Search All Traveloscopy Sites

Monday, March 30, 2020

ATIC strongly backs $130 billion JobKeeper package

The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) has strongly backed the Morrison Government’s eye-watering $130 billion JobKeeper package.

ATIC represents thousands of local tourism enterprises, where a feature of our industry is over 90% of 300,000 still registered tourism businesses are small to medium enterprises and sole traders that collectively employ 1 million people.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway
ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said today’s package, once passed by Federal Parliament, represented a genuine lifeline and offer of hope to Australian tourism enterprises, most already facing their darkest hour.

Mr Westaway said for tourism firms, from sole traders to small or larger enterprises, to be directly incentivised to retain valued personnel as our industry faces its greatest ever challenge, is strongly welcomed.

“We naturally urge for the return of Federal Parliament and address this package of major significance swiftly and with appropriate scrutiny but bipartisan backing,” Mr Westaway said.

“Nobody is kidding themselves. The road back for many Australian tourism businesses is going to be incredibly tough. Our international border still remains closed and a number of States and Territories have shut themselves off to interstate visitors.

“The solution is simple. For our industry to again prosper to its once lofty heights we need to get on top of COVID-19. But we also need a tourism industry still with oxygen in its veins to effectively pivot and seize the genuine future opportunity the visitor economy is for our nation and the 1 million people we employ.

“The public health, safety and well-being of our fellow Australians must always remain our number one national priority and none more so than at this time. Our industry has stood solidly as one behind the all-of-government decisions that are designed to ensure this remains the case in facing the headwinds of COVID-19.”

Shinju Matsuri’s 50th Anniversary event postponed to May 2021

In response to the COVID- 19 crisis we have made the decision to postpone the 50th Anniversary of Shinju Matsuri to May 2021.

The 50th Anniversary event next May It will still feature signature elements of the usual Shinju Matsuri Festival including the Sunset Long Table Dinner, Floating Lantern Matsuri, taste journey Makan Dulu and celebratory art installation.

To celebrate Shinju Matsuri’s 50th Anniversary event, local artists Jacky Cheng, Jody Loaring, Michael Torres and Tomoko Yamada will join forces with international artist, Lisa Foo, to create a largescale installation at Town Beach that explores the theme of ‘Home’.

“We are all really looking forward to the 50th Anniversary Celebrations. The artist group will keep collaborating and creating to ensure the work truly captures the spirit of our wonderful community and unites everyone after this very challenging time.” Jacky Cheng – Broome Artist

Shinju Matsuri President Chris Maher said, “Despite the postponement, we are still working hard to plan a fantastic 50th Anniversary celebration event for both visitors and the Broome community. Holding Shinju Matsuri in May will allow us to kick start our tourism season and showcase our beautiful town to holidaymakers once more.”

Sunday, March 22, 2020

ATIC: Where to for Australian #tourism to stay in the game during #COVID19

The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) said the economic and social calamity bearing down on the Australian tourism industry and its predominant small to medium business structure, has been thrown financial ‘life support’ by the Morrison Government’ trying to counter COVID-19 impacts.

ATIC represents thousands of local tourism enterprises, where a feature of our industry is over 90% of 300,000 registered tourism businesses are small to medium enterprises and sole traders that collectively employ 1 million people.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway
ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said the fresh series of Commonwealth subsidised measures for small business enterprise under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme is undeniably a package of major significance at a critical time that can practically support many tourism businesses and try to hold onto jobs.

Mr Westaway said industry will also need to rapidly absorb today’s Commonwealth declaration that all non-essential travel within Australia should be cancelled at this time. This is alongside the mass new series of financial and regulatory measures now on the table to help support our country, our people and seek to retain jobs and keep business doors open against this backdrop.

“The Australian tourism industry has and must walk in lock step with authorities as our nation best tackles the public health response and get on top of the spread of COVID-19,” Mr Westaway said.

“As individuals as much as single businesses and as a community we all now have our role to play. Without getting on top of COVID-19 future sustained confidence in travel will not fully return. These are the toughest of times and resilience alongside keeping doors open and our people in roles are our major priorities.

“The rapid and dramatic changes in travel advisories, to the recent closure of some state and territory borders would of course be seen as unfathomable just months ago. But in these times our industry, a genuine economic and social pillar in Australia, must take the appropriate resilience measures in order to push through to the other side.

“ATIC urges industry to absorb what is now before it, a myriad of information and hone in on elements of current financial and economic packages that can help keep individual businesses resiliently stay in business, keep their people and be positioned to provide a future quality tourism proposition.”

Mr Westaway said Australian tourism enterprises and participants of the visitor economy are amongst those most exposed to the public health led response to COVID-19 with free-falling domestic and international visitor numbers, a halt in spending and future bookings and collective travel bans and restrictions.

“This is well targeted government support that can directly appeal and benefit many Australian tourism SMEs at no more critical time and will provide a new buffer against the calamitous state our great industry and now much of our economy finds itself”, Mr Westaway said.

The COVID-19 SME Guarantee Scheme’s core elements included offering wage subsidies and the vital provision of underwriting of SME loans to a 50% level as a government guarantee with annual turnovers of up to $50 million and an upfront 6-months freeze on repayments. He said the measures would be embraced by industry.

It follows on the heels of Commonwealth and major banks and lenders implementing measures to back eligible SME including a 6-month deferral of loan repayments.

“We welcome and encourage the federal bureaucracy to urge along the rapid flow of this new direct tourism SME support to as many as businesses as possible from the Scheme’s full commencement,” Mr Westaway said.

He said the vast majority of Australian tourism enterprises can capture the wage-subsidy addressing SMEs in one of two welcome ways on initial reading. Firstly, those with annual turnovers up to $50 million, will be paid as a cash payment equivalent to 100 per cent of the withholding tax reported over 2 financial quarters and could now reach a maximum cash boost of $100000, a major step-up from the previous $25,000 ceiling.

“The predominance of tourism businesses are micro sized (5 employees or under) and have no withholding tax obligations. ATIC understands now a minimum payment of $20,000 provides the sought-after cash injection that thousands of tourism providers can chase,” Mr Westaway said,

“The public health, safety and well-being of our fellow Australians must always remain our number one national priority and none more so than at this time. Our industry has stood solidly as one behind the all-of-government decisions that are designed to ensure this remains the case in facing the headwinds of COVID-19.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


Tourism Australia has today (Wednesday 18 March) confirmed that it is cancelling its flagship trade event showcase, the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE), due to take place in Melbourne in May.

The decision follow’s today’s announcement by Australia’s Prime Minister and Chief Medical Officer no longer permitting non-essential organised events of more than 100 people, in addition to recently introduced travel restrictions requiring that everyone arriving into Australia must self-isolate for 14 days.

“Whilst the decision to cancel this year’s ATE is obviously deeply disappointing, and a further blow to our industry, the health and welfare of attendees has to be our primary concern,” said Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison.

“We’ve been monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation very closely and our scenario planning has, of course, included our forthcoming program of trade and industry events.

“We have made the decision to cancel ATE20 due to the situation unfolding globally and the effect it is having on travel.

“We will be providing a full refund of registration fees to all buyer and seller delegates,” Ms Harrison said.

Tourism Australia will continue to review all future events on an ongoing basis.

A list of frequently asked questions can be found here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

TRENZ 2020 Cancelled

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) and the Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust (TINZT)
are deeply disappointed to announce the cancellation of TRENZ 2020.

Only a short time ago we felt optimistic that May was far enough away to confidently
proceed with TRENZ 2020, however, the New Zealand Government has made the call
that all large public events and gatherings should be cancelled as part of New Zealand’s
national response to COVID-19.

We have been working through the details with the host region and our insurers and can
now confirm that TRENZ 2020 is cancelled.

We know that this will come as an enormous disappointment both to the delegates who
were due to attend the show and the team who delivers it every year. However, the
health and welfare of New Zealanders and visitors must remain the priority for all.

The TRENZ team is working through next steps and will be in touch as soon as possible
with more details. Please be patient as we work through this process.

We are well aware of the forward impact cancelling TRENZ 2020 will have on tourism
operators. We are investigating ways to support the industry through this challenging

We appreciate the uncertainty that the travel restrictions have had on our international
buyers and we greatly appreciate their patience and understanding. We look forward to
hosting them at TRENZ in New Zealand in 2021.

TIA and the TINZT are greatly appreciative of your understanding. Our thoughts are with
those affected by COVID-19 and we are thankful for the efforts of those working to
prevent and contain the spread of the virus.

We will be updating the TRENZ website regularly so please keep checking back for more
information. Please see our updated FAQs. The most up-to-date advice around COVID19 can be found through the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
and TIA’s website.

AdventureELEVATE postponed

"Adventure Travel Trade Association, Eugene Cascades & Coast, and Travel Oregon have made the decision to postpone the AdventureELEVATE event originally scheduled on May 5-7th 2020 in Eugene, Oregon due to the growing public health and safety concerns associated with the Coronavirus 2019-nCoV outbreak. We are working to secure a date in September 2020 and will communicate this as soon as we have confirmed. Thank you for your patience."

Monday, March 16, 2020

Cunard temporarily suspends operations until April 11, 2020

As a result of the continued impact of COVID-19, and following the recommendation by the Cruise Lines International Association for cruise lines to voluntarily and temporarily suspend operations from U.S. ports for 30 days, Cunard will be suspending new cruises on its ships until April 11, 2020.

Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said:

”Having reviewed all of our ship operations and industry recommendations, we have decided no new guests or crew will be joining our ships as we suspend operations until April 11, 2020.

“This pause in operations has been done in an abundance of caution to support the global effort to contain the spread of Covid-19.”

All guests impacted directly by this temporary suspension are being contacted regarding their voyage and their options.

Palethorpe continued: “These truly are unprecedented times, the likes of which we have certainly never seen before. We are really sorry for the disruption and disappointment that this extraordinary measure will cause. We hope everyone will understand that we have to take these measures in the interests of protecting the wellbeing of our guests and crew.”

Hawaiian Airlines suspends flights

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Airlines announced Sunday that it was suspending all routes to and from Australia and New Zealand in response to new restrictions on entry into those two countries.

In recent days, as the global coronavirus pandemic has worsened, both nations imposed mandatory 14-day self-isolation entry requirements that apply to all visitors.

ATEC: 2020 Tourism nosedive

January marked the beginning of international visitor nosedive

January’s bushfires marked the beginning of Australia’s international visitor nosedive which has culminated in an effective flat-lining of our export tourism industry with no end in sight.

While many businesses are now coming to terms with the impacts of the COVID-19 prevention initiatives, Australia’s tourism businesses are into their third month of concerning decline.

“Our industry has borne the brunt of two exceptional setbacks and the international visitor numbers for January, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today, only provide a glimpse of where our industry is falling from,” ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley said.

Mr Shelley said Australia’s International visitor income has soared in recent years, growing from just over $20bn in 2015 to well over $45bn in 2019. Today’s ABS arrivals data revealed a negligible increase on last year's figures - what appears to be the lowest growth rate for many years.

“With yesterday’s announcement of isolation measures for all new arrivals to Australia, our inbound tourism industry has effectively been shut down.

“No international visitors means all travel distributors, and many tourism suppliers, have no business and are unlikely to have any business in the near future. This comes right on the back of a massive decline in our industry that came as a result of January's bushfires.”

“The damage to our inbound tourism sector across Australia will deliver a significant blow to Australia’s economy and, with more than 600,000 people employed in tourism jobs, that will have a dramatic flow on to employment.

“Australia’s tourism industry is falling from a great high - a high that has been a big part of our economic success over the past 10 years.

“We know the Government is aware of our predicament and that tourism is not alone in the crisis but what we need to do is ensure the businesses at the heart of our industry can survive the next few months and help Australia get back on its feet.

“Crucial to this will be the Government’s support in helping our inbound travel distributors to keep their business afloat, as this will be critical to maintaining Australia’s tourism ecosystem, without which our export tourism markets will struggle to recover.”

G Adventures suspends tours due to COVID-19

Due to the evolving COVID-19 global pandemic, G Adventures has taken the difficult but necessary decision to suspend all tours departing between 16 March and 30 April 2020. The safety and security of our travellers and staff is our top priority and this is a precautionary measure to protect our people at this time.

Any traveller booked on a tour departing between 16 March and 30 April 2020 will be eligible for a 110% travel credit of all land services, including pre or post nights and transfers, which can be used on any tour departing within the next two years. G Adventures will be proactively notifying all travellers regarding their tour suspension and are advising travellers with flight bookings to contact their insurance and air provider directly for details on refunds or relaxed cancellations policies.

Any tours already in operation or due to depart before 16 March 2020 will run as scheduled.

Select itineraries will be disrupted and G Adventures will notify these travellers to offer a pro-rata travel credit for the remainder of their tour experience.

We understand that some travellers may have the desire to return home early so are offering travellers the option to either continue with their tour as planned or to leave the tour early with a pro-rata travel credit for the remaining days of the land portion of their trip.

G Adventures would like to thank its global community of travellers, agents and partners around the world for their commitment in these times of uncertainty. As pioneers of community tourism, we still believe travel can be the world's greatest form of wealth distribution. As much as we have a commitment to our travellers, we have a commitment to the local communities tourism benefits, and we hope to be able to return to them as soon as it is safe to do so.

Travellers and agents with questions are asked to contact our sales team by telephone or email at the following numbers / email:

Toll-free, North America only: 1 877 277 9854
From the UK: 0344 272 0000
From Australia: 1 300 796 618
From Outside North America, Australia and the UK: +1 416 260 0999Email:

Latest Australian international tourism data

Today’s release by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) of short-term overseas visitor arrivals for the year to 31 January 2020 is timely, but in statistical terms simply masks the major impact COVID-19 is now inflicting on our major tourism and visitor economy.

ABS Overseas Visitor Arrivals data for the year to January 2020 produced an estimated 9.4 million in annual short-term visitor arrivals to Australia, rising 1.6% in trend terms over the prior year and recording 789,000 international arrivals for the traditional high-season travel month.

The January 2020 reporting period captured the full force of the summer bushfire crisis as well as the timing of Chinese Lunar New Year, a significant catalyst for international visitation to our country from across Asia. The back half of January would have begun to slowly capture the onset of coronavirus and its effect on international travel patterns, including a late January ban on both group travel out of China and the subsequent travel restrictions put in place by the Federal Government between Australia and China – our most significant international visitor market. These both remain in place.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said the backward facing inbound visitor data simply reflects what a once robust Australian tourism industry looked like in contrast to how the debilitating impact of coronavirus and its spread has now had such a dramatic effect on industry – all within a matter of weeks.

Mr Westaway said with the onset of the unprecedented scenario facing the Australian tourism through coronavirus, the need for rapid visitor data delivery to industry and stakeholders as an estimate or in draft format was now paramount as we move forward.

“These are unprecedented times and the new normal requires faster delivery of data to show the real-time and ongoing impacts of COVID-19 from our government authorities,” Mr Westaway said.

“Based on standard timelines the horror movie that’s unfolded for Australian tourism during February and now into March will subsequently not be unveiled with formal ABS international visitor statistics until mid-April.

“Whilst industry understands the need to verify and clarify visitor data, real-time private sector insights are already showing air seat capacity and commensurate international visitor falls into Australia as upwards of 30 per cent and climbing. These insights present the real picture of the situation Australian tourism faces!

“We believe it is encumbered on all agencies to best support beleaguered industries like the international student market as well as tourism and that includes any considered way of bringing a snapshot of the most recently collected visitor data further forward for release.

“ATIC continues to stand as one with both our 1 million job generating tourism industry and the Australian Government around the current appropriate public health response to best counter coronavirus. But we also continue to take a stand around how we can best partner and support industry in the most productive way within the market.”

Royal Caribbean Suspends Cruising

At Royal Caribbean International, the safety and well-being of our guests and crew are always our top priorities. After the decision was made on March 13th to voluntarily suspend our sailings departing from US ports, we've now made the decision to also suspend operations for the remainder of our sailings worldwide, effective at midnight, March 15th. If you are currently onboard a cruise, there's no need to worry. We will complete our current sailing and debark as planned. Our goal is to resume operations on April 11th, 2020.

As a result of this change, we're providing you with a 125% Future Cruise Credit to come back and sail with us by December 31, 2021

• This amount will be based on your total cruise fare paid. And, we're giving you a little extra, knowing that this is such a unique circumstance.

• We will automatically issue you your Future Cruise Credit by Monday, April 13th, 2020 via email. So, there's nothing for you to do!

• Please know, if you pre-purchased any amenities and packages – like internet, beverage, dining, or RoyalUp Upgrade, those will be automatically refunded.

Or, if you prefer the lower value in a full refund, we're happy to process this for you. Given how fluid this situation is, and the opportunity to use the extra credit being offered, you have plenty of time to make up your mind. You have until December 31, 2021 to request a refund.

• Please contact us to start the refund process, if you're willing to give up the higher value of your 125% Future Cruise Credit.

• We'll then deactivate your Future Cruise Credit and process your refund to your original form(s) of payment, which will include any non-refundable deposits.

• To avoid waiting on the phone to cancel, please click here and we will get the process started for you.

• You can expect to receive your refund 30 days after you submit your request.

And, if you purchased air or hotel…

• via Royal Caribbean, these will also be automatically refunded to you.

• on your own, please contact the service provider directly for your options with them.

We know, this too shall pass, and we are optimistic that very soon you'll be excited about planning your next cruise vacation. As always, the most important thing to us will always be the safety of our guests and crew. In the meantime, we'll continue to monitor the global situation. We wish you good health and truly appreciate your continued loyalty.


We are closely monitoring global developments regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), and we are being proactive when it comes to protecting the health of our guests, crew, and the communities where we sail.

To comply with guidance from CDC, WHO, public health authorities around the world, and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), we are enhancing our rigorous global boarding and screening measures to protect our guests and crew. These measures are intentionally conservative and apply to anyone boarding our ships, guests and crew alike. We apologize for the inconvenience created by these precautionary measures.

These temporary safety precautions will remain in place for a projected period of 30 days and will continued to be reviewed daily. Updates will be posted daily on this website.

Until further notice, all ships in the Royal Caribbean International fleet will adopt the following health screening protocols:

Mandatory temperature screenings using digital, non-touch scanners are being conducted with guests, crewmembers, and visitors on embarkation day prior to boarding any vessel. If temperature registers about 100.4°F (38°C), the person and his/her travel companions will be referred to a secondary health screening.

Guests who are denied boarding due to screening results will receive compensation.

COVID-19 presents the most serious health risks to older individuals, the immunocompromised, and those with serious, underlying medical conditions. Therefore,

a.  Effective Monday, March 16, boarding will be denied to any person age 70 or older, unless the guest provides written verification from a qualified treating physician that certifies the person has no severe, chronic medical condition and is fit to travel.

b. Effective Friday, March 13, boarding will be denied to any person with a severe, chronic medical condition, including those specified by the CDC. Guests of all ages will be screened prior to boarding, regarding underlying health issues that may prevent them from sailing, i.e.  chronic heart, lung, liver, or kidney disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or cancer.

Regardless of nationality, boarding will be denied to:

a.  Any person who has traveled from, to or through mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Europe (See list of restricted European countries below), Iran, or South Korea 15 days prior to embarkation.

b. Any person who has come in contact with anyone with 15-day prior travel to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Europe (See list of restricted European countries below), Iran, or South Korea. The CDC characterizes contact with an individual as coming within six feet (2M) of a person.

c. Any person who within 15 days prior to embarkation, has had contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who are currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.

d. For Caribbean Itineraries Only: The above parameters will also include Japan, Singapore and Taiwan, along with travel or contact occurring 21 days prior to embarkation.

Secondary, enhanced health screenings will be performed on:

a. Any person who reports feeling unwell or displays flu-like symptoms.

b. Any person who has traveled from, to or through Japan or Thailand in the 15 days prior to embarkation.

c. Any person who is uncertain about contact with individuals who have traveled in the 15 days prior to embarkation from, to or through mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Europe (See list of restricted European countries below), Iran, South Korea, Japan, or Thailand.

d. For Caribbean Itineraries Only: Secondary health screening parameters will include the country of Thailand for travel or contact occurring 21 days prior to embarkation.

In some cases, guests presenting certain symptoms in the specialized health screenings may be denied boarding.

All guests who are denied boarding due to these restrictions will receive compensation.

Additional restrictions may be imposed based on local circumstances. For example, certain countries may deny visas or prohibit entry based on travel history or nationality.

We have rigorous medical protocols in place to help guests and crew members who feel unwell while sailing. Our protocols include professional medical treatment; isolation of unwell individuals from the general ship population; and intensified ship cleaning, air filtration, and sanitization procedures.

We are assessing developments constantly and will update these measures as needed.

Guests with questions may contact the customer care departments of our individual cruise lines or their travel professionals.

AS OF 02/10/2020*

Many countries are refusing entry to persons who have traveled from, to or through mainland China in the past 14 days, and often require Chinese guests to submit to additional health screenings and document review.

• BAHAMAS: No entry for anyone with prior 20-day mainland China travel, regardless of nationality.

• INDIA: No arrival visas for China passports.

• INDONESIA: No entry permitted to China passport holders.

• JAPAN: No entry permitted for China passports issued in Hubei and Zhejiang provinces.

• MALAYSIA: No entry permitted for China passports issued in Hubei, Zhejiang or Jiangsu provinces.

• SINGAPORE: No entry permitted for China passport holders. Ship will be denied entry.

• SRI LANKA: No arrival visas for China passport holders.

• VIETNAM: No entry permitted for China passport Holders. Ship will be denied entry.

*Please note, these restrictions are subject to change and all may not be listed.

Traveloscopy | 

Vivid Sydney 2020 Cancelled

The NSW Government today announced the cancellation of Vivid Sydney 2020 following recommendations by the Federal Government and health authorities to limit non-essential organised gatherings to less than 500 people to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Destination NSW said that while the cancellation of the event is disappointing and another major setback for the tourism industry, it is the right thing to do to control the spread of infection and keep people safe.

“Vivid Sydney is a bright star of Sydney’s event calendar so the decision to cancel was not taken lightly. As the event owner, we must follow the advice of health officials to ensure the health and safety of our citizens and everyone involved with Vivid Sydney,” a Destination NSW spokesperson said.

“We have taken the decision early in consideration of those planning to travel to Sydney for the festival, our commercial partners, artists, and volunteers so as to minimise the disruption and impact on them.

“We are currently working through the full implications of the cancellation and will provide further information and advice as soon as it’s available.

“It’s been an incredibly tough time for the tourism industry and this is yet another body blow, but NSW will bounce back and Vivid Sydney will shine brighter than ever in 2021.”

Vivid Sydney, the largest festival of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere, was scheduled to run from 22 May - 13 June 2020. The cancellation means that all elements of ‘Vivid Sydney - Lights, Music and Ideas’ will not proceed in 2020.

Vivid Sydney debuted in 2009 and is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency. In 2019 a record 2.4 million people attended Vivid Sydney, generating $172 million for the NSW economy.

Traveloscopy | 

CLIA statement on COVID-19

CLIA and its cruise line members are responding to evolving circumstances swiftly and in consultation with governments and health authorities internationally in relation to COVID-19. As always, the health and safety of passengers and crew is the highest priority.

As the Australian Government has announced, all international arrivals by cruise ships to Australian ports will be suspended for 30 days, with provisions for vessels currently in operation.

As many cruise lines had previously announced voluntary suspensions of their operations, the industry is already well advanced in returning ships to port. CLIA has been working closely with the government in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and has been consulting with state and national health departments over the extensive measures enacted by the cruise industry globally.

Cruise lines are now focused on a safe and smooth return for affected ships at sea, and on arrangements for the disembarkation of passengers.

While we acknowledge these suspensions will cause inconvenience and disappointment to many, cruise lines are working around the clock to maintain a focus on the health and safety of passengers and crew.

This is an unprecedented situation and we are conscious not only of the impact upon on guests but also on the destinations that cruise lines visit and the many businesses that depend upon cruise tourism. Despite challenging times, we are confident our industry has the resilience to overcome this situation in the longer term.

Intrepid Suspends International Tours until 30 April 2020

Intrepid Group is suspending Intrepid Travel and Peregrine Adventures tours globally* from Monday 16 March until Thursday . 

Customers booked to travel on an Intrepid Travel or Peregrine Adventures tour during this time will receive a credit valued at 110%, which will be valid for two years. 

Intrepid Travel and Peregrine Adventure tours that are currently operating will continue until 3 April 2020. Any customers that opt to leave their tour early will receive a credit for the remainder of their itinerary. 

The only *exception is to Intrepid’s Australia tours, which at this stage, will go ahead as planned.

CEO James Thornton says that the decision to suspend Intrepid Group’s global operations comes as a result of the increasing number of national and international travel restrictions that have been announced by governments in the past 48 hours. 

“The rapid spread of Coronavirus and subsequent travel shutdowns has created a situation which is unlike anything that Intrepid has seen in our 31 years in business. We have now made the difficult decision to pause our global operations until the end of April,” says Thornton.

“The health and wellbeing of our customers, our people, and the local communities that we visit is our priority. As a responsible travel company, we look forward to resuming trips when we can once again operate trips that benefit both our travellers and the people they visit along the way.”

For more information, please visit or

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

16-Day Egypt and Jordan Tour for Solo Travellers only

Solo Travel experts and award-winning tour company, Two’s a Crowd, has just released final seats for their 16-day Egypt and Jordan Discovery group tour, departing 1 April 2020. The escorted tour is for solo travellers only, and forget sharing rooms, every traveller has their own!

Designed specifically for solo travellers and led by a Two’s a Crowd tour host, explore Egypt and Jordan in the safety of a group of 15 like-minded people. Enjoy personalised attention, space and even free time to explore.

Over 16 days this amazing tour will visit Egypt and Jordan’s much-loved towns and cities including Egypt’s capital – Cairo; Aswan, Egypt’s southernmost city and gateway to Africa; Luxor, famous for its ancient monuments and Tombs; Jordan’s capital, Amman; the beach resort of Aqaba; Wadi Rum and its stunning desert scenery; and the fabled city of Petra.

From the Valley of the Kings to digging for obscure treasure in ancient marketplaces, this tour is packed with unforgettable experiences.

Visit Egypt’s classic icons, the Sphinx and King Tut’s tomb. Discover the fascinating story behind the Valley of the Kings and its unusual burial tradition. Spend three nights cruising down the Nile River and falling under its spell. Encounter Nubian communities and relax on the riverboat’s sun deck.

Discover Wadi Rum, a geologically intriguing town built into a vast boulder with sweeping desert and echoing formations and experience the turquoise haven and healing powers of one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water –the Dead Sea.

Journey through the desert to a luxury camp and spend the night under a staggeringly beautiful starry sky. Travel to Abu Simbel’s monumental temples by plane and marvel at the sheer scale of these stunning structures. Enjoy a home cooked meal with a local Egyptian family and discover the hidden and hand-hewn facades of Petra and the ancient Roman ruins at Jerash.

Accommodation includes 11 nights in a range of 3.5 to 4-star hotels, one night in a luxury desert tent, three nights in a cabin onboard ‘Dolphin Nile cruise’ and one night in a cabin onboard the Luxor to Cairo Sleeper Train. Every guest has their own room, tent and cabin.

The 16-day Egypt and Jordan Discovery tour is $7,597 per person and includes a Two’s a Crowd tour host from Australia, English speaking local leader in Egypt and Jordan, all accommodation in own room/cabin/tent, all meals included as per itinerary, some meals, all transport, all tour activities and tour entrance/admission fees, group arrival and departure transfers, tips and gratuities and Comprehensive Travel Insurance provided by CHI Travel Insurance (Underwritten by Allianz).

For further information and for bookings visit:

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Coronavirus: ITB Berlin Cancelled, IPW 'All systems go'

While the shockwaves of the coronavirus scare are now being felt as far away as Italy and Germany, we learn this week that organisers have decided to cancel the huge ITB travel trade fair, throwing into disarray the plans of 160,000 visitors and 10,000 exhibitors.

US Travel's massive annual IPW, on the other hand, is planning to go ahead and Malcolm Smith, General Manager IPW, has written to all delegates and exhibitors to reassure them.

Malcolm Smith, General Manager, IPW
"all systems go"
"While IPW is several months away, we're presently on track to host an outstanding event in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 30-June 3. It's "all systems go" and planning for all scenarios is well underway. Registration is strong from both domestic and international attendees.

"U.S. public health and security officials, as recently as yesterday, have been clear in stating that the threat of COVID-19 in the United States remains low. We will continue to follow the guidance offered by these leading health authorities and be guided by the most up to date information available. Any alternative decisions will be informed by expert advice. We aim to react properly to this current situation, but not to overreact.

"Our concern is for all who are affected by this health challenge, and we are hopeful for a swift resolution that keeps travelers to and within America safe and secure."

SO Melbourne to grow Accor luxury presence in Australia

Today, Accor announces the continued expansion of its luxury portfolio in Australia, with the debut of the vibrant and playful SO/Hotels & Resorts luxury brand in Melbourne, Australia. Slated to open in 2023, SO/Melbourne is set to be a bold, fashionable and luxurious designer hotel, located in a prime CBD position overlooking Flagstaff Gardens.

Positioned on the corner of William and Franklin Streets, the hotel is within close reach of Melbourne's key commercial, retail and leisure attractions. The first SO/ branded hotel for Australia and second in the region following SO/Auckland, will boast 288 avant-garde guestrooms and suites, some with outdoor terraces, combined with exceptional signature services, social events and opulent experiences. The hotel will form part of a mixed-use development including 20,000sqm of office and co-working space.

Simon McGrath, Chief Operating Officer Pacific, Accor, says “The demand for quality luxury hotels is at an all-time high, so the timing is right to introduce Australia to the audacious and fashionable SO/ Hotel brand.

“SO/Melbourne will bring a bold and playful energy to Melbourne, blending the brand's vibrant luxury services with the heart and soul of the destination. This flagship hotel will be the place to be seen to socialise, appealing to chic travellers and Melbourne's savvy early adopters who are renowned for having their finger on the pulse.

“Guests today are looking for travel experiences that excite the senses and they want to stay in places where they feel connected to the heart of their destination. We look forward to opening this exciting flagship hotel in 2023,” concluded McGrath.

Daring and exuberant design is at the heart of the SO brand, and like all other SO/ properties around the world, SO/ Melbourne will be brought to life by a celebrated fashion designer who will lend their artistic vision to the property.

SO/Melbourne is being developed by MIT Group Holdings Pty Ltd, the property arm of private tertiary educational institute, Melbourne Institute of Technology. The project is part of a multimillion-dollar mixed-use urban regeneration project across two towers and a podium comprising a luxury lifestyle hotel, commercial workspace and a high-end ground floor retail space. An existing heritage building will be retained and incorporated into the lower level design to reflect the diverse history of the site.

The Elenberg Fraser architect-designed hotel is positioned in the upper levels between level 11 and level 34 with a tapering form to capitalise on views to Flagstaff Gardens and the Queen Victoria Market. The hotel, with interiors by P49, will feature a signature club lounge & private meeting room, specialty restaurant/bar & sky deck, all-day dining & outdoor terrace, lobby lounge/café, and a ballroom. Next generation Grade-A office space and co-working areas will feature from level 1 to level 10. Consultants involved in the development include project managers Sinclair Brook and hotel advisor Savills.

Wellness facilities will include a SO/SPA and SO/FIT wellness and fitness centre as well as a swimming pool. Sky gardens and lush landscapes will adorn the walls and interiors of the hotel, bringing a breath of fresh air into Melbourne and shaping the next chapter in architectural history for the city.

With fashionable properties located in the most dynamic destinations worldwide, SO/ Hotels & Resorts is one of the fastest-growing lifestyle brands in Accor's luxury portfolio. In addition to the upcoming opening of SO/ Havana Paseo del Prado in Havana, Cuba (2020) and SO/ Los Cabos Hotel & Residences (2021) in Mexico, the brand will soon unveil hotels in desirable locations worldwide including Kuala Lumpur (2020), Samui (2020) and Jakarta (2021). These additions will expand an eclectic SO/ portfolio which already includes two stunning properties in Thailand, SO/ Bangkok & SO/ Hua Hin, as well as SO/ Mauritius, SO/ Singapore and recently opened properties including SO/ Berlin Das Stue, SO/ Vienna, SO/ St. Petersburg and SO/ Auckland.

Traveloscopy | 

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places