Experts see greater holiday travel, but COVID, gas price concerns remain | News


ANDERSON — Roads and airports should be noticeably busier this week, but travel industry experts are still wary that many Americans, concerned about rising gas prices, will choose to stay at home again this Thanksgiving.

“While vaccines have helped travelers feel more comfortable, rising gas prices and continued concerns about the pandemic are making many Americans hesitant to travel during the holidays,” Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said in a news release this week.

An AHLA survey conducted over three days near the end of October found that 29% of Americans are likely to travel for Thanksgiving and 33% are likely to travel for Christmas — an increase from 21% and 24%, respectively, compared to 2020. But industry experts worry that, for those who do plan to travel over the holidays and expect to drive, rising gas prices may dampen those plans.

The holiday travel forecast from the American Automobile Association (AAA) strikes a more optimistic tone, predicting that about 53.4 million people will travel for Thanksgiving this year, up 13% from 2020. AAA expects as many as 6.4 million more travelers on the roads and at airports this year.

“Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel.

Locally, businesses dependent on travel and tourism are acknowledging concerns about higher prices at the pump, but overall expectations are for a busier holiday season than last year.

“We’re anticipating people truly getting out to see family and do some things and get into some more of our events,” said Mark Thacker, executive director of the Anderson Madison County Visitors Bureau. “There are concerns with gas prices, there are concerns with rising levels of COVID. But there are a lot of events coming up, shopping season is coming up, so we anticipate it to be positive numbers.”

Thacker said as people look for flexibility in their lodging and try to stay close to family, local AirBnB’s could see a significant uptick in activity.

“There is pent-up energy for travel,” he said. “I imagine you’re probably going to see people wanting to stay closer to home, closer to family, but you’ll probably see more activation with AirBnB’s as well with a small uptick in hotels.”

Follow Andy Knight on Twitter @Andrew_J_Knight, or call 765-640-4809.





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Experts expect heightened holiday travel, but COVID, gas price concerns remain | News


ANDERSON — Roads and airports should be noticeably busier this week, but travel industry experts are still wary that many Americans, concerned about rising gas prices, will choose to stay at home again this Thanksgiving.

“While vaccines have helped travelers feel more comfortable, rising gas prices and continued concerns about the pandemic are making many Americans hesitant to travel during the holidays,” Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said in a news release this week.

An AHLA survey conducted over three days near the end of October found that 29% of Americans are likely to travel for Thanksgiving and 33% are likely to travel for Christmas — an increase from 21% and 24%, respectively, compared to 2020. But industry experts worry that, for those who do plan to travel over the holidays and expect to drive, rising gas prices may dampen those plans.

The holiday travel forecast from the American Automobile Association (AAA) strikes a more optimistic tone, predicting that about 53.4 million people will travel for Thanksgiving this year, up 13% from 2020. AAA expects as many as 6.4 million more travelers on the roads and at airports this year.

“Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel.

Locally, businesses dependent on travel and tourism are acknowledging concerns about higher prices at the pump, but overall expectations are for a busier holiday season than last year.

“We’re anticipating people truly getting out to see family and do some things and get into some more of our events,” said Mark Thacker, executive director of the Anderson Madison County Visitors Bureau. “There are concerns with gas prices, there are concerns with rising levels of COVID. But there are a lot of events coming up, shopping season is coming up, so we anticipate it to be positive numbers.”

Thacker said as people look for flexibility in their lodging and try to stay close to family, local AirBnB’s could see a significant uptick in activity.

“There is pent-up energy for travel,” he said. “I imagine you’re probably going to see people wanting to stay closer to home, closer to family, but you’ll probably see more activation with AirBnB’s as well with a small uptick in hotels.”

Follow Andy Knight on Twitter @Andrew_J_Knight, or call 765-640-4809.





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Flight tickets on UAE sector still remain steep | Travel News


Abu Dhabi: Air fares on the India-United Arab Emirates (UAE) sector continue to burn a hole in the pockets of ordinary travellers. According to travel agencies, lack of adequate aircraft to meet the demand for seats has led to the situation. “The fares will come down to the normal levels only after airlines start regular services. At present, they are conducting limited services in view of the global pandemic,” said a travel agent.

High ticket rates
The lowest fare available on Monday, October 25, on the UAE sector is for the Kochi-Sharjah Air Arabia flight – Rs 19,500 to 20,800. At the same time, a seat to Dubai on the Fly Dubai service would cost Rs 26,900 to 28,200; on Air India Express Rs 28,500; Spice Jet Rs 38,500; Emirates Rs 48,500 and on Indigo’s connection flight Rs 40,000.

Travel agents said that a ticket to Abu Dhabi would cost an additional Rs 3,000 to 6,000.

Apart from the flight tickets, each passenger has to spend over Rs 3,000 on two PCR tests for COVID-19 in order to travel to the UAE. “In total, a four-member family flying to the UAE from India would have to pay over Rs one lakh for a one-way trip,” said the agent. In other words, a one-way ticket for a single traveller costs around Rs 25,000. Incidentally, before the pandemic struck, passengers from UAE could make a return trip to India at a mere Rs 15,000 during the months of October and November.  



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What COVID restrictions remain in place


Editor’s note: Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on October 1.

    (CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to Hawaii, here’s what you’ll need to know.

The latest news

Hawaii has urged tourists to stay away from the state as COVID-19 numbers surge but has stopped short of barring people from visiting altogether.



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Survey: Majority of charities resume travel but remain nervous


A survey of almost 900
organisations in the charity, academic and not-for-profit sectors has found that
two thirds are resuming travel but admit they remain nervous about the safety of
countries and are concerned about the ever-changing regulations surrounding Covid.

Nine out of ten of those surveyed by
specialist travel management company Diversity Travel said that their organisation
had had a ‘rethink’ about travel strategy, with budgets being reduced for two
thirds of those and 71 per cent of organisations reducing the number of employees allowed to travel.

Two thirds of those surveyed say
they expect business travel to decline in frequency in the near future with
four per cent predicting zero business travel. Opinion is split almost 50/50 over whether
levels of travel will ever return to what they were pre-Covid.

The biggest barriers to travel are the differing levels of
quarantine required around the world (81 per cent), travel restrictions in
destination countries (79 per cent), risk of infection (65 per cent), higher
costs (47 per cent) and vaccination requirements (34 per cent).

Christopher Airey, managing director of Diversity Travel, said:
“For many of our customers, the pandemic has not stopped them and they have
continued to travel to some of the most dangerous parts of the world for
humanitarian reasons.

“They’ve needed to know that we were by their side, helping to
keep them safe and reacting to the changing circumstances brought on by the
pandemic.”



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I finally made it home to Australia. Thousands of others remain blocked by pandemic travel rules. – Washington Post



I finally made it home to Australia. Thousands of others remain blocked by pandemic travel rules.  Washington Post



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Harvest season is here; motorists remain alert for slow-moving farm equipment – WBIW




Harvest season is here; motorists remain alert for slow-moving farm equipment – WBIW












Local Weather Alerts






There are currently no active weather alerts.








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Travel volumes expected to remain high during Labor Day weekend – Macomb Daily


For Americans, Labor Day weekend is the last hurrah of the summer.

It is for many the last pool party and family barbecue before fall sets in and the last chance for people to travel — be it a cottage northern Michigan or a destination out of state.

Come Tuesday morning many will be back to work and school.

This year the last weekend in September means a lot more, as many travelers are cashing in their vouchers for trips that were supposed to be taken last year, or booking trips they held off because of COVID-19.

AAA no longer conducts formal travel forecasts for Labor Day but the Auto Group Club expects travel volumes to remain high during the holiday weekend. Over the summer, AAA Travel bookings were up 11% over 2019 levels.

“We are very excited about the weekend,” said Kelly Cook of Clinton Township.

On Thursday afternoon she and her boyfriend, Jeff Greschak, along with her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend, Haley Cook and Ryan Alward of Rochester Hills, will be boarding a plane headed for Europe.

“Last year we were supposed to go to Mexico but because of COVID all of that was cancelled.”

Cook and her group go on short trips all the time.

However, after the last cancellation they decided to save the vacation money they normally spend on smaller trips and book one big vacation instead. So it’s off to Dublin. Their trip will be an adventurous bus tour featuring all of Ireland’s hotspots such as the Blarney Stone (near Blarney castle) and Brazen Head, which is one of the oldest pubs in Dublin. Legend has it those who kiss the stone will be endowed with the gift of the gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery). Their trip also includes a two-night stay in Fitzpatrick’s castle.

“I’m super excited,” said Kelly’s daughter Haley, who went to Mexico in January and had not trouble dealing with the restrictions required for COVID-19.

Also excited about his first trip to Europe is Alward.

“Seeing the castle, that’s what I’m really looking forward to,” he said.

They are not alone in their enthusiasm for travel.

“There are a lot of people traveling this weekend,” said Diana Leone, owner of Nana World Wide Travel in Clinton Township.

One couple from Macomb County left Wednesday for a train tour in Alaska. Some of Leone’s other clients were headed to Las Vegas or resorts in Jamaica. Jamaica tourism will be hosting a workshop for Detroit area agents looking to learn more about the deals they have going to lure travelers.

“I have one group that planned a girls’ trip to Traverse City,” Leone said. “People still want to go places. They’re anxious to go.”

Helping them do so since 1963 is Nana World Wide Travel. Leone’s father Alexander Nasir founded the company in Detroit – at a time when visiting the Holy Land in Tel Aviv – was a trip on everyone’s bucket list.

“He used to charter planes to go there,” Leone said, noting in those days people could book a 14-day tour of Israel including airfare, hotel and transfers for about $763 a person. That same trip now is between $4,000 and $8,000.

Nana Travel had an office in a building on Washington Boulevard until the 1980s when the building was turned into condominium for seniors. That’s when the family moved into a home renovated into an office building on Harper Avenue and have been there ever since.

Leone has been the owner of the family business since her father died in 1998. Over the years the company has had to weather more than a few storms that grounded travelers including the SARS outbreak that was first reported in Asia in February 2003. Over the next few months, the illness spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia before it was contained, that same year. Then there was 9/11 and the Gulf War, that prevented a lot of people from traveling. But none of them have been as bad as COVID-19, which has reared its head again only with a different face.

Debbie Haas, vice president of AAA said with the resurgence of COVID-19 cases attributed to the delta variant, some travelers are wondering if they should take that last summer trip, or continue with their future travel plans.

“Whether and how to travel is a very personal decision. Most people who were planning to travel are still taking their trips, while being mindful to take precautions to protect themselves and others,” said Haas. “The hottest summer travel destinations are Mexico, Hawaii and popular cities throughout the U.S., as well as cruises to Alaska, Greece and the Caribbean. My husband and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Iceland, which offers outstanding outdoor experiences and is easy to reach.”

Leone said she also recently returned from a trip.

“I was just on a Delta flight and everyone was wearing masks in the airport and on the plane,” Leone said.

Diana Leone, owner of Nana World Wide Travel in Clinton Township has been busy booking trips for people who have had previous trips cancelled or postponed their travel plans because of the pandemic.

It was mandatory. Delta does a deep cleaning after every flight – and she knows this having attended a trip that showed travel agents what they’re doing to ensure the safety of their passengers – but they also hand everyone a wipe before they sit down in case they want to do another swipe of their table and arm rests.

Passengers traveling internationally are required to be tested for COVID and provide proof of negative results prior to boarding the airline. This has become common practice among a number of airlines and cruise ships.

Leone said Delta really stepped up during the pandemic and not only initiated safe travel practices but provided vouchers to people who had trips canceled because of COVID-19. These vouchers were only supposed to last a year but Delta extended them due to the current situation.

“They’ve been rock stars,” said Leone

Travel tips

Among the most important tip for travelers is to stay informed, according to AAA Travel experts. Among the sources of information in addition to your travel agent is the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As of Thursday, Sept. 3, 2021:

• Fully vaccinated people can travel domestically with little risk.

For unvaccinated people, they advise delaying travel. Additionally, some destinations and travel providers may require proof of vaccination before traveling or for access to certain venues and experiences.

• Consider travel insurance to cover unforeseen expenses.

Travel insurance options can vary but potentially cover expenses related to the need to cancel or postpone your trip, flight delays or cancelations, and any extra hotel or transportation expenses incurred. In the past travel insurance did not typically cover epidemics or pandemics but some providers have started to introduce plans that cover some losses due to COVID-19 or other epidemic diseases and the shifting consumer expectations.

• Masks are required while traveling.

The CDC recently updated its guidance on mask-wearing, advising people in areas with high COVID-19 transmission to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. You will be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the U.S., and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Additionally, some states and cities have updated their mask and other travel requirements. Since it will be required it should be at the top of your packing list, and include a number of them for each person traveling. Cloth masks are being allowed on domestic flights but some international destinations may require medical masks so be prepared.

It’s also a good idea to bring disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and a thermometer to help protect and monitor your health. For road trips, consider packing water and extra snacks to reduce the need to stop along your trip.

• Research your hotel to determine its safety practices.

Due to the pandemic consumers’ expectations for cleanliness during their stay has increased dramatically. As a result, AAA has enhanced its Diamond inspections. Hotels that meet AAA’s standards for cleanliness, condition and new surface cleanliness testing are now recognized as Inspected Clean and then assigned a Diamond designation.

The U.S. State Department is also warning Americans of delays in processing passport applications. It may take up to 18 weeks to get your new passport, and 12 weeks for “expedited” service. As a result, it’s recommended that you submit your passport application at least six months before planned travel.

For more information about travel and tips visit: nanatravel.com; AAA.com or cdc.gov



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Most wildfire travel restrictions will end in Manitoba on Friday, but some rules remain


Almost all Manitoba’s wildfire-related travel restrictions will be lifted on Friday morning as most of the province prepares for significant rainfall in the coming days, the Manitoba Wildfire Service says.

The changes will take effect at 8 a.m., but caution is still required, because there are areas where the risk of wildfires may persist even after the rain, the province said in a news release.

Showers and thunderstorms are forecast for parts of Manitoba for several days starting Friday.

All provincial park trails are now open, though campfires are only allowed in approved pits, the province said. More restriction information for provincial parks is available on the government’s website.

Fireworks and sky lanterns are still prohibited in provincial parks and a provincial fireworks authorization is required to use them within fire and travel restriction areas.

More information about those areas is also available on the province’s website.

Many municipalities have brought in their own burning restrictions, so travellers should either check with local municipal offices or look at the province’s online municipal burning restrictions map for more information.

The government won’t issue burning permits in municipalities with restrictions in place or in areas bordering them.

Some rules remain

The one place where rules won’t yet be lifted is Area 4, a large region north of the Wanipigow River, east of Lake Winnipeg to the Ontario border and north to Poplar River, including Atikaki Provincial Park.

It remains at Level 2 restrictions, which means provincial burning permits remain cancelled, motorized backcountry travel (including off-road vehicles like ATVs) is still forbidden unless authorized by a travel permit, and camping is still restricted to developed campgrounds only, the province said.

Campfires in that area will still only be allowed between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., while landing and launching will continue to be restricted to developed shorelines only. Wayside parks will remain open.

Industry and outfitters in the area may also be restricted in their operations and should contact their local Manitoba Conservation and Climate office for more information, the province said.

For all other areas of the province, provincial burning permits will again be available through local or regional Manitoba Conservation and Climate offices.

Those permits are given at the discretion of the officer who issues them and may require a site examination, further conditions or both, the province said.

As of the province’s last fire update report on Tuesday, there were 124 active wildfires burning across Manitoba.

To report a wildfire, you can call 911 or the TIP line (toll-free) at 1-800-782-0076.



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