Airbnb showcases nomadic lifestyle in programme offering 1 year of free accommodation
Interested in living the Airbnb nomadic lifestyle for a year?
The holiday booking platform’s “Live Anywhere on Airbnb” programme is looking for 12 individuals to live exclusively in its listed properties for the next 12 months, free of charge.
Airbnb will cover the cost of accommodations and give you an allowance for transportation for the duration of the programme.
“Whether it’s joining Zoom meetings by the beach, taking family on the ultimate road trip, or learning a new language in a favourite city – participants can make the world their home,” the press release for the programme states.
In return, participants must share their experiences with the company so it can better tailor its services to nomadic living, which Airbnb says is a growing phenomenon among users.
“From young families to remote workers, creatives, empty nesters, and more, we are seeking a diverse set of 12 individuals who can be part of the programme for 12 consecutive months from July 2021 to July 2022,” says the press release.
Participants who choose to host their primary residence on Airbnb during the programme can also earn extra money while they travel, it adds.
The cites long-term Airbnb guests and full-time travellers Debbie and Michael Campbell – “Senior Nomads” who retired in 2013, sold their home and started travelling the world one Airbnb at a time. Now eight years later, they’ve lived in over 270 listings on Airbnb across 85 countries. They anticipate travelling to and living in 10 countries in 2021.
“The experience of living on Airbnb has been truly transformational for us,” said Debbie. “Live Anywhere on Airbnb will give even more people the opportunity to see the world through a whole new lens just as we have. We’re excited to see more people living and working from wherever they choose.”
Starting today, those interested in embarking on their own nomadic adventure can submit their applications at http://www.airbnb.com/liveanywhere. Once selected, participants will begin their journeys with advice on how to live on Airbnb from the “Senior Nomads”, Airbnb’s product and research teams, and Live Anywhere experts like travelling journalist Imani Bashir.
Phuket appears among the top 10 “Worlds Best Places to Visit” in 2021 – a yearly ranking published by American media company US News & World Report.
Thailand’s largest island is named the eighth most attractive global destination in rankings based on expert opinions, reader votes and current trends.
US News said it evaluated sights, culture, scenic beauty, food scene and more to compile its list of the world’s 30 best places to visit.
Topping this year’s ranking is New Zealand’s South Island, followed by Paris and Bora Bora, a South Pacific island.
Phuket, says US News, “offers something for everyone, especially budget-minded travelers.
“Activities like spa treatments and boat tours come with low price tags, as do accommodations. For stunning scenery, check out the limestone cliffs of Phang Nga Bay and lounge on Phuket’s gorgeous white sand beaches (Freedom Beach and Bangtao Beach are two visitor favorites).”
It also recommends visiting Wat Chalong Temple and the Big Buddha, before pointing readers to “the island’s lively nightlife scene”
Phuket is scheduled to become the first place in Thailand to reopen to foreign tourists without quarantine on July 1. Tourists who can verify they have been inoculated against Covid-19 and test negative can fly into Phuket and move around freely. Similar tourism schemes will launch in other destinations like Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Phang Nga and Surat Thani later when more locals have been vaccinated and preventive measures have been put in place.
Phuket counts down to arrival of foreign tourists on July 1
Phuket is counting down to the arrival of international tourists on July 1 after being given the green light to reopen as scheduled. Uncertainty over the “Phuket sandbox” plan was cleared up this week by the Tourism and Sports Ministry, which confirmed the holiday island will open at the start of next month.
It added that tourism restrictions in 10 provinces will be eased on October 1.
The four phases of Thailand’s reopening are as follows:
1st phase (April 1 – June 30)
Vaccinated foreigners allowed to self-isolate on arrival.
2nd phase (July 1 – September 30)
Vaccinated foreign tourists allowed to travel to Phuket.
3rd phase (October 1)
Restrictions eased in 10 provinces – Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Buri Ram, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Bangkok
4th phase (from January 1, 2022)
Foreign tourists free to enter country without self-isolating.
Phuket counts down to arrival of foreign tourists on July 1
Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will launch the worldwide “Countdown to Reopen Phuket” campaign to build confidence among foreign tourists and draw more travellers to Thailand.
The TAT expects 129,000 foreign tourists to generate revenue of about 11.4 billion baht in the first three months of Phuket’s opening (July-September).
TAT readies new plan for gradually reopening Thailand to tourists
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) preparing a new plan for reopening Thailand, which it will propose to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) on Friday.
Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, deputy governor for TAT’s marketing in Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Americas, detailed the proposal as follows:
Phang Nga: Foreign tourists can travel in the Khao Lak area without undergoing mandatory quarantine from August onwards.
Krabi: Foreigners can travel to Koh Phi Phi, Railay and Koh Ngai from July, but must isolate themselves on the day of arrival. On the second and third day, they will be allowed activities near the hotel and will be able to travel to specific routes once they have undergone the RT-PCR test for Covid-19 on the fourth and fifth day.
Similar measures will apply to Koh Lanta, Ao Nang and Thab Khaek, which will be opened to visitors from August onwards. Krabi will be fully open to tourists from October onwards.
Surat Thani: Foreigners can travel to Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao from July onwards by taking the RT-PCR test and isolating themselves for the first day. On the second and third days, they will be allowed activities near the hotel and can travel to specific areas from the fourth day. After taking a second RT-PCR test, tourists can travel freely in Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao from the eighth day.
Chiang Mai: Foreigners will be able to travel to Chiang Mai City, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng and Doi Tao districts from August, provided they go into self-isolation for seven days. After that, they will be allowed to travel to specific areas. Tourists will be allowed to travel freely in the province from October.
TAT will also submit a proposal for tourists to freely visit Chonburi (Pattaya, Bang Lamung and Sattahip districts), Bangkok, Phetchaburi (Cha-Am), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin) and Buri Ram from October.
Siripakorn also said TAT will propose a standard operating procedure for the Phuket tourism sandbox. “This procedure will apply to foreigners who visit Phuket without undergoing self-isolation,” he said.
Ko Kut in Trat province announced on Tuesday that it was closed to tourists as two Covid-19 cases had been found on the island. Ko Kut has been popular with domestic tourists lately, drawing thousands of visitors during holiday periods this year.
The resort island has been closed to arrivals until further notice.
Japanese travellers are the most welcome worldwide, according to the latest results of the Henley Passport Index .
The index ranks all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
They provide an insight into what the post-pandemic travel freedom might look like as countries around the world selectively begin to open their borders to international visitors.
Without taking temporary and constantly evolving Covid-19 travel restrictions into account, Japan firmly holds onto the number one spot on the index — which is based on data from the International Air Transport Association.
Japanese passport holders theoretically are able to access a record 193 destinations around the world visa-free. Singapore remains in second place, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 192, while Germany and South Korea again share joint-third place, each with access to 191 destinations.
As has been the case for most of the index’s 16-year history, the majority of the remaining top 10 spots are held by EU countries. The UK and the US, both of which continue to face steadily eroding passport strength since they held the top spot in 2014, currently share joint-seventh place, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 187.
The latest results indicate that the gap in travel freedom is now at its largest since the index began in 2006, with Japanese passport holders able to access 167 more destinations than citizens of Afghanistan, who can visit only 26 destinations worldwide without acquiring a visa in advance.
Although there has been very little movement in the Henley Passport Index for the past five quarters since the outbreak of Covid-19, taking a step back reveals some interesting dynamics over the past decade. The year 2021 saw China entering the biggest climbers in the past decade for the first time. China has risen by 22 places in the ranking since 2011, from 90th position with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of just 40 to 68th position with a score of 77. The most remarkable turnaround story on the index by far, however, is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which continues its stellar ascendance. In 2011, the UAE was ranked 65th with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 67, while today, thanks to the UAE’s ongoing efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties with countries across the globe, it is ranked 15th with a score of 174.
Christian H Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept, says the past year has demonstrated that no government is infallible — even the world’s superpowers and wealthiest nations floundered — and many failed their citizens.
“While nobody expects a return to pre-pandemic mobility levels anytime soon, the outlook now is certainly more hopeful than it was even a few months ago. The latest ranking is a reminder that economic recovery and development are dependent on global mobility, including personal travel freedom, and that passport power should never be taken for granted.”
Looking ahead to what the rest of 2021 holds, experts commenting in the Global Mobility Report 2021 Q2 released by Henley & Partners on Sunday, suggest that adaptability and responsiveness will be critical to future survival and success.
Parag Khanna, founder and managing partner of FutureMap, says the second half of the year may well see millions of people scattering again.
“The shifting patterns of migration in the post-Covid world will be non-linear and perhaps unpredictable. They will mimic the reality of a world in which there are many unfolding crises, from pandemics to climate change to political polarisation. “Countries facing fiscal pressures as well as skilled labour and investment shortages will seek to attract and recruit everyone from start-up entrepreneurs who can stimulate innovation to doctors and nurses who can boost public health services. The global war for talent is now well underway,” Khanna said.
Thai hotels all set to welcome a wave of domestic travellers during Songkran: SiteMinder
Apr 01. 2021
By THE NATION
A much-needed wave of travellers is set to arrive at the doors of Thailand’s accommodation businesses during the upcoming Songkran festival, data by SiteMinder, a global hotel industry guest acquisition platform, showed on Thursday.
SiteMinder’s World Hotel Index shows that guest arrivals for the Thai New Year holidays represent more than 24 per cent of all hotel guest arrivals expected over the next 12 months.
The visible spike in arrivals follows the government’s extension of the holiday to six days to stimulate nationwide tourism and accommodate those travelling to their hometowns across the country.
Already, the wave of travellers has helped to accelerate Thailand’s hotel booking momentum, the index showed. Since February 1, hotel bookings have risen from below 25 per cent of 2019 levels to almost 50 per cent – only one per cent below the global average.
“The steady rise of year-over-year hotel bookings in Thailand that we have seen due to the Songkran festival has been very encouraging,” said Bradley Haines, regional vice president of Asia Pacific at SiteMinder.
“It’s pleasing to see the government actively creating an environment so encouraging of domestic travel. Until international travel meaningfully recommences, it’s these types of events that will allow local hotels to continue to provide viable options for Thai travellers in the months ahead,” he added.
Thailand, which has historically relied on international travellers for approximately 70 per cent of its booked hotel stays, has increasingly depended on domestic holidaymakers since the pandemic began. More than 86 per cent of bookings made for Thai hotels in March have been by Thai locals, compared to just 34 per cent in April 2019.
Bangkok currently ranks sixth in Agoda.com’s search lists, highlighting a resurgence of interest in international travel.
Vaccine rollouts, talk of Covid-19 passports and alternative hotel quarantine have triggered an increase in international travel searches, said the popular travel platform on Tuesday.
However, Agoda reported Thailand-based searches had zero international destinations in the top 30 this month, indicating Thais are happy to stay at home.
The platform said its search data highlights growing optimism across Asia that international travel will start to return, with Australia, South Korea, Japan and Indonesia witnessing an increase in the number of international destinations in their top 30 searches in March compared to December.
Travellers from these markets are joining China, Taiwan and Singapore in their optimism for the resumption of international travel, said Agoda.
“There are definitely reasons for the travel industry in Asia to start to feel more optimistic,” said Agoda CEO John Brown, citing vaccine rollout and tourism subsidy schemes such as TTogether in Thailand and GoTo Japan.
However, he said the pace of vaccination will vary, with markets such as Singapore fully vaccinated this year and others like Thailand, Japan and Vietnam likely waiting until 2022.
“So these heavily tourism-dependent economies need to consider how to accelerate the return to normality. … alternative state quarantine [ASQ], as launched in Thailand and Hong Kong, might prove to be a sensible solution in line with a vaccine programme.”
Agoda said it had collaborated with Thailand’s Public Health Ministry to allow Thai nationals and residents to choose their preferred ASQ accommodation direct on the travel platform. Agoda’s ASQ platform would offer the same flexibility to international tourists when Thailand opening its borders this July, the company said.
“With more markets exploring travel corridors [or “bubbles”], alternative state quarantine accommodation provides a solution to help resume international travel by enabling travellers to choose a quarantine property that best suits their needs,” said Brown.
The Greek physician and occasional philosopher Hippocrates, known as the ‘Father of Medicine’ put it best: “Nature itself is the best physician”
Although he wrote these words some 2,400 years ago, they have arguably never been truer than today. Even without a global pandemic, our fast-paced urban lives often disconnect us from the planet we inhabit.
But as we gradually recover from Covid, we can take the time to reconnect with nature – and with it find a sense of purpose and peace, benefitting both the body and mind.
A growing body of evidence suggests that spending time outdoors can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as lower blood pressure and heart rate.
So whether it’s swimming waters teeming with life or hiking peaks, the only question is which of these brilliant outdoor escapes to choose to help you re-set and relax like never before.
Snorkel in the Andaman Sea’s crystal-clear waters
The tropical paradise of Krabi in Thailand is home to Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve resort which lets you discover Hong Island, Paradise Island and Pak Bia Island by traditional longtail boat. This island-hopping excursion to visit some of the Andaman Sea’s best-kept secrets provides secluded havens for swimming in crystal-clear lagoons that teem with wildlife. Back at the Phulay Bay resort, guests can relax further in the stunning natural beauty of Krabi that surrounds them, be that exploring the surrounding virgin rainforests, glistening beaches and majestic waterfalls where the only timepiece you’ll need is the sun.
When you stay at Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui, you’ll enjoy a complimentary round-trip boat excursion to Koh Madsum, better known as Pig Island. The tiny spot takes its name from the pigs that roam freely on the sand and in the jungled clad interior. It’s an idyllic environment in which to enjoy the perfect white sand beach, bathe in the clear blue ocean and marvel at the underwater world. The resort’s convenient location also makes it the perfect base to explore Koh Samui’s surprising and diverse landscapes and seascapes.
Hiking the trails of Taiwan
Taiwan’s mountainous hiking trails continue to draw walkers from around the world, visitors seeking the surprising and stunning walking routes which criss-cross the island. The capital is a fast-paced and buzzy urban metropolis, where W Taipei in hip Xinyi – the Manhattan of Taipei –provides a sanctuary of serenity and energy. But the city is also brilliantly connected to let you escape quickly to the hills. Located in the picturesque Yangmingshan National Park, Mt. Qixing, literally “Seven Star Mountain,” is the highest point in Taipei and offers outstanding views at 1,120m above sea level.
Close to the capital sits another spot enveloped in magnificent nature, Taoyuan, home to The Westin Tashee Resort, Taoyuan. Located in the forested hills, it’s perfect for ‘forest bathing’ as you immerse yourself in nature, but Taoyuan’s mountain range comes calling. Our choice would be the Full Moon National Forest Recreation Area. There, in the upper reaches of the Big Leopard Creek in the Three Gorges, on a tributary called the Gnat Creek, there is a beautiful world with stunning waterfalls and red maples to truly put the mind and soul at rest.
Hiking Hong Kong’s Trails
As a densely populated city with literally thousands of skyscrapers, it’s easy to forget that Hong Kong is also a natural wonderland, with countless trails, beaches, mountains and parks to keep even the most experienced hiker busy for a lifetime. The newly-opened Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung Hotel, situated in picturesque Tung Chung on Lantau Island, could not be better positioned to let you explore. The iconic Ngong Ping trail, Big Buddha and the challenging – but truly breathtaking – Sunset Peak are all right on your doorstep.
Over on the south side of Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel is another green urban retreat from the city center which reinforces the stunning diversity of the city’s landscapes. Connecting with nature doesn’t get easier as beautiful Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay are minutes away, while picture-perfect hiking and jogging trails lead through some of Hong Kong’s finest coastlines and country parks. Don’t miss the splendid coastal views of Sham Wan, Ap Lei Chau and Lamma Island, all while breathing in the fresh country air.
Exploring Japan’s mountain ranges
A magnificent destination for those seeking time in nature, Japan dazzles both first time and regular visitors alike with its panoramas, hot springs, coastlines, forests and mountains. Hidden in Japan’s northern Kanto region and set along scenic Lake Chuzenji, The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko offers a pristine haven where nature is revered. Your accommodations overlook Lake Chuzenji or Mount Nantai, while there are endless opportunities to connect with the natural world. The surrounding waterfalls, lakes, wetlands, hot springs and plateaus of Okunikko were shaped by long-ago eruptions of Mount Nantai, a revered landmark that rises high above you. Dynamic beauty awaits explorers, be they hikers, cyclists or paddlers.
The Ritz-Carlton, Okinawa offers the magical island’s plethora of natural escapes and activities. Traces of the Ryukyu Kingdom era remain in the form of nine World Heritage Sites while beaches offer snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing. Accompanied excursions include a 30km Cycle Tour of Cape Manza with a Hotel Guide, as you travel from hotel to a scenic spot known as “Manzamo” or ‘elephant nose!’. Alternatively, for adrenaline on water join their Mangrove Kayaking tour on the Hija River to see completely untouched wilderness at its very finest, or discover the remarkable preserved Yanbaru forest.
Fairfield by Marriott Michi-no-Eki offers multiple locations from which to explore untouched wilderness, whatever your preferred mode of transport. The newly-opened Fairfield by Marriott Mie Odai, southeast of the historic city of Nara, lets guests immerse themselves in nature by swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Miya River or spending the day fishing for ayu sweetfish in the river. For those who prefer mountains, the hotel is near some of the most famous hiking trails in Japan, including Osugidani and Mount Somon, while the breathtaking Nanatsugama Falls are also close by.
Bali’s waterfalls and rice terraces
Located in Nusa Dua, The Ritz-Carlton, Bali is set on 12.7 hectares of expansive and beautifully manicured beach-front and cliff-top land. This expansive property is already a natural wonder in its own right, thanks to unobstructed views of the Indian Ocean and its dramatic location along the sweeping coastline. The luxury resort reinforces The Ritz-Carlton’s commitment to inspiring life’s most meaningful journeys, including in Nusa Dua’s lush volcanic mountains and verdant rice paddies. These experiences highlight and reinforce the healing power of nature – but guests are also encouraged to discover why Bali is a destination where people seek peace and quiet in every sense of life.
Finally, to the magical Indonesian island of Bali, renowned as one of the most spiritual destinations anywhere, as well as an island of extraordinary natural diversity. The Westin Resort & Spa Ubud, Bali sits in the historical royal capital, nestled in stunning tropical terraces
lush green hillside and picturesque rice paddle fields. As if that wasn’t already enough, then abundant natural beauty can also be seen at Ubud Monkey Forest and Campuhan Ridge Walk, a free and easy nature trek which takes you through temples, bridges, shrines and rice paddies. Other easily accessible outdoor adventures include mountain biking, rafting and ecotours.
Pattaya City is ready to welcome tourists when more arrivals are allowed from April 1, governor Sontaya Kunplome said on his Facebook page on Sunday.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn had said earlier this month that area quarantine will be piloted in five provinces, namely Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani (Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan) and Chonburi (Pattaya).
Under the plan, tourists will quarantine in their rooms for the first three days and then undergo swab tests for Covid-19 at their hotel.
If they test negative, they will be granted access to the entire hotel or resort until their 14-day quarantine ends. After the quarantine is completed, they will be tested again. If they test negative, they will be allowed to travel freely in the area.
“So far, more than 20 venues in Pattaya have registered for the plan,” Sontaya said.