Wednesday, September 22News That Matters

Travel

Montserrat’s Audacious Tourism Experiment During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Travel
Every day at noon, a melodic chime reverberates across the Caribbean island of Montserrat. For nearly two months, Krystal Bajkor, a visitor from North Carolina, assumed it was a clock marking time.“I thought it was just an adorable feature of the small island,” said Ms. Bajkor, a former financial analyst who is currently writing a children’s book.Then in June, her husband, a management consultant, learned that the pleasant-sounding “clock” was, in fact, a daily test of the volcano warning system. The Soufriere Hills volcano, which buried large swaths of the island in rocks and ash in the late 1990s, continues to be active, producing a cloud of hot gas, which appears to hover over its crater.The meaning of the chime is one of those things that Ms. Bajkor might have missed had she been a typ...
Newly tarmacked Peak District lane Bamford Clough is named ‘the steepest climb in Britain’

Newly tarmacked Peak District lane Bamford Clough is named ‘the steepest climb in Britain’

Travel
The steepest road in Britain is officially Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech, North Wales, according to Guinness World Records (GWR).But intrepid cyclist and author Simon Warren, who specialises in hill climbs and is the author of the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs series, has declared that he's found a new contender – Bamford Clough in the Peak District.It was previously a lane that turned into a track, but it has now been completely tarmacked over. Bamford Clough in the Peak District has a 36.5 per cent gradient, according to hill-climb specialist Simon Warren. This Google Street View image predates the installation of a sign warning motorists that the way ahead has a 35 per cent gradientWalker Alan James, writing on a ukclimbing.com forum, said: 'Having walked [Bamford Clough], I ca...

Glimpses of ‘Lost Tribe’ Jewish Communities in India and Myanmar

Travel
In 2017, while I was traveling through India, a friend from the northeastern state of Assam told me about the communities of Lost Tribe Jews in the neighboring state of Mizoram. Having grown up in a Jewish family without ever fully embracing the religion of my observant parents, I was intrigued and wanted to know more.Lost Tribe Jews, I soon learned, believe they are descended from the 10 tribes of Israel that were exiled from the ancient kingdom of Israel by Assyrians around the eighth century B.C. I decided to seek out members of the Lost Tribes and see if they would allow me to photograph their rituals and daily lives.A few weeks later, I arrived in Aizawl, a city built atop densely forested hills. I called a contact from one of the local congregations and arranged a meeting. When two r...

A Giant Violin Floats Down Venice’s Grand Canal

Travel
VENICE — In its 1,600-odd years, any number of phantasmagorical vessels have floated down Venice’s Grand Canal, often during regattas or elaborate ceremonies dedicated to the sea. On Saturday morning, a decidedly unusual head-turner took a spin: a gigantic violin, carrying a string quartet playing Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.”The craft, called “Noah’s Violin,” set sail accompanied by an escort of gondolas, and in no time a small flotilla of motorboats, water taxis and traditional flat-bottomed Venetian sandoli joined the violin as it glided from city hall, near the Rialto Bridge, to the ancient Customs House across from Piazza San Marco, about an hour’s ride.The vessel is a faithful, large-scale replica of a real violin, made from about a dozen different kinds of wood, with nuts and bolts insi...
The Holiday Guru tackles readers’ Covid-related travel issues, including a testing fiasco in Kos

The Holiday Guru tackles readers’ Covid-related travel issues, including a testing fiasco in Kos

Travel
The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.This week he provides some valuable advice for anyone who is considering travelling within 90 days of recovering from Covid.Q. We tested positive for Covid in Kos, Greece, in August and could not fly home. We went to a quarantine hotel and, after negative lateral flow tests, flew back on September 7. On return, we took a ‘day two’ PCR test, as required.Both of us were positive and had to isolate for ten days. I have since learnt the Government says you should not take a PCR test within 90 days of a positive Covid test. What else could we do?Clare Friel, via email. Cafe culture: People enjoy alfresco dining under trees in Greece’s pretty Kos TownA. The Department of Health and Social Care says people in your position must t...
Tennis player Jamie Murray talks about his travels, including his love for New York

Tennis player Jamie Murray talks about his travels, including his love for New York

Travel
Jamie Murray checks in to our travel Q&AThis week tennis player Jamie Murray checks in to our travel Q&A.He talks about his earliest holiday memory, his favourite Scottish trips and why New York is the best place to play tennis.First holiday memory?Camping in La Rochelle in France, when I was about six or seven. We drove there from Scotland. It was super-hot. We didn’t go on many holidays because we would always be playing in tennis tournaments.Are you a good flier?Yes. It doesn’t stress me at all. I take 50 to 80 flights a year, maybe more.Best places to play tennis?I love being in New York for the U.S. Open [Jamie reached the doubles final this year]. The city has such energy.Top weekend trip?I adore going to Scotland to see my family. My grandparents are getting older s...
Holiday bookings soar as ministers axe traffic light system for a single red list

Holiday bookings soar as ministers axe traffic light system for a single red list

Travel
Holiday bookings soared yesterday after punitive travel restrictions were finally lifted.Within minutes of the official announcement, travel agents were deluged with inquiries and predicted this weekend would be their busiest of the year.Demand for October half-term trips was three times higher than in August as firms slashed prices.Turkey and the Maldives, both removed from the red list yesterday, were among the most sought after destinations. The traffic light system is also being replaced with a simpler 'go/no-go' regime with far less coronavirus testing.The fully vaccinated will no longer have to pay for costly PCR swabs or pre-return tests. Instead they will need to purchase only a cheaper lateral flow test within two days of returning, taking a free PCR swab if thi...

Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages starts U.S. cruises as the industry bounces back.

Travel
Virgin Voyages, a joint venture between Bain Capital and Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, made its United States debut this week, more than a year later than scheduled.Ryan Cotton, the head of the consumer and retail group at Bain, spoke with the DealBook newsletter about the venture and the prospects for the cruise industry, which has been upended by the pandemic.The industry has been desperate to get operations rolling again. Three of the world’s largest cruise operators — Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line — together lost nearly $900 million a month during the pandemic, the credit rating agency Moody’s reported.Some companies, like Norwegian, have staged battles with government officials in states like Florida, a hub for the industry, over legislation barring businesses ...
All-Inclusive Resorts Make Staying Put More Appealing

All-Inclusive Resorts Make Staying Put More Appealing

Travel
“The people who liked piecing trips together and exploring the unknown are approaching travel a little less adventurously,” said Melissa Wu, the owner of Woodlyn Travel, a travel agency in Pasadena, Calif. “Covid numbers are unpredictable; countries keep changing their entry requirements. And people are just tired: They’re worried about their health, their kids, their work; they’re burned out from the juggling.”It’s no surprise, then, that all-inclusives are booming. September and October bookings at Sandals Resorts, which has 15 all-inclusives in the Caribbean, are up 151 percent compared to 2019. Club Med, a pioneering all-inclusive brand that has 70 resorts worldwide and is planning to debut in Canada, in the Le Massif ski area of Quebec, in December, has reported record sales this year...
Teletext Holidays threatened with legal action over refund delays for cancelled trips in pandemic

Teletext Holidays threatened with legal action over refund delays for cancelled trips in pandemic

Travel
The competition watchdog has threatened to take Teletext Holidays to court over delays in refunding customers for trips cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), said the package holiday firm 'must comply with the law'.In May, Teletext Holidays and sister company, Alpharooms, formally agreed to address failures to issue timely refunds.Their parent company, Truly Holdings, signed an undertaking that bound it to process all refunds by the end of August.Bosses also vowed to ensure all future refunds for cancelled holidays due to the pandemic are made within 14 days. The competition watchdog has threatened to take Teletext Holidays to court over delays in refunding customers for trips cancelled due to the ...