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COVID-19: Impact On U.S. Travel Deepens

According to research from Longwoods International, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on US travel continues to deepen.

In the company’s tracking study of American travellers and the coronavirus pandemic, 84% of them are changing their travel plans for the next six months because of coronavirus, up from 58% two weeks ago and 75% last week.

The research highlights the growing disruption to the $1 trillion US travel industry — https://www.ustravel.org/answersheet .

When asked how they would change their plans because of the pandemic, 50% said they would cancel some trips, and 35% said they will reduce travel in the next six months. Changing trips from international to domestic and switching from air travel to auto travel continue to occur but were less frequent than the two weeks prior.

The percentage of American travellers planning trips in the next six months continues to decline, from 87% two weeks ago to 72% at the time of this survey. However, that number remains strong, suggesting that almost three quarters of US travelers still want to travel (if possible) in the next 6 months. This indicates that there will be a strong, pent up demand for travel when the pandemic is under control.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to be a more significant factor affecting U.S. travel in the next six months, compared with concerns about the economy and transportation costs.

Of the travellers surveyed, 62% of them indicated that the coronavirus pandemic would “greatly impact” their decision to travel in the next six months, up from 35% two weeks ago.

While consumers looking for future travel deals remains popular information with 51% of travellers, other top interest categories include information on local take-out and food delivery (41%) and ways to help local businesses and their employees during the pandemic (40%).

Go to https://longwoods-intl.com/covid-19-travel-sentiment-study-wave-3 for mor

Royal Caribbean Extends Policy Through Sept. 1

Royal Caribbean Group is extending its “Cruise with Confidence” cancellation policy through Sept. 1, 2020 in order to address expanding global travel restrictions and provide peace of mind in guest travel planning.

The updated policy enhances planning flexibility by allowing cancellations up to 48 hours prior to sailing for any reason. Guests will receive a full credit for their fare, usable on any future sailing of choice in 2020 or 2021.

Company chairman and CEO, Richard Fain said: “Guests are reacting positively to our ‘Cruise with Confidence’ policy because it enables them to make informed decisions and to better manage complicated travel plans during this unprecedented time of uncertainty.”

The extension applies to both new and existing cruise bookings. In addition to easing concerns of booked guests, Fain says the policy enhances consumer confidence to schedule new bookings, knowing last-minute travel adjustments will incur no penalty.

Said Fain: “We want our guests to feel they can safely keep their existing cruise bookings or schedule new sailings because this policy gives them more freedom and flexibility.”

The policy applies to all cruises with sailing dates on or before Sept. 1, 2020, and applies to the company’s global brands Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara.

For individual brand policy details and for information on the Silversea policy, please visit the respective brand websites:

Norwegian Cruise Line Extends Suspension Of Voyages

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd is extending its previously announced voluntary suspension of all cruise voyages to include voyages embarking between April 12 and May 10, 2020 for its three cruise brands.

The extended suspension contributes to the global efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, which has also resulted in travel restrictions and continued uncertainty regarding worldwide port closures and availability.

Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., explained that: “With COVID-19 continuing to have a significant impact on communities throughout the world, we are extending our temporary suspension of cruise voyages across our three brands through May 10th.”

Del Rio continued: “While we understand this disruption may inconvenience our loyal guests and valued travel partners, we are committed first and foremost to protecting the safety, security and well-being of our guests, crew, and the communities we visit. We appreciate their continued understanding as we navigate through these unprecedented times and do our part to help global efforts to contain this pandemic.”

Guests who are currently booked on voyages with embarkation dates between March 13 and May 10, 2020 on Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises or Regent Seven Seas Cruises are asked to contact their travel agent or the cruise line for more information.

Vail Boss Supporting Employees, Mountain Communities

Vail Resorts’ CEO, Rob Katz and his wife, Elana Amsterdam are donating over $2.5 million to provide immediate support for both Vail Resorts employees and the mountain towns where the company operates its resorts.

Katz will donate $1.5 million in immediate emergency relief grants that will benefit more than a dozen local organizations providing critical services in Eagle, Summit and Gunnison counties in Colo.; Park City, Utah; Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Whistler, B.C.; Vermont; Stevens Pass, Wash.; and Jackson Hole, Wyo. (home of Grand Teton Lodge Company).

An additional $1 million is being donated by Katz to create a new fund within Vail Resorts’ EpicPromise Employee Foundation, which helps the company’s employees respond to unpredictable setbacks, including medical events.

This fund will help meet the increased need for assistance due to the impacts of COVID-19, ensuring that the Foundation has the resources to address this challenge.

Said Katz: “I cannot recall another moment in my lifetime that has caused so much disruption to our lives – to our work, to our health and to our communities. Throughout this incredibly challenging time, two of our absolute priorities have been, and will continue to be, the health and wellbeing of our employees and mountain communities.”

He observed that: “What makes our resorts so special is where they’re located and the passionate people who live there. As we navigate this situation, it’s essential we continue to support our employees and the vitality of our communities, providing partnership when it’s needed most.”

The donation will be distributed through the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust, which was established to support mountain communities, with an initial focus on eliminating the stigma of mental illness and increasing access to mental and behavioral healthcare.

Since 2016, the Trust has donated over $10 million total, including nearly $6.5 million in mental and behavioral health grants, to communities where Vail Resorts operates.

Recipients of the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grants include:

Whistler, British Columbia

• Whistler Community Services Society: $100,000 CAD to support the organization’s mobile food bank, mental health services and social service outreach efforts

• The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation: $100,000 CAD to the Foundation’s COVID relief fund that will support non-profits across the Sea-to-Sky corridor as they meet the most critical needs of community members

State of Colorado

• Help Colorado Now: $250,000 to support non-profits across Colorado that are providing critical services during this public health crisis

Eagle County, Colorado

• Eagle Valley Community Foundation: $200,000 to support basic needs and mobile food bank services that help community members across the county

Summit County, Colorado

• Family Intercultural Resource Center: $100,000 to support the organization’s mobile food bank and mental health and social service navigation

• The Summit Foundation: $100,000 to the Summit County Cares Fund to support non-profits serving the most vulnerable populations and providing critical resources to community members

Crested Butte, Colorado

• Community Foundation of Gunnison Valley: $50,000 to the Foundation’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Efforts that supports non-profits who provide critical services to those impacted

Summit County, Utah

• Park City Community Foundation: $200,000 to support the Community Response Fund that will deploy resources to health and human services community organizations that serve vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 outbreak

South Lake Tahoe, California

• The El Dorado Community Foundation: $150,000 to the Foundation’s Coronavirus Relief Fund that will support families in need and non-profits that provide critical basic need and other social services to the community

North Lake Tahoe/Truckee, California

• Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation: $100,000 to the Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund that supports non-profits across the region to serve the critical needs of those impacted by the coronavirus.

Vermont

• Vermont Community Foundation: $150,000 to support several non-profits in three communities that provide food services, basic needs and critical social services to community members

Stevens Pass, Washington

• Upper Valley Mend: $50,000 to support the organization’s food bank program and other critical social services to those in need

Jackson, Wyoming (Grand Teton Lodge Company)

• Community Foundation of Jackson Hole: $50,000 to the Community Emergency Response Fund to support local non-profits helping those directly impacted by COVID-19.

All Vail Resorts Communities

• Epic Promise Employee Foundation: $1 million to establish a new fund to provide additional assistance to Vail Resorts employees due to the impacts of COVID-19.

Go to www.vailresorts.com for more.

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