Ovation's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.
Following is a recap of January's Top 5 (most clicked by Ovation clients) e-newsletter stories.
The White House is considering expanding its travel ban to additional countries, reports Travel Weekly. A document outlining the plans has been circulating the White House, but the countries that would be affected if it moves forward are blacked out, according to two of the people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the measure has yet to be finalized. It’s unclear exactly how many countries would be included in the expansion if it proceeds, but the two sources said that seven countries, a majority of them Muslim, would be added to the list. The most recent iteration of the ban includes restrictions on five majority-Muslim nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as North Korea and Venezuela.
Airlines based in North America, Europe and Asia are canceling flights to China as Chinese authorities work to contain the spread of the coronavirus, reports CNN. Air Asia, Air India, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Lufthansa and United Airlines have announced plans to reduce the number of flights they are operating to China or stop flying to the country entirely. Other airlines are offering customers refunds on flights to China.
A new proposal from the Department of Transportation (DOT) proposes to limit the definition of a service animal to a dog, reversing a policy that permits a variety of other animals to fly under that framework, reports ABC News. The DOT’s proposed new rule would also no longer require airlines to recognize emotional support animals. Department officials noted that airlines have complained of fraudulent incidents related to the declaration of certain pets as emotional support animals, both as safety risks and through the loss of millions in unpaid pet carriage fees.
A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico on Tuesday, following a 5.8-magnitude quake that struck early Monday morning off Puerto Rico’s southern coast, reports Travel Pulse. There have been at least 24 aftershocks since Tuesday, and while emergency personnel continue rescue efforts and begin cleaning up impacted areas, Discover Puerto Rico said key travel hubs such as Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, San Juan Cruise Port, Ponce Cruise Port and Airport and the Puerto Rico Convention Center remain open. Monday’s earthquake also damaged or destroyed several tourist hotspots, including the Guanica lighthouse and the Playa Ventana coastal rock formation in the southwest town of Guayanilla.
New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) has partnered with Google to adopt Google Assistant’s Interpreter Mode technology at its Terminal 4 with the aim to reduce language barriers for international tourists, reports Airport Technology. This partnership will offer real-time language translation for 29 languages including Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese to international travelers, assisting them with issues such as locating luggage, navigating the terminal, finding concessions and locating ground transportation. The Interpreter Mode is available at the airport’s welcome center in the arrivals hall, the post-security information booth, as well as the help desk located in the retail lounge.