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LGBTQ illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

LGBTQ State Legislative Attacks

UPDATE: With Unprecedented 18 Anti-LGBTQ Bills Enacted, 2021 Officially Becomes Worst Year in Recent History for LGBTQ State Legislative Attacks 

With Anti-LGBTQ Momentum Sweeping through State Legislatures, 2021 Surpasses 2015 as Worst Year In Recent History 

Detailed Breakdown of 2021 Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation Below

With an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ measures sweeping through state legislatures across the country, 2021 has officially surpassed 2015 as the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in recent history, according to updated tracking and analysis by the Human Rights Campaign (detailed breakdown below). The previous record — set six years ago in 2015, when 15 anti-LGBTQ bills were enacted into law — was broken on Friday, as the sixteenth and seventeenth anti-LGBTQ bills were enacted into law as well as the eighteenth anti-LGBTQ bill today. In addition, 7 anti-LGBTQ bills are on governors’ desks awaiting signature or veto and several more are continuing to move through state legislatures across the country.

“The rights of LGBTQ people — and especially transgender people — across the country are being systematically threatened and undermined by national anti-LGBTQ groups coordinating with anti-equality lawmakers to wage an unprecedented war on the LGBTQ community. In fact, some of these bills are similar to or even worse than anti-LGBTQ legislation that has been rejected in previous years, including the Indiana religious refusal bill of 2015 and North Carolina’s infamous HB2. Bills that have become law so far this year range from making it a felony to provide transgender youth with life saving health care to banning transgender girls from participating in sports to erasing LGBTQ people from school curriculum to granting broad licenses to discriminate against LGBTQ people. This crisis cannot be ignored and necessitates concrete action from all those with the ability to speak out,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. “These bills are not only harmful and discriminatory, but also represent a failure in our democracy and the commitment elected officials make to protect and serve their constituents. Now is not the time for reluctance or passivity, it is time to take urgent action to protect the basic rights and humanity of LGBTQ people in America.”

The wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation — a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ groups, not local lawmakers – is part of a broader strategy to score political points with the conservative base by curtailing the rights of LGBTQ people and specifically trans youth — under the guise of responding to nonexistent and baseless threats. These bills represent a cruel effort to further stigmatize and discriminate against LGBTQ people across the country, specifically trans youth who simply want to live as their true selves and grow into who they are.

Breakdown of Anti-LGBTQ Legislation Sweeping State Legislatures in 2021

  • So far in 2021, eighteen anti-LGBTQ bills have been enacted into law surpassing 2015 as the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in recent history (when 15 anti-LGBTQ bills were enacted into law), including:
    • 7 anti-trans sports bans in Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Montana, and West Virginia
    • 4 religious refusal bills, including in Arkansas, Montana, and South Dakota
    • 2 anti-LGBTQ education bills in Tennessee and Montana
    • 1 anti-trans medical care ban bill in Arkansas
    • 1 sham “hate crimes” bill in Arkansas
    • 1 anti-all comers bill in North Dakota
    • 1 anti-trans birth certificate bill in Montana
    • 1 discriminatory diversity training ban bill in Oklahoma
  • With eighteen bills now signed into law, states have enacted more anti-LGBTQ laws this year than in the last three years combined (anti-LGBTQ bills enacted in previous years include 2 bills in 2018, 7 bills in 2019, and 4 bills in 2020).
  • More than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in state legislatures in 2021, including:
    • At least 35 bills that would prohibit transgender youth from being able to access best-practice, age-appropriate, gender-affirming medical care
    • At least 69 bills that would prohibit transgender youth (and in some cases college students) from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity
    • At least 43 bills that would allow people to assert a religious belief as justification for failing to abide by the law or provide services to people of whom they disapprove
    • At least 15 bills that would prohibit transgender people from having access to restrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identity

Wide range of business and advocacy groups oppose anti-trans legislation

  • More than 90 major U.S. corporations have stood up and spoke out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country. New companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Altria, Peloton, and Dell join companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Google, Hilton, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, Uber, and Verizon in objecting to these bills. Four of the largest U.S. food companies also condemned “dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and nonbinary people,” and the Walton Family Foundation issued a statement expressing “alarm” at the trend of anti-transgender legislation that has recently become law in Arkansas.
  • The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

LGBTQ illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Ten Anti-LGBTQ Bills Sit on Governors’ Desks

Ten Anti-LGBTQ Bills Sit on Governors’ Desks, Poised to Undermine Rights Across the Country

As a fast and furious effort led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states continues to intensify, ten anti-LGBTQ bills currently sit on the desks of governors across the country waiting to be signed into law. These bills are only the latest examples of a concerted effort in state legislatures to undermine LGBTQ rights that has already resulted in the passage of several anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation in recent months.

“State legislators across the country were elected to represent all of us, not just some of us and yet they continue to send hateful and discriminatory anti-LGBTQ bills to the desks of governors to sign into law, threatening the well-being, health, and fundamental rights of thousands of LGBTQ Americans in states from coast to coast,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. “From anti-transgender sports bans to erasing LGBTQ people from school curriculum, these bills are driven by fear and would have a significant negative impact on the lives of so many LGBTQ people. The governors of these states are responsible for protecting their citizens, and they must refuse to sign these baseless and unconscionable cruel bills into law.  Otherwise, they should and will be held accountable for the consequences.”

These bills include blatant attacks on transgender youth, including prohibiting transgender kids from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity, allow student organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ students under the guise of free speech, erase LGBTQ people from history books, and add substantial hurdles for transgender people who want to change the gender on their birth certificate by first requiring gender-affirming surgery.

Below is a roundup of the ten anti-LGBTQ bills currently sitting on the desks of governors:

  • ALABAMA
    • House Bill 391 – ANTI-TRANS SPORTS BILL
      • The Alabama Senate and House passed House Bill 391, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender youth from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. The bill now heads to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for signature or veto.
  • ARIZONA
    • Senate Bill 1456 – SEX ED PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BILL
      • The Arizona State House passed Senate Bill 1456 – discriminatory legislation that affects not only sexual education material, but all learning materials in the classroom and makes it harder for LGBTQ kids to see themselves in school curriculum.
      • The bill, which would make Arizona’s sex education laws some of the strictest in the nation when it comes to teaching about LGBTQ issues, now heads to Governor Doug Ducey’s desk for consideration.
  • ARKANSAS
    • Senate Bill 389 – SEX ED PARENTAL NOTIFICATON BILL
      • The Arkansas Senate passed Senate Bill 389, a bill which would require a school district to notify parents before “providing a sexual orientation curriculum or gender identity curriculum” in any kind of instruction, including but not limited to education on sexuality.
      • In addition to making it harder for students kids to access sex education, it could also preclude discussion about sexuality more broadly, including in literature and history classes, for example. A district could be forced to notify parents, provide curriculum materials, and allow parents to opt students out of learning about important modern and historical events, from the A.I.D.S. epidemic to the Stonewall riots to even Supreme Court jurisprudence. This bill disproportionately disadvantages LGBTQ youth who may not have supportive families and put children at greater risk of health consequences.
  • KANSAS
    • Kansas Senate Bill 55 – ANTI-TRANS SPORTS BILL
      • The Kansas Senate passed Senate Bill 55, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.
  • MONTANA
    • Senate Bill 280    – BIRTH CERTIFICATE BILL
      • The Montana Senate passed SB 280, a bill that adds substantial hurdles for transgender people who want to change the gender on their birth certificate by first requiring gender-affirming surgery.
    • Senate Bill 215 – RELIGIOUS REFUSAL BILL
      • The Montana House passed SB 215, an expansive religious refusal bill that could grant a license to discriminate against Montanans and visitors, including LGBTQ people, people of faith, and women, across a wide range of goods and services in the state.
  • NORTH DAKOTA
    • House Bill 1503 – ANTI-ALL COMERS BILL
      • Many public colleges and universities have long had “all-comers” policies that require student organizations receiving financial and other support from the institution not to discriminate against students based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
      • These policies allow all members of the student body to participate in student organizations and prevent such organizations from discriminating against students with state funding. The Supreme Court upheld these all-comers policies as constitutional in the Christian Legal Society v. Martinez decision in 2010.
      • North Dakota HB 1503, in part, undermines inclusive “all-comers” policies at North Dakota public colleges and universities, by allowing student organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ students under the guise of free speech.
    • House Bill 1298 – ANTI-TRANS SPORTS BILL
      • The North Dakota Senate passed House Bill 1298, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.
  • TENNESSEE
    • Senate Bill 1229 – SEX ED PARENTAL NOTIFICATION
      • The Tennessee Senate passed Senate Bill 1229, a bill which would require a school district to notify parents before “providing a sexual orientation curriculum or gender identity curriculum” in any kind of instruction, including but not limited to education on sexuality.
      • In addition to making it harder for students kids to access sex education, it could also preclude discussion about sexuality more broadly, including in literature and history classes, for example. A district could be forced to notify parents, provide curriculum materials, and allow parents to opt students out of learning about important modern and historical events, from the A.I.D.S. epidemic to the Stonewall riots to even Supreme Court jurisprudence.
      • SB 389 also disproportionately disadvantages LGBTQ youth who may not have supportive families and puts children at greater risk of health consequences.
  • WEST VIRGINIA
    • House Bill 3293 – ANTI-TRANS SPORTS BILL
      • The West Virginia Senate passed House Bill 3293, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.

Wide range of businesses and advocacy groups oppose anti-trans legislation

  • More than 65 major U.S. corporations have stood up and spoken out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country. New companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Altria, Peloton, and Dell join companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Google, Hilton, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, Uber, and Verizon in objecting to these bills.
  • The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular.

The NCAA opposes efforts to limit participation of transgender students

The NCAA Board of Governors released a public letter making clear that it “firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.” Moreover, “When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.” This puts the 30 states with discriminatory anti-transgender legislation under consideration on notice that their actions will have repercussions for their states.

A fight driven by national anti-LGBTQ groups, not local legislators or public concern

These bills come from the same forces that drove previous anti-equality fights by pushing copycat bills across state houses — dangerous anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom (designated by Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group), and Eagle Forum among others.

  • For example, Montana’s HB 112, the first anti-transgender sports bill to be passed through a legislative chamber in any state, was worked on by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Trans equality is popular: Anti-transgender legislation is a low priority, even among Trump voters

A new PBS/NPR/Marist poll states that 67% of Americans, including 66% of Republicans, oppose the anti-transgender sports ban legislation proliferating across 30 states.

In a 10-swing-state poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group last fall:

  • At least 60% of Trump voters across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should be able to live freely and openly.
  • At least 87% of respondents across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should have equal access to medical care, with many states breaking 90% support
  • When respondents were asked about how they prioritized the importance of banning transgender people from participating in sports as compared to other policy issues, the issue came in dead last, with between 1% and 3% prioritizing the issue.

Another more recent poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group revealed that, with respect to transgender youth participation in sports, the public’s strong inclination is on the side of fairness and equality for transgender student athletes. 73% of voters agree that “sports are important in young people’s lives. Young transgender people should be allowed opportunities to participate in a way that is safe and comfortable for them.”

States that pass anti-transgender legislation suffer economic, legal, reputational harm

Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills across the country, like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and North Carolina and an anti-transgender sports ban in Idaho, show that there would be or has been devastating fallout.

  • The Idaho anti-transgender sports bill that passed was swiftly suspended by a federal district court. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) came out against the Idaho bill and others like it and subsequently moved planned tournament games out of Idaho.
  • The Associated Press projected that the North Carolina bathroom bill could have cost the state $3.76 billion over 10 years.
  • During a fight over an anti-transgender bathroom bill in 2017, the Texas Association of Business estimated $8.5 billion in economic losses, risking 185,000 jobs in the process due to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and professional sporting event cancellations, a ban on taxpayer funded travel to those states, cancellation of movie productions, and businesses moving projects out of state.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Beyond Green illustration by Heather Skovlund (original photo provided by Beyond Green) for 360 Magazine

Introducing Beyond Green

INTRODUCING BEYOND GREEN: A PURPOSE-DRIVEN HOSPITALITY BRAND DEDICATED TO HELPING GLOBAL CITIZENS MAKE TRAVEL A FORCE FOR GOOD

Forward-Thinking Hotel Network Debuts Booking and Storytelling Platforms That Invite Travelers to Explore How to Travel Gently and Travel Well

Committed to building a better and brighter future for people and the planet, Beyond Green officially launches today as a curated guide for travelers seeking a more purposeful way to explore the world, featuring a global portfolio of 27 hotels, resorts, and lodges that exemplify sustainability in action. Debuting at the onset of a new era of travel in which protecting nature, benefitting local communities, and celebrating cultural diversity has taken center stage, this forward-thinking brandinvites travelers to discover, plan, and enjoy adventures that align with their sustainable travel values and aspirations through a variety of intuitive tools and experiences. These include a new brand website; dedicated storytelling via its @StayBeyondGreen social media accounts; exclusive benefits through I Prefer Hotel Rewards; and a celebratory, limited-time Journeyer’s Pick Package. 

“At the heart of Beyond Green is a belief that to travel gently and with purpose is to travel well. More than ever, each of our individual travel choices make a difference, and, together with our outstanding member properties, we designed Beyond Green to make it easier for travelers to enjoy incredible luxury vacations that also support significant social and environmental change for the future,” said Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO of both Beyond Green and its parent company, Preferred Hotel Group. “The world has shown an unwavering need to Believe in Travel, and this is our defining moment to inspire a kinder and gentler way to explore the planet together, where good guests meet good hosts.”

“The question is no longer whether we can transform travel based upon sustainable tourism principles and practices to be a powerful force for saving nature, regenerating ecosystems, and providing tangible social and economic benefits to local people, while also celebrating cultural diversity and inclusiveness around the world. This is now happening, as also represented by Beyond Green members. Rather, the most important question is how travelers help can make sustainability the new normal around the world while also having a great vacation. The answer is when we travel the sustainable way – the Beyond Green way – we can have a positive impact right now on the places we visit,” said Costas Christ, Brand Leader of Beyond Green and President of Beyond Green Travel, also an entity of Preferred Hotel Group.

Digital-First Resources for Inspiration and Information

Experiential travelers looking for a more meaningful way to explore the world can now visit Beyond Green’s website for thoughtful, essential resources and tools to book truly sustainable luxury getaways, from Belize to Bora Bora. The new website features highly curated visual content of each member property and the experiences they offer, along with vivid stories about the world of sustainable travel through its Good Stories blog, where novel content, tips and advice will be added on a continuous basis. The brand also invites travelers to engage in daily dialogues about sustainable tourism, inspiring travel experiences, and best practices for being informed  global citizens on social media by following its newly launched FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn channels and #StayBeyondGreen and #TravelGently online conversations.

I Prefer Hotel Rewards Member Benefits

As part of the Preferred Hotel Group family of brands, Beyond Green invites travelers to enroll in I Prefer to access meaningful rewards at more than 650 participating properties worldwide. In addition to receiving standard, I Prefer benefits such as points for every eligible stay and early check-in and late check-out privileges, I Prefer members who book stays at participating Beyond Green hotels, resorts, and lodges receive access to exclusive bonus points-earning opportunities that are tied to participation in on-property enrichment activities representative of the three pillars of sustainable tourism. Varying from property to property, these experiences range from an Ecology Tour in San Juan Capistrano at The Ranch at Laguna Beach in California to a specialized lecture on the Gobi Desert at Three Camel Lodge in Mongolia. I Prefer members with Elite-tier status will also receive a welcome amenity or community giving opportunity, in addition to earning 50 percent more bonus points during every eligible stay.

Celebratory Launch Offer

Whether seeking to stay within their own country or satisfy the pent-up desire to dust off their passport and go somewhere new, Beyond Green encourages travelers to seize the moment by taking advantage of a limited-time only Journeyer’s Pick Package, available at 15 participating properties for bookings made by September 30, 2021 for travel through December 31, 2021. Featuring the best available rate plus a unique local experience or meaningful memento exclusively available through this special offer, as well as 5,000 I Prefer bonus points, the Journeyer’s Pick Package include highlights such as, but not limited to:   

  • Private 1.5-hour Shinrin Yoku Forest Therapy session at andBeyond Vira Vira
  • Traditional sunset Dhow Cruise with snacks and drinks at andBeyond Mnemba Island
  • Guided walking tour of the Monastery of Panagia Spileotissa at Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas
  • Body scrub wellness experience using organic ingredients at Borgo Pignano
  • Polynesian outrigger experience at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

Where Good Hosts Meet Good Guests: The Beyond Green Portfolio

With plans for steady, thoughtful growth, Beyond Green celebrates its official launch in collaboration with 27 inspiring member properties that each take a unique and genuine approach to hospitality while representing sustainable tourism leadership through actionable, measurable efforts:

  • Americas – andBeyond Vira Vira (Pucón, Chile); Arenas Del Mar Beach Front and Rainforest Resort (Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica), Bentwood Inn (Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA); Blancaneaux Lodge (Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize); Carneros Resort and Spa (Napa Valley, California, USA), Cavallo Point (Sausalito, California, USA); Islas Secas (Gulf of Chiriquí, Panama); Post Ranch Inn (Big Sur, California, USA); Ted Turner Reserves Vermejo (Raton, New Mexico, USA); The Ranch at Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach, California, USA); Turtle Inn (Placencia, Belize)
  • Europe – Aristi Mountain Resort (Zagori, Greece); Ashford Castle (Co. Mayo, Ireland); Borgo Pignano (Tuscany, Italy)
  • Africa – andBeyond Bateleur Camp (Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya); andBeyond Mnemba Island (Zanzibar, Tanzania); andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge (Namib Desert, Namibia); Bushmans Kloof (Western Cape, South Africa); Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge (Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda); Wilderness Safaris DumaTau Camp (Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, Botswana); Wilderness Safaris Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp (Kaokoveld, Namibia); Wilderness Safaris Linkwasha Camp (Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe); Wilderness Safaris Mombo Camp (Okavango Delta, Botswana); Xigera Safari Lodge (Okavango Delta, Botswana)
  • Asia – InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); The Brando (Tetiaroa, French Polynesia); Three Camel Lodge (Gobi, Mongolia)

Travelers are invited to access more information on Beyond Green, its three key pillars of sustainable tourism, and its member properties, and book authentic, luxury travel experiences around the world by visiting Beyond Green.

About Beyond Green

Guided by a passion to embrace travel as a force for good, Beyond Green is a global portfolio of hotels, resorts, and lodges that exemplify sustainability leadership. To create a more purposeful way to explore the world where good guests meet good hosts, Beyond Green has curated a unique portfolio of properties based on their commitment to deliver on the three pillars of sustainable tourism: environmentally friendly practices that go beyond the basics; protection of natural and cultural heritage; and contribution to the social and economic wellbeing of local communities. To be considered for membership in Beyond Green, a property is vetted according to more than 50 sustainability indicators that align with global sustainable tourism standards and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Owned and operated by Preferred Hotel Group – the family-owned company that manages and operates other hospitality brands including Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Historic Hotels of America, and Historic Hotels Worldwide – Beyond Green ushers in a new way to experience genuine hospitality by the people for the planet. For more information, visit Beyond Green.

About Preferred Hotel Group

Owned and operated by the Ueberroth Family, Preferred Hotel Group is the parent company of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Beyond Green, Historic Hotels of America, Historic Hotels Worldwide, PHG Consulting, and Beyond Green Travel, representing more than 1,100 hotels, resorts, and residences across 80 countries, in addition to a global portfolio of destinations such as Suzhou, China; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Uganda. With more than 200 seasoned travel professionals situated across 20 countries, the company connects independent hotels, hospitality companies, destinations, and tourism bureaus to key markets worldwide through a variety of strategic branding, sales, integrated marketing, revenue management, and comprehensive distribution services, along with other consultancy services. Fueled by its brand promise, Believe in Travel, the company champions an unwavering belief in the transformative power of travel and its ability to enrich people’s lives and create greater tolerance. For more information on Preferred Hotel Group’s entities, please visit Preferred HotelsBeyond GreenHistoric HotelsPHG Consulting, and Beyond Green Travel.

The Brando
The Brando – photo credit: Beyond Green
travel illustration by Gabrielle Marchan for use by 360 Magazine

Tourism Trends in 2021

What’s Ahead for Travel and Tourism? 5 Trends to Look For in 2021 and Beyond

By: Stefan Read, SVP Engagement Advisory and Strategy Practice Lead at Jackman

As vaccines continue to roll out and people begin to see a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, many consumers are starting to think of travel. A recent survey by CivicScience found that as of March 2021, nearly 6 in 10 US adults say they’d be willing to travel in the next five months. This is very promising, but much has changed in the past year and several aspects of consumer behavior have been permanently altered. In order to succeed in the new post-Covid world, travel and hospitality brands must understand the new and emerging trends impacting this industry. Below are the top trends and customer behaviors that we will see in 2021 and beyond as travel begins to ramp up again.

  1. Cleanliness: Unsurprisingly, travelers now say that cleanliness is their top priority when selecting hotels and flights. In November 2020, Booking declared that short-term or holiday rentals have to meet a minimum cleanliness standard by May 2021, or have their properties delisted. Airbnb and VRBO created new cleaning procedures for hosts to follow in the pandemic. Even after the pandemic ends, cleanliness will remain top of mind for travelers as the anxiety around COVID and other illnesses have now become part of our new reality. Travel and hospitality brands can do their part by communicating detailed and specific information with travelers about the cleaning procedures they have in place, and making sure the procedures can be clearly observed by guests. Hotels and property hosts should also adjust their change and refund policies to allow guests to cancel at the last minute in case of a future outbreak. Brands that prioritize the health and well-being of guests over profits will win when it comes to customer loyalty and safety.
  2. Wellness Tourism: Cleanliness goes hand in hand with wellness, and wellness tourism will keep growing over the next couple of years as people continue to seek out travel for the purpose of promoting health and well-being through physical, psychological, or spiritual activities. According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism will be worth $919 billion by 2022, representing 18 percent of all tourism globally. Brands should start to think about what services or experiences they can create or enhance that will attract these wellness travelers, such as transforming outdoor spaces to become open air yoga studios or hiring meditation or massage experts available for guests to utilize during their stay.
  3. Staying Close to Home: It’s no surprise that during the pandemic traveler preferences shifted toward the familiar. Backpacking through Europe was no longer feasible, so travelers instead opted for domestic destinations and were more thorough in their planning. A recent AirBnB survey revealed that 56 percent of consumers prefer a domestic or local destination and one in five Americans say they want their destination to be within driving distance of home. As a result, road trips will boom – in fact, 59 percent of families say they’re more likely to drive than fly on their next trip. Smaller hotels can compete with the big hotel chains by highlighting the local aspect of their experience and engaging meaningfully with the community they’re in. They might also consider banding together to help people plan fun road trips along specific routes. Travel and hospitality brands can help take some of the anxiety off of travelers by playing a more active role in the planning aspect of the guests’ travel.
  1. Traveling to Connect: The door is open for brands to play a more meaningful role in the travel plans for customers as Airbnb anticipates 2021 being the year of “meaningful travel.” It’s not the act of getting on a plane, standing in long line ups, and visiting crowded tourist attractions that people miss about travel. Rather, it’s the element of social connection – reuniting with old friends, spending time with family, and experiencing something new with loved ones. For a significant percentage of AirBnB survey respondents, their definition of meaningful travel has changed since the pandemic to become even more focused on being with loved ones. These people also say they intend to travel more after the pandemic, with nearly one in two (46%) saying they will travel more for pleasure, such as by going on vacation and to visit family. Brands should consider helping with family reunion planning and continue to be mindful of ways to bring families together while still maintaining a clean and safe environment.
  2. Eco-Tourism: Defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people and involves education,” eco-tourism is on the rise. Consumers are taking on the role of “concerned citizens” demanding responsible travel policies, and we’re seeing a shift in behavior and sentiment toward appreciating the earth and what it has to offer. Moving forward, people will be thinking more mindfully about the way they travel, why they travel, and where they go. Rather than trying to fit as many destinations as possible into one trip, many consumers will opt for longer stays, choosing to get to know the local communities, cultures, cuisines, and landscapes.

The world of travel and tourism has been forever altered by the pandemic and lockdowns. With some valuable insights into how customer behaviors and desires have changed, travel and hospitality brands can find new, creative ways to appeal to travelers. The five trends listed above are a great place to start when looking to understand the ways these industries will continue to change moving into 2021 and beyond.

Trans Rights illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Montana’s Anti-Trans Sports Bill

Montana Sends Anti-Trans Sports Bill To Gov. Gianforte 

Today, the Montana Senate passed House Bill 112, an anti-LGBTQ bill that would ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary level consistent with their gender identity. The bill now heads to Governor Greg Gianforte’s desk for signature or veto. Montana was the first legislature to take up anti-transgender legislation in the 2021 session, considering it in January in a rushed House process and before any serious legislation to address the COVID-19 crisis.

Montana has been at the tip of the spear in the legislative fight to pass discriminatory anti-transgender legislation, a fast and furious effort led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states. There are so far 192 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of those, 93 directly target transgender people and about half of those would, like HB 112, ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity.  Legislators across the country have failed to provide examples of issues in their states to attempt to justify these attacks, laying bare the reality that these are attacks on transgender youth that are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact.  Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident, and there is no reason Montana needs a ban on transgender participation in sports.  Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David issued the following statement in reaction:

“Montana legislators have sadly led the national effort to advance these discriminatory bills that put fear over facts, science, and medicine. Montana legislators are putting Governor Gianforte in a position to jeopardize the wellbeing of the state and put transgender kids in danger in favor of [this] anti-equality political talking point. While no Montana legislator has provided examples of what they claim to be legislating against, they continue to justify prioritizing this manufactured issue over addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. Transgender kids are kids, and they deserve better than this targeted discrimination. Ultimately, this is a bad deal for all Montanans, who would also be subject to the catastrophic consequences that other states have faced after passing anti-transgender legislation.”

Wide range of business and advocacy groups, athletes oppose anti-trans legislation

  • Earlier this month, more than 55 major U.S. corporations stood up and spoke out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country. New companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Altria, Peloton, and Dell join companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Google, Hilton, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, Uber, and Verizon in objecting to these bills.
  • Nearly 550 college athletes have stood up to anti-transgender legislation by demanding the NCAA pull championships from states with anti-trans sports legislation
  • The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular.

A fight driven by national anti-LGBTQ groups, not local legislators or public concern

These bills come from the same forces that drove previous anti-equality fights by pushing copycat bills across state houses — dangerous, anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom (designated by Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group), and Eagle Forum among others.

  • For example, Montana’s HB 112, the first anti-transgender sports bill to be passed through a legislative chamber in any state, was worked on by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Trans equality is popular: Anti-transgender legislation is a low priority, even among Trump voters

In a 10-swing-state poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group last fall:

  • At least 60% of Trump voters across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should be able to live freely and openly.
  • At least 87% of respondents across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should have equal access to medical care, with many states breaking 90% support
  • When respondents were asked about how they prioritized the importance of banning transgender people from participating in sports as compared to other policy issues, the issue came in dead last, with between 1% and 3% prioritizing the issue.

Another more recent poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group revealed that, with respect to transgender youth participation in sports, the public’s strong inclination is on the side of fairness and equality for transgender student athletes. 73% of voters agree that “sports are important in young people’s lives. Young transgender people should be allowed opportunities to participate in a way that is safe and comfortable for them.”

States that pass anti-transgender legislation suffer economic, legal, reputational harm

Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills across the country, like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and North Carolina and an anti-transgender sports ban in Idaho, show that there would be or has been devastating fallout.

  • The Idaho anti-transgender sports bill that passed was swiftly suspended by a federal district court. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) came out against the Idaho bill and others like it and subsequently moved planned tournament games out of Idaho.
  • The Associated Press projected that the North Carolina bathroom bill could have cost the state $3.76 billion over 10 years.
  • During a fight over an anti-transgender bathroom bill in 2017, the Texas Association of Business estimated $8.5 billion in economic losses, risking 185,000 jobs in the process due to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and professional sporting event cancellations, a ban on taxpayer funded travel to those states, cancellation of movie productions, and businesses moving projects out of state.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Basketball illustration by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

North Carolina Introduces Anti-Trans Sports Ban

On Fifth Anniversary of HB 2 ‘Bathroom Bill’ Passage, North Carolina Introduces Anti-Trans Sports Ban.

North Carolina puts forward another anti-transgender bill, again invoking the rhetoric of protecting women and girls from transgender people.

Late Monday, the North Carolina House introduced House Bill 358, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports (including college sports) consistent with their gender identity. The timing of this bill introduction could not have been more ironic, as it came on the eve of the fifth anniversary of Governor Pat McCrory signing the now-notorious House Bill 2, which mandated discrimination against transgender people in bathrooms.

Like HB2, the “Save Women’s Sports” bills rely on false narratives based in fear, rather than facts or science. Like HB2, these sports bans are fear mongering and an attempt to score political points by singling out already marginalized people for additional discrimination.

“In a moment of sad irony, North Carolina legislators have shown they clearly did not learn their lesson from the HB 2 ‘Bathroom Bill’ fight that threatened the state to the tune of billions in revenue, taxpayer-funded litigation, and a tarnished reputation–in addition to the personal reputational harm Gov. Pat McCrory suffered that cost him his job,” said Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Kate Oakley. “By introducing an anti-transgender sports ban bill, they are playing with fire once again, and engaging in a fight that is doomed to the same fate. This legislation is simply the latest iteration in a failed series of attempts to thwart equality for LGBTQ people. Two conservative governors have either threatened to veto or vetoed anti-transgender sports ban legislation out of the same fears that were realized in North Carolina five years ago. Let North Carolina’s ‘bathroom bill’ fight be a lesson to all states and governors considering anti-transgender legislation this session. North Carolina does not want to go down this road again.”

The legislative fight to pass discriminatory anti-transgender legislation has been fast and furious, led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states – quite like the bathroom bill push in 2016. There are 174 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country so far this year. Of those, 95 directly target transgender people and about half of those would, like HB 358, ban transgender girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. As was the case in the HB 2 fight, legislators across the country invoke hypothetical scenarios of harm but have failed to provide actual examples of issues in their states to attempt to justify these attacks, laying bare the reality that these are attacks on transgender youth that are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact.  Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident, and there is no reason North Carolina or any other state needs a ban on transgender participation in sports.

Wide range of business and advocacy groups, athletes oppose anti-trans legislation

  • Earlier this month, more than 55 major U.S. corporations stood up and spoke out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country. New companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Altria, Peloton, and Dell joined companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Google, Hilton, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, Uber, and Verizon in objecting to these bills.
  • Nearly 550 college athletes have stood up to anti-transgender legislation by demanding the NCAA pull championships from states with anti-trans sports legislation
  • The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups-representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1,000 child welfare organizations-released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular.

States that pass anti-transgender legislation suffer economic, legal, reputational harm

Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills across the country, like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and North Carolina and an anti-transgender sports ban in Idaho, show that there would be or has been devastating fallout.

  • The Idaho anti-transgender sports bill that passed was swiftly suspended by a federal district court. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) came out against the Idaho bill and others like it and subsequently moved planned tournament games out of Idaho.
  • The Associated Press projected that the North Carolina bathroom bill could have cost the state $3.76 billion over 10 years.
  • During a fight over an anti-transgender bathroom bill in 2017, the Texas Association of Business estimated $8.5 billion in economic losses, risking 185,000 jobs in the process due to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and professional sporting event cancellations, a ban on taxpayer funded travel to those states, cancellation of movie productions, and businesses moving projects out of state.

The economy and reputation of North Carolina suffered very real harm caused by HB2. Here’s just a snapshot of the overwhelming outcry at the time of the bill’s passage:

  • Over 200 major business leaders, from Apple to Zola, signed an open letter to NC Gov. Pat McCrory opposing HB2, because discrimination is bad for business. The letter was first announced on March 29, 2016, when it was hand-delivered to Pat McCrory by HRC President Chad Griffin, Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro and transgender advocate Candis Cox.
  • On April 5, 2016, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman announced that the company will seek an alternative location for its new “global operations center.” PayPal’s investment was expected to bring 400 skilled jobs to North Carolina, with an annual payroll impact of more than $20 million. In its statement, Schulman said, “The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.”
  • On April 8, 2016 Bruce Springsteen cancelled his concert in North Carolina over HB2, saying, “Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry-which is happening as I write-is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”
  • On May 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice determined North Carolina’s discriminatory HB 2 violates federal civil rights law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. At a press conference on May 9, Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke directly to the transgender community, saying “We see you. We stand with you, and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward.”
  • On July 21, 2016, the NBA decided to stand up to North Carolina lawmakers who refused to repeal HB2 by pulling its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, NC. Despite the NBA’s repeated warnings that it would have to consider moving the high-profile game out of the state if the anti-LGBTQ law was not repealed, the state’s General Assembly shamefully adjourned after 100 days of inaction.
  • In North Carolina, basketball is king-but that didn’t stop the NCAA from standing up for their LGBTQ players, employees and fans by vowing to move tournament events from the state because of HB2. The NCAA announced that they would move all 2016-2017 championship games out of the state on September 12, 2016.
  • On Election Day, NC Governor Pat McCrory, who signed HB2 into law, was defeated at the ballot box — the only incumbent governor from either party to lose on Election Day. Polling by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research showed that HB2 was the most cited issue leading to McCrory’s defeat in those who voted against McCrory.
  • In February, the North Carolina Sports Association sent a letter to lawmakers warning of a loss of NCAA championship games through 2022 if HB2 is not immediately repealed. In the letter, the sports association warned that the NCAA decision could cost the state at least another half a billion dollars in economic activity when other sports organizations follow the NCAA’s lead in moving events out of the state. In November 2016, Forbes estimated that the state had already lost hundreds of millions of dollars due to HB2.
  • In March, the Greensboro Coliseum Complex revealed it had lost $23.5 million in revenue from various championships and conventions because of HB2.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people  are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

travel illustration by Gabrielle Marchan for 360 Magazine

Beijing’s Tourism Revenue Drop

Beijing’s Tourism Revenue Dropped by 53% in 2020 – Loss of Over ¥330B 

The tourism industry was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the city of Beijing saw the momentum of the industry halted in 2020. Beijing had become an increasingly popular tourist destination prior to the pandemic with revenue from inbound tourism recorded at $5.16B in 2019. According to data presented by TradingPlatforms, Beijing’s total revenue from tourism decreased by over 53% in 2020 for a staggering loss of ¥330B, or $50B.

Beijing Revenue From Tourism Dropped By Over $50B After Years Of Growth

China has long moved on from its isolationist policies and has encouraged the mainland as a travel destination for tourists. Revenue from China’s tourism sector grew at a strong 13.8% CAGR from 2010-2019 to ¥5.7T, or almost $880B. In 2019, China was the fourth most visited country by foreign tourists with 65.7M arrivals for the year.

Beijing is one of the leading tourist destinations in China, and the city has been enjoying the growth of the tourism sector until the pandemic of 2020 hit. From 2016-2019, Beijing’s tourism revenue experienced a 5.53% CAGR, rising to a value of ¥622.7B in 2019. However, COVID-19 shut borders around the world, crippling global mobility and disrupting the momentum built up by Beijing’s tourism industry. Beijing’s revenue from tourism dropped over 53% in 2020 to just over ¥291.

Beijing suffered a staggering loss in revenue, specifically in inbound tourism, where revenue dropped from $5.16B in 2019 to just $480M in 2020.

COVID-19 Hit China Early – Caused Massive Disruption in H1 of 2020

China felt the effects of COVID-19 before much of the rest of the world did. A clear example of this is in the drop in weekly Airbnb bookings from the period between January 5th to March 7th. This drop occurred when the coronavirus was just becoming news to the rest of the world of what was happening in various parts of China. Beijing experienced a dizzying 96% drop in weekly Airbnb bookings compared to just 46% in Seoul and 29% in Tokyo in this time period.

The number of domestic tourists is estimated to have dropped by as much as 62% in the first half of 2020 compared to the year prior, with revenues dropping by as much as 77%. By the end of the year, China had experienced a 43% drop in domestic tourists and a 52% drop in revenue from domestic tourism.

Tourism in China Projected To Completely Recover Within 5 Years

In 2019, the absolute economic contribution of tourism in China was estimated at $1.67T. This fell sharply to just $745.5B in 2020-a decrease of more than 55%, but still the largest in Asia and the second-largest overall, after the USA. However, projections have the figure bouncing back up by over 40.5% in 2021 to $1.04T. The figure is projected to surpass pre-pandemic levels for the first time in 2023, when the absolute economic contribution of tourism is projected to be at $1.75T.

Despite the turmoil of 2020, China’s absolute economic contribution from tourism is projected to have an impressive CAGR of 20.75% from 2021-2025, reaching more than $2.67T by the end of the forecast period.

You can read more about the story with more statistics and information on TradingPlatforms’ website.

 

 

Gaming Controllers illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Piepacker Launching on Kickstarter

New Social Gaming Platform with online multiplayer and video chat, Piepacker, Launching on Kickstarter

Over 100,000 users have already tested the platform, helping developers create something never seen before.

Piepacker, the new free social gaming platform that allows users to play officially licensed retro games with friends online, will launch on Kickstarter on April 6th.

At the crossroads of online multiplayer gaming and video chatting, Piepacker is a free and legal platform that provides instant access to officially licensed retro video games from a web browser, without any download.

Through its Kickstarter campaign, Piepacker is offering early access to its platform along with an exclusive piece of technology developed for nostalgic retro gaming: the PieReader. This new retro gaming dock is equipped with adapters to import one’s own retro game cartridges to the multiplayer world of Piepacker and play with their friends online, with only one cartridge.

Piepacker’s video chat features video game-themed 3D masks and filters as a fun way for players to (re)discover the greatest titles of retro gaming among friends as well as new indie and exclusive games.

Currently, most retro video games are acquired on pirate websites with direct downloads. Piepacker brings to the world of video games what Spotify brought to the world of music, making retro gaming accessible to all, for free and legally while guaranteeing a high quality of service.

“While many are limiting their face-to-face interactions due to the ongoing pandemic, connecting with others and remaining socially active has never been more important,” said Benjamin Devienne, co-founder of Piepacker. “Piepacker provides a fun way to interact. This innovation is at the forefront of transgenerational pop-culture, mixing gaming, video chat, 3D filters, and masks in augmented reality. It’s exciting for everyone.”

Under development since March 2020, Piepacker opened its beta version to the public in late December. Before the beta closed, 100,000 people had taken the opportunity to try out the platform and contribute to its development.

Piepacker provides access to games that have been featured on a variety of platforms: arcade machines, NES, Super NES, Saturn, Mega Drive, NeoGeo, and PlayStation with more to come. Piepacker has partnerships with publishers Codemaster, Team 17, and Interplay and indies like Bitmap Bureau or Morphcat. The catalog continues to grow with plans to add modern indie as well as original exclusive cards and board games.

For German indie studio Morphcat, Piepacker is currently “the easiest way to enjoy multiplayer games with your friends over the internet”. British studio Bitmap Bureau is “extremely impressed with the range of features that Pie Packer has to offer, most noticeably the ability to play Xeno Crisis with another player remotely, and believe that retro gamers around the globe will be especially interested in this new technology, with many classic games making their way to the platform.”

There are currently over 60 games including 2 cloud gaming exclusives available for free on Piepacker. Among the available titles are the iconic Worms World Party, Earthworm Jim 1 & 2, Xeno Crisis, and Micro Mages.

The Kickstarter campaign will close May 7, 2021, and the platform itself will be accessible to the public later this year.

About Piepacker

Piepacker was created by two friends, Benjamin Devienne and Jules Testard, two Frenchmen who expatriated long ago and share a decade-long friendship. Benjamin, the face of Piepacker, has an outstanding track record. Before graduating, he was at the head of an academic research project that led him to participate in a major TEDx in Canada, along with many celebrities. Benjamin was also a distinguished guest lecturer in several universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technologies (MIT). He founded the data science department of Gameloft, a French mobile game giant, and became a leader in that field. Facebook convinced him to step outside the video game industry to manage key teams of their data science department as Head of Analytics. The giant of video game streaming, Twitch, a company belonging to Amazon, was next in recruiting him as Head of Research Strategy on machine learning-oriented projects. Benjamin was not yet 30 years old.

When starting Piepacker, the pair recruited some of the world’s most talented experts in the field. They assembled a team of former employees of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, EA, Blizzard-Activision, and Twitter.

After just a few weeks of development, Piepacker got noticed and backed by Y Combinator, the startup accelerator that has engineered the birth of Airbnb, Twitch, Dropbox, and even Reddit. Thanks to their key support, Piepacker’s development has been accelerated and also helped the two founders gather an elite group of advisors from the industry.

On the list of video game veterans advising them, one finds Kenji Matsubara, former president of SEGA, Justin Waldron and Tom Bollich, co-founders of mobile gaming gem Zynga, Kun Gao, co-founder of Crunchyroll, the platform dedicated to Japanese anime and Jeffrey Rosen, co-founder of video game distributor Humble Bundle.

Valentine Image by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

2021 Valentine’s Day Drink List

Valentine’s Day is always a day full of romance, love and of course, alcohol. 360 Magazine has curated a list of the most divine drinks for this season of intimacy. Making these drinks for a loved one is a sure way to show your adoration.

D’USSE Between the Sheets

Glassware: Coupe

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ parts D’USSE VSOP Cognac
  • 1 part Bacardi Superior Rum
  • 1 part Orange Curacao
  • ½ part fresh lemon juice

Garnish: Lemon Twist

Method: Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass

Between the Sheets for 360 Magazine

Sandra Guibord’s Wine Picks 

Sandra Guibord, Founder of Sandra’s Wine Life, has affordable and approachable wine recommendations for you to consider this Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) Day.

Sandra’s Top Bottle Recommendations for this Day of Love:

Red Wine, 360 MAGAZINE

Elysian Brewing’s Fuzzduster

Made by combining two of the company’s most popular beers – Space Dust IPA and Superfuzz Pale Ale – Fuzzduster is the love child of the two, boasting bright and bitter notes that complement one another nicely and bring out each other’s best qualities. 

Fuzzduster can be whipped up in a matter of seconds and is the perfect concoction to create with your significant other (or by yourself, more power to you!) before sitting down for Valentine’s Day festivities at home. All you have to do is combine half a glass of Space Dust and half a glass of Superfuzz with one another, sip and enjoy!

Elysian is also hosting a sweepstake throughout the month of February, where one lucky winner will win a $2,000 Airbnb gift card – to enter, just text “FUZZDUSTER” to 78896 between 2/1 and 2/28. 

Elysian Fuzzduster

 

Cavit Collection Wines

Cavit Sweet Red: A new, lusciously sweet red wine cultivated in vineyards in Vallagrina and Veneto with pronounced cherry and raspberry notes. This delectable beverage pairs well with red meat dishes and are excellent with spicy foods, along with grilled meats and vegetables. The wine has an ABV of 10.5% and is available in 750ml and 1.5l.

Cavit Rosé: It’s never too early for Rose season…especially during a global pandemic. Cavit’s Rosé features beautiful aromas of fresh strawberry and cherries and comes from a blend of native Trentino red grapes. The wine is best served with fish dishes and white meat.

Cavit Moscato: This sweet wine features delicious notes of apricot, white peach and sage, a true Italian gem. Cavit’s Moscato is best served with flavorful appetizers, cheeses, spicy dishes, and fruit and chocolate. The wine has an ABV of 7.5% and is available in 750ml and 1.5l.

Winter Moscato Cocktail (Source: Cavit Collection Wines and Honest Cooking)

  • INGREDIENTS
    • 2 parts Moscato wine
    • 1 part cranberry juice
    • 1 part ginger beer/ale
    • sugared cranberries
  • DIRECTIONS
    • Shake wine and juice together with ice, strain into glass (no glass preference from client) and top with ginger beer/ale.
    • Garnish with a toothpick of sugared cranberries.

CavitMoscatoRecipe.jpg

Las Vegas-Based Tour Provider

When Bindlestiff Tours owner Rachel Urban opened the Las Vegas-based adventure tour company nearly 10 years ago, she sought to offer adventurers the most immersive experiences throughout the Southwestern United States, Alaska and Western Canada. In the days leading up to the pandemic, Bindlestiff Tours was doing just that. Business was booming and the company welcomed thousands of international visitors each year.

Then borders closed, shutdowns began and the international tourism industry dried up. As reservations were cancelled and trips delayed, many tour operators opted to close their doors entirely. Yet, Bindlestiff made the bold, yet tough, decision to remain open last year as one of the only fully operating national park tour companies in Las Vegas during the height of the pandemic. Today, Bindlestiff continues to fight challenges created by the pandemic while still welcoming drive-market travelers to keep the business afloat.  

“Like many small businesses in the tourism industry, we’re fighting every day to keep our operation running while safeguarding our staff and customers’ health and well-being,” said Urban. 

With group size limits, mask enforcement rules and social distancing guidelines differing state by state, Bindlestiff’s high operating and cleaning costs for their spectacular multi-state tours through Nevada, Arizona, Utah and California have risen while the number of guests they are able to accommodate continues to remain restricted. 

Navigating which national parks and campsites are open also presents another obstacle for Bindlestiff Tours. A spike in COVID-19 cases often leads to sudden park or campsite closures or limited access to certain destinations which creates challenges in how Bindlestiff times tours, according to Urban.

Last-minute tour reservations and cancellations also add to the company’s dilemma of planning how many guests they are able to welcome on a given day. 

“While it certainly has been difficult to accommodate travelers visiting Las Vegas on a whim, it brings us such gratitude knowing there are still domestic tourists searching to get away and immerse themselves in nature,” said Urban. 

The immersive tour operator celebrates the small victories such as welcoming travelers from neighboring states, even if group sizes remain small, and continues to offer flexible booking conditions, value tour pricing and additional traveler options. 

Among these additional options are Bindlestiff Tours’ new multi-day, self-driving camping tours and private, custom single- or multi-day tours from Las Vegas.


The self-drive camping tours, also available with hotel upgrades, offer travelers an opportunity to socially distance under the stars. According to Urban, these tours are designed for guests interested in driving to the national parks of the American Southwest on their own, while still receiving expert guidance and an immersive, personalized adventure. 

Guests are provided with all the necessary camping equipment and tour guides assist with camp set-up in scenic locations. Expert tour guides meet guests at key locations throughout the tour and escort groups on remote hiking trails to spectacular viewpoints while providing live interpretive wildlife and nature content throughout the adventure. 

According to Bindlestiff, guides also facilitate evening campfires and locally sourced, fully catered al fresco dining options at camp or for hotel guests. 

To enhance the self-drive experience, Urban says guests can download the recently reconfigured Bindlestiff Tours mobile app. Now featuring tour narrations in English for domestic travelers in addition to multiple languages for international visitors, the app allows travelers to access additional details, instruction and information.


For families or groups of friends of four or more interested in experiencing national parks in a more intimate setting, Bindlestiff also offers private, custom tour options. These tour packages are pre-made and offer exclusive one-on-one attention from a dedicated, expert local guide. Guests may select day tours or multi-day outdoor camping tours or the comfort of hotel accommodation. Guides escort groups on a completely private tour throughout the experience. Guests have the option to choose from classic itineraries or request a custom-tailored tour and add on other areas of interest, according to Urban. 

Despite the overall decrease in travelers resulting from the pandemic, Bindlestiff Tours understands the importance of continuing to provide vacationers with spectacular opportunities to visit some of the country’s most breathtaking national parks when they are ready to travel again.

“During the height of the shutdown last year, we were one of the only fully operating tour providers in Las Vegas,” said Urban. “We understand the importance of offering travelers expert guides for incredible experiences they’ll never forget, especially during such a difficult time. It truly brings our team joy.” 

As Bindlestiff continues to expand its tour offerings when more people begin to travel again, the challenges of remaining viable and laying the foundation for recovery in a post-COVID economy remains present. This year, Bindlestiff is excited to launch “glamping” tours that allow families and private groups the peace of the great outdoors paired with more elevated living accommodations.

According to Urban, the tour company remains hopeful about the future. She said guests booking trips with Bindlestiff this year have felt reassured about their health and safety – some even going as far as sharing their uplifting experiences on social media. 

“Our company is beyond grateful we have remained open throughout these challenging times to welcome those searching to get out of their houses and into the wilderness,” said Urban.

For more information about private custom tours and self-drive tours, visit www.bindlestifftours.com