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Halekulani launches 7th season of Living TV

Waikiki resort Halekulani has released a new season of Living TV, a series of video documentaries that explore the traditions, culture, art, style and food of Hawaii. 

The new season includes episodes that highlight spearfishing and its current practitioners on the Islands, go inside the Honolulu Potter’s Guild originally founded in the 1960s, and profile a Oahu photographer who has revived an obscure form of portraiture called the collodion wet-plate process.

In all, the “Living TV” series encompasses 35 episodes across seven seasons. Previous episodes have covered the story behind a Honolulu club dedicated to the legacy of the Japanese kendo sword, the traditional Hawaiian practice of kapa cloth making, and the centuries-old practice of collecting sea salt.

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How to Experience the Grand Canyon From Home

The Grand Canyon is one of the most sought-after and visited places in the world but the coronavirus pandemic has forced many travelers to postpone or even cancel their travel plans.

Fortunately, there’s now a way to experience this awesome landmark like never before without even leaving your home.

With the help of a $50,000 donation from the Arizona Lottery, the Grand Canyon Conservancy has launched “Grand Canyon Moments,” a 20-week series of eye-popping unreleased footage exploring everything that the iconic natural wonder has to offer.

The two- to three-minute videos will dive into a variety of topics related to the canyon, including dark skies, trails, geology, ecology, history, wildlife, the Colorado River and American Indian connections, among others.

The first two episodes, “Dark Skies” and “Ribbon Falls” were released earlier this month, with more to follow.

To make sure you never miss a new video, subscribe to the Grand Canyon Conservancy’s YouTube channel or visit GrandCanyon.org and sign-up for the email list to get notified when a new video is shared each week.

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EU issues guidelines to facilitate summer travel within Europe

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Wednesday unveiled its
plan to help citizens across the 27 nations salvage their summer vacations
after months of tough coronavirus confinement and to hopefully resurrect Europe’s
badly battered tourism industry.

Around 150,000 people have died across Europe and Britain
since the virus surfaced in northern Italy in February, but with the spread of
the disease tapering off, people in many countries are cautiously venturing out
of confinement to return to work and some schools are reopening.

A question on the minds of people, tour operators and the
thousands of small businesses that depend on the tourism industry is whether
this year’s warmest months will turn into a lost summer, with most Europeans
reduced to a home-style “staycation.”

“This is not going to be a normal summer, not for any of us.
But when we all work together, and we all do our part … then we don’t have to
face a summer stuck at home or a complete lost summer for the European tourist
industry,” European Commission executive vice president Margrethe Vestager told
reporters.

In a series of guidelines, the EU’s executive arm, the
European Commission, laid out its advice for lifting ID checks on hastily
closed borders, helping to get airlines, ferries and buses running while
ensuring the safety of passengers and crew, and preparing health measures for
hotels to reassure clients.

But a big question remains: will the countries of the world’s
biggest trading bloc follow the advice? Faced with a disease about which much
is still unknown, national capitals have tended to go it alone, and they — not
the EU Commission — have the final say over health and security matters.

The commission’s over-arching advice is that EU countries
with similar rates of coronavirus infections and comparably strong healthcare
systems should begin lifting border measures between each other. Tourists from
outside Europe cannot enter until at least June 15.

The move comes amid deep concern that Europe’s ID-check free
travel zone — the 26-country space known as the Schengen Area — is being
strangled by controls, further harming virus-ravaged economies by limiting the
movement of goods, services and people that are essential to business.

Austria and Germany said Wednesday they plan to start
loosening border controls this weekend after two months of restrictions. German
interior minister Horst Seehofer said all border crossing points with France,
Switzerland and Austria will be opened — compared with a select few currently.
Border guards will no longer check all travelers, as they have been since March
16.

In a tweet, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced a
shift from Friday to “random checks at the German-Austrian border and on June
15 the border should be opened again.” He said his government is looking to do
the same “with Switzerland, Liechtenstein and neighboring countries in Eastern
Europe, provided the infection numbers allow it.”

Even with border restrictions easing, social-distancing
rules would apply, and the EU Commission is recommending that robust disease
monitoring measures are put in place — including good testing capacity and
contact tracing — so that people have the confidence to return to hotels and
camping sites abroad.

With airlines and travel operators buckling under a
liquidity crisis after governments ordered the cancellation and grounding of
many flights and limits on public life, the commission is hoping for a greater
use of air travel vouchers, which would be more flexible than tickets and could
limit the need for refunds. That would save time for consumers and spare
airlines and operators the cost of refunds in some cases.

Vouchers would be protected against the company going
bankrupt, and valid for at least a year, with trips remaining refundable if the
vouchers are not redeemed. The vouchers would also be transferable to another
traveler, under the guidelines.

Tourism-reliant Greece, which handled the coronavirus better
than most of its partners but whose economy was already severely weakened by
its debt crisis, has thrown its weight behind the commission plan, and is
calling for the resumption of travel between EU countries by June 15. It says
prospective travelers should be tested three days before departure.

A government document seen by the Associated Press says that
while containing the pandemic remains key, “health measures should be
implemented in a way that minimize unnecessary impact on cross-border travel.”
It calls for a coordinated response, backed by EU funding, that would allow
resumption of air, road, train and sea travel simultaneously.
___

Raf Casert in Brussels, Geir Moulson in Berlin, Sylvie
Corbet in Paris and Nicholas Paphitis in Athens contributed.

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Dubai issues guidelines for re-opening of hotels, beaches

Strict social distancing is required in hotels and at private beaches as Covid-19 restrictions are eased

Hotel guests will have to fill out mandatory health declarations and social distance will have to be maintained at hotel beaches as part of new safety precautions revealed by the government of Dubai on Tuesday.

As part of the new guidelines that will govern the operations of hotels in Dubai, hotel entrances must have contactless screening for staff and guests at all entrances.

Only customers with booking confirmation or online pre-paid are allowed into the lobby, and must wear masks at all time. Only 1 person is allowed per 4 square metres, including family members.

Where possible, online check-in and check-out procedures are to be encouraged.

Security staff have been tasked with ensuring compliance with all the guidelines.

The guidelines also state that there must be a minimum 24 hours between check-outs and check-ins for each room. The time period is extended to 72 hours if the room was occupied by a suspected Covid-19 case or frontline workers such as nurses.

As with outside venues, hotel restaurants must maintain 30 percent occupancy and maintain a minimum distance of 2 metres between tables. The Dubai government document advised encouraging in-room dining and take-away services.

While hotel beaches can re-open, bars, attached waterparks and theme parks, pools, sauna and steam rooms, spas, nightclubs and prayer rooms must remain closed.

Salons and retail outlets, however, are now allowed to operate as long as they follow government-mandated safety guidelines.

Beach Guidelines

While public beaches remain closed, a separate document from Dubai government noted that private beaches can operate. Visitors will have to go through temperature checks and social distance must be maintained, with shower and general toilet areas remaining closed.

Access to beaches is restricted to guests only. Hotels are forbidden from selling beach access or tickets. Groups at beaches are restricted to 10 people or less.

Jet-ski use is also allowed again, as long as only one passenger rides the jet-ski at any one time.

Similarly, skydiving activities are also permitted again, although flight capacity is now reduced and jumpers obligated to wear masks on-board aircraft. They can remove the mask during jumping.

Tandem jumps remain forbidden.

Arabian Business magazine: Read the latest edition online

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Some Caribbean islands begin phased reopening

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize and the U.S. Virgin Islands have begun a phased reopening of some businesses with social distancing and hygiene restrictions in place.

In Anguilla, churches, retail stores, salons, gyms and spas, restaurants and bars have reopened.

In Antigua, the Heritage Quay duty-free shopping center has reopened select stores, including retail and food and beverage outlets. Face masks are provided for customers who do not bring them. Retail businesses are open between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., but spas and salons remain closed.

Beaches are open on weekdays but closed on weekends. Public gatherings are still prohibited, and the 12-hour overnight curfew remains in effect.

In Barbados, beaches are open from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. daily, buses are limited to 60% capacity, work hours are staggered at government offices and the sale of alcohol is permitted.

Gyms, tennis courts, golf courses, bowling alleys and movie theaters have reopened in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but social distancing must be maintained. Personal services, such as hair salons and massage therapists, must operate by appointment only.

No more than 10 people are allowed in USVI retail stores at a time; restaurants continue to be take-out and bars remain closed. Everyone is required to wear face mask when entering a business.

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New 'Dear Belize' Campaign Offers Free Trip for Two

The Belize Tourism Board wants people stuck at home to spread some love during the COVID-19 pandemic with a new virtual postcard campaign. Within the next four weeks, eager travelers are encouraged to submit a video in a bid to win a free trip to Belize once it is safe to travel again.

A “Dear Belize” virtual postcard should be a short video that explains the participant’s love for the beautiful Central American/Caribbean destination. A winner will be selected at random, but favorites of the Dear Belize team will be shared on its social media platforms, so participants are encouraged to be creative.

The requirements for a virtual postcard can be found on Dear Belize’s website.

The winner will receive a free four-day trip for two to Belize, which includes roundtrip airfare and an opportunity to experience lush rainforests, secret waterfalls, mystical Mayan ruins and dotted islets.

Belize is known as “A Curious Place” for a reason, as it’s home to the world’s largest Barrier Reef in the Northern Hemisphere, ample eco-activities, cultural offerings and lodgings that range from luxury private-island resorts to jungle retreats.

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La Coleccion offers at home experiences

La Coleccion Resorts, a collection of 16 properties in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, has crafted a number of ways for guests to experience their amenities and services at home during Covid-19. 

Guests can experience the brand’s chocolate sculptures and colorful rice art bed decor with a behind-the-scenes look on how they are made. They can even watch tutorials on how to re-create them at home.

La Coleccion is also inviting guests to cook along with their best chefs as they share recipes of some of the hotels’ signature dishes that can be created at home, including guacamole, ceviche and margaritas.

Kids can get in on the fun, learning how to make their own pinatas with video tutorials, or create their favorite animals with arts and crafts instruction.

The company has also launched a series of festive Zoom backgrounds to mix up those daily meetings and conference calls.

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Aeromexico eyes reopening US routes

Aeromexico has resumed some of its international flights as of May 1, Reuters reports. Currently the airline is flying from Mexico City to Vancouver and Madrid. 

Later this month and in June, the carrier plans to resume routes to Seoul, Guatemala City, Amsterdam, Paris and other international destinations, including the U.S.

Some flights, such as service to Buenos Aires, will not resume until Sept. 1.

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Jamaica Launches Free Online Training for Tourism Workers

Jamaica has announced a substantial investment in its tourism sector with the launch of a free online training program for tourism workers affected by the negative impact of COVID-19.

The Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) in partnership with highly-respected American trade associations, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), as well as Jamaica’s Human Employment and Resource Training-National Service Training Agency (HEART-NSTA Trust) will deliver online training and certification courses.

With global travel coming to a halt during the COVID-19 crisis, approximately 75 percent of Jamaica’s tourist sector has become unemployed. While most of these tourism workers will be reemployed in a few months, Jamaica is putting the resources in place to fortify the industry for a strong economic future.

“The Caribbean is the most tourism dependent region in the world and tourism accounts for nearly 11 percent of global GDP. In the case of Jamaica, we are very proud that the program has been so well-received by our hospitality workers. There is no better time than now for them to retool and up-skill,” said Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett. “It is a smart investment in staying resilient, which will pay handsome dividends when the tourism sector returns to normal. It is a demonstration of the importance of the Government’s Human Capital Development strategy.”

Over 6,500 users have registered since the program launched last week. Classes began on April 27 and the 11 free online courses are aimed to hone tourism workers’ skills and improve their qualifications. The courses are as follows: Laundry Attendant, Guest Room Attendant, Kitchen Steward Porter, ServSafe Training in Food Safety, Certified Hospitality Supervisor, Introduction to Spanish, Public Area Sanitation, Hospitality Team Leader, Certified Banquet Server, Certified Restaurant Server, and DJ Certification.

All courses will include certification examinations and successful candidates will receive certificates from certifying institutions, including the National Restaurant Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute or HEART Trust/NSTA.

For more information, please visit: https://tef.gov.jm/jamaica-centre-of-tourism-innovation/.

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Puerto Rico hosts live video tours

Discover Puerto Rico has upped its selection of virtual activities for at-home wanderlusters with three Facebook Live tours through Google Earth, hosted during National Travel and Tourism Week May 3 through 9 by Jorge Montalvo from San Juan-based Patria Tours.

The first tour, on May 5 at 5 p.m., covers the natural wonders of Puerto Rico, including El Yunque, the bioluminescent bays in Vieques, the black sand Playa Negra beach, and Cueva Ventana historical cave, among other attractions.

Off the Beaten Track, the second tour in the series, on May 8 at 5 p.m., offers an overview of Ponce, as well as views of Culebra and Flamenco Beach and the crystal waters off Gilligan’s Island.

On May 13 at 5 p.m. Montalvo takes his viewers road-tripping across the island with stops at historic lighthouses and colonial buildings like Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal, the Guajataca Tunnel built in 1904 and the Cara del Indio rock sculpture.

Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, said that these tours, as well as other virtual offerings from the destination, “keep Puerto Rico top of mind.”

He added, “It also is an opportunity to highlight valued members of the local tourism industry.

Viewers can access the free 30-minute tours on Discover Puerto Rico’s Facebook page.

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