THE Commonwealth is now looking at the possibility of establishing travel bubble programs with other tourism markets, including Japan.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres on Monday said that he had spoken with Japanese Consul Kazuhiko Ono regarding the vaccination rate in Japan.

He noted that Japan’s vaccination rate is based on the entire population while the U.S. rate measures those who are eligible, or individuals 12 years of age or older, for the Covid-19 vaccine.

“So it’s a little bit different on the vaccine per population requirements, but as you know, around the world, the higher percentage of vaccination per country, the safer it is, so I’m sure that before they open up their borders, they would want to reach a certain number of percentage of their population to be vaccinated,” the governor said, referring to Japan.

With the CNMI recently reaching an 80% vaccination rate, the governor thanked the community, first responders, doctors, nurses, “and everyone involved in the effort to reach this goal.”

He added, “I’m really excited that we reached our goal. I guess when you reach a goal, now we’re going to try to reach another goal, which is hopefully 90%…. Now we’re focusing on our students, our kids, our [Public School System] student body, our faculties, and of course, we continue to push also our government and private entities.”

Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Priscilla M. Iakopo on Monday said the MVA board has approved the creation of a Japan Tourism Resumption Investment Plan, or TRIP, ad hoc committee to be chaired by Hyatt Regency Saipan general manager Nick Nishikawa.

Iakopo said MVA is also communicating with its Japan office to begin discussions with travel partners in Japan.

She said MVA was told that Japan is currently focusing on controlling the coronavirus in the Asian nation.

“When they’re able to control that, I guess they’ll start discussions with us,” she added.

Last week, she said she spoke with Skymark Airlines which had to suspend its Japan-Saipan flight service because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“They’re still asking for our patience,” Iaokopo said, referring to Skymark Airlines. “Once they’re ready to resume travel again, whether that will be domestically or internationally, we will be on standby.”

Japanese Consul Kazuhiko Ono, for his part, said establishing a travel bubble between the CNMI and Japan is not easy.

“As you can see, [the CNMI has] a travel bubble with Korea, but how many Korean tourists are visiting the Northern Mariana Islands at the moment? So I think, in my opinion, travel bubble is not a perfect scheme, but now the population of Japan who are already vaccinated is more than 50%, and I think the number is going up, so…maybe October or November…we will [ease] some protocols and some restrictions, including those affecting travel,” he said.

A worker sanitises a barrier at the International arrivals area of Terminal 5 in London’s Heathrow Airport, Britain, August 2, 2021. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest airport Heathrow said on Monday passenger numbers were still 71% lower in August compared to the same month before the COVID-19 pandemic, as it demanded that the government change its travel rules to help the sector recover.

Heathrow blamed the complicated, changing and expensive rules for those arriving in the United Kingdom for Britain’s much slower travel recovery versus competitors, pushing it down to 10th busiest European airport, from its top spot in 2019.

Expectations are growing that there will be a simplification of those travel rules, after Health Minister Sajid Javid said on Sunday that he wanted to “get rid of” expensive PCR tests for travellers as soon as possible. read more

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will this week set out his plans to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in the winter months.

Heathrow said in its statement that it would favour a two-tier system with destination countries rated either low risk or high risk, with the latter still requiring hotel quarantine.

Fully vaccinated travellers would be able to travel freely, the system being used by many European countries, while those not vaccinated would take pre-departure or arrival tests using lateral flow tests, which are cheaper than PCR tests.

Currently there are three tiers, with expensive tests always required even for those who are fully vaccinated.

The airport said major airlines supported the idea, as it warned of the consequences of not improving the current system.

“If ministers fail to take this opportunity to streamline the travel rules then the UK will fall further behind as trade and tourists will increasingly by-pass the UK,” Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said.

The airport also called on the government to ensure it had adequate staff at the border after reports of hours-long queues in recent weeks.

Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Michael Holden

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Boston Bruins Foundation and community organization Seaport Strong held a fundraiser in the Seaport yesterday for injured Milton Academy hockey player Jake Thibeault following his release UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.

Thibeault suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a game resulting in him having no movement from the waist down. The Fitchburg native played for several travel hockey programs prior to his injury including the Worcester Junior Railers and the South Shore Kings and was planning on playing collegiately, according to a Facebook post from his father.

Since his injury, Thibeault has seen an outpouring of support from the community and even current and former Bruins players like Matt Grzelcyk, who visited him in the hospital and gave him an autographed hockey stick, according to WBZ TV. Sunday’s event at the Lawn on D in the Seaport raised funds for Thibeault’s medical bills through the Boston Bruins Foundation.

Along with this fundraiser, a GoFundMe page set up by one of his former coaches has raised over $400,000 and students from his hometown of Fitchburg raised money at their most recent football game against Leominster.

Thibeault left the hospital on Friday and is now beginning his rehabilitation process at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown with the support of his friends and family. He told WBZ TV he’s determined to walk again. WBZ’s Drew Moholland has the story.

The Biden administration is making $482 million available to aviation industry manufacturers to help them avert job or pay cuts in the pandemic.

The Biden administration is making $482 million available to aviation industry manufacturers to help them avert job or pay cuts in the pandemic.

The taxpayer-funded relief will cover up to half of the payroll costs at 313 companies, according to the Transportation Department, which said Thursday will help save up to 22,500 jobs.

Air travel plummeted due to the spread of COVID-19. The delta variant has led to elevated cancellations and diminished travel in recent months. More than 100,000 aerospace jobs have been lost in an industry that had employed about 2.2 million people, according to the Transportation Department.

The largest recipient the fund funds announced Monday is Spirit Aerosystems, a Boeing supplier based in Kansas, which stands to get $75.5 million that the government says will help protect 3,214 jobs. Parker-Hannifin Corp. of Ohio, which makes hydraulic systems for planes, will get $39.7 million. The avionics unit of Japan’s Panasonic, based in California, will get $25.8 million, and several U.S. subsidiaries of France’s Safran S.A. will get a total of $24.8 million.

Money for the aerospace companies is coming from a $1.9 trillion package approved by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in March.

The relief is similar to a much larger aid program for U.S. airlines, which have received $54 billion in the past year and a half. The airlines also agreed not to furlough any workers, but they eliminated tens of thousands of jobs anyway by offering incentives for employees to quit or retire early.

Critics labeled the airline aid a bailout that amounted to several hundred thousand dollars for each job that was spared — 75,000 jobs, by some estimates. Defenders such as American Airlines CEO Doug Parker say that without the government’s help, airlines would have been forced to shut down when traffic fell to levels not seen since the 1950s.

The Federal Aviation Administration, part of the Transportation Department, recently awarded $100 million to aerospace companies including Boeing, General Electric’s aviation division and jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney to make planes less polluting and quieter.

Copyright
© 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Two all-inclusive resorts in St. Lucia are offering complimentary travel insurance to all international guests who stay at their properties for 5 nights or more. The travel insurance covers medical and quarantine expenses if COVID-19 disrupts guests’ stay.

Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa and next-door adults-only Serenity at Coconut Bay are providing travel insurance underwritten by Grace Kennedy Insurance for the duration of guests’ visits. Coverage starts with arrival day at the resort and continues until departure day from the resort. It does not continue if guests stay elsewhere in St. Lucia following their stay at a Coconut Bay property.

The travel insurance covers $100,000 in overseas medical and dental expenses for guests up to age 70. Guests who are 71 and over are covered up to $10,000 in medical and dental expenses.

Some pre-existing conditions are covered. Read more details about pre-existing medical conditions here.

Medical quarantine is covered at $200 a day for up to 14 days.

Trip interruption coverage is up to $2,000 per person. The trip interruption coverage comes into play if there are events that disrupt your vacation once you’ve arrived at one of the St. Lucia resorts. Trip cancellation insurance is not included in the free insurance coverage. 

Loss, theft, or damage to luggage is covered up to $1,500. You’ll also be compensated up to $1,500 if your luggage is delayed. 

Guests who are staying at either resort for fewer than 5 days can purchase the travel insurance for $39 a day.

See the full schedule of benefits for the travel insurance here (PDF).

The resorts are offering this travel insurance to international guests who book before October 31, 2021, for travel through June 30, 2022.

St. Lucia Resorts Offer Additional COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Both Coconut Bay resorts already offer a free “return home” COVID-19 antigen test for guests who stay 5 nights or more. A negative COVID-19 antigen test is accepted for return to the United States and the United Kingdom. Canada requires a negative PCR test, and the resorts have arranged for tests at a subsidized cost.

The resorts require guests to have temperature checks on arrival and daily throughout their stay.

St. Lucia requires all arriving international travelers aged 18 and up to fill out a travel registration form. All international travelers aged 5 and up must have a negative PCR test within 5 days of arrival.

You do not need to be fully vaccinated to visit St. Lucia, however, unvaccinated travelers must remain on property at a COVID-19 certified property for 14 days (or fewer, if your vacation is shorter) and may only leave the property to dine at certified restaurants or participate in certified tours and excursions.

Full current entry requirements to St. Lucia are found here.

MIDDLETOWN – There were no late game heroics for Norwich Free Academy in their first real football game in two years on Friday night.

No hook-and-lateral on the final play of the game to beat Killingly in 2019. No 10-yard touchdown toss with just six seconds left to tie Bacon Academy in an eventual overtime win also in 2019. And no clutch touchdown throw in the closing moments of a memorable win against Xavier on this same field in 2017.

Nope. There was no late magic for the Wildcats in a 31-19 season opening loss against the Falcons at McHugh Field.  

Xavier senior quarterback Drew Kron and senior running back DJ Wright were as good as advertised while making enough big plays to dampen NFA’s spirits.

Still, NFA had the ball near midfield trailing just 24-19 with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. But instead of late heroics, the Wildcats turned the ball over on their final two possessions.

More: Friday night football is back: 12 players to watch this season from Norwich to Killingly

NFA was trying to win their fourth straight in this marquee series. I’d wager a buck or two that it’s been awhile since a team has beaten the Xavier Falcons four seasons in a row. And on this night it proved to be a daunting task.

“Xavier’s got a great team and a great program,” NFA coach Jason Bakoulis said. “They played hard.”

Wright scored three rushing touchdowns, including a crushing 9-yard jaunt into the end zone with just 31 seconds left in the first half that gave Xavier a 17-13 advantage at the break.

Wright, who gained 136 yards on 15 carries, opened the third quarter with a 60-yard run to set up his 1-yard TD plunge for a 24-13 lead.

Kron, who rushed for 130 yards, sealed things with an 18 yard scoring toss to Vince Rappoccio for a 31-19 lead with 6:48 left in the fourth quarter. Kron completed 13 of 20 passes for 134 yards.

NFA’s Achilles’ heel was a rash of cramping and fatigue that kept key players off the field in the second half. For whatever reason – maybe missing a whole season due to COVID-19 a year ago caused some tiredness or the fact that due to low numbers this season the Wildcats had numerous players competing on both sides of the ball for the first time in memory – NFA’s sideline looked like a MASH unit the fourth quarter.

“I’m proud of the way our guys competed and fought through some of the stuff they were fighting through,” Bakoulis said. “I need to do a better job of preparing the entire program in all aspects.”

The biggest casualty was senior receiver Max Pierre Louis. Louis got hurt after catching a 32 yard scoring toss from senior quarterback Jayden Desilus late in the third quarter that closed the gap to 24-19.

Louis, who caught six passes for 104 yards, never returned.

Yes, this was a tough opener

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

Business travel is in many ways the lifeblood of the travel industry. Even if you only travel for leisure, the highly profitable business traveler affects every seat in the plane and every room in the hotel. But that traveler is dialing back, perhaps permanently. Now what?

Scott Hornick, partner, Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman

“Something in the range of a 10% to 25% reduction in business travel long term,” according to Scot Hornick, a partner at consultancy Oliver Wyman’s, which conducts a Traveler Sentiment Survey of 2,500 business travelers. The trends identified help the firm inform its clients in the travel sector and supporting industries.

But business travel is far from monolithic, and Hornick points out stronger travel resumption plans among infrequent business travelers who have little travel to cut back on as well as “muddy boots” travelers, who ply skilled trades at work sites and don’t have the option to “zoom it in.” 

Even for those who can work remotely, the pandemic gave pause to some business travel habits that now seem extravagant at best and absurd at worst. “No longer would you see the investment banker flying across the Atlantic for a breakfast meeting at Heathrow and then flying right back,” says Hornick. 

All of which could leave some very pricey seats and rooms yawning for occupants. “We’re going to see travel companies take higher-end travel products and try to capture more leisure travelers with them,” says Hornick. “You may not have the same number of business class passengers as before, so how can you induce leisure class travelers to buy up to that product?”

united-polaris-seats-1

Tired of walking past Business Class seats to get to you crummy coach seat for a vacation flight? Airlines may soon have some offers you can’t refuse.


Kent German/CNET

Still, Hornick points out that the business travel trend line is much better than it was in 2020. Among respondents who said they will travel more in the future, 20% cited an effectiveness of teleconferencing, 18% said they simply can’t do their job remotely, and another 18% cited a job change into a role that requires more travel.

Oliver Wymans’ Scot Hornick shared many nuanced insights into the trajectory of business travel with CNET’s Brian Cooley. Hear them all in the video. 

Can I travel to Italy? What are the travel restrictions in Italy? Here are the answers to all your questions. 

On Tuesday, 7 September, Italy’s coronavirus emergency commissioner General Francesco Figliuolo announced that more than 80 percent of the population over the age of 12 has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. As a result, Italy is well on pace to meet its goal set earlier this year of having 80 percent completely vaccinated by the end of September. Figliuolo also announced that Italy would start giving third doses to members of the population deemed to be in the high-risk category. All of this is good news for a country that has seen life largely return to normal over the summer, including in the tourism sector. 

However, the highly contagious Delta variant has seen infection and hospitalization rates in countries such as the US, India, and Brazil sky-rocket. As vaccination rates in the US remain relatively low, and because they make up a large portion of foreign travelers in Europe, EU authorities decided that tougher restrictions were necessary for countries with high infection rates. 

Countries are listed in a tier system (A-E) based on their location, and epidemiological risk. Each list has different levels of restrictions associated with it. 

Italy has also recently announced its new “green” travel pass for all foreigners looking to travel to the country as of May 16th. This includes travelers from the US and UK that makeup over 30 percent of travelers to Italy. To qualify for a green pass you must prove that you have been vaccinated for Covid, have tested negative and taken a Covid free flight, or have recently recovered from Covid-19. Italy has also announced that it is expanding its list of routes for Covid-free flights to Canada, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates.  

List A

Category A contains Vatican City and the Republic of San Marino. There are no restrictions for either of these two States. 

List B and C

Category B and C both pertain to Continental Europe and any other territories on the European Mainland as well as Iceland and Israel, but not the UK. List B is used for many countries in Continental Europe that have a low epidemiological rate, though currently, no countries qualify for this list. Anyone with EU/Schengen Citizenship can travel to Italy for any reason, including tourism. Restrictions will apply if someone has passed through or stayed in a country on list D and/or E within 14 days before entering Italy. Before entering Italy, it is mandatory to fill out the Digital Passenger Locator Form (see the link below) which replaces the self-declaration form. It is also mandatory to provide the EU Digital Covid Certificate (see link below) in one of the following languages: Italian, English, French, or Spanish, showing one of the following conditions:

Having completed the anti-SARS-CoV 2-vaccination cycle with one of the following accepted vaccines:

  • Pfizer
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca 
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • That you have recovered from Covid-19

CANANDAIGUA — The Lake House on Canandaigua received top marks from Travel + Leisure magazine’s 10 Best Resort Hotels in New York State Wednesday. According to a release from the hotel, the resort placed first in the 10 best hotels in New York, and received additional high marks in the magazine’s other notable lists.

The resort also placed second in the Top 15 Resort Hotels in the Continental U.S. and 30th in the magazine’s Top 100 Hotels in the World.

Each ranking came from the magazine’s World’s Best Awards for 2021, with the winners being determined by reader’s opinions on hotels and resorts. Voters rated hotels on their facilities, location, service, food and overall value.

This isn’t the first time the resort has been honored by Travel + Leisure. The hotel was also featured in the magazine’s 2021 “It List” from earlier this year, an honor General Manager Simon Dewar referred to as being similar to the motion picture industry’s Academy Awards. 

“It’s been an incredibly difficult year across the hospitality industry,” Dewar said, referring to the hotel’s placement on the It List, adding that it was “time for some good news.”

“It’s been a challenging time for all of us, not only from the pandemic itself but from the restrictions on travel during this pandemic,” he said, adding that the Lake House appearing on the list meant “we’re just over the moon. It’s incredible.” 

The Lake House, on the former site of the Inn on the Lake, was developed by the Sands family and includes a 125-guest hotel, timber-frame barn, dock and other amenities. The hotel also contains the Rose Tavern, a restaurant which offers a unique seasonal menu along with specialty drinks.

Your chance to seas the day is finally here, and these restaurants in Langkawi are opening their doors to welcome you. 

Here comes the excitement of planning and booking your flights to Langkawi, as the island will reopen to fully vaccinated visitors on 16 September. The idea of tanning by the clear blue water may be your top priority, but you will relish dining out at these top restaurants in Langkawi. From the best seafood restaurants to fine dining and local specialities, Langkawi has it all.

Here’s our list of the best restaurants in Langkawi.

KayuPuti

Image credit: Marriot

This elegant dining space located in St Regis is worth adding to your list if you crave a momentous affair. The bright and serene beach house overlooks the calming ocean. The menu features Asian-influenced haute cuisine with delightful drinks to have on the side. In our opinion, the Exquisite Halibut and Stanbroke Beef Tenderloin are must-haves when you’re there. Bonus points: it’s one of the best ways to treat yourself after endless months of not travelling.

Opening hours: 6 PM – 10 PM (daily)

Contact: 04-960-6666

The Gulai House

Tucked deep in the rainforest, this award-winning restaurant offers gastronomical Malaysian cuisine set in a kampung house. Nothing gets better than being surrounded by nature with an indulgent feast on Langkawi island. The thought of dining in nature is a remarkable way to enjoy the island if you haven’t had the chance to do so.

Opening hours: 6.30 PM – 10.30 PM (daily)

Contact: 04-950-0500

Gallo Nero

Image credit: Instagram/ @gallonerolangkawi

If you need to break away from seafood, an Italian meal from Gallo Nero is what you need. As one of the most established Italian restaurants on the island, Gallo Nero serves lip-smacking pasta favoured by many locals and foreigners. We suggest ordering their lobster pasta and gnocchi. The restaurant also offers new lunch specials every week. 

Opening hours: 12.30 PM – 10 PM (Wednesday – Sunday)

Contact: 04-952-3555

FatCupid

Image credit: FatCupid

Located in La Pari Pari, this family-owned restaurant is a favourite among tourists, thanks to its authentic Malaysian and Western menu. Tucked away from the busy tourist attractions, this hidden gem can do no wrong if you’re in the mood for burgers and pizzas. Perfect for families and couples, the ambience is splendid if you’re looking for a way to relax after a long day of exploring the island. 

Opening hours: 10 AM – 3 PM, 6 PM – 10 PM (Wednesday – Monday)

Contact: 04-955-3010

The Pavilion 

Image credit: Datai Langkawi

Is there anything better than surrounding yourself with fresh air and lush greenery? Located in the Datai Langkawi, the beautiful Pavilion sits 30 metres above the ground, like an opulence treehouse. The award-winning restaurant serves traditional Thai cuisine overlooking the rainforest. The signature Steamed Fish is the star of the menu, as well as Mango Sticky Rice. Bonus tip: It’s best to arrive here before the sun