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Latest Updates as Hurricane Dorian Continues to Impact Travel

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Hurricane Dorian continues its slow march toward Florida and the Southeast United States Tuesday after dealing a devastating blow to The Bahamas and snarling travel along the way.

According to Weather.com, the Category 3 hurricane is expected to bring damaging impact to Florida’s Atlantic coast and parts of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and possible Virginia this week.

After leaving five people dead and pummeling The Bahamas with sustained winds of 61 miles per hour and gusts reaching 82 miles per hour for the last 48 hours, Dorian is slowly starting to work its way toward the East Coast.

Tropical-storm-force winds now extend up to 160 miles from the eye.

Hurricane warnings have been issued throughout the Atlantic coast of Florida and storm surge warnings have been issued north into South Carolina. Hurricane watches have also been issued in Georgia, South Carolina and portions of North Carolina.

Hurricane Dorian has devastated travel plans for the Labor Day weekend into Tuesday. According to FlightAware.com, over 1,500 flights to and from airports in the U.S. impacted by the storm have been canceled Tuesday and more than 500 flights have been delayed.

All major carriers serving the Bahamas, Florida and the other states likely to be impacted by the storm have issued travel advisories and continue to waive change fees. American, Delta, Southwest, United and other top airlines serving the region are preparing for cancellations and delays to continue as Dorian makes landfall.

The cruise industry is also dealing with the impact of Dorian, with Cruise Critic reporting Carnival Cruise Line has been forced to alter itineraries for over 15 of its scheduled sailings thus far.

In addition, Royal Caribbean has made modifications to the scheduled stops for seven ships and Disney Cruise Line has rerouted three vessels. Other companies dealing with impact sailings include Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line.

Dorian is also impacting Florida’s booming theme park industry, with Walt Disney World announcing it would close early Tuesday as the storm approaches, according to Theme Park Insider. In addition, SeaWorld and Aquatica will be closed all day on Tuesday, as will Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando.

Rail travelers are also feeling the sting of the hurricane, as Amtrak has revealed it will operate a modified schedule and cancel select services in the Southeast between September 3 and September 5.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source |

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Travel Industry Reacts to Coronavirus Spreading Through Europe

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With the coronavirus expanding its reach to Europe, agents and tour operators are addressing client concerns about traveling to the destination, particularly Italy and Spain, which along with several other countries have confirmed cases of the viral infection.

Generally speaking, they noted that customers are not yet canceling trips.

In terms of travel to Italy, “client reactions are varied at this point,” said Trish Gastineau, of Simply Customized Travel, an independent contractor with Travel Experts. “One client that is still in the planning process told me that she wants to move forward with her original plan. She said that if it gets to the area of Italy she plans on traveling to, that she may switch locations.”

A primary client concern “is the possibility of being quarantined if someone on an aircraft, on a ship or at a hotel shows symptoms,” Gastineau added.

Becky Lukovic of Bella Travel Planning, an independent contractor with Travel Experts, said her clients are “absolutely 100 percent concerned about all of Europe. I have people who are traveling to Italy as early as Sunday and others traveling in March, April and May, and they’re very concerned. I think the consumer’s gut reaction is to say, ‘Do I need to cancel?’ But they’re not canceling right this second.”

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Lukovic also has clients booked on a cruise calling at ports in Spain this spring. “I think they may very well cancel because they’re elderly and they’re concerned, and rightfully so.”

Claire Schoeder of Travel Edge has a number of clients traveling to Italy this year, including areas in northern Italy.

“One couple travels next month and the remainder are during the summer months,” she said. “The couple traveling next month emailed me and said they were adopting a wait-and-see approach. They are experienced travelers and plan not to cancel out of fear.”

She added, “If clients are set on canceling I will do that for them, but I am cautioning against making hasty decisions they might regret in a couple months when things die back down.”

Gary Pollard of Ambassador Tours reminds his clients that if they cancel they will be “subject to any and all cancellations [fees] assessed by the suppliers.”

He added the main question clients are asking is, “Should we do it or not?”

Andrea Griswold of IC Bellagio, a destination management company based in Lake Como has been reaching out to travelers regarding coronavirus.

“We have committed to three per day on social media and via email to keep people informed on what is new and happening on the ground,” she said.

The majority of travelers are simply asking for more information to enable them to understand the situation better.

“Some people who were due to travel in March have chosen to cancel. For trips already booked for May onward, the response has been that people would prefer to keep all as is and see what happens,” Griswold said. “But most surprisingly to our entire team is the high number of new requests for trips we are receiving on a daily basis, and also confirmations for 2020 trips and some deposits already for 2021.”

Gary Portesi of Authentic Italy said the company has yet to be inundated with coronavirus queries.

“As much of our business is seasonal, with peak season from May to October, few have contacted us to date,” he said. “The few who have are asking great questions about travel insurance coverage mostly, or of postponing their trip. Our clients tend to be well-educated professionals and understand that the media is likely blowing this out of proportion and understand that the risk factors are similar to a typical influenza.”

At Collette, the coronavirus has had a limited impact on the tour operator’s Europe business, said Jeff Roy, executive vice president.

“Beyond China, we’re largely finding that people are continuing with their travel plans, and booking volume has remained strong through February with destinations in Europe, Africa and North America leading the way.”

In the end, Gastineau noted, “it has, and most likely will continue to be a roller coaster ride for those of us in the travel industry.”

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