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As I was about to push the button releasing this week’s issue of TMI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention FINALLY issued an updated guidance for the return of cruising from U.S. ports . (See related story from CLIA and other cruise news on page 4).
The release of these “next steps” comes about a week after CLIA issued a plea for a lifting of the conditional sale order and follows a big push from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who went so far as to threaten to sue the CDC for preventing the cruise industry from operating in U.S. waters.
The latest guidance does not replace the conditional sail order issued last October which is currently in effect, but it does set out several more steps that the cruise lines will have to take to eventually restart operations.
These include requiring cruise lines to establish agreements with the ports where they intend to operate, implement routine testing of crew, and develop plans for vaccine strategies. It also calls for increasing reporting for COVID-19 cases from weekly to daily.
The next phase of the conditional sail order will be test cruises. LP
TMI would also like to congratulate John Gallagher, our Latin American correspondent, who has joined Barry Geoghegan and the Duty Free Global team to head up sales for the wine & spirits distributor in the Latin American region. Fortunately, John will still be reporting the news from the region for TMI as well.
Duty Free Global, a gold level partner at the Virtual Summit of the Americas which begins on Monday, will be highlighting Mob33 Gold Heist Premium Rum, Beau Joie Champagne, Gunpowder Irish Gin, House of Somrus, Death’s Door Gin and RumChata during the event.
In today’s issue, TFWA has announced the development of a new digital platform for the industry, called TFWA 365, which will be unveiled at the Asia Pacific Hainan Special Edition taking place online in June. During a virtual press conference earlier this week, TFWA President Jaya Singh and the TFWA Board also spoke at length about plans in place for the Tax Free World Exhibition & Conference scheduled to take place in Cannes in September. See full story on page 1.
In Latin America, Dufry has been awarded the retail concession at Porto Alegre International Airport in Brazil, where it will operate a duty-paid mega-store, and an Arrivals and a Departure duty free store. Page 2.
In a very worrisome development, the rising number of cases of COVID-19 and its variants (including a new variant out of Brazil) are causing a whole series of new restrictions in South America. See latest developments on page 2.
In the U.S., the CDC reports that nearly 100 million people—about 30% of the population — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, the agency updated its guidance today to say fully vaccinated people can travel within the U.S. without getting tested for the coronavirus or going into quarantine afterward. Previously, the agency had cautioned against unnecessary travel even for vaccinated people, but did say that it would issue updates as evidence of effectiveness came in.
Hudson appears to be wasting no time preparing for the return of travelers. In its ongoing in-store and overall digital transformation, the travel retailer has unveiled a first-of-its-kind multi-brand automated retail concept for airports. In more Hudson news, the travel retailer has opened six new stores inside the new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Page 3.
Willie Walsh officially takes on role of Director General at IATA.
Champagne Lanson has named Mélody Stroh as its new Vineyards and Sustainable Development Manager.
Estée Lauder signs Japanese model Kōki as new global spokesmodel. Page 4 MONARQ Group signs agreement to distribute Haiti’s famed Rhum Barbancourt in region. Page 5
Leading watch group E. Gluck takes controlling interest in wearable tech accessories company WITHit. Page 5.