UK authorities ban arrivals from South America | News

Authorities in the UK have banned arrivals from a number of South American countries as fears grow over a new strain of Covid-19.

Passengers who have been in or transited through Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, Suriname, French Guiana, Uruguay and Venezuela in the past ten days will be barred from entry.

Cape Verde and Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores) will face similar restrictions.

The new rules came into place this morning.

However, the changes do not include British and Irish nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK.

These groups will be able to enter the UK, but are required to self-isolate for ten days on arrival along with their household.

There will also be a flight ban on any countries with direct flights to the UK.

These are Argentina, Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores).

This excludes cargo and freight without passengers.

The decision to ban travel from these destinations follows the discovery of a new coronavirus variant first identified in Brazil, that may have spread to countries with strong travel links to the country.

Any exemptions usually in place – including for those related to employment – will not apply, although hauliers who have been in or transited through Portugal (only) in the last ten days will be exempt to allow transport of essential goods.

From Monday passengers from all destinations around the world will also be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result before travelling to England, to help protect against new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally and to identify those who may currently be infectious.

Latin American Travel Association

Danny Callaghan, chief executive of the Latin American Travel Association (LATA), said the news was worrying for the local tourism sector.

“LATA is aware of reports of a new Covid-19 variant that has manifested in specific areas of Brazil resulting in the UK decision to implement a flight ban from Brazil and the whole of South America. 

“At LATA, we appreciate that this a rapidly evolving scenario and understand the decision to impose a temporary ban whilst the situation is being assessed.

“That said, it is vital that this travel ban is reviewed on an ongoing basis subject to the epidemiological situation and the associated risks and not just forgotten about or kicked down the road endlessly.”

He added: “At LATA, we are committed to lobbying for a test-and-release model to enable travel to restart in a safe way. 

“This model was implemented for lorry drivers stuck in Dover prior to the Christmas period.

“If it works for a lorry driver, it can work for tourists!”

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UK new coronavirus variant “out of control” as countries announce travel bans – BBC News

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Leal steps down as chief executive of Virgin Hotels | News

Raul Leal has stepped down as chief executive of Virgin Hotels after leading the company for ten years.

He joined company in 2010 as the first employee when it was building its initial pipeline of projects and developing its lifestyle hotel offering.

Leal has since played a significant role in creating the character and infrastructure of the brand, inspiring its unique design, and instilling its exemplary service ethos.

He has also been instrumental in establishing strong relations with our partners and attracting a world-class management team to the business. 

Now, with the Virgin Hotels brand established and major hotels in Las Vegas, New York, and New Orleans set to open this year, Leal has decided to step back from the day-to-day management of the business and focus on new personal projects.

He will also continue consulting for Virgin Group as an advisor on brand and design related matters.

Peter Norris, chairman of Virgin Hotels, said: “Raul has built a tremendous platform for Virgin Hotels to expand from over the last ten years.

“We have won several distinguished hotel awards and have shaken up the lifestyle hotel sector with our distinctive proposition and innovative designs.

“His passion for service and his commitment to his people mark him out as a hotelier of distinction and leave the brand in excellent shape to thrive in the coming years.”

A new chief executive for Virgin Hotels will be announced in the coming weeks.

Leal said: “It has been a joy to work with one of the world’s great brands and launch a disruptive business.

“I am extremely proud of the unique concept proposition we have built at Virgin Hotels.”

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VisitPortugal launches new sustainability challenge | News

VisitPortugal has launched an inspiring message to travellers from the United Kingdom in the form of a YouTube video which calls for a focus on responsible and sustainable tourism in 2021.

The #CantSkipTomorrow message, delivered by a young child adopting the persona of ‘tomorrow’, is a call for discovering new ways of travelling bound by a collective conscience to protect what has been given to us by nature.

This important message for a better future is developed from the song Verdes são os campos by Zeca Afonso, created from a poem by Luís Vaz de Camões.

It derives from the global guidelines of the World Tourism Organisation which indicates that the actions of travellers, once the threat of Covid-19 has eased, will allow the industry to redefine itself in an even stronger and more sustainable way than ever before.

The #CantSkipTomorrow message, a variation on the original #CantSkipHope strapline first coined by VisitPortugal when the pandemic ensued in 2020 in which they called for the world to stop, pause and dream of travelling to their country in the future, is the latest callout from Portuguese tourism officials to change the way we view sustainability.

Last year the national tourism board released a key three-year framework (2020-2023) to be actioned in order to achieve the wider government-led strategy to make Portugal one of the most sustainable tourism destinations in the world by the year 2027.

For the president of VisitPortugal and chairman of the European Tourism Commission, Luis Araujo, this video sends a clear message: “This conveys our responsibilities, as a tourism destination, to the Portuguese, to tourists, to companies in the sector and above all to a planet that needs to regenerate.

“After launching the Sustainable 20-23 Plan (under public discussion until January 26th), we also assumed sustainability as the focus of our promotion, in order to prepare a more resistant, more resilient and, above all, responsible future”, he added.

As well as calling on visitors from Britain to ‘choose the purest journey and make things better for everyone’ as per the video, Visit Portugal also launched a message which calls on the promotion of more responsible and sustainable practices for the officials in France, Spain, Germany and other nations.

This call for a European wide effort to attract more travellers with an appreciation for conscious experiences sees videos adapted for each country, in their local language and showing the natural assets they must protect.

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Rosewood Rome pencilled in for 2023 opening | News

Rosewood Hotels has been appointed by real estate firm Antirion SGR to manage Rosewood Rome, which will open in 2023 in the heart of the capital city.

Located in the former headquarters of Italy’s Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), the property will overlook the Via Veneto.

Extending an entire block, Rosewood Rome will encompass three historic buildings, each of which were originally built in the early 1900s. 

The crown jewel of the project will be the reimagination of the former BNL headquarters, the main unit of the development that was initially designed by renowned Italian architect and urban planner Marcello Piacentini.

The property’s transformation will be managed by Colliers International, led by Texas-based architecture firm, Jacobs, and Australian interior design firm, BAR Studio to build upon Piacentini’s legacy and pay homage to the property’s roots as an exemplar of modernist Italian architecture.

The design will take influence from the hotel’s location overlooking Via Veneto, one of Rome’s most elegant streets and a symbol of the celebrated Federico Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, with elegant interiors that blend timeless style with contemporary comforts.

“Over the last several years, we have been searching for the right opportunities to evolve our European footprint and bring the Rosewood brand to new corners of the continent,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive of Rosewood Hotel Group.

“As one of Italy’s most vibrant cities with an undoubtedly rich legacy and charming character, Rome has long been at the top of the list of priority destinations in which to set the Rosewood flag, and we’re thrilled to be working with our partners at Antirion SGR on this project that will surely set a new standard for luxury lifestyle experiences in Rome.”

Upon completion, Rosewood Rome will offer 157 accommodations, including 44 suites.

Home to three dining outlets, including a contemporary Italian bistro, a lobby bar and café and a rooftop bar with a terrace with sweeping views of the city, the hotel will serve as a luxurious escape for locals and visitors alike.

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Llys-y-Frân lake redevelopment comes to fruition | News

A brand-new jewel in Pembrokeshire’s crown will be opening this year.

The redevelopment at Llys-y-Frân Lake has included the refurbishment and expansion of the visitor centre and café.

A new outdoor activity centre and waterside cabin is being built to support walkers, cyclists and watersports enthusiasts.

It will include a food stop, meeting rooms, changing facilities and cycle hire.

A £4 million major investment to the visitor centre and recreational facilities is being backed with £1.7 million of European Regional Development Funds through the Welsh government.

The government’s tourism attractor destination programme, led by Visit Wales, which aims to create 11 must see destinations across Wales.

The redeveloped site is intended to attract an estimated 100,000 tourists and outdoor enthusiasts each year to the site.

Outdoor activities at Llys-y-Frân Lake will include both water and land-based recreational fun.

On the water, visitors can enjoy sailing, kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle and pedalboarding.

Fishing on the bank or by boat will also make a welcome return.

Plans to develop camping facilities are also underway.

These will include a range of pitches from hardstanding with full services through to basic grass pitches. 

The site will also benefit from amenities such as electric hook-ups, water points, toilets and showers, a wash up area and access to the site’s main facilities such as the café, playpark and activities.

Chief executive of Welsh Water, Peter Perry, said: “As we head into 2021, we all need to enjoy the outdoors, re-connect with nature and reap the benefits that being close to water has been proven to offer.”

Llys-y-Frân Lake is located in a rolling pastoral landscape in the central-northern part of Pembrokeshire, West Wales near the foot of the Preseli Hills.

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