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August 23, 2020
August 23, 2020

<p><p><p id=”mntl-sc-block_1-0″ class=”comp mntl-sc-block travel-sc-block-html mntl-sc-block-html”>In addition to planning trips and packing, travelers have another item on their to-do list: checking for current travel travel-to-greece-safe-1526218″ data-component=”link” data-source=”inlineLink” data-type=”internalLink” data-ordinal=”1″>advisories related to their destination. Travel advisories are complex, and deciding whether or not to travel when there is a travel advisory or warning in place, is not an easy decision. The U.S. Department of State provides up-to-date information that will help a traveler decide whether or not to travel in Greece.

Greece Travel Advisories

 It is recommended that travelers sign up for the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) which helps the embassy alert you in times of trouble. STEP is a free service allowing U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The program also assists family members in contacting you during your travels should there be an emergency.

About U.S. Travel Advisories

The United States issues two types of advisories, the “Travel Warning” and the “Travel Alert.” Though the wording may be a little confusing, The “Travel Warning” is actually the more serious of the two and tends to be put in place when a country is so unstable that travel may be actively dangerous. At any given time, several dozen continuously unstable or dangerous countries may be on the list. There is a general “Worldwide Caution” in effect as of July 2018. When a Worldwide Caution is put in place, the advice from the State Department is, “U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness.”

The less-serious “Travel Alert” is usually issued in response to a particular event or condition such as a storm, planned protests, potentially contentious elections, even sporting events with a history of generating violent outbursts among fans. Usually, there are five or six countries listed for various reasons. If there is an expected problem in any country, it would most likely generate a “Travel Alert,” usually for a relatively short period of time.

Understanding advisories are made more complicated because some news services, bloggers, or social media outlets may hear of a “Travel Alert” or “Travel Advisory” and rephrase it as a “Travel Warning” when they mention it. So don’t assume your trip is at risk until you check the details directly with the State Department.

Travel Alerts and Warnings in Greece

Greece is rarely under a travel alert or travel warning, and in general, it’s a very safe country to visit compared with some other nations. Though strikes and protests occur and often garner media attention, for most Greeks it’s business as usual. And, there are steps travelers can take in Greece to have a safe trip.

The U.S. State Department is advising citizens to carry their passports with them at all times. It’s always good practice to carry your passport and/or a color copy of your main passport pages on you as a proof of your identity and citizenship. And, if it’s convenient, add a copy of the page showing your entry stamp into Greece once you are in the country.

Although, as of July 2018, there is no warning or alert listed for Greece, specifically, the U.S. Department of State warns of the potential of transnational terrorist attacks in European countries. The warning indicates that all European countries are potentially vulnerable to terrorist attacks focused on public areas where tourists and locals may gather and provides detailed safety information to help tourists avoid becoming an opportunistic target.

If there is a current Travel Warning or Alert for Greece from the U.S., it will be listed on the Travel Advisory page of the U.S. State Department website.

You may also want to check the official U.S. Department of State General Information Sheet on Greece. Aside from providing travel information for those going to Greece, the page links to the American Embassy in Athens and to any special announcements the Embassy releases.

Other nations may issue similar travel warnings and alerts but generally, the U.S. alerts are based on the same information and reflect the situation accurately. Frequently, mild warnings are just included under the general “Travel Advice” pages on the various nations’ websites.

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August 23, 2020

Jet2.com has responded to an increase in demand for trips to Portugal following a government decision to add the country to the quarantine safe list.

The operator will be increasing capacity to Faro in the Algarve.

The leisure airline and package holiday specialist has already announced that it will recommence flights and holidays to Faro, one of its most popular destinations with customers, from Monday.

The company will operate multiple weekly services from all nine of its UK bases and on top of that the company has now announced additional flights and thousands of extra seats from Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, London Stansted and Manchester.

The company is already operating to Madeira (Funchal) from Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and London Stansted.

Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com, said: “Customers are responding to the welcome change in government advice by booking their much-needed holidays in the Portuguese sunshine, and we are responding to that by adding more flights and seats.

“We want our customers to enjoy their well-deserved holidays, and our decision to act quickly and add even more capacity to Faro ensures they will have plenty of choice.”

Authorities in both Madeira and the Algarve have welcomed the decision to reopen the British market.

Claudia Miguel, UK director, Turismo de Portugal, said: “As a valued partner, we are delighted that Jet2.com and Jet2holidays is recommencing flights and holidays to Faro in addition to Madeira.

“We have consistently maintained our unwavering confidence in the safety of Portugal, and we are delighted to have arrived at a decision which we feel far better reflects the reality of the situation in Portugal.”

August 23, 2020

Rumours of a potential merger between accommodation giants Accor and InterContinental Hotels Group continue to circulate this weekend.

In France, Le Figaro reports the Covid-19 pandemic has created space for both companies to consider the deal, though the Financial Times in the UK considers any move less likely.

The tie-up has, however, been mooted in various quarters since the start of the year, before coronavirus promoted a shutdown of global travel.

Though no approach has yet been made, any takeover would create the largest hotel company in the world.

Marriott International currently holds top spot in the market, having travel-news-investigates-new-hospitality-giant-created-as-marriott/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>snapped up Starwood Hotels & Resorts for $13 billion in 2016.

The new combined group would have 1.6 million rooms — around 200,000 more than Marriott, split roughly equally between Europe, the Americas and Asia.

There do appear to be grounds for optimism for a potential merger, though.

Based in France, Accor currently offers around 5,000 hotels in 110 countries, with 60 per cent of its portfolio in Asia.

While it has a strong presence in the budget sector, with the Ibis brand, the company grew into the luxury space with the acquisition of FRHI Hotels & Resorts in 2016.

This added upmarket brands Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel to the stable.

Conversely, InterContinental Hotels Group is much more focused on North America, home to 60 per cent of its portfolio.

Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express make up most of its estate, but the company has also been expanding in the luxury segment, having paid $300 million to take over Six Senses last year.

The company also offers strong growth prospects thanks to its early-mover advantage in Greater China, which accounts for 15 per cent of rooms and 30 per cent of its pipeline.

InterContinental currently has nearly 6,000 hotels globally, offering some 883,000 rooms.

Cost cutting is another justification, with analysts estimating synergies of between €100 and €150 million – equivalent to about seven per cent of the predicted operating earnings for 2022 of any enlarged company.

Both Accor and InterContinental Hotels Group have seen revenues dip this year, as Covid-19 saw hotels close around the world, but both suggest the worst of the pandemic is now in the past.

Accor currently had a market capitalisation of €6.2 billion, slightly less than the £7.3 billion (€8 billion) value of the British company.

This is likely to make any deal a merger of equals, rather than a hostile takeover.

However, if Accor went alone, the group would need the backing of its main shareholders, state-owned Jin Jiang International of China and the Qatar Investment Authority.

Both could underwrite the share issue needed to fund any bid.

Watch this space.