Travel News

By Judy Newell

USA, Canada, México Extend Travel Restrictions Another Month

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced the extension of restrictions on all non-essential travel across US, Canadian, and Mexican borders for an additional month in light of the as-yet-uncontrolled coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement released April 20, Acting DHS Secretary, Chad Wolf, wrote: “In close collaboration, the US, México, and Canada have each agreed to extend restrictions on nonessential travel across their shared borders for 30 additional days. As President Trump stated, border control, travel restrictions, and other limitations remain critical to slowing the spread and allowing the phased opening of the country.”

According to Johns Hopkins’ COVID-19 Dashboard on April 29, the US has thus far reported 1,030,487 confirmed cases of the virus, Canada reported 52,164 positive cases, and México reported 16,752 cases.

International News

4.6M U.S. Hotel Workers Gone; Industry to Shrink 50%

As COVID-19 continues to devastate the hotel industry, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released new data showing that 70% of hotel employees have been laid off or furloughed, as 8 in 10 hotel rooms across the nation remain empty.

As this crisis progresses beyond what anyone could have projected, the impact to the travel industry is nine times worse than 9/11, with forecasted occupancy rates for 2020 hitting record lows worse than rates in 1933 during the Great Depression.

Oktoberfest Canceled for the First Time Since 1923

Well, there’s no need to have your lederhosen dry cleaned, and you don’t need to clear out any cabinet space for an oversized souvenir beer stein. Leaders in the German state of Bavaria have announced that 2020 Oktoberfest, the world’s largest folk festival, has been canceled this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Every fall, an estimated six million beer lovers, enthusiastic revelers, and tourists in brand new dirndls attend the two-week boozy festival held in Munich, Germany. This year’s Oktoberfest had been scheduled to take place from September 19 to October 4.

The announcement is a huge blow to the city of Munich, which usually makes more than €1 billion from the festival. The rowdy festival is famous for its huge quantities of beer, long wooden tables, and oompah bands.

The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 to mark the marriage of King Ludwig I to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

Air News

South African Airways Nears Collapse with Plan to Liquidate

South African Airways plans to lay off its entire workforce after failing to persuade the government to provide more financial aid, a move that threatens to ground the 86-year-old carrier for good.

The state-owned airline has offered severance deals to all 4,700 staff from the end of April after administrators concluded that a successful turnaround is now unlikely. The basic value of compensation will be one-week pay for each year of service and will depend on the successful disposal of assets such as real estate. No agreements have been concluded as of this date.

SAA has relied on bailouts and state-guaranteed debt agreements for years, having last made a profit in 2011, and was put into a form of bankruptcy protection in December 2019. The Public Enterprises Minister said that the cost of staving off the COVID-19 pandemic meant that no more cash could be extended, while the Finance Minister said the carrier’s closure could help shore up state finances.

The coronavirus may prove the final nail in the coffin for SAA. The outbreak forced airlines around the world to ground airplanes. The industry could lose USD$314 billion in ticket sales this year, according to the International Air Transport Association, as lockdowns and travel bans take an increasingly heavy toll on the global economy.

Argentina Bans All Commercial Flight Ticket Sales Until September

On April 27, Argentina banned all commercial flight ticket sales until September, prompting an industry outcry that the new measure will put too much strain on airlines and airports, according to Reuters. The country already closed its borders back in March.

The ban will include the sale and purchase of commercial flights to, from, or within Argentina. Reuters adds that many countries in South America, including Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia, have banned all commercial flights for the time being, but none have extended their timeline as far out as September.

The UnitedStates, Brazil, and Canada have imposed restrictions, but not outright bans.

Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

“Our ability to handle life’s challenges is a measure of our strength of character.”—Les Brown

Deal of the Week

Book Now & Save Big with American Queen Steamboat Company

People are itching to take their next vacation. Some travelers had to cancel or postpone cruises over the last few months, and it’s hard to look ahead to better days when the no-sail order for cruise ships continues to get extended.

However, dreaming about future trips and getting those trips planned are the perfect things to do to pass the time while staying safely at home. What better time than now to plan out all the details for a dream cruise? Not only will you have all the planning out of the way early, but you’ll also have something exciting to look forward to.

American Queen Steamboat Company is currently offering an early booking discount. Book your 2021 voyage now and save up to USD$1400 per stateroom on each of the company’s paddlewheelers. A cruise fare with American Queen Steamboat Company includes a pre-night hotel stay, hop-on-hop-off shore excursions, onboard meals, entertainment, Wi-Fi, and more.

This early booking promotion is valid on select 2021 departures, and guests must book by August 31, 2020.

Perfect Journeys Office Is Closed

The office of Perfect Journeys, located in Rancho Los Labradores on the Carretera a Dolores Hidalgo, temporarily closed on April 1. It is planned that the office will re-open in the same location. Meanwhile, Judy is working from her home and requests that clients contact her by telephone or email for help with any future travel planning.

Judy Newell, an international travel consultant since 1971, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world. She custom designs journeys that are tailored to suit your interests, physical abilities and budget. Please contact Judy for further information on Travel News topics and around-the-world travel. Cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949 300 3682; email judynewell@perfectjourneys.net.

 Sources: Homeland Security, Hotel Business, The Sun, APTA, Reuters, Travel Pulse