoke to International Trade Secretary Liz Truss about the possibility of an exemption on a phone call.

He said:”We welcome any recognition that Australia has led the world in the successful containment of COVID-19, which clearly means that travellers coming from Australia would pose a low risk to the rest of the world.”

“However, transmission from overseas continues to present a risk to Australia’s ongoing suppression of COVID-19 and restrictions on travel in and out of Australia will remain for the foreseeable future.”

Birmingham said Australia has no plans to open its borders to non-citizens, while all returning locals will still have to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

It comes as the Australian economic outlook, based on Fitch ratings, downgraded the countries coveted ‘AAA’ rating to “negative” from “stable.”

They cited the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the countries economy and public finances as the reason why.

Australia has seen job losses in the first week of May has risen by 1.1 percent, which is a decrease from 3.7 percent at the start of April.

The UK government has suggested countries with low levels of coronavirus infections might eventually be excluded from the requirement to self-isolate in a home or hotel for 14-days.

Australians argue that an immediate exemption for Australia would allow the UK to focus its compliance efforts on arrivals from countries with a much greater risk from COVID-19 infections, especially Europe and the United States which this time last year made up nearly 75 percent of all passengers arriving at Heathrow Airport.

Asked about the possibility of an exemption for Australia, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “We will set out full details on this at a later stage, ahead of the measures coming in to force.

“At this point, no exemptions are planned for specific countries.

“Any changes brought in will be subject to a rolling review every three weeks to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific evidence and remain effective and necessary.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel is understood to support an exemption for Australia.

In other news, Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW) said on Friday it gatherings of 20 people will soon be permitted.

Currently, outdoor gathers are limited to 10 people or less.

NSW state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the easing of the restrictions will boost the local economy.

Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney: “We want to save jobs.

“We cannot afford to continue to have the job losses that we’ve encountered in April.”

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Cruises

Club Med Launches 'Safe Together' Initiative, Florida Reopening Flash Sale

Club Med today released details of its newly-developed ‘Safe Together’ commitment ahead of the reopening of its all-inclusive resorts in Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean, and affirmed its updated Free Cancellation Policy to provide further flexibility and peace-of-mind to anyone booking their Club Med vacation through December 2020.

In North America, Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Port St. Lucie, Florida, will be the brand’s first resort to welcome back its valued GMs (that’s Club Med-speak for “guests,” from the original “Gentils Membres”), starting Friday, June 12, 2020, to enjoy their favorite beachside experiences in the safest manner possible.

Flash Sale

Situated along the St. Lucie River, surrounded by lush vegetation and enjoying a wonderfully tropical climate, Sandpiper Bay is the ideal Club Med Resort for an active family vacation, filled with outdoor delights. It’s also located about a 90-minute drive away from both Orlando and Miami, where all kinds of attractions draw visitors, as well as a short drive away from West Palm Beach.

Today, Club Med also launched a Flash Sale on Sandpiper Bay bookings, offering free stays for kids under twelve, and 50 percent off adults on reservations made before June 3 for travel between June 13 and December 18, 2020.

Free Cancellations

To provide ultimate booking flexibility and promote peace-of-mind, Club Med has also introduced its ‘Book with Confidence’ free cancellation policy on all new reservations made between May 18 and December 18, 2020. It guarantees guests a full refund on their stays, provided that they cancel before fifteen days prior to their planned check-in date.

In conjunction, an enhanced ‘Best Rate Guarantee’ means that, if guests should find a lower price offered on the same travel dates, they’re eligible to receive a Future Travel Certificate for the value of that price difference, applicable on their next booking.

‘Safe Together’ Commitment

Since its founding in 1950, Club Med has specialized in the development of low-density resorts, each integrated with care and respect for its unique natural environment, and with a focus on active, outdoor enjoyment, leaving plenty of space to practice social distancing in the post-pandemic era.

“We understand expectations on health and safety have shifted, and after a long period of social distancing people will want to revisit places they are familiar with and trust,” said Carolyne Doyon, President and CEO of Club Med North America. “Club Med has a 70-year-long legacy delivering a thoughtful and safe vacation experience. As our resorts reopen, we will maintain the Club Med atmosphere, which is an integral part of our DNA, while also keeping safety and hygiene as our top priorities.”

‘Safe Together’ represents a fresh set of health and safety practices, developed by an International Scientific Committee consisting of doctors and professors, and in alignment with guidelines set by global health authorities. The company will modify its operations at all properties to ensure the health and safety of guests, while still preserving the beloved “Club Med Spirit” for which the brand is known.

Health and Safety Provisions

Hygiene:

—Capping resort capacity at 65 percent

—Plexiglass barriers installed on all service counters

—Digital and in-app services, including check-in, spa bookings and in-room service requests

—Staff required to wear face coverings indoors, during cleaning or food preparation

—Temperature checks for employees at the start of every shift

—Temperature checks for guests upon check-in and periodically throughout stays

—Increased frequency of deep-cleanings for all high-touch surface and public areas

—Hand-sanitizer available throughout the resort properties

—Doctor or nurse available 24/7

Dining:

—Increased opening hours at all dining locations, enabling lower occupancy levels

—More distance between tables and more outdoor dining capacity added

—Focus on single plates and custom-prepared dishes

Kids’ Clubs:

—Every child temperature-checked twice per day

—Hand-washing for all children organized hourly

—Focus on outdoor activities

—Ongoing deep-sanitization and disinfection of all toys, equipment and high-touch surfaces after each use

Activities:

—Fan-favorite sporting activities (e.g. tennis, golf, kayaking, yoga, sailing, flying trapeze, etc.) will operate under strict sanitization processes carried out between users

—Yoga and fitness classes will be held outdoors

—Event entertainment and resort programming will consist of smaller-scale events and make prime use of Club Med’s outdoor spaces. Examples include live concerts or DJ sets, sunset acoustic music performances on the beach, acrobatic displays above the pool and family movie nights held in the open air under the stars.

For more information, visit clubmed.us.

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Travel

Spain holidays: Government issues major warning in latest Spain travel update

Spain holidays are hugely popular among British holidaymakers so it’s unsurprising many people are champing at the bit to go back. However, Spain has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic. There are currently 232,555 confirmed cases of the virus in Spain. 

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Tragically there have been 27,888 deaths.

So what is the latest travel advice?

Back in March, in a bid to limit the spread of coronavirus, Spain entered a strict lockdown.

The country is now taking steps to relax the tough measures.

A four-stage de-escalation plan was launched on May 4.

Now the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated its travel advice to Spain.

In the latest development, unveiled last night, everyone apart from young children is now obliged to wear a face mask in public.

“From May 21, the use of face masks will be obligatory to anyone over the age of six years old in all public spaces in Spain, where it is not possible to maintain social distancing of two metres,” said the FCO.

“Face masks must cover the nose and mouth. Sanctions may be imposed if you do not comply.

“Those with respiratory problems or those unable to wear a mask due to other health conditions or disabilities are exempt from this rule.

“While not mandatory, the use of face masks on children between three and five years of age is recommended.”

In a second update yesterday, the FCO detailed the financial support available for those in Spain at the moment.

“If you’re in Spain, and have exhausted all other options to cover essential living costs while you wait to return home, you could apply for an emergency loan for your living costs from the UK government,” explained the Foreign Office.

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“You can only apply if you normally live in the UK and you cannot return home. This last-resort option is for those most in need, and you would need to repay the loan when you are back in the UK.”

Thirdly, the FCO shared the latest update on ferries between Spain and the UK.

“There are currently no scheduled passenger ferries operating between Spain and the UK,” said the government. “We are working closely with Brittany Ferries who may be able to assist repatriating a small number of people on their freight services.

“If your ferry has been cancelled and you wish to return to the UK, please contact the British Embassy online stating your name and booking reference number.”

Spain also currently has quarantine measures in place. The FCO explains: “From 15 May, all new international arrivals entering Spain, including Spanish nationals and residents, will be required to self-isolate in their residence or hotel for a period of 14 days.”

As for tourist accommodation: “Hotels and other tourist accommodation are expected to re-open (with access restrictions to communal areas) when Phase 1 of the plan is activated.”

Earlier this week a Spanish minister said they hoped to welcome tourists by June, however, Britons are currently unable to travel unless it’s “essential”.

It is not yet clear when this restriction will be lifted.

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