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December 15, 2020

In this edition of the Travel News Brief: Covid-19 quarantine shortened, US extends border closer between Canada and Mexico, California halts non-essential travel, Delta and United eliminate international change fees, American offers in-home Covid-19 test, Delta launches contact tracing and will continue to block middle seat, tips when renting a car, recognition for Hilton, Hyatt and Four Seasons expansion plans, airport lounge evolution, travel tips and more!

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Holidays for Heroes: Nominate an Essential Hero

Before we prepare for a new year of growth and opportunity, the holidays ahead present an opportunity to give back and recognize a few of the many essential heroes of 2020. In keeping with this spirit, Direct Travel is launching Holidays for Heroes to celebrate the individuals who have gone out of their way to make a difference in the lives of those around them.

Now through December 23rd, we encourage our clients, industry colleagues, and the public-at-large to nominate individuals on the frontline who have made an impact during the COVID-19 pandemic. From that pool of nominees, 10 winners will be selected for a pair of round-trip air tickets and accommodations at a resort property in Mexico. Read More

6 Reasons You Need a Travel Management Company

For small businesses and global companies alike, the corporate travel landscape has never shifted so much in such a short period of time. In fact, an astounding 96 percent of travel managers surveyed by SAP Concur felt that their companies were not adequately prepared to tackle the travel problems posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More

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Direct Travel Launches Holidays for Heroes, Seeks Nominees

Direct Travel — To wrap up a year marked by widespread change and industry challenges, Direct Travel, Inc. is launching a community-driven initiative of celebration and renewed hope with its Holidays for Heroes giveaway. The contest will provide 10 winners with a pair of round-trip air tickets and accommodations for two at select resort properties throughout Mexico. Read More

CDC Says 14-day Covid-19 Quarantine Can be Shortened to 7 to 10 Days

CNN — Covid-19 quarantine periods can be as short as seven to 10 days for some people, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday, but a 14-day quarantine after coronavirus exposure remains the safest option. Read More

US Borders with Canada, Mexico to Stay Closed Through Jan. 21

USA Today — The U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico will stay closed at least through Jan. 21, Chad Wolf, acting secretary of DHS, announced. Read More

California Calls for Temporary Halt on Non-essential Travel During Virus Surge

TV — California health officials began calling for a temporary halt to non-essential travel, hoping to slow the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases as the holiday travel season approaches. Read More

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United to Invest in Carbon-capture Technology

Travel Weekly — The carrier is making a multimillion-dollar investment into technology that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Read More

Delta and United Eliminate Change Fees on International Travel

Travel Weekly — The permanent no-change-fee rule applies to all tickets for travel originating in North America to anywhere in the world. Read More

American Airlines Now Offering At-Home COVID Tests to Help Avoid Quarantines

Travel Market Report — The tests cost $129 and can be turned around in five days. Read More

Delta, KLM to Launch 'Covid-Tested' U.S. Flights to Amsterdam

Business Travel News — Delta Air Lines and KLM on Dec. 15 will begin operating 'Covid-tested' flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam, on which all passengers will have completed a Covid-19 testing protocol, enabling them to avoid quarantine upon arrival in the Netherlands. Read More

American Offers Preflight COVID-19 Testing for U.S. Destinations with Travel Requirements

Insider Travel Report — American Airlines is expanding access to at-home testing for all flights to U.S. locations that have COVID-19 restrictions...Read More

Delta Launches First Contact Tracing For Airline Travelers Returning To U.S.

Travel Insider — Delta is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and nine global airline partners to keep international customers informed of potential COVID-19 exposure through contact tracing. Read More

Delta to Block Middle Seats Through March 2021

Business Travel News — Delta Air Lines has extended its policy of blocking middle seats through the end of March 2021, which would leave it the sole U.S. carrier with such a policy well into next year. Read More

US Airlines Postpone Nonstop Flights to Shanghai

Travel Mole — Airlines say crew movements being restricted…Read More

American to Provide Covid Tests, Verification App for Travelers to Chile

Business Travel News — Beginning Dec. 7, travelers between Miami and Santiago will have access to mobile wallet app VeriFly, which provides information on destination requirements and lets travelers digitally verify that they have met them, expediting airport processing. Read More

Havana Airport Reopens, Enabling Americans to Reach Cuba

Travel Weekly — Jose Marti Airport in Havana, the largest and busiest airport in Cuba, has resumed commercial and charter air operations after closing on March 24 due to the pandemic. Read More

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COVID-19 December Travel Restrictions: Latest Quarantine Rules for US States

Travel Pulse — Here's a breakdown of the states with restrictions in place heading into the final month of 2020. Read More

Government Travel Warnings & Alerts

U.S. Department of State — Information on current government issued travel warnings and alerts. Read More

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Uber Steps Back from Autonomous Vehicles, Amazon Ready to Drive In

Phocuswire — Uber's decision to sell off its driverless car unit reverses a previous important strategy item to position the company for the future of transportation. But Amazon is ready to launch its Zoox vehicle. Read More

10 Things You Should Do Every Time You Rent a Car

Afar Magazine — Tips and tricks to earn bonus rewards, save money, and insure your rental car on your next road trip. Read More

Enterprise Teams Up with Clorox on Car Rental Cleaning Practices

Insider Travel Report — Some of the most well-known household cleaning products have found new life in fighting the COVID-19 virus. Read More

Amtrak Pleads for Funding as 2020 Ridership, Revenue Plummet

Business Travel News — Amtrak's fiscal year 2020 total operating revenue dropped almost 32 percent year over year to $2.3 billion, and total customer trips fell by more than 15 million to 16.8 million, the rail service announced. Amtrak's fiscal year ended Sept. 30. Read More

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Hilton Recognized as Global Industry Leader in Sustainability by DJSI for Second Consecutive Year — Hilton has been named the global industry leader in sustainability for the second consecutive year on the Dow Jones Sustainability IndicesJ, the most prestigious ranking for corporate responsibility and sustainability performance. Read More

W South Beach Becomes One of First Hotels to Offer Onsite COVID Testing

Insider Travel Report — Health and safety is now the new “luxury” in travel. So we’ve wondered why on-site medical amenities and testing isn’t more widely available at top hotels, resorts and destinations. Read More

Hyatt Plans Big Expansion in Europe by 2023

Travel Market Report — Despite 2020 putting a damper on inbound European travel, one hotel company is betting big on its comeback. Read More

Four Seasons Will Open Five New Luxury Hotels in 2021

Travel Market Report — The debuts include new properties in Napa Valley, New Orleans, Ft. Lauderdale, and more. Read More

Trends and Takeaways for 2021 from Kimpton's Food and Beverage Report

Travel Market Report — Elaborate cocktails, local and sustainable, and garden pesto highlights 2021 trends. Read More

Hyatt Halves Loyalty Program Elite-Status Qualifications

Business Travel News — Hyatt Hotels Corp. has reduced the qualifications needed to achieve elite status for World of Hyatt loyalty members by 50 percent for the 2021 calendar year, the company announced. Read More

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How Airport Lounges Are Evolving During the Pandemic

M&C Asia — From relaxation hubs to contactless hospitality, surveys reveal the top priorities for business travel as market confidence returns in the Asia-Pacific region…Read More

Caribbean Travel Restrictions: What You Need to Know About Traveling to These Destinations Right Now

Travel Pulse — The latest requirements for popular Caribbean destinations. Read More

U.K. to Allow Quarantine Exemption for Some Business Travelers

Business Travel News — The U.K. government has announced an exemption from quarantine for business travelers arriving in England who "deliver significant benefit" to the U.K. economy. Read More

CDC Advises COVID-19 Tests for Holiday Travel: 8 Do's and Don'ts

USA Today — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say Americans should stay home for the holidays but urges those who travel to take two COVID-19 tests. Read More

How To Keep Your Points and Miles from Expiring

The Points Guy — During such uncertain times for the travel industry, you may be wondering how to keep miles and points from expiring if you're not planning to fly or stay at a hotel anytime soon. Read More

10 Things Travelers Need to Know About Flying Right Now

Travel Pulse — Air travel has undoubtedly changed in the time of coronavirus but not entirely for the worse. Read More

Airline Lounges Equipped with Layers of Protection

Business Insider — Airport lounges operated by American, Delta and United in the New York City area are outfitted with plexiglass, touchless check-in, strict face mask requirements, enhanced cleaning protocols, reduced capacity and rearranged furniture as the lounges prioritize customer health and safety. Read More

Are Travelers Ready for a Digital Health Passport?

Travel Pulse — As the International Air Transport Association (IATA) moves forward with plans for an app that will enable flyers to display their COVID-19 status at airports, be forewarned. Read More

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Case Study: Quick-Turn Engagement

Creative Group — Pushing for year-end sales? This program is just one example of how Creative Group can create a program to increase satisfaction of those who meet company goals. Read More

5 Pitfalls of Skimping on a Professional Event Design Team

Creative Group — Without one, you could break the attendee experience, especially with virtual or hybrid events. Read More

COVID Vaccine Becomes Reality

Prevue Meetings — Moderna is seeking emergency authorization to begin ramping up the race to begin a COVID-19 vaccine, key to getting meetings and events up and running once again. Read More

Tucson Convention Center Gets a Facelift During the Pandemic Lull

Arizona Daily Star — Nearly $70 million has been committed to spruce up the Tucson Convention Center downtown, including technology upgrades to support digital and hybrid gatherings…Read More

Looking for guidance on planning your next convention, incentive, or group trip? Direct Travel will assist with all your meetings and event details!  Whatever your needs may be when it comes to your event, you can always depend on us to design streamlined travel arrangements, plan strategic meetings, and deliver real-time results. For details, please send a message to: