Travel News: Louvre To Make Reservations Compulsory

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Ponant To Acquire Paul Gauguin Cruises

Cruise Industry News reports luxury expedition cruise company Ponant announced that it is acquiring Paul Gauguin Cruises, the French Polynesia and South Pacific specialist cruise line. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to a release from Ponant, the two cruise lines will keep separate management, with Diane Moore acting as CEO of Paul Gauguin at their office in Bellevue, Wash. and Navin Sawhney continuing to lead as CEO of Ponant in New York. The acquisition will give Ponant guests a wider range of destinations and will allow the combined company to boast a larger fleet with Ponant combining its fleet of nine with Paul Gauguin’s single ship, called Paul Gauguin. In June, Ponant took delivery of its fourth explorer series ship, Le Dumont-d’Urville, which kicked off its inaugural season this week. The ship is the ninth ship overall for Ponant, which is in the midst of a growth period that will see the line grow to a total of 12 ships and 460 departures by 2021.

US Virgin Islands Ban Coral-Harming Suncreams

Travelmole reports the US Virgin Islands has become the first place in the US to ban coral-harming sunscreens. In a bill signed this week, the Caribbean islands have outlawed the import of all creams containing oxybenzone, ocitnoxate, and octocrylene from September 30. It will become illegal for retailers to sell such creams on the islands from next March. The ‘three Os’ as they are called are known to cause damage to coral and sealife, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, but they are widely found in popular sunscreen brands. It is possible to find sunscreens without these chemicals, but they tend to be more expensive. Hawaii and Florida’s Key West have outlawed the sale of sunscreen products using oxybenzone and octinoxate from January 2021, but the US Virgin Islands’ ban will kick in first and include products with octocrylene as well. “Tourism in the Virgin Islands is our lifeblood, but to ensure we continue to entice visitors we need to protect our coral reefs as part of our quest to initiate sustainable tourism,” said governor Albert Bryan. The US territory’s retailers may not place new orders for sunscreens containing the banned chemicals and may not receive shipments of existing orders after September 30. The full ban takes effect in March 2020. It is not known whether holidaymakers will be banned from bringing sunscreen products containing the chemicals into the islands for their own personal use.

Paris’ Overcrowded Louvre To Make Reservations Compulsory 

France 24 reports the world-famous Louvre museum in Paris on Friday urged visitors to book their visit in advance online after seeing a heavy influx this summer, adding reservations would be obligatory by the end of this year. The Louvre, which houses the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and is the most visited museum in the world, has become a victim of its own success and overcrowding is a problem. The problems intensified this summer due to the heatwave that encouraged tourists to take refuge in cool museum rooms. Also a temporary move of the Mona Lisa to another room to allow for refurbishments added to the confusion. “Reservations smooth the entry for the public throughout the week,” said Vincent Pomarede, the deputy general administrator of the Louvre. “Until now a reservation system has not been obligatory (but) we will put in place an obligatory reservations system, as many other museums have done, and, by the end of the year, all visitors will have to reserve,” he told AFP. He said this will help the museum cope with the numbers of visitors. “It will be from October or November. We have accelerated what we wanted to put in place at the start of the year 2020,” he added.

New Zealand NZeTA Now Available Online (Required For Visa Waiver Passengers Effective October 1, 2019) 

John Ollila reports New Zealand is following in the footsteps of Australia, Canada, and US by requiring passengers from Visa waiver countries to have an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) effective October 1, 2019. The cost of the NZeTA that is valid for up to 2 years is NZ$9/NZ$12 depending on whether you do it using an app or on their website. Most NZeTA eligible passengers are also required to pay IVL (International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy) of NZ$35. Note that Australian citizens do not require NZeTA. It seems that, based on the website, that you do need to have NZeTA even if you plan only TRANSIT via New Zealand on your way to another country. This NZeTA requirement also applies for cruise passengers. It is certain that this requirement will come as a surprise for many that are traveling to New Zealand later this year, as it has not been a requirement previously. Let’s hope that this NZeTA is as easy and fast to get/process as it is the Australian ETA (usually takes couple of seconds). 

In addition to plastic, SFO is banning items with “unsubstantiated claims” about their sustainability. 

The Guardian reports the days of picking up a plastic bottle of water to stay hydrated during a long flight will soon be over for people flying out of San Francisco’s international airport (SFO). The airport, which restricted the distribution of single-use plastic straws when the city law went into effect in July, is now banning convenience shops, restaurants and vending machines from selling plastic water bottles. Starting on 20 August, only water in glass, recycled aluminum, or certified compostable materials can be sold. The change is a part of SFO’s five-year strategic plan. Launched in 2016, the plan includes SFO becoming a zero “waste-to-landfill” facility by 2021, as stated on its website. According to SFO, each airport guest creates a half-pound of trash. In an effort to reduce the waste, the airport is limiting single-use food accessories such as napkins, coffee cups and chopsticks. 

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