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How Can Hotel Website Design Bring in More Bookings and Revenue?

Do you want to build a hotel website design that can help you increase direct bookings and revenue?

The design of your hotel’s website has a significant impact on travellers’ booking patterns, and it should be a primary concern for you.

Travellers want a website that reflects their demands and expectations; if the website does not engage them, it is unlikely that they will book a room at your hotel. Today, having a strong, appealing, and successfully integrated online footprint is the only way hotels can stay in business.

This article will help you understand the need for a hotel website design and how to make a hotel booking website.

Why Do You Need to Design and Build a Hotel Booking Website?

Building a website for your hotel or property is important since it expands your online reach, enables direct hotel booking reservations and increases hotel revenue. All of these factors are advantageous to your hotel.

However, merely being visible online and providing relevant information about your hotel or property is not enough.

Here comes designing!

Hotel booking design is critical for increasing SEO rankings and creating an impression on travellers.

To get more guests to make reservations through your hotel’s website, you should do the following:

  • To make your hotel more discoverable, you need to rank highly on search engine result pages.
  • You must visually impress and connect guests with your hotel website design.
  • You should be able to provide and display important and relevant information to your potential customers in an easily accessible manner.
  • You must make it convenient for travellers to book hotel rooms.
  • You should use advertisements, discount deals, and cost-effective packages to entice potential guests.
  • You must display excellent visual content that is highly engaging and relevant to your hotel and location.

Unless you build and design a good and appealing website for your hotel, it could be hard to implement all of these elements in a presentable and organised manner.

When you build and design your hotel’s website using a website builder tool, you won’t have to worry about the final output. The technology will cover and take care of everything. Technologically advanced website builders are developed with best practices in mind, making it as simple as possible to increase traffic and convert visitors.

How to Create a Hotel Booking Website?

Developing and designing a new website can be a daunting challenge for hoteliers. Before you get started, you should pause for a moment and review your requirements, resources, and design expertise.

When it comes to hotel website design, there are two primary alternatives:

  • Investing in a website builder that is easy to use.
  • Investing in a web developer to develop a customised design from the ground up.

Investing in a web developer can provide hoteliers with a stunning, custom design. However, it can also be difficult for operators who are unfamiliar with web design.

Hiring a developer to design a web page from scratch will take far more time and cost more money over time than using a website builder. Furthermore, future updates and modifications to the website could be challenging because the hired website developer must approve all changes.

Investing in a hotel website builder, on the other hand, will allow you to design a customised website that is tailored to your branding. This option can save you a lot of money because you do not have to pay every time you change a minor element of your website.

If you decide to go with this option, choose a website builder designed exclusively for hotels. It will have the functionalities you need to increase your hotel’s direct bookings and sales revenue.

However, if you already have a website for your hotel, you will need to figure out and recognise the necessary elements that are missing and then consider redesigning your website. A call to action such as a ‘Book Now’ button, a safe online payment system, or a handful of high-quality SEO features could all be lacking from your hotel’s website.

Tips for Hotel Website Redesign

Here are five basic tips for you to begin with your hotel’s website redesign:

1. Check the image quality on your website

Adding beautiful and aesthetic imagery to your hotel website design is an important element in creating an impression on visitors. Add pictures of your hotel’s most interesting and unusual places to captivate potential visitors. But make sure that the quality of those pictures is good.

You can begin by assessing the quality of the existing photos on your website. It will help you determine the necessary improvements needed to be made to appeal to potential guests.

2. Going through the information available for your guests on your hotel’s website

Another deciding factor for your potential guests to book rooms with you directly on your website is the information you have provided for them about your hotel and region.

The information and details that matter the most about your hotel are:

  • Hotel rooms rates
  • Hotel room availability
  • Services
  • Amenities
  • Ancillaries
  • Contact details
  • Your location
  • Proximity to attractions
  • Things to do

Most of this information is vital but basic.

Are you wondering how to make your hotel stand out?

Taking a step further and providing a complete overview of what’s interesting in the nearby area might help your hotel stand out from competitors. It will take your hotel one step closer to having the best hotel booking site. Having extensive information about local attractions on your hotel’s website will help keep a potential visitor hooked for much longer.

3. Implement mobile-friendly responsive web design

Responsive design is a fundamental concept that you should implement unquestionably. It is a website design technique that aims to build a viewable and interactive interface that responds to the user’s preferred device.

It ensures that the user experience is seamless and that the website’s features can be seen and operated efficiently.

Note that your hotel website design for mobile hasn’t been developed responsively if visitors have to zoom in to click a button or link.

For the finest user experience, prioritise your users’ requirements, just as you would when they arrive at your hotel.

4. Easy direct bookings

You could have all the great components for a stunning web experience, but the hotel website design is practically flawed if your potential visitors can’t make a reservation.

It is essential to enable direct bookings by integrating an online hotel booking engine into your hotel’s website, such as AxisRooms’ booking engine tool. It helps ensure that your website converts website traffic into customers. Direct bookings increase the sales revenue of your hotel.

The primary step is to ensure that your hotel’s website seamlessly integrates with an online booking engine. It is even more vital to make sure that your booking engine integrates into your branding and website design, convincing visitors that your website is secure.

5. Optimize your SEO

Want to know what makes a good hotel website?

The pinnacle of effective hotel website design is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and attracting visitors through search engines must be a crucial aspect of your online marketing strategy.

Here are a few SEO pointers to get more direct bookings and ultimately increase your hotel’s sales revenue:

  • Determine the best keywords for your hotel’s SEO.
  • Write unique title tags and meta descriptions.
  • Improve your hotel website’s loading time and responsiveness.
  • Publish keyword-rich, high-quality blogs about your hotel and location that are interesting and educational for visitors to read and learn.
  • Enhance your hotel’s customer experience by localising hotel web pages.

Source: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4108295.html

Space tourism took a giant leap in 2021: Here’s 10 milestones from the year

From suborbital space to high Earth orbit, space tourism is just getting started. This year saw more space tourists fly to space on a bunch of different systems, and the story has only just begun. Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, and SpaceX each flew their first tourist-focused missions this year, sending aloft several people each with minimal training in professional spaceflight. Meanwhile, Roscosmos (the Russian federal space agency) brought two sets of space tourists into space, including a mission with Space Adventures. With 2022 also set to be busy, between more tourist flights and the expected addition of company Axiom Space (using a SpaceX Crew Dragon), we rounded up some of the main milestones of 2021 below.

1) Axiom Space announces first crew for 2022

Axiom Space revealed its clients Jan. 26 for its first privately-funded and operated mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Called Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the flight is arranged under a commercial agreement with NASA.

Slated to launch on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft are Larry Connor, an American real estate and technology entrepreneur; Eytan Stibbe, a businessman and former Israeli fighter pilot; Mark Pathy, a Canadian investor and philanthropist; and Michael Lopez-Alegria, a retired NASA astronaut with nearly 260 days in space already across four missions.

In June, SpaceX and Axiom announced an agreement to fly three more missions to the orbiting complex after Ax-1. NASA officially cleared the Ax-1 crew for flight on Dec. 20.

2) Starship launches test flight and sticks the landing

After several attempts on previous test landing that didn’t make it safely to landing, SpaceX’s Starship SN-15 prototype launched its own test flight May 5 and made it all the way from takeoff to touchdown. 

The uncrewed test flight coincidentally fell on the 60th anniversary of the United States’ first-ever crewed spaceflight, which saw NASA astronaut Alan Shepard make it to suborbital space. SpaceX has said it hopes to use Starship to branch out in the solar system, especially for crewed Mars missions.

3) Virgin Galactic launches Richard Branson

On July 11, Virgin Galactic launched its first operational tourist flight, featuring founder Richard Branson. It was “the experience of a lifetime,” Branson said during a live broadcast of the flight. 

The four-person crew and two pilots of the Unity 22 test flight mission took off from the company’s Spaceport America facility in New Mexico and flew just above the boundary of space, where everyone experienced about four minutes of weightlessness. 

Future flights of Virgin Galactic, though, have been delayed due to a Federal Aviation Administration investigation into a reported incident that happened during the spaceflight. That said, Virgin has opened up tickets again to paying spaceflyers, now at $450,000 apiece.

4) Blue Origin launches Jeff Bezos to space

Days after the Virgin flight, Blue Origin launched its first crewed spaceflight on July 20, featuring founder Jeff Bezos and a set of other three space tourists, including Mercury 13 aviator Wally Funk

Since the system flies autonomously, no pilots were required to be on board (although Funk is highly qualified as an aviator) as the New Shepard system lifted off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One near the West Texas town of Van Horn.

While Bezos and Branson denied their companies were in competition, the broadcast of Bezos’ flight made several cutting remarks about the company flying above the Kármán line, an internationally recognized boundary of spaceflight that Virgin Galactic flights don’t reach. 

Bezos also said in an interview in July that Blue Origin is not focused on competition, but building a “road to space.” The company has adopted that catchphrase as a tagline and repeats it frequently during live broadcasts.

5) SpaceX stacks tallest booster ever with Starship

SpaceX’s newest Starship prototype (SN-20) perched on its massive Super Heavy booster for the first time on Friday (Aug. 6), briefly setting a new record for the world’s tallest rocket during preparations for an orbital mission.

The hour-long fit check brought the stack to 395 feet tall (120 m), taller than NASA’s massive Saturn V moon rocket, which was 363 feet tall (110 m). Super Heavy alone stands 230 feet (70 meters) tall and Starship SN4 includes another 165 feet (50 m) of height. 

The next major milestone for Starship is the orbital launch that may take place in 2022, pending an environmental review by the Federal Aviation Administration and related government groups. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has pushed back launch estimates several times due to the review.

6) Inspiration4 launches 4 civilians on first orbital mission

Billionaire Jared Isaacman’s privately chartered spaceflight launched on Sept. 15, 2021 aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, flying high in Earth orbit on a nearly three-day mission. Inspiration4 was the first crewed orbital mission with no professional astronauts on board (as the Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin flights preceding it were all suborbital missions.)

Isaacman, a pilot, commanded the flight and was accompanied by physician assistant Hayley Arceneaux, data engineer Chris Sembroski, and geoscientist and science communication specialist Sian Proctor. Sembroski and Proctor won their seats in contests to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, while Arceneaux is employed at that hospital.

Resilience and its crew circled Earth for three days, splashing down off the Florida coast on Sept. 18. The mission exceeded its fundraising goal for St. Jude.

7) Blue Origin launches William Shatner

A “Star Trek” star boldly went into suborbital space Oct. 13 on Blue Origin’s second crewed space mission, called NS-18. William Shatner, 90, is best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk on “Star Trek: The Original Series.”

“That was unlike anything they described,” Shatner was heard saying via a radio link as the capsule parachuted back to Earth, after carrying him and three other crew members to suborbital space.

Shatner is now the oldest person to have ever flown to space, beating the record set by Wally Funk, 82, who flew on Blue Origin’s first crewed flight July 20. Crew member Glen de Vries died in a plane crash weeks after the flight and Blue Origin dedicated their next crewed mission in December to him.

8) Russian film crew shoots drama on ISS

Just days after Shatner’s ride to space, a Russian film crew including actress Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko landed with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of the Russian federal space corporation Roscosmos on Oct. 17.

“Вызов” (“Challenge” in English) is the movie in production. It follows the fictional story of a surgeon (Peresild) who is launched to the station to perform emergency surgery on a cosmonaut (Novitskiy, who would play the role well given he is a cosmonaut in real life.)

The effort is a joint production of Roscosmos, the Russian television station Channel One and the studio Yellow, Black and White. Given the small crew on hand in space, Shipenko took on several behind-the-scenes roles, including director, make-up artist, sound editor and cinematographer. 

9) Blue Origin launches ‘Good Morning America’ host to space

Blue Origin’s next (and likely last) crewed flight of 2021 filled out all six seats in the New Shepard spacecraft during a successful launch and landing Dec. 11. The starring guest was Michael Strahan, host of “Good Morning America”, who is a retired football player. (The crew threw mini-footballs in space to celebrate his past career.)

Strahan said the experience was amazing. “I want to go back,” he told Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos after returning to Earth. “Touchdown has a new meaning now!!!” he wrote on Twitter after the flight.

Also on the flight was Laura Shepard Churchley, 74, the daughter of NASA astronaut Shepard after whom the New Shepard system is named, and four other individuals who paid for their seats. Blue Origin has not yet released per-seat pricing for customers, and we are also awaiting details on their next planned crew launch.

10) Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa flies to ISS

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, video producer Yozo Hirano and cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin launched on Dec. 8 to the International Space Station for a 12-day mission to the orbiting lab.

Maezawa is also planning to fly around the moon on a SpaceX mission that he paid for, tentatively slotted for 2023, but chose to visit the space station as well on a mission brokered by the U.S. space tourism company Space Adventures with Russia’s Roscosmos space agency. It was not revealed how much Maezawa paid for the flight, but single seats in the past have cost up to $35 million. And Maezawa bought two seats, one for himself and for Hirano, who recorded videos of Maezawa in space.

Maezawa, the CEO of Start Today and the founder of online clothing retailer ZOZO, bought the seats for himself and Hirano. Hirano documented the mission and participate in some health and performance research. They also made the first Uber Eats delivery in space on the flight. The trio returned to Earth on Dec. 19.

And that’s a wrap at the biggest space tourism moments in 2021. The year 2022 is expected to bring more milestones as the company Axiom Space plans to launch its first fully private crew to the International Space Station early in the year, with SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic all expected to continue their private spaceflight pace. 

Source: https://www.space.com/space-tourism-giant-leap-2021-milestones

Garth, a luxury neo-Bistro opens this week at Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates

Located inside a new private members club, The 9 Lounge, at Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, the premium culinary hub has opened its doors to those with a penchant for refined, delicious medleys of Italian, Greek, and Southern French cuisines. Guests that are not members of The 9 Lounge are encouraged to make reservations in advance and abide by the formal dress code, suited to the elevated ambiance of the locale.

The space comprises of a beautiful verdant terrace, a cigar lounge, and a restaurant, where guests can indulge in the finest mix of seafood, meat, and vegetarian dishes. Whilst diners can enjoy a host of raw fish and seafood plates courtesy of a specialty raw bar, the menu also includes an array of meat, vegetarian and vegan options that are guaranteed to gratify even the most selective appetites.

Guests are promised satisfaction as they acquaint their palates with the gastronomical innovations, born from the proficiently sourced quality ingredients at Garth. The food and menus are expertly designed by celebrity chefs Sergei Andreychenko and Mohammed Musthafa. A team of professional mixologists and sommeliers assist guests in selecting from a carte of Old World and New World wines, cocktails, and premium spirits.

The mouthwatering menus include dishes such as Zucchini Carpaccio, Beef Cheeks Paccheri, Poached Sea Bass, Truffle Risotto, Niçoise Salad, Beef Tartare, Burrata Grande and many more.

At the raw bar, guests can opt for the Salmon or Tuna Tartare, Sea Bass Ceviche, or indulge in an assorted tartare platter featuring three varieties of the dish. The desserts menu is home to rich classics such as Basque Burnt Cheesecake, Tiramisu, Almond Crumble with Berries, Dark Chocolate Mousse, and hand-crafted Ice Creams and Sorbets.

Garth features a new lunch menu each week, featuring daily specials, to keep it fresh and interesting for afternoon guests, from 12pm till 3pm. Although the culinary adventure is the primary focus of the experience, the menus will maintain the sophisticated taste and plating associated with the brand.

Open daily, from 12pm till 12am on weekdays and from 12pm till 2am on weekends, the lounge creates a relaxed atmosphere with unique sound design, featuring a distinct combination of genres. Produced skillfully by an ensemble of instrumentalists from Moscow, the music will include streams of new wave funk, soul, jazz, chill rave, and afro beats genres. Breezy terrace evenings can be enjoyed with a soundtrack of electronic chill rave beats, whilst soulful piano music will grace special dinners at the restaurant.

The layered interiors feature neutral tones of cream, beige and brown, complemented by blush pink furniture. Plush pampas grass lines the windows and the bar canopy, accented by bright neon lighting that lends an effortless luminous glow to the space. A promising venue that is bound to be the next hotspot in Dubai, Garth takes guests on a journey that goes beyond the plate, offering an ideal space to socialize and indulge in finer experiences.

Source: https://www.hotelnewsme.com/hotel-news-me/garth-a-luxury-neo-bistro-opens-this-week-at-kempinski-hotel-mall-of-the-emirates/

The 2021 Shandong Conference on Tourism Development to be held in Yantai in late September

This conference aims to be a unique, high-level tourism event that combines universal participation with openness and sharing, achievement demonstration, exchange of experience, innovation and development, and publicity and promotion.

Yantai, China – The 2021 Shandong Conference on Tourism Development will be held in Yantai from September 22 to 24. This conference aims to promote the high-quality development of the cultural tourism of Shandong Province by focusing on the theme “Welcome to Coastal Wonderland – Enjoy the Hospitality of Shandong” and starting with the marine and cultural tourism projects. The conference is hosted by the CPC Shandong Provincial Committee and the People’s Government of Shandong Province and organized by the Shandong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, the CPC Yantai Municipal Committee, and the People’s Government of Yantai.

This conference aims to be a unique, high-level tourism event that combines universal participation with openness and sharing, achievement demonstration, exchange of experience, innovation and development, and publicity and promotion. The overall conference arrangements include four major activities: the opening ceremony, the large-scale cultural tourism show “A Solemn Pledge of Love for Yantai”, the working meeting, and the project observation in addition to four minor ones: the display of cultural tourism achievements made by 16 cities of Shandong Province, the Yantai cultural tourism experience activity with the theme of “Love for Traveling in Wonderland”, the 2021 International Coastal Leisure Tourism High-Quality Development Forum, and the Grand Yantai Carnival.

When the day comes, representatives of the cultural and tourism departments of some provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities), representatives of some coastal cities, key distributors, investors, trade association leaders, cultural tourism experts, foreign consuls in China, and the heads of relevant international organizations will be invited to attend the conference. The guests and attendees will participate in the conference both online and offline. The number of the offline participants will be strictly controlled and various epidemic prevention and control measures will be carefully implemented to ensure that nothing goes wrong.

Source: https://www.traveldailynews.asia/the-2021-shandong-conference-on-tourism-development-to-be-h

SpaceX will launch four space tourists on a three-day trip in space. Here’s everything you need to know

Cape Canaveral, Florida (CNN Business)On Wednesday, four people — none of whom are professional astronauts — will strap themselves into a capsule atop a 200-foot-tall SpaceX rocket that will blast them past the speed of sound and up to 17,500 miles per hour. This mission, dubbed Inspiration4, is the first orbital mission in the history of spaceflight to be staffed entirely by tourists or otherwise non-astronauts. Launch is slated for Wednesday between 8:02 pm and 1:02 am ET from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Brevard County, Florida, though forecasters are keeping a close eye out for storms that could impact the mission. The three-day journey will see the quartet free-flying through Earth’s orbit, whipping around the planet once every 90 minutes while the passengers float, buoyed by microgravity, and take in panoramic views of our home planet. To cap off the journey, their spacecraft will dive back into the atmosphere for a fiery re-entry and splash down off the coast of Florida.And yes, for all three days in space, the passengers will all have to share a special zero-gravity-friendly toilet located near the top of the capsule. No showering will be available, and crew will all have to sleep in the same reclining seats they will ride in during launch.

This is far from the first time civilians have traveled to space. Though NASA has been averse to signing up non-astronauts for routine missions after the death of Christa McAuliffe, a New Jersey school teacher who was killed in the Challenger disaster in 1986, a cohort of wealthy thrill-seekers paid their own way to the International Space Station in the 2000s through a company called Space Adventures. American investment management billionaire Dennis Tito became the first to self-fund a trip in 2001 with his eight-day stay on the International Space Station, and six others came after him. They all booked rides alongside professional astronauts on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.This mission, however, has been billed as the beginning of a new era of space travel in which average people, rather than government-selected astronauts and the occasional deep-pocketed adventurer, carry the mantle of space exploration. But to be clear, we are still a long way from that reality, and this trip is still far from “average.” It’s a custom, one-off mission financed by a billionaire founder of a payment processing company, and though pricing details have not been made public, it likely cost upward of $200 million. (According to one government report, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule costs roughly $55 million per seat.)Here’s a rundown of what’s happening and why it matters.

The passengers: A billionaire, a cancer survivor, a geologist and a raffle winner

  • Jared Isaacman, 38, the billionaire founder of payment processing company Shift4, who is also personally financing this entire mission
  • Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old cancer survivor who now works as a physician assistant at St. Jude, the hospital where she was treated, in Memphis, Tennessee. She’ll be the first person with a prosthetic body part to go to space, and she’ll serve as the flight’s chief medical officer. St. Jude selected Arceneaux for this mission as Isaacman’s request, according to a Netflix documentary, and, at the time, she said she was so unfamiliar with space travel that she asked if she would be traveling to the moon, unaware that humans have not set foot on the moon in 50 years.
  • Sian Proctor, 51, a geologist and educator who was selected for a seat on this mission through a post on social media in which she highlights her space-related artwork and entrepreneurial spirit. She’ll be only the fourth Black woman from the US to travel to orbit.
  • Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old Seattle-based Lockheed Martin employee and former camp counselor at Alabama’s famed Space Camp. He won his seat through a raffle he entered by donating to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, though he wasn’t the official winner. His friend snagged the seat and, after deciding not to go, transferred it to him.

Isaacman — who will become the third billionaire to self-fund a trip to space in the past three months and the first to buy a trip to orbit on a SpaceX capsule — is billing this mission as one that he hopes will inspire would-be space adventureres, hence the missions’s name, Inspiration4. He’s also using it as the centerpiece for a $200 million fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, $100 million of which he donated personally and the rest he is hoping to raise through online donations and an upcoming auction. So far, a fundraiser has brought in $30 million of its $100 million goal.

How did all this happen?

Inspiration4 is entirely the brain child of Jared Isaacman and SpaceX.Isaacman began flying single-engine prop planes recreationally in the mid-2000s and developed an insatiable thirst for going higher and faster, eventually moving into twin-engine planes, then jets, then military-grade aircraft that can zip past the speed of sound.

Each of Isaacman’s fellow passengers was selected in a different way: He asked St. Jude to select a cancer-survivor-turned-healthcare-provider, and the organization chose Arceneaux. Proctor won an online contest specifically for people who use Shift4, the payment platform Isaacman runs. And Sembroski was given his seat by a person who won a raffle for people who donated to St. Jude. (Sembroski also entered the raffle but was not the original winner.)Isaacman told CNN Business that he sat down with SpaceX to hash out the flight profile. He specifically wanted the Crew Dragon to orbit higher than International Space Station, which is why the spacecraft will orbit about 350 miles above Earth — roughly 100 miles above where the space station orbits.

How risky is this?

Any time a spacecraft leaves Earth there are risks, and there are no perfect measurements for predicting them.But NASA estimates Crew Dragon has a 1 in 270 chance of catastrophic failure, based on one metric the space agency uses. For comparison, NASA’s Space Shuttle missions in the 1980s to early 2000s ultimately logged a failure rate of about 1 in every 68 missions.Because of the inherent risks of blasting a spacecraft more than 17,500 miles per hour — the speed that allows an object to enter Earth’s orbit — Inspiration4 is more dangerous than the brief, up-and-down suborbital jaunts made by billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson.

Apart from the many perils of the launch itself — in which rockets essentially use controlled explosions more powerful than most wartime bombs to drum up enough speed to rip away from gravity — there’s also the re-entry process. When returning from orbit, the Crew Dragon’s external temperatures can reach up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit, and astronauts can experience 4.5 Gs of force pushing them into their seats, all while the ever-thickening atmosphere whips around the capsule.During a Netflix documentary about the Inspiration4 mission, Musk described a capsule going through reentry as “like a blazing meteor coming in.””And so it’s hard not to get vaporized,” he added.After that the Crew Dragon then has to deploy parachutes to slow its descent and make a safe splashdown in the ocean before rescue ships can whisk the four passengers back to dry land.Despite the risks, a former NASA chief and career safety officials have said the Crew Dragon is likely the safest crewed vehicle ever flown.

The vehicle: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon

All four passengers will spend the entire missions aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, a 13-foot-wide, gumdrop-shaped spacecraft that detaches from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket after reaching orbital speeds. The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule was developed by Elon Musk’s rocketry company for the specific purpose of ferrying NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station, which it did for the first time ever in May 2020.

Since then, SpaceX has launched two additional Crew Dragon missions for NASA. SpaceX is allowed, however, to sell seats — or entire missions — to whoever the company chooses. Although NASA paid for much of the Crew Dragon’s development, under the terms of the deal between the federal agency and the company, SpaceX still technically owns and operates the vehicle and can use it for whatever commercial purposes it wishes.Crew Dragon’s missions in the near future also include a mix of NASA-commissioned flights to the ISS and space tourism missions.For this mission, the Crew Dragon will be retrofitted with a giant glass dome at the tip of the spacecraft specifically for the crew to soak in panoramic views of the cosmos.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2021/09/14/tech/spacex-inspiration-4-space-tourism-mission-walkup-scn/index.html

Venice to demand tourists pre-book city visit on app to tackle tourist overcrowding

Authorities in the Italian city are testing airport-like turnstiles to control the flow of people. Should the number of visitors become too high, further tourists will be prohibited from entering.

Authorities in Venice are preparing to demand tourists pre-book their visit to the city on an app in a bid to tackle tourist overcrowding.

Officials in the Italian city are also looking at charging day-trippers between €3 (£2.58) and €10 (£8.59) to enter, depending on the time of year.

Airport-like turnstiles are being tested to control the flow of people and, should the number become too high, stop new visitors from entering.

Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro said his aim was to make tourism sustainable in the lagoon city, which is visited by about 25 million people a year.

“I expect protests, lawsuits, everything… but I have a duty to make this city liveable for those who inhabit it and also those who want to visit,” he told reporters.

City officials have already started tracking every person who sets foot in the city in a bid to tackle the issue.

With a CCTV network of 468 cameras, optical sensors and a mobile phone-tracing system, officials are able to tell residents from visitors and where they are travelling from.

They can also find out where people are heading and how fast they are moving, with authorities updated every 15 minutes on how crowded the Italian city is.

Information on how many gondolas are on the Canal Grande, whether boats are speeding and if the waters rise to dangerous levels are also passed on.

Residents, students and commuters will be exempt from the tourist tax, as will those spending at least one night in a Venice hotel, given they will have already paid the overnight tariff of up to €5 (£4.29) a day.

Mr Brugnaro added that authorities had yet to decide what the maximum number of people in the city should be and when the new rules will be enforced.

They were due to be implemented between next summer and 2023.

The scheme was first mooted in 2019 and then it was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mayor’s plan is the subject of debate, with some worrying it will deter tourists from visiting.

Others, such as 50-year-old Stefano Verratti who sells Murano glass near the train station, backed the idea.

“I have been here for 30 years, and it used to be very different. Before Venice was really romantic,” he told Reuters.

“Now it’s just people rushing to buy a kebab, take a quick selfie on the Rialto bridge, and then rushing to take a train. I don’t know if they really enjoy it.”

A month ago, Italy banned cruise ships from Venice lagoon to defend its ecosystem and heritage, after the United Nations culture organisation UNESCO threatened to put the country on a blacklist for not banning liners from the World Heritage site.

Source: https://news.sky.com/story/venice-to-demand-tourists-pre-book-city-visit-on-app-to-tackle-tourist-overcrowding-12400694

Self-isolation changes: Relief for hospitality managers as ‘pingdemic’ ends, but ‘uncertainty’ not over yet

Managers at pubs and hotels, and the CBI, have warned that disruption could last for weeks to come with younger hospitality workers less likely to have had both vaccine doses.

Pub and hotel managers have hailed changes to self-isolation rules – which are set to mark the end of the ‘pingdemic‘ – but warned that uncertainty is not over for businesses yet.

From Monday, those who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to quarantine when identified as a close contact, signalling an end to temporary closures and huge staff shortages that have blighted the hospitality industry this summer.

However, managers have warned that with younger staff members – who are more likely to work in hospitality – still waiting to receive second doses, some disruption is still expected over the coming weeks.

Veryan Palmer, director of the five-star Headland Hotel in Newquay, Cornwall, welcomed the changes, but added: “It’s not quite over for us yet”.

“Generally our older staff have been fully vaccinated, but if you’re young you still often haven’t yet had your second vaccination.”

Over recent weeks, the hotel has experienced mass disruption due to self-isolation, leading to bedrooms being closed and only one of its three restaurants being able to operate.

At one point, 51 out of its 227 staff had been pinged, although only one employee has tested positive for Covid after being told to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app.

“It’s been really tough and it’s been really tough for a lot of the staff. People want to work and they want to earn money,” said Ms Palmer.

She added that on top of having lots of staff under 25 who are yet to receive a second dose, there were fears that last week’s Boardmasters Festival, which was held in the town, could lead to an uptick people being told to isolate.

“I know a lot of young staff managed to get tickets. We’re hoping that it won’t have become a super-spreader event,” she said.

Disruption to the industry caused by people being asked to self-isolate after being pinged as a close contact could last for several weeks yet.

Those who are yet to receive a second dose will then have to wait two weeks until they are exempt from quarantine when contacted.

Martin Robinson, general manager at Ye Old Fighting Cocks, in St Albans – which claims to be the oldest pub in England – said the changes would make things “much easier”.

But, he added: “A lot of the staff are under 21, so it’s going to take a little while for everyone to get there.”

Amid the heatwave on 12 July, the pub was forced to close for 10 days after all 17 staff who were working that day were pinged.

“Not one of us tested positive. That was a real kick,” said Mr Robinson. “10 days, beautiful sunshine, and a bunch of healthy 20-somethings sat at home twiddling their thumbs.”

On Monday, the pub’s chef was isolating after contracting Covid, meaning there was no kitchen service.

But while Mr Robinson said it was important to keep people safe and to avoid further lockdowns, even small numbers of staff isolating caused big issues because the pub was operating on scaled-back staff numbers.

“You try to run as slim as possible because we’re coming out of financial hardship,” he said.

“When you’re running that tight, it only takes one person to say I’ve been pinged and it’s really tough to deliver a decent standard of service.”

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said the changes would come as “a long-awaited relief to businesses” and would “ease” the impact of the pandemic.

However, a spokesperson added: “for those sectors reliant upon younger works still awaiting their second jab, including hospitality, a critical part of the workforce still face the prospect of needlessly having to self-isolate.

“A practical test and release scheme could be a sensible alternative for those who are single-dosed to ensure that self-isolation remains properly targeted at those who risk spreading the virus.”

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) also said that while the new exemptions would provide “huge relief” to small business owners, a “well-functioning testing system” was also critical.

Source: https://inews.co.uk/news/self-isolation-rule-changes-hospitality-relief-pingdemic-ends-uncertainty-not-over-1152908

Space Tourism Is a Waste

Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk want to make “space tourism” a thing. This could jumpstart a pointless industry that’s totally unsustainable.

Jeff Bezos, the richest man on Earth, will head into suborbital space on Tuesday. He’ll be the second billionaire to take such a journey this month, getting narrowly beat out by Richard Branson, who recently took an hour-long rocket trip to the edge of space. Next year, Elon Musk—who has traded the world’s-richest title with Bezos a few times this past year—will also head to space on Branson’s Virgin Galactic’s spaceplane.

If these billionaires get their way, there will be more of these flights in the future. Virgin Galactic has said it already has $80 million in deposits and sales plunked down for its flights. All three of these men are gunning to make “space tourism” a thing. But it comes with a major cost to the rest of us.

For the super-rich, a few minutes spent experiencing weightlessness and viewing the curvature of the Earth could leave humanity footing an ever-larger carbon pollution bill. It also reflects the increasingly unsustainable levels of inequality and concentration of power, which, coupled with the climate crisis, will lock in suffering for billions. That’s nothing to celebrate.

Neither Bezos nor Branson has been particularly forthcoming about the environmental impact of their flights. But then that’s precisely the problem. The initial climate impact of an individual space tourist flight may be comparatively small, but they will add up. And each flight signals something more ominous to come.

We know those impacts can be large in part because they emit pollution directly into the stratosphere. Studies show this can deplete the ozone layer that protects us from harmful ultraviolet rays and that the world has worked so hard to restore. (For its part, Blue Origin claims its effect on the ozone layer will be minimal.)

Then there are greenhouse emissions to worry about. The VSS Unity winged spaceship that Branson took to space runs on a combination of nitrous oxide andhydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB). HTPB is
made out of butadiene, which is a byproduct of using steam crackers to turn petroleum or natural gas into ethylene—a highly polluting process that releases emissions that are both toxic and planet-heating.

Bezos’ New Shepard rocket, made by his company Blue Origin, runs on a combination of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.Though neither of those emit carbon when they’re burned, producing liquid hydrogen usually does. Compressing and liquifying the oxygen for the fuel is also an energy-intensive process that, if not done using renewables, results incarbon pollution.

Refining and burning these fuels isn’t just the equivalent of a tank of gas for your car. They’re not even necessarily equal to using jet fuel to hop a coast-to-coast flight.

“The Virgin Galactic flight carried six passengers and reached an altitude of 53 miles [85.3 kilometers], and from information provided by Virgin Galactic, we can estimate that carbon emissions per passenger mile are about 60 times that of a business class flight,” Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said, adding that “more research is needed to understand the full climate impact.”

Branson has said that the emissions from his flight will be offset by investing in projects that suck up carbon elsewhere. But planting trees and encouraging regenerative agriculture doesn’t undo the damage of his joy ride. Forestry offset projects have also proven to be both ineffective and unjust. Blue Origin, meanwhile, has focused on how much less polluting Bezos’ flight will be than Branson’s was.

These flights to the edge of space will add to Bezos’ and Branson’s individual carbon impacts, which are already cartoonishly large thanks to their propensity for behavior such as regularly flying private. (A single private jet trip can emit nearly double the amount of carbon than the average American does in an entire year). But though infuriating, there aren’t that many of these flights taking off, so the overall environmental effects aren’t that big.

“Contemporary attempts to boost suborbital and orbital space tourism (such as those attempted by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin) are still at an early stage of development,” said Nikolaos Iliopoulos, a doctoral candidate in sustainability at the University of Tokyo who researches space travel’s environmental impact. “Thus, as of today, space tourism presents limited socio-environmental impacts as space tourism vehicles travel to the orbit and back.”

But in the near future, Branson and Bezos as well as Musk want that to change. Branson’s Virgin Atlantic wants to “open space to everyone.” Bezos’ Blue Origin wants to “increase access to space.” And Musk’s SpaceX wants to “make humanity multi-planetary.”

Though these companies all make it sound like the missions are for the masses, the price tags say otherwise. A yet-unnamed person, for instance, paid $28 million to be a passenger on Bezos’ Tuesday trip up to space. (They subsequently and improbably had a scheduling conflict, and an investment firm CEO’s 18-year-old son will take the seat instead.) Future Virgin Galactic flights are priced between $200,000 and $250,000.

Rich people are already responsible for a disproportionate amount of carbon emissions. Just 1% of the global population is responsible for half of the world’s commercial flight emissions. That doesn’t even account for the even more elite select few who can fly private.

“When you look at the aviation sector, private jets are so much worse on a per passenger basis than a regular plane full of economy class passengers just because fewer people are traveling on each one,” said Clare Lakewood, senior legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “You put just one or two people in a rocket, and you’ve got something orders of magnitude worse that would supersize the carbon footprints of people that already have the largest ones.”

Globally, individuals in the richest 1% are already responsible for 175 times more greenhouse gas pollution than the average person in the bottom 10%. If space tourism takes off, it could make these disparities even worse.

Don’t get me wrong, there are good reasons for space travel. Without it, we wouldn’t have satellites that help us track dangerous weather and our changing climate. Learning about other planets is important, too, not only for its own sake but also because it helps us understand our own. Observing Venus and Mars has helped scientists better understand the climate crisis on Earth. The search for life beyond Earth also can’t happen without sending probes out into the solar system. Space exploration can even help us understand the beginning of the universe, allowing us better understand our place in it.

But space exploration is not the same as space tourism. While the former is conducted for the worthy goal of understanding what’s beyond our atmosphere, the latter only serves the interest of the super-rich who want a thrill and the billionaires who own the companies that can provide it. It’s one of the most glaring illustrations of rising inequality. What’s more, it could widen the gap further by worsening the climate crisis and forcing the most vulnerable to suffer the impacts while the rich snap space selfies.

Even if we create truly clean fuels someday, using them for space tourism to enriches billionaires is still not sustainable. Concentrated wealth is concentrated power, and concentrated power is bad for the Earth. We’ve seen the democratic decay and the planetary danger posed by putting so much money in the hands of the few. Musk has ignored labor regulations and bullied California officials during the pandemic. (Hundreds of his employees got covid-19.) Bezos has pretended to give a damn about the climate with his venture capital fund—which will inevitably enrich him further—even as Amazon helps oil companies more efficiently extract fossil fuels. Lining the pockets of these men through space tourism will further corrode what we hold dear.

But couldn’t space tourism be the beginning of space colonization, helping us to ensure we have a livable future even if the climate crisis makes Earth uninhabitable? These billionaires want us to think so. SpaceX wants to colonize Mars as a space outpost for when life on Earth is no longer tenable.Bezos wants to build colonies orbiting Earth to support billions of people. But put simply, these proposals are absurd. They’re not going to come to fruition, and they’re certainly not going to create a sustainable alternative to life on Earth, a planet that has all the life support systems we need if billionaires would just stop wasting them.

“We are not going to build large-scale sustainable human civilization on Mars anytime soon, certainly not on any timescale remotely relevant to stopping climate breakdown,” said Kalmus. “It will be far easier to stop climate breakdown on Earth than it would be to build large-scale civilization on Mars, where there isn’t even air to breathe.”

Consider that at any given time, there are a handful of people in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station. Unlike, say, Mars, it’s a relatively protected part of space, located firmly within Earth’s magnetic fields, which makes it comparably safe from the radiation produced by gamma rays and cosmic rays as well as destructive solar winds. But it still takes thousands of workers on Earth and regular restocking trips to the ISS just to keep those few people alive.

“We don’t even pretend that the International Space Station is an independent system, and it’s protected by our magnetic fields. It’s got easy delivery to and from Earth, and it’s still hard to live there. We certainly couldn’t just cut it off and have the astronauts live there without a constant stream of resupplies,” Mika McKinnon, a field geophysicist (and former writer for Gizmodo), said. “This idea that we can colonize other places is just bullshit. Earth is easy mode, and we can’t even maintain livable conditions here.”

Leading climate scientists have made it clear that if we’re going to have a shot in hell at repairing Earth’s deteriorating conditions, we’re going to have to restructure society. As Sarah Diamond, associate professor of biology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and an author of one recent landmark report told me, that will require “a profound collective shift of individual and shared values concerning nature.”That means not wasting Earth’s resources on pointless spectacles that only serve the rich. It means not organizing our whole society in a way that enables a handful of people to accumulate stratospheric wealth, while everyone else suffers in economic and ecological disparity. We should be focusing all our efforts on securing a livable future on this planet—not celebrating flashy indulgences of billionaires at the edge of space.

Source: https://gizmodo.com/space-tourism-is-a-waste-1847285820

European Commission moves closer Schengen visa rollout

The European Commission has outlined new rules for the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).

The move is considered an important step towards the entry into the operation of ETIAS by the end of 2022.

Once the system is in place, non-EU citizens travelling to the Schengen area who are exempt from the visa requirement will need to register and obtain authorisation before travelling.

This is likely to include travellers from the UK.

“The rules entering into force detail how ETIAS will work with other EU information systems it will query when conducting checks, namely the entry/exit system, the visa information system, the Schengen information system and a centralised system for the identification of member states holding conviction information on non-EU nationals,” the Commission said in a statement.

The system will cross-check travellers against EU information systems for internal security, borders and migration before their trip, helping to identify ahead of time people who may pose a risk to security or health, as well as compliance with migration rules.

The set-up of ETIAS forms part of the ongoing work to put in place a “state-of-the-art external border management system” and making sure that information systems work together in an intelligent and targeted way.

“ETIAS will not change which non-EU countries are subject to a visa requirement and will also not introduce a new visa requirement for nationals of countries that are visa-exempt,” the Commission clarified.

Visa-exempt non-EU nationals will only need a few minutes to fill in an online application which in a vast majority of cases (expected to be over 95 per cent) will result in automatic approval.

The process will be simple, fast and affordable, officials said.

The ETIAS authorisation will cost €7, which will be a one-off fee, and will be valid for three years and for multiple entries.

Source: https://www.breakingtravelnews.com/news/article/european-commission-moves-closer-schengen-visa-rollout/

Virgin Galactic opens ticket sales for space flights

Virgin Galactic has opened ticket sales for space flights, with prices starting at US$450,000 a seat.

The move comes weeks after the billionaire founder of the company, Richard Branson, took a high-profile flight to the edge of space.

The space-tourism company confirmed it is making progress toward beginning revenue flights next year.

It will sell single seats, package deals and entire flights.

In June, Virgin Galactic received approval from the US aviation safety regulator to fly people to space.

Sales will initially open to a list of “early hand-raisers,” Virgin Galactic said.

“In the second quarter, we made meaningful progress towards commencing commercial service in 2022.

“We successfully completed two spaceflights from New Mexico, the latest carrying a full crew of mission specialists in the cabin and garnering an extraordinary global media and consumer response.

“In addition, we received FAA approval to expand our existing launch license, marking the first time the FAA has licensed a Spaceline to fly customers to space,” said Michael Colglazier, chief executive of Virgin Galactic.

“Leveraging the surge in consumer interest following the Unity 22 flight, we are excited to announce the reopening of sales effective today, beginning with our Spacefarer community.

“As we endeavour to bring the wonder of space to a broad global population, we are delighted to open the door to an entirely new industry and consumer experience.”

Releasing its quarterly results, the company said it made a net loss of $94 million over the past three months.

This is compared to a $72 million net loss in the second quarter of 2020.

The company posted revenue of $571,000, barely enough to cover one seat on a future flight.

Source: https://www.breakingtravelnews.com/news/article/virgin-galactic-opens-ticket-sales-for-space-flights/