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Virtuoso Travel Week 2020 recap

By Damien Martin

We missed the cocktail parties. We missed the annual Largay Big Night Out in Las Vegas. We missed catching up with friends. But we didn’t miss what matters most for you, our valued clients. The first virtual Virtuoso Travel Week delivered on crucial information regarding the future of travel in the short term and the long term.

The “Under One Sky” sustainability forum detailed the conscious comeback the travel industry will make across the globe, especially in places that had a prepandemic problem of overtourism and now face the equally devastating danger of undertourism. Economies that depend heavily on visitors have lost jobs at steep rates. Yet, to ensure the long-term viability of their economies, these countries will reimagine tourism to protect income and the resources that make them world-renown.

One such place is the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, which have banned cruise ships until 2022 but will still allow the 62-passenger Crystal Esprit yacht to visit because of the vast difference between it and the typical cruise ship. Speaking of the typical cruise, it’s a thing of the past with Virtuoso partners, who are revamping their operations, with lines set to announce new onboard protocols in the fall that will make their ships the safest places to be at sea. Still operating thanks to the small size of its ships is UnCruise Adventures, which has expanded its Pacific Northwest cruise season into October to deliver great experiences stateside.

In the world of expeditions, Lindblad has a host of exciting itineraries in Asia and Oceania dialed up for the next couple of years, including a Pacific crossing from Anchorage to Tokyo, expeditions to Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea and Australia’s Kimberley Islands.

Closer to home, Natural Habitat Adventures, which has amazing national park tours, has introduced a “Make It Private” option that allows guests to book a private version of any of their regularly scheduled departures. North of the border, Nova Scotia — likened to a mix of Alaska and Scotland — is a hot adventure destination. In warmer climes, Albany on 600 oceanside acres in the Bahamas offers the perfect combination of seclusion and amenities. The private Necker Island provides a respite from other people and replaces them with lemurs to feed and flamingos to gawk at. Bermuda, which reopened to visitors in July, will debut a new airport terminal in December, just in time for festive season. 

In Mexico, the Grand Velas properties in the Riviera Maya (with a focus on families), Los Cabos (with a culinary focus) and Riviera Nayarit (with a wellness focus) are great places to spend the holidays. Also in the Nayarit area, One&Only Mandarina opens Nov. 1 and is sure to give Grand Velas a run for its money.

Also in time for festive season, several German cities plan to have Christmas markets with social distancing procedures in place. Some great places to naturally socially distance are the Portuguese islands of Madeira and the Azores, which offer unique climates and cultures. Next time you visit Ireland, you might skip the crowded urbanity of Dublin and head straight to country houses such as Adare Manor where you can enjoy the fresh air. There will also be the option for self-drive itineraries with set hotels and tours so you can have the best of both worlds exploring on your own but knowing you’ll lay your head in a safe and quality accommodation without missing anything along the way.

And then, there’s Italy. It’s routinely the most popular destination for Americans, and hotels such as the Casa Angelina in Praiano along the Amalfi Coast, plus the new Il Sereno and Mandarin Oriental properties on the shores of Lake Como will keep it that way.

The day is coming when the world is open to us once again. As always, we will be your trusted source on the latest life-changing exclusive experiences.

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