Week in Review: War’s Ripple Effects, Asia Travel News

The Israel-Hamas War is causing a ripple effect throughout the travel industry. Not only are cruise and tour companies avoiding Israel and the Palestinian Territories (although reports are that most are enforcing 100 percent cancelation penalties for departures that are still scheduled), but travel advisors are also telling us that their clients are looking to avoid the region entirely—and in some cases even further abroad.

Many advisors Travel Agent spoke to said they are seeing cancelations among their clients for Jordan and Egypt, as well as Morocco, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Other travel advisors said their clients were not just canceling visits to the Middle East, with one saying her clients canceled a trip to Spain and Portugal.

It’s also important to remember that clients who are Jewish may be wary of traveling right now, wherever it is they’re planning to go, as one advisor noted.

On Friday, the U.S. State Department updated its advisory for travel to the Middle East, noting “Due to increased tensions in various locations around the world, the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests, the Department of State advises U.S. citizens overseas to exercise increased caution.” It also issued a Worldwide Caution for “the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests.”

Hotel and Tour News in Asia

Mt. Fuji seen from Shizuoka, Japan
Mount Fuji seen from Shizuoka, Japan. (Photo by Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Avanti Destinations has just added two regions—Shizuoka and Tohuku—to its lineup of destinations for independent travel clients heading to Japan. The two regions and a customizable vacation in each region are highlighted in the company’s revamped and expanded 46-page e-brochure for travel advisors, "Japan: A World Apart."

Amora Beach Resort Phuket is undergoing a roughly $14 million refurbishment as part of its repositioning into a five-star lifestyle resort designed for couples, friends and families. Located on a private stretch on Bang Tao Beach, the 264-key resort is expected to reopen in December this year with newly built facilities. In addition to renovated rooms and suites across 13 categories, the beachfront resort will introduce the new Nora Beach Club, Amora Wellness Center with massage and fitness facilities, Isla restaurant, a kids’ club, two pools, a beachfront events lawn, the Amora Grand Ballroom and four meeting rooms.

On the wellness side, Alba Wellness Valley by Fusion in Vietnam has introduced new special health-focused dining offers and multi-day retreats. The new “Wellspring” two-night package includes complimentary breakfast, spa, onsen and movement therapies. Two new “Healing Yourself Retreat” packages, with four- and six-day options, are also on offer. Guests can relax with special spa treatments, soak in the hot spring and Japanese onsen baths, or partake in yoga sessions, meditation and forest bathing, among others. Additional experiences include a zipline, high-wire course, hiking, biking and a cooking class at Alba’s organic farm.

Pemako Punakha
Pemako Punakha has 21 tented pool villas and four dining outlets.  (Photo courtesy of Department of Tourism - Bhutan)

Lastly, in Bhutan, the country has seen the opening of three new luxury hotels: Zhiwa Ling Heritage, Pemako Punakha and andBeyond Punakha River Lodge. Zhiwa Ling Heritage offers 45 suites, an indoor pool, spa, outdoor hot stone bath and a meditation house with a view of Tiger’s Nest. Pemako Punakha, located in the Punakha Valley near the Punakha Dzong (Palace of Happiness), spans 30 acres and has 21 tented pool villas and four dining outlets. andBeyond Punakha River Lodge is the brand’s first property outside of Africa and South America. It has opened with six intimate luxury tents, a one-bedroom suite, and a two-bedroom family suite, surrounded by paddy fields and hills.

Travel Tech Updates

Global technology company Sion announced this week that several of travel agencies and consortia have embraced its Commission Recovery Software, including Gifted Travel Network, Travel Experts, Mast Travel Network and Jetset World Travel. Sion's Commission Recovery Software aims to enhance revenue collection and streamline operations.

Separately, Yonder Travel Insurance, a travel insurance comparison site, has partnered with battleface. Yonder customers will now be able to view, compare, and purchase highly innovative and customizable battleface plans in just minutes, allowing them to find the right type of insurance for their trip. According to Yonder, partnering with battleface allows users to purchase a unique trip protection plan, called the "Discovery Trip Protection" plan. Travelers only concerned with losing their trip costs if they suddenly have to cancel or interrupt their trip can now purchase the coverage they need without all the extras they don't.

ASTA Honors Female Trailblazer

Omega World Travel’s Gloria Bohan winning ASTA's Icon Award
Omega World Travel’s Gloria Bohan is presented with ASTA's Icon Award. (Photo by ASTA)

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) this week awarded Omega World Travel founder and CEO Gloria Bohan its first-ever Icon Award, which honors female leaders who have demonstrated excellence in their respective roles, while simultaneously inspiring and empowering other women in the travel industry and promoting women’s advancement. Bohan created the Women's Leadership Forum (WLF) within Omega World Travel to support and nurture the professional growth of women employed in the travel industry. She has also worked towards promoting gender equality and diversity in the industry and has consistently advocated for more women to hold leadership positions and has encouraged companies to prioritize gender balance in their workforce.

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