"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered." ― Nelson Mandela
Welcome back, world! This past week I returned to more and more places and did things I haven't done in over a year, and it was strange how natural it felt to do things like get a haircut (shout out to Smith Street Studio in Brooklyn) as though no time had passed. And yet, time has passed. As I walked familiar streets, I turned a slow kaleidoscope of colored emotions from sadness and nostalgia to relief and joy and sometimes to anger and frustration at how much time has been lost, stolen, wrenched from our lives. I loved the life I was living in NYC. I still love my life! It's just - different. I imagine we've all changed in ways small and large, visible and hidden, and hopefully more for the better than not.
Are you getting out and "peopling" more since you've been vaccinated? Are you ready to get back on the road, in the air, aboard a ship, into a resort? Are you ready to GO? How much more time will you let pass by before you make plans to experience live fully? Next week I'm getting on a plane again, off to Pittsburgh for my family reunion tour and cousin's high school graduation party. I can't wait! What's your next destination?
So many re-openings were announced just this past week! If you're fully vaccinated, Summer 2021 is your brief window of time to visit a Europe that's a throwback to decades ago when there was less tourism and high season crowds. This is an extraordinary opportunity to experience Europe, plus you'll feel comforted knowing you're flying with vaccinated travelers like yourself. Imagine the thrill of an uncrowded Colosseum or ample art-viewing space in all the galleries of Florence. Below are some recent top travel headlines - very exciting news!
Alaska: Just yesterday President Biden signed the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act into law to allow large ships to sail to Alaska this summer.
Italy: COVID-tested non-stop flights now allow Americans to officially bypass quarantining in Italy. Delta, American, and United offer "COVID-tested" flights where travelers must test negative for two COVID RT PCR tests, once before the flight and again upon arrival. Beginning tomorrow, Delta adds daily service between Atlanta and Rome to the already daily service between JFK and Milan. Beginning July 1, Delta's JFK to Rome service goes from three times a week to daily service. This summer Delta adds three more nonstop routes: JFK to Venice beginning July 2 plus Atlanta to Venice and Boston to Rome beginning August 5.
Spain: Spain officially welcomes all vaccinated tourists beginning June 7.
European Union: The EU confirmed last week it would open this summer to fully vaccinated travelers from countries with low infection rates, and more concrete plans are TBA soon.
New York City: Radio City Music Hall reopens to host the Tribeca Film Festival's Closing Night film on Saturday, June 19 at 100% capacity with a fully vaccinated audience - North America's first in-person film festival since the pandemic began. A fanciful new park on the Hudson River called Little Island opened last week, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, who created the Vessel in Hudson Yards. And Broadway returns in September!
AmaWaterways: This marvelous river cruise line resumes sailings listed below for up to 100 max. vaccinated guests. (Viking, Scenic, Emerald, Uniworld, and others are sailing this summer too.)
o July 3rd, AmaDouro will commence sailings through Portugal (I've sailed on this twice!!)
o July 21st, AmaMagna will commence sailings on the Danube River
o July 22nd, AmaKristina will commence sailings in France on the Rhône River
o July 22nd, AmaLyra will commence sailings in France on the Seine River
o July 27th, AmaVida will commence sailings in Portugal and Spain
o July 29th, AmaDolce will commence sailings through Bordeaux, France
o July 29th, AmaSiena will commence sailings on the Rhine River
As if you needed another reason to get back out there, I have another important one to share. Last week I watched a candid conversation between Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch and Accor Chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin. I learned Accor (hotel brands from luxury like Fairmont and Sofitel to economy), opens one hotel a day in 110 countries. With their 300,000 employees around the world, they see 10% turnover every year; that's 30,000 people who move on after four to five years to often better-paying jobs. Every year to open their new properties, Accor needs 50,000 new people; add that to the turn-over rate, and they're hiring 80,000 people a year globally. More than half have no formal education, and 95% are from local communities made up of incredibly diverse populations. These are all people who need assistance and need to work. Tourism and hospitality offers people the ability to better themselves. Your travels directly benefit the local communities you visit, in vital ways.
Travel is about enriching lives and human connection. As you begin to discuss where you'll be going next with your friends and family, please remember I'm one of those people your travels directly benefit. I'm grateful for your business, your referrals, and the opportunity to connect you again with the world.
I design journeys to inspire artists, arts lovers, and intellectually curious travelers seeking authentic arts, culture, history, and cuisine for life-changing, joyful discoveries with special insider access and VIP amenities, all over the world. Let's start planning your next adventure!
Danielle Dybiec | Founder & President