Tag: prepare

empty hotel rooms all over Hong Kong, but two new properties prepare to open amid Covid-19 gloom



a man sitting on a chair in a room: Aron Harilela is confident Hong Kong will bounce back. Photo: Xiaomei Chen


© SCMP
Aron Harilela is confident Hong Kong will bounce back. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Two hotels are going ahead with plans to open next month despite the damage done by the Covid-19 pandemic to Hong Kong’s tourism and hospitality sectors.

The Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung Hotel, near the city’s airport, will have its official opening on December 1, after a year’s delay, while The Hari Hotel in Wan Chai opens on December 12, on schedule.

They are opening at a time when the number of visitors has plunged 93 per cent to just 3.56 million in the first 10 months of the year, according to provisional figures from the city’s tourism board.

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Hong Kong has ‘probably entered’ fourth Covid-19 wave: health minister

Hotel rooms across the city have been left empty for much of this year, too, with occupancy rates falling to 43 per cent between January and September, compared with 84 per cent last year.

For a start, both new hotels are counting on Hong Kong residents to take up their staycation offers, especially over the Christmas season.



a bedroom with a bed and desk in a hotel room: Executive Ocean View Suite of Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Hotel. Photo: Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung Hotel


© Provided by South China Morning Post
Executive Ocean View Suite of Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Hotel. Photo: Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung Hotel

“It’s not the easiest of times for them to open, the situation will have an impact on their profitability in the short term,” said Brian King, associate dean at the school of hospitality and tourism management at Polytechnic University.

A recent Covid-19 cluster linked to staycations in Mui Wo has raised concern, with the government planning to limit the number of people allowed in a hotel room to four.

Deliveries a lifeline for Hong Kong restaurants as Covid-19 keeps patrons away

A new rule that took effect on Wednesday bans visits to those under quarantine in hotels. Couriers delivering food and other items are not allowed face-to-face contact with guests during their quarantine period.

Despite all that, the new hotels are putting up a brave front as they prepare to welcome guests.

“We open hotels for the long term, so we’re still very positive about that,” said veteran Dutch hotelier Sander Looijen, who has spent the past year getting the five-star Sheraton Tung Chung ready to open.

Located just 10 minutes from the airport and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, the 218-room hotel was planned to cater to business travellers and aircrew.



a man wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a building: Sander Looijen has spent the past year getting the Sheraton Tung Chung ready to open. Photo: Xiaomei Chen


© Provided by South China Morning Post
Sander Looijen has spent the past year getting the Sheraton Tung Chung ready to open. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

With air travel at a standstill because of the pandemic, Looijen said it was now positioning itself as part of the Tung Chung community, offering staycation packages for families and nature-lovers over the Christmas season.

Five years in the making, the hotel will have four restaurants and is close to Lantau Island’s hiking trails. Most of its guest rooms have sea views.

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COVID-19 tests rise as people prepare for Thanksgiving travel

The number of coronavirus tests administered each day has increased by nearly 500,000 in the past month, spurred, in part, recently, by people preparing for holiday travel, despite pleas from federal health officials to stay home.

The week-long average number of coronavirus tests performed daily jumped from just more than 1.1 million to more than 1.6 million on average in the past seven days, according to COVID Tracking Project data.

Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., require incoming travelers from states with especially high test positivity rates to produce proof that they have tested negative for the coronavirus. New York, for instance, requires visitors to provide their negative results from a test taken within three days before their arrival. Then, visitors have to quarantine for three days. On the fourth day, they have to test negative again before leaving quarantine.

College students are also flocking to testing centers ahead of the holiday, and schools are scrambling to get enough tests to meet the demand, the Financial Times reported. An estimated 100,000 students in the State University of New York system are expected to get a test. Thousands more at Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Michigan will undergo tests before the holiday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, is imploring people to skip travel this year and avoid gatherings with people from other households.

“What’s at stake is inadvertently someone is infected in that particular household, in that larger family, and then spreads it to others. They become infected, and then they go back to their own community, and then that infection is spread to someone else,” Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, told reporters Thursday.

To date, more than 11.8 million coronavirus infections and nearly 254,000 deaths due to COVID-19 have been confirmed in the United States, according to tracking data from Johns Hopkins University.

Healthcare providers braced for further increases in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths Friday as cases across the U.S. have surged to record highs in recent weeks, Reuters reported. The week-long average number of cases confirmed daily reached 161,449 on Nov. 19, while nearly 2,000 deaths due to COVID-19 were confirmed Thursday, the highest since early May.

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer, along with its partner BioNTech, submitted its vaccine candidate for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, becoming the first companies to do so since the pandemic began.

The FDA announced Friday evening that its panel of scientists evaluating the vaccine, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, will meet on Dec. 10 to begin the regulatory process.

“While we cannot predict how long the FDA’s review will take, the FDA will review the request as expeditiously as possible, while still doing so in a thorough and science-based manner, so that we can help make available a vaccine that the American people deserve as soon as possible,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said.

New research from the Centers for Disease Control

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‘All eyes’ on the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble as other Asian countries prepare for more, bookings firm says

  • The travel industry will be closely watching to see if the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble will succeed, as countries in the region hope to strike up similar arrangements.
  • Eric Gnock Fah, co-founder of travel bookings platform Klook, said tourism boards across the region have already reached out to make plans.

Klook: ‘Really excited’ about Hong Kong-Singapore air travel bubble

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SINGAPORE — The world will be watching closely to see if the quarantine-free travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong will succeed, according to one of the region’s major travel operators Klook.

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“All eyes are on this bubble, making sure that it’s going to get pulled off,” Eric Gnock Fah, co-founder and chief operating officer of travel bookings platform Klook, told CNBC Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s highly-anticipated launch.

If successful, he’s optimistic that there will be more of such travel bubbles in the region.

Specially designated “air travel bubble” flights between Hong Kong and Singapore are due to begin on Nov. 22 after further details were released last week, which will see travelers switch quarantine for testing.

Following the announcement, Gnock Fah said tourism authorities across the region had been reaching out to make plans for additional travel agreements, should they be made.

“Once this news came out, actually many of the other tourism boards around Asia have been very active coming to us to discuss about the plans that they have put in place,” said Gnock Fah.

“As this bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore starts becoming a bit more stable, we should be expecting more travel bubbles to open on that front. We’re quite optimistic on that front,” he added.

Travel searches soar

Klook, which manages in-destination bookings like hotels and experiences, saw searches for the respective destinations surge more than 8 times on the day of the announcement.

Travelers from Singapore proved particularly restless, he noted, with travel searches from the tiny city-state up 8-10 times versus 3-5 times in Hong Kong.



a man standing in front of a group of people posing for the camera: Singapore Airlines crew members arrive to board the plane for the inaugural lunch at Restaurant A380 @Changi onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 plane at Changi International Airport in Singapore on October 24, 2020.


© Provided by CNBC
Singapore Airlines crew members arrive to board the plane for the inaugural lunch at Restaurant A380 @Changi onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 plane at Changi International Airport in Singapore on October 24, 2020.

Travelers on both sides were equally keen to offset heightened airfares and testing costs with longer stays, Gnock Fah said, pointing out that it marked a departure from pre-Covid preferences for long-weekend stays. In-destination operators like hotels aim to capture this trend with continued discounting, he added.

The travel and tourism industry received a further boon this past week as promising vaccine announcements from Pfizer and Moderna signaled optimism for a resumption of international travel in 2021.

“Travel companies, the tourism boards are getting very busy to make sure we capture this pent-up demand when it comes,” Gnock Fah said.

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Mountain Towns Prepare For Winter Recreation During COVID-19

If the busier than expected summer season taught mountain towns anything, it’s that people are soaking up every opportunity to be outside during the pandemic. And now, recreation destinations are planning for that trend to continue this winter.

 

 

 

Idaho’s ski resorts say visitors will experience the mountain a bit differently this year, right from the parking lot.

“Get ready for the day at your car,” said Mike Fitzpatrick, the guest services director at Sun Valley Resort, during a summit hosted by Visit Sun Valley and Sun Valley Economic Development this week. He’s recommending guests put on their boots and eat their lunches outside the lodge.

Face masks are required almost everywhere and capacity in indoor spaces will look different, but, unlike some resorts in the region, there’s no reservation system for skiing. 

That’s also the case at Brundage Mountain in McCall.

“Our on-mountain capacity is not our challenge,” said Brundage General Manager Ken Rider. “The capacity in pinch points are our parking lots, our lodges, our bathrooms and things like that.” 

So, the mountain has moved things like lockers and food service outside. 

Local recreation industry leaders also expect sports like backcountry and nordic skiing to take off this year. They know that from high gear sales and record interest in avalanche safety programs. 

So, they say the community will need to focus on educating newcomers on how to respect the trails and stay safe in the mountains. 

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen  

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio

 

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Oti Mabuse reveals she went on a ‘fitness vacation’ with Marius Lepure to prepare for Women’s Health

Oti Mabuse reveals she went on a ‘fitness vacation’ with her ripped husband Marius Lepure to prepare for Women’s Health cover… as she shares amazing throwback snaps

She has graced the cover of the Dec/Jan issue of Women’s Health UK.

And Oti Mabuse revealed the lengths she went to to perfect her look for the striking shoot as she shared throwback snaps from July when she joined her hunky husband Marius Lepure at a fitness vacation to get ready. 

The Strictly Come Dancing star, 30, and the Romanian dancer, 38, looked incredible during their stint on holiday before Oti stunned in a series of neon ensembles to showcase her incredible figure for the health and fitness publication.

Wow! Oti Mabuse revealed she visited a fitness retreat with her ripped husband Marius Lepure to prepare for Women's Health cover

Wow! Oti Mabuse revealed she visited a fitness retreat with her ripped husband Marius Lepure to prepare for Women’s Health cover

Oti appeared in a stunning spread for the issue where she detailed her working day, spoke about unfair stereotypes for black women and the show’s equality.

Alongside the interview, Oti dazzled in a series of stunning sporty ensembles which helped make the most of her lean and lithe physique. 

Oti looked sensational in the bold shoot, with one striking image showing her in an orange sports bra with yellow shorts and platform Converse.

She wore her hair in a tight slick ponytail while her make-up was perfectly applied to ensure she was camera ready for the shoot. 

Amazing: She has graced the cover of the Dec/Jan issue of Women’s Health UK

Amazing: She has graced the cover of the Dec/Jan issue of Women’s Health UK

Oh my! They were both flaunting their ripped abs in the snaps

Oh my! They were both flaunting their ripped abs in the snaps 

Preparation was clear and clearly gruelling, as she posted the snaps, including bikini-clad dips in the sea and abs-flashing selfies taken in the gym. 

She revealed they ate ‘super clean’ and exercised twice a day and discovered a love of tennis while getting her in shape for the shoot. 

In the chat, when Oti was asked about Netflix’s new period drama Hollywood, she went into details about the racial significance of the show. 

She said: ‘You see someone [lead actress, Laura Harrier] who looks like you with big full lips, and she’s not shown as ‘the angry Black woman’…

‘She’s the one who works hard, she’s ambitious, she gets what she wants and that’s just amazing to see. We’re not always angry – we’re vulnerable and have emotions.’

Clean eating: She revealed they were eating clean and working out twice a day

Clean eating: She revealed they were eating clean and working out twice a day

Read the full Oti Mabuse interview in the Dec/Jan issue of Women’s Health UK, on sale from 4 November 2020

Read the full Oti Mabuse interview in the Dec/Jan issue of Women’s Health UK, on sale from 4 November 2020

Oti, who is paired with funnyman Bill Bailey on the new series, said of Strictly: ‘When I look at the shows I’ve worked for, they’ve been so diverse…

‘On Strictly, we have 17 professional dancers who all look completely different; they represent something unique, with [dancers] from Australia, New York, South Africa, and China. I’m proud that we have

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