Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

 

Specialist travel insurance comparison site, Medical Travel Compared has analysed which 2021 holiday destinations those in the West Midlands have been searching for on Google and identified that the far-flung aspirational beach settings of The Maldives is the most searched for.

 

There is a clear north vs. south divide when you compare the preferred dream beach location, with those in the North of the UK and Northern Ireland picking Mexico as the most wanderlust-worthy destination, while searches for The Maldives dominate in the south.

 

The UK’s most searched-for holiday destinations for 2021:

  1. The Maldives
  2. Mexico
  3. Bali
  4. Dubai
  5. Thailand
  6. Turkey
  7. Barbados
  8. Greece
  9. Jamaica
  10. Cuba

 

A survey of over 3,000 UK travellers conducted by the travel insurer earlier this year found that four in five of us (83%) feel optimistic about travel next year and it’s clear to see Brits are using this time in lockdown to research next year’s aspirational getaway.

Tommy Lloyd, Chief Product Officer at Medical Travel Compared comments: “As a nation we’ve seen a huge rise in demand for staycations since the Coronavirus pandemic, but our research reveals that people are longing to experience the world. It’s great to see that travel confidence for 2021 is high and Britons haven’t lost their wanderlust despite the various lockdown and quarantine measures currently in place.

“Our research shows that Brits are keen to visit destinations that are not currently on the UK’s quarantine travel-free list. We ask the British Government reviews travel guidance for all destinations to see if any countries on the long-haul list can be added safely.”

 

Sailrock Resort, the premium vacation resort on South Caicos, has been included in the prestigious list of American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, a collection of luxury hotels and resorts offering exclusive benefits to holders of the coveted Platinum and Centurion Cards.

Known for its laid-back luxury, Sailrock attracts savvy, well traveled guests who appreciate the resort’s blend of elegance and privacy with its finely appointed and lavishly apportioned suites set amongst calming gardens and featuring breathtaking ocean vistas. 

 

The barefoot luxury of Sailrock attracts a discriminating group of travelers, which accounts for its inclusion as one of only four Turks and Caicos resorts, and one of 45 Caribbean properties in this premium collection. Its peninsula location, finely detailed amenities, five-star luxe offerings and close proximity and accessibility to Turks and Caicos gateway and feeder cities, coupled with high-end lifestyle offerings, make the resort a stand-out in an increasingly homogenized market.

 

“It is an honor for Sailrock to be included in this exclusive portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts,” said Kashmie Ali, Sailrock’s Managing Director. “This is a testament to our team’s dedication and commitment to providing five-star hospitality to our guests,” added Ali, who explained that the concentration on intensive staff training also sets Sailrock apart from its competition.

 

The first-class amenities and service offered by Sailrock Resort through the partnership include the stress-reducing exclusive daily breakfast cards for two; room upgrades; early check-in where available; and late check-out. Also included is a US $100 credit for spa services. Sailrock Resort recently unveiled its expanded portfolio featuring the Three-Bedroom Oceanfront Coral Villa for travelers seeking luxury, elegance and privacy. 

 

Secluded beaches are features of the five-star resort, which is equipped with a large infinity pool, spa cabanas, and a fitness facility with easy access to a fresh market. Fine dining options are available at the Great House Restaurant and Bar, and The Cove Restaurant and Beach Bar. The Caicos Bank, a short stroll away, feeds from the Caribbean Sea and is the site of non-motorised water sports, bone fishing, beach service, beachfront dining and scheduled weekly bonfires. 

 

The beaches, each stretching up to a mile for leisurely walks, enhance the allure of Sailrock’s laid-back luxury. Wading or snorkeling in the lagoons rewards guests with the colorful displays of a living coral reef, and many other unique experiences await discovery.   

 

Sailrock Resort’s low-density footprint features 36 suites and beachfront and Peninsula villas designed for luxury and provides spectacular views on over 770 acres -- plenty of room to practice social distancing while connecting with loved ones on a private slice of the Caribbean. Its flexible ownership model welcomes both year-round residents and short-term guests through the resort's rental program.

 

British tour operator Thomas Cook is back and this time around with a different business model.

 

They re-launched on Wednesday as an online-only venture, one year after a collapse that left hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded.

 

The company has reinvented itself as a digital booking platform as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hobble global demand for travel.

 

Its new website caters only to "quarantine-free destinations" from the United Kingdom, such as Corfu, Cyprus and Rome.

 

Thomas Cook went bust last September, leaving 600,000 travellers grounded and wiping out thousands of jobs. The company's previous business was centred on selling flights on its own airline, along with hotel rooms, from brick-and-mortar stores.

 

The 179-year-old brand was acquired in November by Fosun Tourism, a Chinese company that also owns Club Med.

 

Its chair and CEO Qian Jiannong said that the brand's British revival followed the launch of another online platform for Thomas Cook in China.

 

In a statement he said: "As one of the world's leading tourism and leisure groups, the group values Thomas Cook's 180 years' heritage and global brand influence."

 

"Supporting the growth of the brand in China and its relaunch in the UK is a big step in our plan to turn Thomas Cook into a global success story."

 

The results are out and Bay Gardens Resorts is in: Four of the St. Lucian-owned group’s properties as well as one of its popular restaurants and its pioneering water sports park have been honoured with Tripadvisor 2020 Travelers’ Choice awards. 
 
Tripadvisor honors for this year went to Bay Gardens Hotel, Bay Gardens Inn, Bay Gardens Marina Haven, the Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa, Hi-Tide Restaurant, and Splash Island Water Park.
 
The coveted award program celebrates travellers' favourite hotels, restaurants and airlines around the world, honouring 4,817 unique businesses this year. Winners are calculated based on the quality and quantity of the millions of reviews, opinions and ratings collected on Tripadvisor in 2019, prior to the pandemic. With over 8.7 million businesses listed on Tripadvisor, these awards are considered true testament to the outstanding service and quality that winners consistently provide to their guests.
 
Bay Gardens Resorts are no strangers to Tripadvisor accolades, having been recognized multiple times under the previous Certificate of Excellence award program. “We hope to continue thrilling our guests and pursuing our goal of excelling in all areas of these Travellers’ Choice awards,” remarked Sanovnik Destang, Executive Director of Bay Gardens Resorts.
 
In the restaurant category, Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa’s elegant Hi-Tide restaurant, with its cosmopolitan fusion of Caribbean and international cuisine, earned top marks from travellers, delighting the culinary team at the eatery. 
 
Also receiving acclaim was Splash Island Water Park, St. Lucia’s first open-water sports park, located on the beautiful Reduit Beach, which includes a trampoline, climbing wall and water volleyball. The innovative water park, which is available to all Bay Gardens guests, has attracted over 100,000 visitors and locals since it was opened in 2015 by the park's managing director Julianna Ward-Destang.
 
Sanovnik Destang paid tribute to his St. Lucian and Caribbean on-island team: “We work hard to ensure our staff are well trained and cared for so they can deliver the highest quality service to our guests. These Tripadvisor awards are glittering confirmations of the natural hospitality of Caribbean people, and we are immensely proud of the recognition our team has received.”
 
Bay Gardens Resorts’ Managing Director Joyce Destang echoed the accolades pouring in from travelers around the world about the resort group’s dedicated team of employees. “We value and care for every member of our staff as if he or she were part of our own family,” she said. 
 
Travellers’ reviews consistently praise Bay Gardens for its facilities, which have recently been refreshed. “Just prior to the pandemic we completed extensive renovations, especially at Bay Gardens Hotel and Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa. Besides being lovingly refurbished, our properties are offering attractive specials, including our Grand Reopening BOGO (Buy one, get one free) which includes a free room upgrade,” noted Sanovnik Destang. 

Guests can be reassured by Bay Gardens’ meticulous anti-coronavirus regimens, which have been COVID-19 certified by the Ministry of Health in St. Lucia to keep guests and staff alike as safe as possible. “Our Paradise Protocols are stringently applied and clearly communicated to our guests and staff across our five properties to ensure the safety and comfort of our guests as well as our local communities,” stated Dr Tanya Destang-Beaubrun, the group’s resident medical professional. 

U.S. travellers to the Caribbean can breathe easier thanks to a new partnership between the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and Trip Mate, offering travel protection if the unexpected happens with a visit booked at participating member hotels.

 

Trip Mate, one of the global leaders in administering protection to travellers and hotels, will now lock arms with CHTA so that member hotels can offer a comprehensive Travel Protection Plan for covered cancellations, interruptions, delays, baggage mishaps and medical situations that may arise during a guest’s trip.   

 

Frank Comito, CEO and Director General of CHTA, noted that “people planning travel during these unprecedented times are concerned about the unpredictable, but their worries may be eased with coverage under our CHTA Member Exclusive Travel Protection Plan.” 

 

He said the plan helps to protect guests as well as the health of hotel revenues, and comes at a time when more travellers are looking for added assurances to protect themselves before they take to the skies.

 

CHTA's Travel Protection Plan covers a guest's hotel booking (non-refundable expenses paid for the portion of a hotel booking that goes unused) and additional transportation expenses if a guest needs to interrupt his or her trip due to a covered reason, which includes sickness. As with medical expense coverage, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related illnesses are included.

 

The Travel Protection Plan is available to members of both CHTA as well as national and local hotel associations. Properties that are not CHTA members can also take advantage of the offer for a limited time. The plan is applicable only to U.S. citizens or residents.

 

Comito emphasized that hotels which are not currently offering opt-in traveler insurance to further support their cancellation policies are missing an opportunity to generate more business, as consumers are increasingly looking for added assurances.

 

A recent survey by Oracle and Skift reveals that with so much uncertainty ahead, consumers are also demanding flexible cancellation and refund policies, which travel insurance helps to address. 

 

The tourism chief also noted that due to the pandemic, “a growing number of countries throughout the world, including several in the Caribbean, now require travel protection to enter their country.”

 

He said the plan provides both guests and hosts “a way to protect your investment when it comes to travel planning.” 

 

 

For any family, NHS or frontline worker that has been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and needs a break, as part of the nation’s emotional and wellbeing recovery from the pandemic, the national charity (England & Wales) wants to give away free holidays to families in your area. 

The breaks have been funded from donations from members of the public to YHA’s Project90 appeal which was launched as part of the youth hostelling charity’s 90th anniversary celebrations.  

Donations to date will enable YHA to fund a total of 400 much-needed family breaks across England and Wales. 

Conscious that fewer people can now afford a break because of the pandemic, YHA particularly wants to hear from families that have been financially impacted in the crisis and are in need of some quality family time together. 

Family time together on holiday is more important than ever. In a survey* conducted by the 90 year old charity, it was found that more than three quarters (77%) of parents believe that an annual family holiday is important in order to spend more time with their family (78%), however 12% of survey respondents had not been able to take a family holiday at all in the last three years.

While the free breaks are being rolled out, fundraising for YHA’s Project90 campaign continues. YHA hopes to raise a further £120,000 to give breaks to 500 more families in need of rest, recuperation or spending quality time away together. The breaks are available at YHA’s network of youth hostels in England and Wales in both coastal and rural locations. 

The 153-strong network of youth hostels, which were closed during lockdown, re-opened on the 17 July with a pledge from the charity to play a key role in the recovery of society by helping people reconnect with each other, the outdoors, nature, culture and heritage. 

James Blake, Chief Executive of YHA (England & Wales) explained: “The pandemic has put enormous financial and emotional strain on many people and has left a number of NHS and frontline workers and families suffering hardship. A break away together can make all the difference to these families and be an important part of their wellbeing recovery. It will give them valuable time together to reconnect in the outdoors as well as have fun in the process.

“I very much hope that people will get in touch with us and either put themselves forward for a break or nominate a family that they feel would benefit from spending some quality time together.”
 
To donate to YHA’s Project90 campaign and help it reach even more families, visit: getinvolved.yha.org.uk/fundraising/appeals/project90/