This week’s broadcast of Eye on Travel from New York has all the updates on the State Department’s decision to issue a level four “do not travel” advisory to 116 countries, representing about 80% of the planet, and what the announcement really means. On this “Earth Week,” Peter is joined by Costas Christ, Founder of Beyond Green Travel & Editor-at-Large for National Geographic Traveler, who speaks about rethinking travel as humans, overtourism and learning how to live and travel sustainably. The Wall Street Journal’s Ted Mann speaks to the challenges facing high-speed rail and what Amtrak is up against in trying to make it a reality. Greg Morris, Commercial Airline Pilot, on what the airlines are doing to be more sustainable and why there is still a long way to go in terms of reducing the carbon footprint. And direct from his boat in the Cape Town South Africa harbor, Paul Bennett, Chairman of Sustainable Travel International, speaks to the real meaning of the term “sustainable travel” and the significance of understanding the impact — both positive and negative — that traveling has on the planet, especially during the pandemic. And Peter goes on the refund warpath for one listener — spoiler alert — there’s a happy ending. There’s all this and more on this week’s Eye on Travel.
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Costas Christ, Founder of Beyond Green Travel & Editor-at-Large for National Geographic Traveler, speaks about rethinking travel as humans and our connection to nature. He says it’s not just a jungle in Costa Rica or a coral reef somewhere, and it’s crucial that we protect it. Overtourism was a big issue before the pandemic, but how do we approach the reset? We’re all looking at life differently, which is why he says that looking at travel through a lens of deeper meaning, caring and respect is the way forward. Costas argues that we live on a finite planet with limited resources, and in order for us to survive on this planet, we need to learn how to live a sustainable life. Then, he brings this back to travel and how we’re actually going to plan planet-friendly trips in the future — which is now.
Paul Bennett, Founder of Context Travel, B-Corp and Chairman of Sustainable Travel International, speaks to the real meaning of the term “sustainable travel” and the significance of understanding the impact – both positive and negative – that traveling has on people, the destinations and the planet. Travel is a big polluter, and he speaks to the steps that the travel industry has taken to help offset the pollution caused. What can we do as consumers? He dives into this and tackles the challenges of the incoming demand for travel and the overtourism we’ve witnessed in the past.
Mark Crossey, U.S. Travel Expert at Skyscanner, speaks about the travel demand that keeps on increasing, which is very encouraging for travel overall. He shares some of the resources for travelers in the areas of hotel safety messaging, hygiene, price monitoring and more. Crossey dives into the situation report on international travel and how it is coming back at a slower pace than U.S. domestic travel. And where are people going and thinking about going to? He shares its latest findings and reports on this as well.
Jude Bricker, CEO of Sun Country Airlines, converses with Peter about amping up for the return of travel and reallocating its markets to reflect the current demand for leisure travel. Bricker discusses summer travel, his reasoning behind its broad network of routes and understanding its core market. It all comes back to customer demand. The CEO shares some of the airline’s challenges with international markets and how consumers pivoted towards destinations that didn’t have travel requirements. And Bricker shares a report on airfares and jet fuel prices. It’s probably less than what you’re paying at the pump, and the airline industry is benefiting.
Caroline Bologna, Senior Reporter at HuffPost, dives right into the impending vaccine travel boom. She discusses the benefits of domestic travel versus international travel and why places like Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be tourist hot spots this summer. She then talks about what hotels and resorts are doing to incentivize travel such as free COVID-19 tests and quarantine accommodations. Also, find out why Airbnb might be your best option if you’re looking to get out and away from the crowds. Lastly, the two talk about the importance of copying your vaccine cards and why just because you’re vaccinated does not mean you can travel freely.
Christopher Elliott, Author, Journalist, Founder & Chief Advocacy Officer at the Elliott Advocacy, talks about some of the biggest complaints amongst travelers in 2020. The first is the inability for travelers to get a refund when their trips were cancelled, and the second is travel insurance that people bought — which turned out to be basically worthless. Elliott details some of the rules that travelers can use to their advantage to ensure they get refunds on a flight they had cancelled. Elliott gives his thoughts on the worst offenders when it comes to travel insurance. He also gives tips for “cancel for any reason” insurance and some of the dangers that come with getting it for your trip. And hear about one of his latest pieces about airlines and how they are posting their schedules and what this could mean for travelers as the year progresses.
Ted Mann, Reporter at The Wall Street Journal, speaks to the challenges facing high-speed rail and what Amtrak is up against in trying to make it a reality. He speaks about the nation’s potential connectivity and what it means for connecting cities and towns on both the East and West Coasts of the United States. Then, Mann shares some of his predictions regarding President Biden’s infrastructure proposal, including how it would benefit the country’s railroads and the improved service that would follow it.
Greg Morris, Commercial Airline Pilot, helps close the program on this “Earth Week” with his investigative research into what the airlines are doing to be more sustainable. Most of the airlines are pledging to buy into sustainable aviation fuel derived by plant and animal wastes. Morris dives into the numbers and explains why there is still a long way to go in terms of reducing the carbon footprint and the associated cost of sustainable fuel. Then, the pilot shares an update on Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport’s newest terminal, the “greener” commercial jets to operate and why accessibility is still a large issue at so many of the nation’s airports.