Travel Portland presents telling tourism report to city council | Local News

PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – Portland’s reputation isn’t the greatest. That’s the big takeaway from a city council meeting Wednesday morning, when Travel Portland presented a telling tourism report.

In the meeting, Commissioner Mingus Mapps started by bringing up some reputation concerns.

“Here’s the problem,” said Commissioner Mapps. “Around the world, too many people associate Portland with homelessness and homicide.”

“Today, a significant chunk of humanity is afraid of spending time and money in our city,” he continued.

That skepticism surrounding the city is holding back major economic recovery, according to the President and CEO of Travel Portland.

“Continued attacks and breaking glass on buildings throughout the city, but especially downtown, continued to affect this hard to overcome sentiment, “ said Jeff Miller. “Our central city occupancy in September lags every competitive city we tracked.”

A study by Travel Portland shows a major problem affecting the economy right now, a lot of people don’t want to attend conferences in the city.

“Portland’s specific issues related to civil unrest and public safety concerns has exasperated the negative occurrences and declining attendances and group cancellations,” said Miller. “While the region struggles with solutions for local safety concerns, the impact on meetings and convention in future months and years remains evident, as Portland hotels continue to experience cancellations well into the future.”

“Well, it wasn’t uplifting, but I didn’t expect it to be,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler.

Mayor Wheeler responded by saying the city isn’t quite ready for marketing.

“I’m not saying stop your marketing, but right now people don’t buy it,” he said. “What they want to see is results.”

“Safety, homelessness, livability, and economic recovery, that’s the good news, they’re related,” said Mayor Wheeler. “So, if our council keeps our focus on reducing unsanctioned homeless camps and finding humane alternatives and reducing the impact of homelessness on our community.”

With travel and tourism in jeopardy, Mayor Wheeler said they’re making changes and will continue to do so.

“We do agree as a council,” he said. “We’re unified on these priorities.”

“We will be allocating resources in the near term in this fall budget process towards the issues that you raised as being primary concerns.,” he continued.

Not all of the presentation was negative. Travel Portland also spoke on its effort to ensure minority-owned businesses are being highlighted often.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 

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Breaking Travel News interview: Florian Sengstschmid, chief executive, Azerbaijan Tourism Board | Focus

Azerbaijan Tourism Board has been honoured with the title of Europe’s Leading Cultural Destination at the World Travel Awards.

Here Breaking Travel News speaks to Florian Sengstschmid, the chief executive of Azerbaijan Tourism Board, to find out how it feels to have been recognised by voters from around the globe.

Breaking Travel News: Having claimed a top title at the World Travel Awards, how does it feel to have won?

Florian Sengstschmid: We are extremely delighted to be voted as the winners of this prestigious award in the global travel and tourism industry.

This proves that we are on the right path with our strategy to highlight the unique tangible and intangible assets of the country and develop distinctive travel experiences based on these genuine features instead of creating something artificial.

We look forward to welcoming new and returning travellers to take another look at this beautiful country.

BTN: How will the trophy help you to promote Azerbaijan as we move into 2022?

FS: Tourism was one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic, but with the active ongoing vaccination process and integrated travel protocols implemented, we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Participation at various international trade shows and exhibitions, numerous marketing campaigns, media work with leading publications and platforms worldwide, cooperation with prominent travel platforms and agencies, digital promotion – all these, topped with new exciting tourism products and experiences are only a part of what we have prepared for the coming year.

Certainly, the World Travel Awards trophy will contribute to achieving greater acknowledgement internationally and bolstering the image of our destination globally.

BTN: What is it that caught the eye of voters; what do you think it is that separates Azerbaijan from its competitors in Europe?

FS: Azerbaijan is a perfect destination for those who wish to explore the rich cultural offering and ancient heritage – the country is home to three masterpieces included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, such as the magnificent Old City (Icherisheher) in Baku, the prehistoric petroglyphs of Gobustan and the astonishingly beautiful Sheki Khans’ Palace with exquisite miniatures in the historic centre of Sheki.

Famous for its breath-taking views, Khinalig village has been included into the UNESCO Tentative List in 2020.

There are also many amazing examples of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in the country, including copper production in the village of Lahij, carpet weaving and the art of making women’s silk headscarf “kelaghayi”.

Being an important hub on ancient Silk Road trade route, Azerbaijan has long been under influence of various cultures and ethnicities, becoming a multicultural country represented by many nations and cultures.

Today, we can see the traces of Caucasian Albania which consisted of more than 26 nations all over Azerbaijan, Jewish settlements in Baku, Guba and Oghuz, Polish heritage in Baku, German heritage in the western parts of Azerbaijan – all represented by tangible and intangible cultural elements.

Shusha, the cultural capital of Azerbaijan, and the Karabakh region in general, will definitely play a crucial role in the development of tourism in the region.

An exceptional combination of an Eastern country with a Western outlook where antiquity merges with modernity, Azerbaijan is an enthralling mixture of people, styles, colours and traditions that never ceases to amaze, and we invite everyone to visit and discover this beautiful destination.

More Information

Find out more about Azerbaijan Tourism Board on the official website.

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Breaking Travel News interview: Arvind Bundhun, director, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority | Focus

Mauritius has been honoured with the title of Indian Ocean’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination among a number of top prizes at the World Travel Awards.

Here Breaking Travel News speaks to Arvind Bundhun, director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, to find out how it feels to have been recognised by voters from around the globe.

Breaking Travel News: Having claimed a top title at the World Travel Awards, how does it feel to have won?

Arvind Bundhun: It is a real honour for Mauritius to be recognised as the Indian Ocean’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination.

We are very proud of the range of experiences we offer to international visitors, and we are delighted to see voters’ appreciation.

The adventure-seeking tourist finds an idyllic destination in Mauritius, able to enjoy something unforgettable each day no matter how long the visit.

This award is a reflection of the hard work, commitment and dedication of our tourism industry workers, from hoteliers to the villa rental operators, the beach traders, skippers, taxi drivers, restaurant owners and street food vendors over what has been a difficult year.

Everyone has worked tirelessly to ensure that Mauritius was ready to welcome guests once the time was right to open our borders, able to give guests the Mauritian paradise experience they know and love, and ensure they are Covid-19-safe and secure.

BTN: How will the trophy help you to promote Mauritius as we move into 2022?

AB: This award is timely as we have just entered our summer season, which is our tourism peak.

It helps shine the light some of the finest experiences Mauritius has to offer beyond our renowned beaches and lagoons.

It is a great asset to be recognised in this way and we expect that it will help push demand for travel to Mauritius up even further.

Demand has been increasing rapidly over the past weeks, as consumers in our key markets respond to changes in travel restrictions which make holidays more doable.

We have increased flight capacity for the national airline, Air Mauritius, from France, South Africa, Reunion and the UK over the coming months, and other airlines are doing the same.

BTN: What is it that caught the eye of voters; what do you think it is that separates Mauritius from its competitors in Africa and the Indian Ocean?

AB: Mauritius isn’t just a holiday island but a living, breathing, working island home to 1.3 million citizens and able to offer all kinds of experience, from the vibrant capital of Port Louis, to the national parks in the south, bustling markets, every type of cuisine from Mauritius’s diverse population, plus sites of historical and cultural significance and breath-taking views and activities for adrenaline-seekers.

BTN: Where does Mauritius stand with the reopening from the Covid-19 pandemic?

AB: Mauritius opened its borders to international tourists on October 1st, after a period of 18 months.

Vaccinated travellers are not subject to any quarantine requirements, providing testing obligations are fulfilled.

Mauritius has had one of the best Covid-19 responses in the world.

Our public health protocols are widely recognised as best-practice, and we have an extremely high vaccination rate – around 90 per cent of the adult population are fully vaccinated.

Tourists can feel absolutely safe and secure, able to enjoy the paradise holiday they truly deserve.

We took a more cautious approach to reopening than many countries, deciding to vaccinate first and then reopen.

This was a key part of our public health-first approach to managing the pandemic, but was also considered to be the best way to ensure long-term stable growth.

Tourism is 25 per cent of our GDP, which meant we had to get reopening right.

The impressive demand we’ve seen in recent weeks vindicates our approach.

More Information

Find out more about Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority on the official website.

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‘Long overdue’: Tourism industry welcomes lifting of non-essential travel advisory – National

The travel industry is welcoming what it calls the federal government’s “long overdue” move to lift a global advisory asking Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country.

“You cannot believe how welcome this move is for us,” said Bruce Poon Tip, founder of Canadian-based international tour operator G Adventures. “It’s very late, as far as I’m concerned, given what’s going in the rest of the world. But very welcome, that’s for sure.”

The global travel advisory was put in place in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world.

Read more:
Canada lifts blanket advisory against non-essential travel introduced amid COVID-19

The government of Canada’s website now shows that advisory is no longer in place, though it continues to list individual advisories for destination countries, as it did prior to the pandemic.

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It also urges Canadians to ensure they are fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus before travelling abroad, and to stay informed of the COVID-19 situation at their destination.

Canada has been slower than many other countries to remove its blanket advisory against international travel, and that’s been frustrating for the Canadian travel industry, Poon Tip said. He said his own company has been forced to lay off 1,000 people — more than half of its workforce worldwide — due to the collapse in travel demand.

“It’s been a tough time, making those kinds of decisions. The toughest decisions I’ve had to make in 30 years,” he said.

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Reality check on feds’ plan for standardized vaccine passports

Reality check on feds’ plan for standardized vaccine passports

However, Poon Tip said he’s noticed a significant uptick in travel demand from Canadians in the last couple of months, something he attributes to the growing confidence in the wake of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations.

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“We’ve hired 30 people in the last couple of months just to answer inquiries, and we’re continually hiring again, which is a great feeling,” he said.

At The Travel Lady Agency in Calgary, founder and chief executive Lesley Keyter said she’s also noticed a dramatic increase in inquiries and bookings in the last two months. But she said the removal of the federal government’s blanket travel advisory will add an extra layer of comfort for some people.

“I’m sure this will persuade people who were on the fence. They’ll feel a bit safer about doing that,” Keyter said.

Read more:
PCR travel tests remain because Canada’s not ‘out of the woods yet,’ Tam says

The removal of the global travel advisory should also make it easier for Canadians to purchase travel insurance, depending on their destination and its COVID-19 risk profile, Keyter added.

However, the federal government continues to advise against travel on cruise ships, something Keyter said will continue to negatively affect Canada’s travel agency industry.

“I’m desperately disappointed that they’re taking away the blanket ban, but they’re still keeping this Level 4 advisory for the cruises,” Keyter said.

“Honestly, having been on two cruises in the last couple of months, I felt safer on the cruise than I did on my overnight hotel in Toronto.”

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Click to play video: 'How to deal with international travel barriers'

How to deal with international travel barriers

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Canada opened its borders last month to non-essential international travellers who have received both doses of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine, and to fully vaccinated travellers from the United States in August.

The U.S. government recently announced that its land borders will reopen to non-essential Canadian travellers on Nov. 8.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Breaking Travel News interview: Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, minister of tourism, the Philippines | Focus

World Travel Awards, the leading authority that recognises and rewards excellence in tourism, has revealed its Asia and Oceania 2021 winners.

The Philippines has much to celebrate, having been recognised as among the best in the region by voters.

Here Breaking Travel News speaks to Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, minister of tourism for the Philippines, to find out how it feels to have won.

Breaking Travel News: Congratulations on your victory at the World Travel Awards – with the Philippines having been honoured with the titles of Asia’s Leading Beach Destination and Asia’s Leading Dive Destination. How does it feel to have won?

Bernadette Romulo-Puyat: This is the fifth time that the Philippines won as Asia’s Leading Beach Destination and the third time as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination.

But every year that we win is special because it not only proves the exceptional beauty of our islands, but also validates our sustainable efforts in developing and promoting our natural destinations.

These awards are even more meaningful during these challenging times as they are manifestations of the enduring cooperation that we have with our tourism stakeholders and industry towards recovery.

BTN: What is it that makes diving in the Philippines so special – what do you think attracted the eye of voters?

BRP: The Philippines, recognised as the centre of global marine biodiversity, is home to biologically diverse marine and aquatic resources.

The Philippines “has it all,” from the smallest critters to pelagic animals, there is a dive spot for every type of diver, whether you are an underwater photographer, a dive fanatic or a beginner.

Diving in the Philippines offers a wide variety of incredible sights and experiences like exploring caves and World War II shipwrecks, drifting through massive reef walls teeming with marine life, and even blackwater diving, an extreme kind of night dive over deep oceanic waters.

On top of all these spectacular underwater sights, diving in the Philippines is year-round and it is all in warm, crystal clear waters with great visibility.

With diving opportunities that attract divers with a wide range of interests, exceptional service from well-trained and experienced dive professionals and locals, and genuine Filipino hospitality, the Philippines truly is home to some of the world’s best scuba diving.

BTN: How will you be using the award to promote the Philippines as we head into 2022?

BRP: These awards will definitely boost our efforts to keep the Philippines a top-of-mind destination for tourists all over the word as we await the resumption of international leisure travel to the country.

Sun and beach, as well as diving, are among our top tourism products, and we have also developed new tourism circuits that are attuned to the new normal travel preferences.

These recognitions make the Philippines an established beach and dive destination, and can be our jump-off point in promoting new offerings, together with our efforts to ensure compliance with global health and safety standards.

BTN: Finally, can you tell us a little about the mood among the tourism sector in the Philippines – where is the destination with the recovery from Covid-19?

BRP: Tourism has been a significant pillar of Philippine economic development over the past ten years since the enactment of the tourism act of 2009, but with the arrival of the pandemic, it also became one of the hardest hit sectors due the restriction on travel and closing of borders.

In the midst of this pause, our tourism stakeholders have been very patient – they understand that everyone’s health and safety come first, and that the faster we can curb infection rates, the faster we can reopen the industry.

At present, we have been gradually reopening destinations to domestic tourists in areas that are deemed ready based on the assessment of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, and concerned local government units.

From what we have observed, the Filipinos’ appetite for travel remains strong.

With the Philippines’ robust domestic tourism base, we remain optimistic about the prospects of tourism despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The destinations that have so far reopened to tourists from all over the country include the Philippines’ crown jewel, Boracay Island, the award-winning island destinations of Cebu, and El Nido and Coron in Palawan, the country’s surfing capital of Siargao, and other beautiful spots near Metro Manila such as Clark, La Union and Ilocos Norte.

This pandemic has given the Philippines’ tourism industry a unique opportunity to explore, develop, and strengthen all the wonderful destinations and activities that we have in order to provide a better travel experience for tourists in the new normal.

More Information

Find out more about visiting the Philippines on the official website.

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Saudi Arabia unveils plans for the Rig tourism project | News

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia has announced plans for the Rig, a new tourism project.

Inspired by offshore oil platforms, the development will be located in the Arabian Gulf and will span a combined total area of more than 150,000 square meters.

When complete it will provide a multitude of hospitality offerings, adventures and aquatic sporting experiences.

The Rig is a project in the tourism and entertainment sector, one of key strategic sectors identified by the PIF, and is expected to be a significant value-add to the local economy.

Additionally, to ensure the sustainable preservation of the environment in the vicinity, the project will follow leading global standards and best practices, further supporting broader efforts on environmental protection.

This project is a unique tourism attraction, expected to attract tourists from around the world, while being especially popular with citizens and residents of the GCC countries in the region.

The Rig will feature a number of touristic attractions, including three hotels, world-class restaurants, helipads, and a range of adventurous activities, including extreme sports.

To support Saudi Arabia’s efforts to become a leading global tourist destination, PIF has established several major projects and companies in various regions within the country, including the Red Sea Development Company, Alsoudah Development Company and the Cruise Saudi Company.

Public Investment Fund

PIF is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, seeking to drive the economic transformation of Saudi Arabia for the benefit of its people while helping shape the future global economy.

The organisation is building a portfolio through investments in attractive, long-term opportunities across diverse industries and asset classes internationally, while unlocking new sectors at home.

These include the recent acquisition of Premier League football club, Newcastle United.

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Hawaii’s tourism industry prepares for loosened national travel restrictions for fully vaccinated visitors – Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather

Friday’s announcement was welcomed news for many people in the tourism industry including here in Hawaii. Bruce Fisher, owner of Hawaii Aloha Travel, says international visitors are better for the local economy because they tend to stay longer and spend more. The industry is hopeful for a more vibrant 2022 but right now Hawaii still has travel restrictions in place for visitors from many foreign countries. 

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Peach Aviation to offer unlimited travel passes to revive tourism

Low-cost carrier Peach Aviation Ltd. will offer an unlimited travel pass that will allow holders to take any of the airline’s domestic flights for one month in an effort to revive the tourism industry hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Osaka-based company will begin selling a total of 150 passes from noon on Tuesday with the price ranging from 19,800 yen ($170) to 39,800 yen depending on different options, after Japan eased travel restrictions following a decline in COVID-19 cases nationwide.

Passengers head to board a Peach Aviation Ltd. aircraft at Kansai airport in Osaka Prefecture on July 1, 2021. (Kyodo)

Pass holders will be able to board on all 33 domestic routes offered by the carrier in November, the airline said, adding that it hopes people will explore different parts of the country or even enjoy so-called “workations,” allowing people to take a trip while working online.

While railway companies often sell all-you-can-ride passes, it is rare for a Japanese airline to offer such services, the company said. People aged 12 and over with a valid photo ID are eligible for the passes.

Japan saw record numbers of coronavirus cases during this summer’s fifth wave of infections, prompting the government to issue a state of emergency for Tokyo and other parts of the country that urged people to refrain from making unnecessary outings and traveling across prefectural borders.

The state of emergency as well as a quasi-state of emergency ended in September following a steady decline in COVID-19 infections nationwide.

Peach Aviation will offer two types of unlimited travel passes, which are the “lite” plan, which only covers travel fares, and the standard plan that also allows passengers to select their seats and check in one item of luggage for free.

The lite pass and standard pass will cost 19,800 yen and 29,800 yen, respectively, for the first total of 30 passes that are sold. For the remaining 120, the passes will each cost 10,000 yen more.

In July last year, Japan launched the “Go To Travel” subsidy program to promote domestic tourism that had suffered during the pandemic. But the government suspended it in December following a resurgence in COVID cases.

Tetsuo Saito, Japan’s new tourism minister, said earlier this month that he will consider when to resume it following the full lifting of the state of emergency.

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