Travel News: February 14, 2020

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Italian Shipyard Delivers Virgin Voyages First Cruise Ship, Scarlet Lady
Cruise Critic
The Italian shipyard Fincantieri presented Scarlet Lady, the first of four planned cruise ships for Virgin Voyages, at a ceremony in Genoa today.

The 2,770-passenger ship will then sail to Liverpool on the 24th where it will spend the night before beginning its transatlantic voyage to New York, where it will host a showcase event in mid-March.
The ship will then head to Miami where it will be christened on March 19 before beginning four- and five-night Caribbean itineraries.

Alaska and American Form New West Coast Alliance
Travel Pulse
Alaska Airlines and American Airlines have formed a new alliance, providing more choice for West Coast customers. Alaska Airlines also intends to join OneWorld by summer 2021.
The expanded relationship will give customers new benefits, including access to American Airlines’ first service from Seattle to Bangalore in October 2020 and a new American route from Seattle to American’s global business hub at London Heathrow, which is scheduled to begin in March 2021.

Italy Tourism Is Booming, Yet Its Airlines Can Barely Stay Afloat
Conde Nast Traveler
If you’ve ever tried to squeeze through crowds to toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain or attempted to stroll along the canals in Venice among its throngs of tourists, you know that Italy is a wildly popular vacation destination.
The country hosted a record-breaking 420 million overnight stays from foreign visitors in 2017, the most recent year with available tourism data. That figure is a 4.4 percent overall increase from the previous year’s number.
Yet during this veritable tourism boom, the country’s own airlines have been struggling to stay afloat. The nation’s latest venture, Air Italy, which launched just two years ago, announced on February 11 it would liquidate under mounting financial pressure, and its last flights would take place on February 25. Customers booked after that date will be fully refunded.

Asia’s Tourism-Dependent Economies Are Being Hit Hard by the Coronavirus
Time
While the spread of the coronavirus has rattled manufacturers and upset supply chains the world over, the tourism-dependent economies of Southeast Asia are particularly vulnerable. China’s rapidly swelling middle class sparked a boom in tourist visits abroad, which soared from 20 million in 2003 to 150 million in 2018.
Besides Thailand’s, it is the tourism industries of Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan that are most exposed to the Chinese travel market. “If this lasts for three to six months, it will be catastrophic for the tourism industry,” says Stuart McDonald, founder of the TravelFish independent travel guide to Southeast Asia.


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