Posts tagged with "traveling"

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.

Cherry Blossom illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Cherry Blossoms Celebrated

FROM HUMAN CHESS TO PADDLEBOARDING:
UNIQUE WAYS CHERRY BLOSSOMS ARE CELEBRATED THROUGHOUT JAPAN

With the much-anticipated arrival of their delicate pink flowers, the cherry trees blossoming in Japan is a yearly spectacle. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, cherry blossoms in Tokyo are expected to bloom on March 15th this year. Associated with renewal and the coming spring, the cherry blossoms (or sakura) spur a variety of unique celebrations and experiences throughout the country, with many cities and towns forming their own yearly traditions and unique ways to see the cherry blossoms.

Cruise the Matsukawa River, Toyama Prefecture

Travelers can enjoy hanami (the custom of flower viewing in Japan) as well as the beautiful landscapes of Toyama Prefecture on a special cruise along the Matsukawa River. During cherry blossom season, cruises on the river drift along with the relaxing current and make their way through tunnels of cherry blossom trees. Cruises begin and end outside of the Matsukawa Tea House, so travelers can enjoy a nice cup of tea after a peaceful afternoon of hanami.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride Through Kitakami Tenshochi Park, Iwate Prefecture

A massive park spanning over 700 acres, the Kitakami Tenshochi Park has been a favorite for hanami among both locals and travelers for decades. 2021 is the 100th anniversary of the park’s opening and there is a myriad of ways for travelers to see the cherry blossoms, such as taking a riverboat cruise, or taking a ride on a horse-drawn carriage underneath the “tunnel of pink.” Cherry blossom branches stretch out from the trees on both sides of the walkway and form a floral tunnel that travelers can traverse

Human Chess Match at Tendo Sakura Matsuri, Yamagata Prefecture

Ninety percent of Japanese chess pieces, or shogi, are produced in the city of Tendo. Every April, as over 2,000 cherry blossoms bloom, locals and travelers gather to watch a human chess match, or shogi battle, in Maizuru Park, where two professional chess players compete with humans dressed as samurai and servants in place of chess pieces. The festival also features taiko (Japanese drum) performances and delicious festival food like yakisoba noodles and takoyaki balls.

Stand-up Paddleboarding in Shiga Prefecture

In Kyoto, travelers who want to partake in hanami can go stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Biwa to see cherry blossoms bloom along the coast. Shirahage SUP at the Shirahige Beach Campsite offers travelers the opportunity to see the cherry blossoms directly from the crystal blue waters of Lake Biwa.

Moka Railway Ride in Tochigi Prefecture

The city of Moka in Tochigi Prefecture is perhaps most known for the Moka Railway, which has been operating for over 100 years. During the spring when cherry blossoms begin to bloom, the railway line becomes a popular attraction since its track is almost completely surrounded by cherry blossoms and rape flowers. Travelers can book a trip on the scenic railway between Mogi station and Shimodate station for an unforgettable hanami ride.

Boating Under Hirosaki Castle, Aomori Prefecture

Hirosaki Castle is well-known as a top destination for hanami. Since local apple farmers prune the cherry trees the same way they do apples, the trees end up with two to three times more flowers than normal. To see the lush, pink flowers, guests often rent a rowboat and sail it out on the river surrounded by cherry blossoms. The sparkling river coupled with the towering castle and the bright petals makes for a fairy tale to come to life.

Noh Plays at Night, Tokyo

Under the lovely cherry blossoms of Yasukuni Shrine, a stage is set and traditional plays called noh are performed. These plays often date back to the 14th century and include kyogen (comedic spoken dramas) and maibayashi (a shorter version of noh with music). Performed, under the yozakura (cherry blossoms at night), the plays are enhanced by the atmosphere of the lit-up blossoms and the bonfire, two integral elements of this experience. Japan’s top actors and actresses are known to take the stage.

Events and experiences above are subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For updates on travel restrictions to Japan, please visit the website.

 

Travel story illustration by Maria Soloman for 360 MAGAZINE

Escape-by-Pod Hottest 2021 Travel Trend

The escape by pod, or traveling with pandemic-vetted friends and family, is one of the hottest trends in vacation travel in this time of Covid. The Chilko Experience Wilderness Resort is poised to accommodate the growing demand for full ranch buyouts on this private family estate in a remote and recreationally rich wilderness region of British Columbia.

The estate announces a 2021 June-October season buy-out invitation at $15,000 USD per night for pods of 12 adults. Multi-generational family groups of up to 20 members can be accommodated. This includes access to luxury Canadian hand-crafted log homes, services of a master chef and private activity guides, plus an open bar and the capability to accommodate and arrange for private aircraft.

To help take any worries or uncertainty out of booking for 2021, the offering comes with a client-friendly purchase policy that asks for a 25 percent deposit with balance due 90 days prior to arrival. However, guests will receive a full refund if the Canadian border is closed at time of travel. Full refunds minus a $500 per person fee will be available for cancellations 61 or more days prior to the arrival date. However, there will be no refunds for cancellations 60 days or less prior to arrival date if it is for any reason other than border closure.

Host Phil Huston, founder and owner, assures that all precautions and protocols that have evolved throughout the pandemic will be practiced here to help secure the well-being of guests and staff alike. They operated successfully and safely in 2020 with the assistance of Iridia Medical who made the necessary adjustments to ensure sanitation and guest safety. With a capacity of just 12 guests and their remote, secluded location, this is expected to be a destination in high demand for 2021 travel.

Phil and his wife, Anne Huston, are extending their take on luxury living in the wilderness for the 14th season this year. For them the luxury of The Chilko Experience is about friendly hospitality, complete privacy and wholesome fun in the wilderness. For 20 years Huston has been in a unique position to observe the benefits to friends and families of bonding with nature and each other. “There is a magic to witness in that process that never gets old,” said Huston.

This is British Columbia’s “last frontier”. Phil Huston came upon it almost by accident while backpacking BC over 40 years ago, and he never forgot it. Only a thousand hearty residents inhabit its 32 Million acres equating to one resident per every 50 square miles. This road less region supports 17 unique ecosystems. Mountains, glaciers, rushing rivers and alpine lakes take center stage. So do nature and its healing powers. Here, brown bears, cougars, wolves, mountain goats, eagles and salmon call the Chilcotin home.

Carved from the wilds, this-off-the-grid estate consists of six custom log and timber frame luxury accommodations which were designed and constructed by HGTV’s Timber Kings. Today these one and two-bedroom, artisan-crafted dwellings continue to delight visitors whom their hosts welcome like family to this exclusive estate. Each unique home shares common features: oversized windows for maximum natural light, stone floors, hand-beveled denim (blue toned pine) ceilings, steel roofs, all tastefully furnished with antiques. Anne Huston, a long-time antique dealer, has adorned these classic homes with many of her own collectibles. See: https://thechilkoexperience.com/log-homes/

Throughout the early June through mid-October season activities include, among others, fly fishing, kayaking, river rafting, horseback riding and four-wheeling in the never-ending forests of pine, splashed by the vivid turquoise and icy blues of the world-famous Chilko Lake.

Staff include expert guides who make sure that on a daily basis each guest fulfills a dream activity. A professional resident chef will delight you daily with their hearty, home-grown fare, and a masseuse and yoga instructor are also in residence for those in search of an invigorating natural wellness experience.

The Chilko Experience serves only British Columbia-sourced wines, many from Okanagan Valley vintners. Taking center stage in the world of wines, Okanagan is the new star to watch.  Many of its over 300 wineries have won international awards.

The geographic features of the wilderness surrounding The Chilko Experience are dominated by Chilko Lake and its out-flowing Chilko River.  The lake is the largest alpine lake in North America and its shores are completely uninhabited, making it one of the most striking and unspoiled landscapes in British Columbia today. As the locals like to ponder: Why go to Lake Louise when you can have Chilko Lake all to yourself?

The lake’s horizon is adorned with the majestic snow-capped Coastal Mountains that stretch north into Yukon territory and southerly, morphing into the Cascade Range from British Columbia into Washington and Oregon. Bears, wolves and bald eagles are abundant here, especially from mid-September through October when runs of up to a million salmon attract one of the highest concentrations of Grizzly bears in North America, not to mention hundreds of eagles that soar overhead, scouring for scraps.

“Perhaps even more impressive than artisan log castles and pristine wilderness is the heart of The Chilko Experience – our world-renowned hospitality,” explains Huston. “Sincere, unpretentious and warm are some of the words we hear. Our guests tell us that we are masters in the art of hosting. Real hands-on, laugh-your-tail-off fun is what we do. Boots on the ground, paddles in the water, fish on the line, sights seen by few – that’s what the Chilko Experience is all about.”

Huston goes on to say, “One could not conceive of a more desirable antidote to our current woes than this intimate, untamed adventure.  When guests ask for the address of the resort, they get an unusual answer.  We are 30 miles off the power grid, 40 miles to the post office and 200 miles to the grocery store but at night you can reach up and touch the stars.”

For additional details please see https://thechilkoexperience.com/. Call toll free 1.888.865.7136 or email phil@chilkoexperience.com.

About The Chilko Experience Wilderness Resort
The estate is a charter member of The Austin Collection and a member of the Mantis Collection, Villas of Distinction and the Chilko Operators Association. It was also included in the 2018 Chad Clark Certified 25™. This is a collection of the most unique, authentic and singular travel experiences to be had throughout the world.

Gabrielle Archuleta illustration for 360 MAGAZINE skiing article

Skiing, Snowshoeing Popular During COVID Isolation

With the holidays behind us and more snowstorms expected in Park City, Utah, YOTELPAD Park City is seeing a robust level of skiers taking advantage of the new hotel’s first season at the base of Park City Mountain.

The largest ski and snowboard resort in the United States, Park City Mountain has added YOTELPAD Park City last month to Canyons Village with easy access to the Gondola and Orange Bubble ski lifts to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, shopping, dining and après ski.

“We’re finding this year that cross country skiing and snowshoeing has taken a leap in popularity with our guests,” said Brandon Tyler, general manager of YOTELPAD Park City. “YOTELPAD Park City is at the base of one of the best ski mountains in the country, and families are relishing all of our outdoor winter activities.”

One national report showed 2019-20 cross country skiing was up to 5.2 percent from year-earlier figures of 4.9 percent, while year-over-year snowshoeing increased to 3.6 percent from 3.4 percent, according to Cross Country Ski Areas Association.

“With 7,300 acres of open mountain terrain as a playground, guests are loving recreating in the clean mountain while naturally distancing from others,” said Tyler, whose team opened the 144-PAD (YOTEL-speak for condos) hotel Dec. 17, 2020.

The first in the world of its kind, YOTELPAD Park City is a fully tech-equipped hotel with self-service check-in stations, Grab+Go meals and drinks, a 24/7 gym with the latest Life Fitness & Peloton equipment, ski valet service, a fireside lounge and more.

“YOTELPAD’s differentiator is our innovative designs for various-sized PADs, which include Italian furniture that transforms into multiple uses in the same room space,” he said. “Guests absolutely love the European-inspired floor plans because they optimize every inch of PADs, which can accommodate up to seven guests and make it the perfect mountain base for adventure seekers.”

Born from creative leaders at London’s YOTEL, the YOTELPAD concept is drastically altering consumers’ images of hotels.

“This first YOTELPAD is changing travelers’ expectation of hotels, which will cause hotels to adapt to travelers’ demands,” said Tyler. “From top to bottom, these PADs offer incredible options for guests. Intelligently designed PADs allow guests to enjoy the benefits of their stay without added expenses.”

Tapping into the local fresh food options, YOTELPAD provides with several local food options.

“To accommodate guests’ preferences, our Grab+Go food express offers fresh, farm-to-table local food,” he said. “Savoury Kitchen provides breakfast burritos, oatmeal, soups, sandwiches and salads. Dinner originates from Rebekah’s Kitchen, with items such as turkey chili and minestrone stew. Gold Creek Farms provides locally harvested cheeses daily.

“From quality coffees, such as Lavazza, to high-end takeaway meals, we offer a wide array of food, drinks and retail items.”

Already at 85 percent sold, YOTELPAD’s owners can submit their PADs into a nightly rental program when not in use.

“Owners can rent their PADs and instantly be listed in YOTEL’s worldwide network for guests seeking new experiences in an environment with modern designs,” said Tyler.

Operating 17 hotels in eight countries, YOTEL recently opened YOTEL London, YOTEL Glasgow and YOTEL Washington, D.C.

“The YOTEL and YOTELPAD concepts are trending, with 13 more YOTELs under development globally and two YOTELPADs being built in Miami and Dubai,” he said.

The tech-forward hotel has built a strong following for its hassle-free solutions, with travelers seeking out hotels in cities and airports from San Francisco to Europe to Singapore.

To provide mountain resort expertise, YOTEL has partnered with Benchmark, a global hospitality leader, to spearhead day-to-day operations of YOTELPAD Park City. Since acquiring Gemstone Hotels & Resorts in 2016, Benchmark has built a strong Park City presence and manages a portfolio of more than 70 unique projects across three continents, including ski properties in Park City, Vail, Lake Tahoe and Jackson Hole.

For more information, visit yotel.com/parkcity.

SHOT 3/2/17 11:13:38 AM – Park City, Utah lies east of Salt Lake City in the western state of Utah. Framed by the craggy Wasatch Range, it’s bordered by the Deer Valley Resort and the huge Park City Mountain Resort, both known for their ski slopes. Utah Olympic Park, to the north, hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and is now predominantly a training facility. In town, Main Street is lined with buildings built primarily during a 19th-century silver mining boom that have become numerous restaurants, bars and shops. (Photo by Marc Piscotty / © 2017)
SHOT 3/2/17 6:46:36 PM – Aerial photos of Park City, Utah. Park City lies east of Salt Lake City in the western state of Utah. Framed by the craggy Wasatch Range, it’s bordered by the Deer Valley Resort and the huge Park City Mountain Resort, both known for their ski slopes. Utah Olympic Park, to the north, hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and is now predominantly a training facility. In town, Main Street is lined with buildings built primarily during a 19th-century silver mining boom that have become numerous restaurants, bars and shops. (Photo by Marc Piscotty / © 2017)
SHOT 3/2/17 3:57:46 PM – Park City, Utah lies east of Salt Lake City in the western state of Utah. Framed by the craggy Wasatch Range, it’s bordered by the Deer Valley Resort and the huge Park City Mountain Resort, both known for their ski slopes. Utah Olympic Park, to the north, hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and is now predominantly a training facility. In town, Main Street is lined with buildings built primarily during a 19th-century silver mining boom that have become numerous restaurants, bars and shops. (Photo by Marc Piscotty / © 2017)

ADVENTURES IN MIYAGI PREFECTURE

Known as the “Land of Contrasts,” Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture is home to a variety of outdoor activities for travelers to enjoy. From cycling to surfing and even paragliding, Miyagi’s wide range of landscapes has no shortage of opportunities to try something new. Below are a few places travelers can dream of visiting when travel restrictions are lifted.

With a variety of biking trails to choose from, Miyagi is the perfect place to cycle through paths that stop by some of the prefecture’s most famous sights. For coastal views, Oshika Peninsula offers more than 40 miles of rolling hills and coastal panoramas, including a view of Kinkasan Island, a majestic island home to sacred deer that roam about the island freely. In the countryside, Marumori Loop is a popular cycling spot for locals. The low plains offer excellent views of the mountains, charming villages and rice fields. Experienced bikers can cycle through the mountainous wilderness of Mount Zao. These incredibly remote passes are grueling but are totally worth it for the beautiful scenery, secluded hot springs and countryside cafes.

Speaking of Mount Zao, the region is one of Miyagi’s best destinations for outdoor adventures. Skiers and snowboarders can opt to tackle the remote slopes on their own, but a guide is considered essential for anyone not trained in winter mountaineering and acquainted with the terrain of Mount Zao. Luckily, M’s Guide is a winter mountain guide service based at Sumikawa Snow Park and can tailor any outdoor excursion for guests.

For watersports, three-time paragliding national champion Takeshige Yamaya offers tandem paragliding experiences in Matsushima Bay, perfect for travelers to experience one of the Three Most Scenic Spots in Japan. Setravelndai and even Mount Zao can also be seen from the sky. In Sendai, Barefoot Surf offers a variety of SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) and surfing excursions for any skill level.

Travelers looking to spend the night outdoors can stay at the Fukiage Kogen Campground in Northern Miyagi. The grounds are surrounded by scenic views of mountains and quiet forests. The campground even has its own hot spring, walking trails, pub and plenty of cute goats. While travelers can bring their own equipment, guests can be supplied with all the gear they need with advanced reservations.

For more information on Miyagi, please visit http://www.visitmiyagi.com.

The Concord Hotel, 360 MAGAZINE, New Hampshire, four diamond, aaa

Venice’s Hotel Ca’ di Dio May 2021

Venice’s newest 5-star hotel, Ca’ di Dio, will be born in May 2021. The hotel sits within a transformed ecclesiastical compound dating from 1272 that has hosted Crusaders, pilgrims and tourists for more than eight centuries.

“We are honored to have been asked to represent the Ca’ di dio,” says Geoffrey Weill, “particularly at this moment in history when revolutionary vaccines are combatting a pandemic that has crippled the travel business in Venice and throughout the world.”

Located on the Riva Ca’ di Dio, the hotel overlooks Venice’s legendary lagoon, and is located adjacent to the Arsenale and the gardens that house the city’s Biennale, one of the world’s most iconic art festivals and exhibitions. The Ca’ di Dio is an easy stroll along the waterfront from bustling St. Mark’s Square.

The 66-key Ca’ di Dio (pronounced Ka-di-dio) is one of a new class of properties managed by Italy’s VOI Hotels, to be known as V-Retreats. The Ca ‘di Dio, like all V-Retreats, is set to be an oasis of peace, a palace of timeless beauty imbued with the finesse and warmth of Italian hospitality. The hotel’s general manager, Christophe Mercier, has a rich history of managing some of Venice’s finest properties.

The creation of the Hotel Ca’ di Dio was entrusted to the studio of the internationally renowned Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola. “My goal was to create an original and distinctive concept,” says Urquiola, “a Venetian ‘mansion,’ deeply linked to the history of the city with fine woods, rich textiles, colors, finishes and Murano glass; each decorative, architectural and lighting element is the result of the skillful hands of skilled craftsmen who combine the passion for their work with the secrets and techniques of Venetian tradition.”

The Ca’ di Dio’s accommodations comprise 57 suites and nine Deluxe rooms, spread over three floors. Ten suites have a unique view of the lagoon and San Giorgio Maggiore Island; two of the suites have a large roof terrace overlooking the San Marco Basin.

Two internal courtyards are home to the hotel’s Alchemia Bar and the Essentia Restaurant, whose design combines Venetian tradition with Urquiola’s contemporary signature. The hotel’s indoor-outdoor VE-RO Restaurant overlooks the breathtaking Venetian lagoon. Named for its Venetian roots, its cuisine is inspired by traditional dishes of the Veneto, reset in contemporary tones, respecting the seasonality of fish and produce. Many of the ingredients will come from the Ca’ di Dio’s vegetable garden secreted within yet another internal courtyard.

The Ca’ di Dio will offer a state-of-the-art wellness program in its Spa Pura, and will welcome small meetings and events. The colors and comfort of the reading room provide the ideal location for contemplation. The hotel’s elegant boutique will offer a selection of Murano glass produced exclusively for the Ca ‘di Dio. The hotel’s side canal entrance provides direct docking for water taxis and the hotel’s water-transfer cruisers.

The opening of the Ca’ di Dio coincides with a new reclaimed future for the city of Venice. “I was in the city in October when the Acqua Alta threatened the customary flooding of the city,” says Weill, “and for the first time, the lagoon’s new high-tech water barriers were set in motion, saving the city’s treasures from the customary flooding.”

The Venice Biennale 2021 has been postponed to 2022 because of Covid-19. The Venice Architecture Biennale, is now slated for May 22, 2021 to November 22, 2021.
Full details of the new Hotel Ca’ di Dio are at https://www.lifestyle-voihotels.com/en/ca-di-dio/and will be expanded in coming weeks.

Emotional Support Animal Airline Laws Changing January 11th

In 2020, the Department of Transportation made a new determination that only service dogs would continue to be protected under the American’s with Disabilities Act, thus categorizing emotional support animals as pets.

So far, only Southwest Airlines have stated that they will continue to accept ESA’s at no charge. Both Alaska and American Airlines have stated that they will no longer accept emotional support animals on flights. However, several airlines accept pets for a fee. Those who have already booked flights this year with their ESA should look into each airline policy, as some will still be accepting ESA’s from existing reservations.

“Basically what it comes down to is the animal’s training. They are saying an individual with PTSD who has a trained dog can have the animal with them during air travel, but if the individual has PTSD and doesn’t have the luxury of being gifted a service dog, or can’t afford the costs of obtaining a service dog which can run upwards of $50,000, then their PTSD doesn’t qualify/isn’t valid,” said licensed mental health professional Prairie Conlon. Prairie Conlon, LPC, NPC  and Clinical Director of CertaPet was disheartened about the news.

“That’s textbook discrimination on several levels. I’m honestly astonished that they pushed this through. There are so many other options, such as tightening restrictions and requiring basic training, that could have solved the issue,” continued Conlon.

“So many news sources keep referring to the peacock incident of 2018 and of course they are saying good riddance, as am I. But what they fail to realize is that that incident did cause a lot of change and those types of animals haven’t seen ESA status for air travel since then. Stop referring to the peacock. It’s not a valid argument anymore. Nobody is fighting for the peacock to be an ESA.” 

CertaPet, an emotional support letter service, released this statement:

“We at Certapet think this is a great disservice to those facing mental health challenges that get emotional support from their animal.  We understand that there have been incidents that have discredited emotional support animals and the service they provide, but those situations could be prevented by increased regulation.  We think emotional support peacocks are ridiculous too.  Providing clear guidelines for certification and vetting companies in the industry would have been simple steps to solve this challenge for all stakeholders. Certapet is a trusted telehealth platform that has been providing real mental health services for many years. These imposter companies exploiting individuals with mental health issues should be penalized.

Eliminating emotional support animals altogether is a quick, cheap fix that disregards those who really need and use the treatment appropriately. The DOT has chosen the easy and harmful path over the correct one. We hope to have continued discussions with airlines as they make choices on their own company policies and encourage them to make the right decisions. Mental health is a serious issue and removing access to a researched and proven treatment is a disgrace.”

ABOUT PRAIRIE CONLON

Prairie is a licensed mental health professional and is considered the world’s leading expert on Emotional Support Animals. She is the Clinical Director of Therapeutic and consults for CertaPet, one of the largest telehealth companies in the nation. Prairie has a Master’s Degree in professional counseling and a Postgraduate Degree in Military Behavioral health counseling. She is certified as an equine-assisted psychotherapist. Prairie is a certified Accelerated Resolution Therapist and helps train future trauma therapist in this modality. She consults for several nonprofits for veterans and first responder trauma, including The Lone Survivor Foundation and Horses that Heal. She is the founder, developer and lead researcher of emotional support animal Assisted Therapy (ESAAT) which is a set of techniques utilized to decrease anxiety, panic attacks, depressive symptoms, and sleep difficulties with the use of an Emotional Support Animal.

ABOUT CERTAPET

We are the #1 Emotional Support Letter Service, and we make sure your letter is 100% compliant with state and federal regulations.

Downtown Gateway Arches on Las Vegas Boulevard Photo Courtesy of City Of Las Vegas

Vegas’ New Gateway Arches Illuminated Tonight

Tonight, the City of Las Vegas will illuminate its new, 80-foot-tall Gateway Arches spanning Las Vegas Boulevard between St. Louis and Bob Stupak avenues at the base of The STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod. Conceived and designed by Selbert Perkins Design and fabricated and installed by YESCO, the 100-year-old company synonymous with Las Vegas’ most iconic signs, the archway marks travelers’ official arrival into the City of Las Vegas.

“Las Vegas is known worldwide as the getaway for the best in entertainment, fun, dining and convention business,” Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman said. “What better way to invite everyone into historic downtown than by this passing through this massive, new archway into the heart of a revitalized Las Vegas.”

“Ward 3 is a dynamic part of the city of Las Vegas and I am so excited to represent the home of this beautiful new gateway,” Ward 3 Councilwoman Olivia Diaz said. “I am sure these iconic arches will become synonymous with the fun and excitement of our city, as well as being a point of community pride for years to come.”

The blue illuminated arches form a towering gateway to the city’s burgeoning Downtown and feature a pink, retro-inspired Las Vegas emblem suspended above the boulevard. While the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign at the south end of the Strip enjoys world renown, many people do not realize it lies outside the City of Las Vegas’ boundaries in unincorporated Clark County, Nevada. The new, brightly lit, Gateway Arches will welcome visitors to the city of Las Vegas as they travel north on Las Vegas Boulevard. 

“YESCO has a long history of fabricating, installing and maintaining Las Vegas’ most internationally recognizable signs, and the Gateway Arches represent the newest monumental addition to that portfolio,” said Jeff Young, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of YESCO. “This project is history in the making, and we’re proud to have partnered with the City of Las Vegas and Selbert Perkins Design to bring it to life.”

Added Stephen Thayer, vice president and general manager at The STRAT, “The Gateway Arches are a striking landmark to designate what has long been the gateway from the Las Vegas Strip to the City of Las Vegas. We are thrilled that this beautiful monument has been erected just steps away from our iconic tower.”

“Selbert Perkins Design has been designing city gateways, public art and landmarks for over 30 years. We are honored to have worked with the City of Las Vegas to design its newest gateway which welcomes all to historic downtown,” said Robin Perkins, partner of Selbert Perkins Design. “Our thanks to YESCO for fabricating and installing this complex work. It’s been a fantastic collaboration all around!”

FUN FACTS:

  • One leg of the Gateway Arches weighs 18,400 pounds
  • Number of lights on the arches: 13,016 
  • City Of Las Vegas emblem measures 20-feet x 40-feet and weighs 7,300 pounds
  • The entire arch draws over 61,000 watts of power
  • The arches are comprised of over 13,000 + RGB light-emitting diode (LED) pucks that are individually programmable
  • Over 700 feet of fully programmable RGBW LED Flex Neon, each pixel is 4.92 inches 
  • Fully programmable, the color-changing sign contains more than 170 IP addresses
  • Each arch leg spans 140 feet across Las Vegas Boulevard
  • 900-plus LED lamps in the southern face of the hanging “Las Vegas” cabinet
  • Four footings were drilled with a drill rig and are 20-feet in depth x 4-feet wide with a steel reinforced cage

Other high-profile Las Vegas projects YESCO has fabricated and installed during its centennial year include the sign package for Allegiant Stadium, as well as interior and exterior signage for Downtown’s new Circa Resort & Casino. 

The Gateway Arches will be illuminated every day beginning at dusk.

Rita Azar illustrates travel article for 360 MAGAZINE

Cozy Winter Retreats

Enjoy delicious food, spectacular accommodations, and seasonal activities this winter

As temperatures drop and winter nears, a sweet escape may be closer than you think! If you’re yearning for a weekend getaway, look no further than the scenic Hudson Valley for a charming winter retreat. Located just an hours’ drive from New York City, Orange County, N.Y. offers acclaimed restaurants and accommodations with seasonal packages for couples, singles, and families looking for a home away from home this season.

“The perfect winter getaway can be found close to home with a visit to one of our cozy inns or B&Bs — all just a short drive from the area’s ski resorts, ice rinks, riding stables, hiking, biking, and mountain trails,” said Orange County Tourism Director Amanda Dana. “Unwind with loved ones or a good book by a crackling fireplace after a day outdoors. Or, warm up with a delicious meal from one of our many acclaimed restaurants offering indoor dining and seasonal menus, too.”

Below are some winter getaways available in Orange County, N.Y. Before visiting any of the locations, please contact the venue directly to confirm that they are open and practice safe social-distancing.

Cedar Lake Estates, 1 Team USA Way, Port Jervis: Cedar Lakes Estate offers 500 acres of Winter Wonderland for you to explore. Stay for a long weekend, or grab a seat at one of the venue’s Saturday dinners. Whether just for a toast by the fire, or a snowshoe around the property, explore all there is to do in the beautiful Hudson Valley. cedarlakesestate.com

The Thayer Hotel, 674 Thayer Road, West Point: Experience the luxurious accommodations at the Historic Thayer Hotel at West Point with one of many seasonal packages available. Visitors can enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving dinner prepared by the Culinary Institute of America team of chefs with an overnight stay, or choose the venue’s holiday brunch package that includes an exquisite feast for two, luxurious overnight accommodations, and a souvenir Thayer Hotel holiday ornament. Ring in the New Year with overnight accommodations, a cocktail reception at MacArthur’s Riverview Restaurant, a four-course meal, open bar, DJ, champagne toast at midnight, and a New Year’s Day champagne brunch. thethayerhotel.com

The Waterstone Inn, 62 Sterling Road, Greenwood Lake: Skiers won’t want to overlook one of Orange County’s hidden gems, The Waterstone Inn. Located just three miles from Mount Peter, a full-service mountain offering skiing, snowboarding and tubing, the beautiful inn offers visitors a peek back in time to the Golden Age of Greenwood Lake when affluent New York families would flock to the lake for leisure throughout the 1800s and early 1900s. Accommodating parties of all sizes, guests can choose from studio rooms, suites, or the entire third floor. thewaterstoneinn.com

Bear Mountain Inn, 3020 Seven Lakes Drive, Bear Mountain: Built in 1915 upon a plateau overlooking the shores of Hessian Lake, this natural beauty of local stone and timber is a national treasure. Its 15 deluxe guest rooms and suites combine rustic mountainside elegance with all the creature comforts of home to make it the quintessential romantic Hudson Valley destination. Relax and recharge with the inn’s shop, stay, and spa package that includes a gift card to Woodbury Common Premium outlets and a $100 credit to the Spa at Bear Mountain. visitbearmountain.com

Cromwell Manor Historic Inn, 174 Angola Road, Cornwall: Relax at this elegant 1820 mansion with additional guest rooms in a charming 1762 colonial cottage. Decorated with period antiques and furnishings, all rooms have private baths and many have working fireplaces. Enjoy homemade breakfast each morning, overlooking the seven-acre private estate, before heading out to explore nearby parks and trails, world class shopping at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, and many vineyards and wineries. cromwellmanorinn.com

Stagecoach Inn, 268 Main Street, Goshen: The Hudson Valley’s premier inn and restaurant can be found within an elegant mansion built in 1747. Despite its historic past, the five-bedroom inn features private baths and all the modern updates and amenities for 21st-century travelers. The on-site restaurant offers casually elegant dining in several sitting rooms and a stone veranda overlooking three acres of manicured lawns. During the day, explore all that Orange County has to offer with local museums and art galleries, parks and outdoor activities, and shopping galore. stagecoachny.com

As the world reopens, Orange County, N.Y., invites residents and visitors to escape, enjoy and explore its wide-open spaces. For a full list of attractions, lodging and dining options available at this time, please visit orangetourism.org/fall-fun. Additionally, a fun, free, 56-page travel guide is available for digital download at OrangeTourism.org/travel-guide.

About Orange County Tourism

Orange County Tourism, based in Goshen, N.Y., is the county’s tourism headquarters and a participant in the I LOVE NY program. A comprehensive listing of area attractions, lodging and events can be found at OrangeTourism.org. Like Orange County Tourism on Facebook for the latest news on local happenings.

Rita Azar illustrates travel article for 360 MAGAZINE

Transport Considerations While Traveling Abroad

Choosing a vacation and booking our travel and accommodation are the things we think of when planning a trip. But we rarely plan how we’re actually going to get around once we arrive. Let’s take a look at some of the main options… 

Motorcycles and quad bikes 

Motorcycles and quad bikes are a common and popular means of transport among people taking vacations near the beach. The thing to remember is that you cannot be certain when a motorcycle or quad bike was last used, or whether the rental has been checked for mechanical issues since the last user – all of which can lead to issues that may result in injury (see a motorcycle accident lawyer in your local area if you have been affected). 

Although these modes of transport may seem like a convenient option, always take precautions to ensure your safety. This could include checking the brakes, checking the lights, and checking the treads are suitable to grip the road before you drive off the forecourt. 

Public transport 

Planning the various stop-offs and sight-seeing days out on a vacation sometimes leads people to rely on public transport. And, sometimes, the results can be acceptable. Nevertheless, there are at least two inherent potential issues with public transport. One is that the bus or train service is unlikely to pick you up and drop you off exactly on time outside the front door of your hotel. There’s going to be some walking involved to get to the bus or train station. The second potential issue is that, due to the waiting times involved with public transport, you aren’t likely to be able to spend your day doing multiple things – you may have to stop your activities early to leave time to get back to the station, for example, cutting into your plans, and the routes may not be direct, meaning you will waste even more time.

Car rentals 

Car rentals are perhaps the preferred option for anyone who doesn’t want to face any waiting times – the car will typically be available for you to pick up from the airport upon your arrival, and you will most likely be able to drive straight to your hotel and come and go as you please. One of the standout potential issues with car rentals can be that the rental company may try to bill you for damage to the vehicle. That’s why it’s not only important to rent a vehicle from a reputable company, but also to inspect the vehicle before you drive away (take photos of anything that you think the company may try to bill you for, including any scratches to the paintwork or any cosmetic damage to the interior). 

You may also wish to ask the rental company if the car has any special button or release that you must activate to open the panel covering the fuel intake – the last thing you need is to be stuck at a fuel station with no idea of how to open the covering!