MARCH 30, 2017 — Good morning, everybody! Here's the latest from the world's travel marketers, tour operators, and vacation hotspots.
* INTEREST IN TRAVEL TO U.S. DOWN OVERALL—BUT UP IN ASIA (Travel Weekly)
The overall number of international travelers planning to visit the United States has declined slightly over the past year as a result of the political climate, according to an analysis conducted by Brand USA, a public-private organization created by Congress to promote U.S. tourism.
Twenty-seven percent of travelers were planning a U.S. trip in March 2016, the group says. That number is at 25% today. Brand USA began tracking the effect of politics on inbound travelers last summer.
Some travel experts, our own Arthur Frommer among them, have commented on a perceived drop in interest in travel to the U.S. as a result of President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, including temporary bans (since struck down in the courts) on travelers from select predominantly Muslim countries and promises to crack down on undocumented immigrants from Mexico.
Consequently, Brand USA's study found that the percentage of Mexicans planning visits to the U.S. has dropped about 15 points. Canadians are less likely to visit, too, though that could have as much to do with the current weakness of their currency against the U.S. dollar.
The number of Asians planning trips to the U.S., on the other hand, is on an upward track. As a matter of fact, a majority of travelers from the following countries say the current political situation makes them more likely to visit the U.S.: China, Japan, India, Korea, and—a South American outlier—Brazil.
Of course, it's too soon to gauge the long-term impact of Trump on foreign travel—especially in the case of a White House as volatile as this one.* ROYAL CARIBBEAN LAUNCHES TOUR-BOOKING SITE FOR CRUISERS AND LANDLUBBERS ALIKE
Cruise companies have been organizing shore excursions for decades in scores of locations across the globe. Now one of those lines is offering tours and activities to everybody—not just cruise passengers.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has launched GoBe, an online service selling thousands of travel experiences in nearly 900 cities across nearly 100 countries.
You can book a whale-watching tour in Alaska, a private helicopter ride in Rome, a culinary adventure in Shanghai, and a surfing class in Brazil—among many, many other options.
Activities can be searched by destination or interest—family, romance, adventure, and so on. You can opt for group tours, private excursions, or "Travel Creations" customized to suit your specific tastes.
If you do happen to be a cruiser, you can use GoBe to search for your itinerary and find activities at ports along the way.
* HOW TO FIND A SEDER IF YOU'RE TRAVELING DURING PASSOVER (Associated Press)
The Jewish holiday of Passover starts at sundown on April 10 and continues for eight days. If you happen to be traveling during that time, you should be able to find a Seder near you, thanks to Chabad-Lubavitch, a Jewish organization renowned for its outreach efforts.
Chabad is hosting hundreds of communal Seders on the first two nights of the holiday at locations around the world, including spring vacation hotspots in the Caribbean, Central America, Florida, and Southern California.
Altogether, the planned events span six continents and more than two dozen countries, from Canada to Cambodia. The Seders are free and open to the public, though you should let hosts know ahead of time that you're planning to attend so they can make food arrangements.
You can search an international directory of Seders at Chabad's website.
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