Omicron COVID-19 variant detected in more countries as scientists race to find answers


LONDON/AMSTERDAM: The Omicron coronavirus variant spread around the world on Sunday (Nov 28), with new cases found in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia even as more countries imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it is not yet clear whether Omicron, first detected in Southern Africa, is more transmissible than other variants, or if it causes more severe disease.

“Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalisation in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection,” WHO said.

WHO said understanding the level of severity of Omicron “will take days to several weeks”.

The detection of Omicron triggered global alarm as governments around the world scrambled to impose new travel restriction and markets sold-off, fearing the variant could resist vaccinations and upend a nascent economic reopening after a two-year global pandemic.

In its statement, the WHO said it was working with technical experts to understand the potential impact of the variant on existing countermeasures against COVID-19, including vaccines.

Britain said it will convene an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers on Monday to discuss the developments.

Dutch health authorities said 13 cases of the variant were found among people on two flights that arrived in Amsterdam from South Africa on Friday.

Authorities had tested all of the more than 600 passengers on those two flights and had found 61 coronavirus cases, going on to test those for the new variant.

“This could possibly be the tip of the iceberg,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge told reporters in Rotterdam.

Omicron, dubbed a “variant of concern” last week by the WHO that is potentially more contagious than previous variants, has now been detected in Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and South Africa.



Source link

Bargain hunters explain how to find flights for £3.99 and get £150 off holidays


Some of the tips include using tools like Google Flights and being open to travelling last minute – or well in advance – to places you may never have considered before

Tom Church shares his tips for finding bargain flights
Tom Church shares his tips for finding bargain flights

It feels like a while since many of us have jetted away on holiday – but if you are planning a trip, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

Ahead of Black Friday, bargain hunters have pulled together some tips to explain how to get flights for as little as £3.99.

Some of their advice includes using tools like Google Flights and being open to travelling last minute – or well in advance – to places you may never have considered before.

Co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk Tom Church said: “You can easily visit loads of exciting locations for just a few pounds.

“Plus, once you’re there it’s easy to save on food with the tricks our savvy community members have.

“Here are some of the best tips for making some impressive savings on your next trip.”







Tom Church recommends keeping an eye on the latest holiday deals
(

Image:

LatestDeals.co.uk)

Use vouchers and coupons – £150 off

Keeping an eye out for vouchers and coupons could save you hundreds of pounds on your next holiday.

Some of the best websites highlighted include Wowcher and Groupon.

LatestDeals.co.uk also has a “holidays” tag where you can track down discounts.

At the moment, some of the offers highlighted include £150 off holiday bookings at First Choice and £25 off a Venice break.

April Dykes had a tip for shorter city stays: “Utilise deals on sites like Wowcher and Groupon when doing trips to London.”

Melissa Foort advised fellow scrimpers to pre-book everything. “Use comparison sites to make sure you get the best deals.”

How do you save money on holidays? Let us know: mirror.money.saving@mirror.co.uk

Where Brits can go on holiday

Avoid peak times – find flights for £10

If you can avoid the school holidays and travel during unpopular times, you’ll likely save big on your next break.

The same goes for if you book early morning flights as opposed to more sociable hours.

Sally Smith commented: “Go out of season and go to the cheapest place – don’t have your heart set on a specific location.

“If you’ve not been there you don’t know that you won’t like it [so why not try it?]”

Tom added: “If you want some help with finding out when the best time is to book a holiday, look out for our flight deal roundups – we often find flights as cheap as £10.

Alternatively, Hopper is a free app which uses artificial intelligence to tell you when the best time to book a flight is.”







Tom Church runs the LatestDeals.co.uk blog
(

Image:

LatestDeals.co.uk)

Time it just right – get four nights away for £130

Every bargain hunter will know the value of doing some planning and research before spending money. Going away on holiday is no different.

It is worth checking both well in advance and also seeing what last minute deals you can get.

Both options have the potential to offer great savings.

Sinead Kelly advised: “Shop around! I got a great deal for next summer, and in summer 2019 we got to France for £462 for seven nights and two nights on the ferry.”

Angela Sloan shared her trick: “Book a year in advance, and look for a code for money off.”

Tom added: “By being open to travelling last minute to places you may not have considered before, you can easily visit loads of exciting locations for just a few pounds.”

Look for unpopular flights – go abroad for £3.99

If you’re willing to get up super early, come back in the small hours or deal with a layover, you may be able to save a lot of money.

Jack Boardman said: “Adjust flight times to earlier or later, when it’s less busy. You can save hundreds this way.”

Antonia Yocova thinks in a similar way: “Buy airplane tickets on or just before Christmas. Very few people are buying at this time.”

Tom added: “Ryanair does flight sales once every three months from £3.99.

“You can often get a return flight for a tenner. I’ve been to France, Italy and Portugal all for less than £20.”

Read More

Read More





Source link

Williams woman facing drug charges after police find drugs in her vehicle




Williams woman facing drug charges after police find drugs in her vehicle | WBIW































Local Weather Alerts






There are currently no active weather alerts.






error: Content is protected !!






Source link

Transgender travelers face challenges, find community seeing the world


play

Transgender Awareness Week comes around once a year, but all year round, transgender travelers remain all too aware of the challenges of #travelingwhiletrans.

Roughly 1.4 million U.S. adults identify as transgender, according to the latest numbers from the Williams Insititute at UCLA’s School of Law. 

While the U.S. recently issued its first gender X passport, many transgender Americans still don’t have identification that reflects their identities, some still face invasive or humiliating screenings at airports, and others are misgendered, harassed or worse.

USA TODAY spoke with Kayley Whalen and Ben Haseen, who have both shared some of their experiences on social media, about what they wish other travelers would know.

Whalen describes herself as a transgender advocate, autistic advocate and YouTuber. Haseen describes himself as an openly visible South Asian transgender man and med student. Their responses have been edited for length. 

►’The world is yours, too’: ‘Real Queer America’ author Samantha Allen has a message for LGBTQ travelers

►Words matter: LGBTQ definitions every good ally should know

What have your travel experiences been like?

Whalen: First of all, I understand there are a lot of reasons why a lot of transgender people are afraid to travel. That’s why I’ve made videos and tips about it on YouTube. Right now I’m in Guatemala to learn more about my family history … but I was afraid to travel for years … because I didn’t have ID documents, (a) passport that matched my gender, that matched who I am as a transgender woman.

I think it’s really important for trans people to encourage other trans people to travel and kind of be a supportive community because I think there’s a lot of value in traveling the world and learning about other cultures.

When you travel, you realize trans people always existed. … There (are) very thriving trans communities with a long, rich history in many of the places I’ve traveled to, including the Philippines and Thailand. And I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them.

What’s it like connecting with other transgender people when you travel?

Whalen: It’s been fun. It’s inspired me to learn Thai, Vietnamese and Spanish, which I’m working on. But for me, the most valuable thing about meeting trans people in other countries is learning that the gender system we live under in the United States is very artificial, very constructed. Every culture I’ve traveled in understands gender differently.

►This is America: Gender expression in a socially distanced world

Haseen: Whenever I make plans to go to a new city, I always search for other trans and queer (folks) who are living in that city. I generally get a lot of valuable advice on which places are safe and where I can meet other queer people. Meeting with other trans (folks) really makes traveling more magical because I can quickly make friends and be completely myself in a completely new setting. I don’t have to worry about hiding who I am.

What are some positive experiences you’ve had traveling?

Whalen: I think it’s really interesting how other cultures let you kind of self-identify and use the pronouns that work for you and don’t really judge you in a way I think a lot of Americans are like, “Whoa, pronouns. You’re being so politically correct.”

I think the other thing that was really cool was just exploring the really vibrant ways that trans people make communities in other countries, whether it’s through cabaret shows in Thailand or pageants (elsewhere) in Southeast Asia. I got to do the Miss International Queen pageant (as Miss USA), and it really changed my perspective of beauty pageants as a more kind of radical, activist experience that I never expected.

What are some challenges you’ve faced traveling?

Whalen: I still kind of panic a bit sometimes in airports. I’m lucky my gender identification matches. And to be honest, I don’t like this word too much, but I’m generally able to pass. But I have past triggering experiences of being screened and mistreated. But for the most part, I have been navigating and meeting lots of trans folks and an awesome community.

Haseen: Not only am I trans, but I am also a South Asian Muslim transgender man, so I face a lot of intersections of bias when it comes to traveling. Airports have never really been a safe space for me because of TSA (Transportation Security Administration) policies that can make the security check an anxious process.

As a trans man, I always deal with the uncomfortable experience of being patted down and wondering if the TSA agent has figured out that I am trans and whether there would be repercussions if they were to figure it out, especially if I am in another country where being caught … can be very dangerous.

►Come explore with us: Sign up for USA TODAY’s Travel newsletter

I still haven’t changed my gender marker on my passport, so I always must be discrete when I present it to security and hope that they don’t notice the big “F” in my sex category heading. So far no one has ever said anything, but it’s a fear that’s always in the back of my mind.  

I notice, compared to the rest of my friends who go through the security check-in, that I often get more scrutiny when my bags are being checked. I sometimes wonder if it is because of my dark brown skin or (because) I have a beard. One time a woman who was in the line in front of me was joking with an agent that they wouldn’t find a bomb in her bags, and I remember thinking how the situation would be completely different if I said anything of that sort of joke in an airport.

How important is it to have safe spaces while traveling?

Haseen: Whenever I travel, I usually take a companion with me. It’s to make sure that I am safe and that my companion can advocate for me in case security personnel made it hard for me to stand up for myself if I am being mistreated. Even when I don’t travel with a companion, my dad always watches the security line to make sure that I go past the detectors before going back home when he drops me off. It’s been hard to travel independently because I always have to factor in discomfort, how to navigate around it.

What kind of tips would you give newly transitioning transgender travelers?

Whalen: The National Center for Transgender Equality has a Know Your Rights guide for traveling well trans, which I highly recommend …There’s a LGBTQ (Travel) Safety survival guide by Man About World as well. (Whalen also shares tips on YouTube.)

Do your research beforehand. It’s going to make your experience better in another country if you know about the history and at least the current political situation about LGBT rights.

One of the most rewarding and positive things I’ve done before I travel is I will contact LGBT transgender organizations in the countries before I even arrive. For example, the Asia Pacific Transgender Network has helped me contact trans organizations all across the Asia Pacific region … They are an amazing resource.

There are horror stories about trans people getting really badly harassed, and we need to fix that as activists, but by and large, don’t be scared by those horror stories. Go in knowing your rights

Haseen: My biggest advice is to never let anything stop you from living your true self. It might mean sacrificing certain places you have wanted to travel to, but many trans people in the world don’t even have the privilege to be themselves. It is our duty to be visible and to fight for the rights of those who cannot.

Always do your research about where you want to go, build a network of trusted colleagues you can be yourself with, keep loved ones informed about where you are periodically. Know the laws about where you are going and how to protect yourself … It is better to be prepared for anything and (know) how to get legal help when you need it.

►‘Go past Pride’: Trans activists want the Biden administration to address ‘epidemic’ of violence

What would you want other transgender travelers to know?

Whalen: Respect the local culture. Sometimes I’ve read or seen really indignant LGBT travelers that are like … “I’m just treated so badly. They’re a horrible country. They’re a horrible culture.”

Going on YouTube or whatever platform and saying, “I hate X country because X country did this to me” is often very racist, colonialist and hurts LGBT activism in that country by portraying them in a negative light when there are activists actively trying to change that culture for the better. If you’re upset about being mistreated, talk with local activists and see what you can do to support (them).

►Not a ‘two-sides issue’: Transgender people exist. Why is there a debate over whether they should have rights?

Haseen: There will always be trans people and allies wherever we go in the world. There will always be a community for us.

In many non-western nations, trans people are even more accepted than they are here in the States. There are beautiful cultures that embrace gender diversity, and it’s rooted in their history.

Traveling should not be something that’s a fear for us. It is something that we should come to embrace.

What should other travelers to know?

Haseen: If you are traveling with a trans companion, it is important to practice allyship. That comes in the form of protecting their identity and (building) a community of travelers with us. Often, we feel isolated already in our lived experiences so even small acts of kindness and camaraderie while traveling can make a wonderful experience for us. We want to be able to see the wonders of the Earth without bias or judgment and to capture the human experience like everyone else.

What would you change about travel, if you could?

Whalen: I think border crossings and airports are a place of intense personal surveillance. They’re a place of racial profiling. There’s the term flying while Muslim,  traveling while trans because many communities – the Black community, the Muslim community, the trans community, pretty much any people of color  – are going to be much more heavily profiled at border crossings and at airports and other ports of entry to a country. And that’s just really unfair … We need to end this violence, policing of marginalized folks.

Haseen: Traveling needs to be safer for gender minorities, and there needs to be international laws that protect trans travelers. There are some places in the world that I would love to travel to but will never have the chance because my life would be in danger if I were to travel there.

You could say that I can change my gender marker and try to blend in, but many trans people don’t have the luxury to medically transition and pass as cisgender to the outside world. And even then, we always face the fear of persecution and even death no matter where we go.



Source link

2021 Chicago Christmas Trip Planner: Find the Best Holiday Fun


2) See the ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

ZooLights runs November 19, 2021 – January 2, 2022 this season from 4 -10 pm daily. Closed Dec 24 & 25.

The Lincoln Park Zoo becomes a holiday winter wonderland as it lights up with over 2.5 million Christmas lights! It’s truly a sight to see and my kids’ favorite thing to do in Chicago at Christmas.

Zoolights includes ice sculptures, lighted tunnels, character displays, and 18-foot holiday tree, and a musical light show.

The animal exhibits are open and we’ve found the animals to be very active in the evening.

Tickets are required for all guests, including infants and children. Monday and Tuesday nights are free and Wednesday-Sunday tickets are $5.

Sensory-Friendly Nights are Nov 19 and Dec 13, 2021.

Pro Tips:
– Arrive at dusk or try to go on a weekday to avoid the crowds.
– Admission is free at Lincoln Park Zoo, but ZooLights is a ticketed event and there is a fee. Buy tickets in advance online.
– Parking can get pricey – consider public transit or a car service. 
– You may want to buy “light up Christmas necklaces” for your kids ahead of time at a dollar store. They are pricey at the zoo and every kid wants one.



Source link

Travel news: Get engaged at an iconic landmark, find Canada’s best restaurants, raise a glass at Toronto’s historic hotel bar – GuelphMercury.com



Travel news: Get engaged at an iconic landmark, find Canada’s best restaurants, raise a glass at Toronto’s historic hotel bar  GuelphMercury.com



Source link

Where to find New Zealand’s best ice creams


Nothing says Kiwi summer like a giant ice cream.

But with countless dairies and parlours offering cones in every flavour under the sun, it’s easy to become frozen with indecision.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of our favourite ice cream spots. Whether you’re after the wackiest flavours, the best plant-based alternatives, or the biggest scoops, here are some top shops to seek out on your travels.

READ MORE:
* New Zealand’s tiny towns with amazing treats
* Our state pieways: New Zealand’s best small town bakeries to stop at
* Travel Bites: Lick your way through the country’s best ice cream at Duck Island

Best flavour variety: Duck Island, Hamilton, Auckland and Wellington

For experimental ice cream flavours, you can’t go past Duck Island.

Supplied

For experimental ice cream flavours, you can’t go past Duck Island.

Since launching in an old underwear factory in 2015, these Hamilton-based ice cream makers have become known for their Willy Wonka-like creativity when it comes to flavours, whether they’re taking inspiration from childhood favourites like fairy bread and lolly cake, or experimenting with unconventional ingredients and combinations – think black sticky rice, and roasted white chocolate miso.

Price for a single scoop: $6

One to try: Toasted marshmallow

Best plant-based: Little Liberty Creamery, Inglewood

Little Liberty Creamery’s plant-based “ice creams” are so good you’ll think they’re the real deal.

ANDY JACKSON/Stuff

Little Liberty Creamery’s plant-based “ice creams” are so good you’ll think they’re the real deal.

If you want an ice cream without the belly ache, Little Liberty Creamery could have the frozen treat for you. This Taranaki scoop shop uses a special recipe consisting of cashew nuts, cacao butter and coconut milk, which becomes a base for beloved flavours like caramel swirl, double espresso, and raspberry ripple. Even the most diehard dairy fans have been tricked into thinking these “ice creams” are the real deal.

Price for a single scoop: $5

One to try: Almond Mocha

Best gelato: Little ‘Lato, Auckland

Little ‘Lato serves up traditional Italian-style gelato.

Supplied

Little ‘Lato serves up traditional Italian-style gelato.

Little ‘Lato founder Hannah Wood studied at the famed Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna, Italy, before returning to Aotearoa to share her newfound skills with Kiwis – so you can be assured this ‘lato is legit. Whether you opt for a trusty favourite like salted butterscotch, or branch out on something a little more unexpected like massaman curry, you’ll find every cone filled with rich, velvety goodness. It’s truly *Italian chef kiss*.

Price for a single scoop: $6

One to try: Speculoos

Best real fruit: Toad Hall, Motueka

Toad Hall is a one-stop shop for delicious treats, including real fruit ice creams.

MARION VAN DIJK/Stuff

Toad Hall is a one-stop shop for delicious treats, including real fruit ice creams.

There’s something about being surrounded by orchards that just makes a real fruit ice cream taste better, which is why Motueka – the “fruit bowl” of the Nelson Tasman region – is the perfect destination for those craving a fruity hit. Toad Hall is a go-to spot, twirling ice creams (or frozen yoghurt) filled with every fruit you can think of, with berries sourced locally. Pop by for a quick cone, or make a leisurely afternoon out of it – there’s also a cafe, juicery, brewery and taproom on site.

Price for a single scoop: $5.50

One to try: Mixed berry

Best classic: Rush Munro’s, Hastings

Rush Munro's historic ice cream gardens in Hastings.

Supplied

Rush Munro’s historic ice cream gardens in Hastings.

Slurp up some history on a visit to New Zealand’s oldest ice cream producer. To this day, the iconic Hawke’s Bay ice cream makers use the same basic recipe pioneered by Rush Munro himself back in 1926. Flavours are dependable favourites – hokey pokey, boysenberry, cookies & cream – and made using the finest ingredients. They even have a pretty little garden area where you can enjoy them.

Price for a single scoop: $6.65

One to try: Maple & Walnut

Best truck: Patti’s & Cream, Dunedin

You’ll find Patti’s & Cream parked up at St Clair Beach on the weekends.

DunedinNZ

You’ll find Patti’s & Cream parked up at St Clair Beach on the weekends.

Whatever the weather, most weekends you’ll find hardy Dunedinites queuing up for handmade ice creams from Patti’s & Cream at St Clair Beach. While the retro Bedford truck might hark back to an old-school Mr Whippy experience, the flavours are anything but traditional – think plum balsamic, olive oil, and pumpkin dulce de leche. If you miss the truck, you can head to their scoop shop in Mornington.

Price for a single scoop: $6

One to try: Donut Raspberry Ripple

Best value: Darfield Dairy, Darfield

Darfield Dairy owner Errol Barnes and his version of a “single scoop”.

John Kirk-Anderson/Stuff

Darfield Dairy owner Errol Barnes and his version of a “single scoop”.

Size matters when it comes to ice creams. And while many dairies offer multi-scoop monstrosities in an attempt to lure in ice cream lovers, Darfield Dairy in Canterbury knows the real generosity test comes down to the single scoop. They really have to be seen in person (ideally using a small child for scale) to be believed, but they’re at least twice the size of other dairies. All flavours on offer come from the Kiwi brands Tip Top and Chateau – when they’re that big, you want something tried and true.

Price for a single scoop: $5 (or $3 for a “small” one)

One to try: Gold Rush

Do you have a favourite ice cream shop? Email us at travel@stuff.co.nz or let us know in the comments.



Source link

How to find cheap flights this fall and winter: Start now, and look abroad


Mel Dohmen, senior manager of brand marketing at Orbitz and Cheaptickets, said there is a lot of affordability out there, such as to bigger hub cities where airlines are adding more flights (e.g., Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Orlando.) This winter you’ll have more competition, and potentially higher ticket prices, if you’re heading to warm-weather or snow-sport destinations.



Source link

Tip line created to help find missing 18-year-old


EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – The Michigan State University Police Department has set up a toll-free tip line and email address for the missing person case involving a teen who was visiting MSU over the weekend.

If you have information on the whereabouts of Brendan Santo, call 844-99-MSUPD (67873) or email tips@police.msu.edu.

“We are asking anybody who had contact with Brendan Santo on Friday, October 29th to contact us if our investigators have not yet spoken to them,” said MSU PD Public Information Officer Inspector Chris Rozman. “We are encouraging anybody who may have any information at all related to Brendan Santo to call or email us and speak with one of our investigators.”

Santo is 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, and was last seen wearing gray sweatpants, a black t-shirt, a black baseball hat, and white Converse high-top shoes.

To expand search efforts, MSU PD has utilized resources from other state and local law enforcement agencies. Both Michigan State Police and the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office have provided assistance with specialized units. Searches have been conducted on foot, by helicopter and drone, and by boat.

Santo, a student at Grand Valley State University, was visiting friends on campus and was last seen leaving Yakeley Hall shortly before midnight on Friday, Oct. 29. Santo’s car has been located and friends from his hometown in Rochester organized a carpool to travel to MSU and help in the search.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.



Source link

Travel agencies find ways to navigate Covid complexities: Travel Weekly


Navigating international travel these days isn’t for the faint of heart, and to keep clients abreast of ever-changing policies, agencies are relying on a dizzying mix of digital resources, creative initiatives and staffers specifically dedicated to the cause.

Embark Beyond, for example, augmented its approach by adding a “Covid expert” to the company’s team earlier this year. The Covid expert, who transitioned into the role after most recently serving as an Embark concierge, is charged with keeping the agency updated on the latest travel protocols,while also fielding more complex Covid rules-related queries from Embark advisors. 

“As an agency or an advisor, you have to think about how you can be a step ahead and make the client’s life easy when it comes to travel, and really give people no excuses to not travel,” said Embark founder Jack Ezon. 

For travelers looking to visit or travel through multiple destinations, as well as those traveling with younger children ineligible for vaccination, having a Covid expert has proven especially valuable, added Ezon. 

“She’s been saving our advisors so much time,” he said. “In the beginning, our advisors were spending half an hour or 45 minutes trying to figure some of this stuff out, when they could be selling instead.”

Like many travel groups, Embark has also tapped Sherpa, an online platform specializing in travel identification requirements, to stay up to date on various restrictions like visa, passport, quarantine and Covid testing measures across the globe. According to Sherpa’s website, the company collects its information by aggregating data from thousands of sources, including official government websites, every day.

While Sherpa is also a go-to resource for Brownell Travel, the Birmingham, Ala.-based company has beefed up its pandemic problem-solving efforts with a special desk intended to field restriction-related questions. The travel desk email account is manned by a team of six. 

Additionally, Brownell has set up several Slack channels focused solely on Covid concerns.

“We maintain a Slack workspace for the entire community, with channels dedicated to different topics, including Covid updates and Covid resources,” said Sheri M. Selkirk, COO at Brownell Travel. “So, you have the Brownell community of about 200 people seeing your posts, and whoever can help you be more efficient and adapt to what your client needs at that time, they absolutely jump right in.”

So far, said Selkirk, Brownell’s crowdsourcing solution has yet to leave a single travel restriction query unanswered. 

“Everyone in the company is on Slack, from our president, Troy Haas, on down,” said Selkirk. “So we can cover all bases, whether it’s an operations question, a sales question or a Covid question.”

The tiered approach

Across Internova Travel Group, the strategy around travel restriction updates has been similarly multilayered, according to John Rose, chief risk and security officer for Internova’s Altour division. 

In addition to the Sherpa platform, which Internova has used since September of this year, the group has been leveraging support provided by a company called Exlog Global since August 2020. 

“Exlog is able to provide that next tier of support, and they specialize in that human component,” said Rose. 

“Let’s say you might be traveling with someone, but the person you’re traveling with is on a different passport. So, if there’s a question about that, that maybe isn’t clear to the client or the advisor, Exlog is able to work that out.”

One-on-one support from an Exlog professional is available via email or phone, with Rose estimating that Internova typically sees “several hundred” questions get answered by the Exlog system each week. 

If a Covid-related travel quandary proves too difficult or unique for Sherpa to address or Exlog to solve, the matter is then escalated to an internal team within the organization. 

The tiered approach has “really worked well,” said Rose.

“To be able to provide that level of service is a differentiator we have within Internova,” he added. “We can’t have an advisor spending eight hours searching 19 different websites and then getting conflicting information, because that’s not helpful to anyone.”

Meanwhile, as international travel continues to ramp back up, Rose predicts that being able to efficiently stay on top of travel protocol changes will be more important than ever.

“The world is opening back up, but it’s going to open with restrictions and those restrictions aren’t going to be going away anytime in the near future,” said Rose. “So, the demand for tools like Sherpa and other tiers of support is likely to grow, and it’s so important to be forward-thinking and get solutions.”

At Signature Travel Network, members are granted access to a paid enterprise account on Sherpa, which provides them the ability to create custom links that can be shared with clients, as well as integrate Sherpa’s content directly into their websites, emails and itineraries, among other channels. 

Members can also opt to create their own white label version of the Sherpa site. 

“Without question, a travel advisor’s greatest challenge today is keeping up with the continually changing border closures, visa needs, Covid protocols, et cetera,” said Jean Newman Glock, Signature’s managing director for communications and public affairs.



Source link