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TOUR

Proposed German tax mystifies and angers tour operators: Travel Weekly

Germany and tour operators appear to be on a collision course if the country implements a new tax next year, one that industry leaders say could wreak “unprecedented havoc” on foreign markets.

The European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) says that German authorities have confirmed that its twice-deferred decision to apply a value-added tax (VAT) to all foreign sales of Germany vacations by non-EU companies will go into effect on Jan. 1, two years after its originally scheduled 2021 start.

According to ETOA CEO Tom Jenkins, tax rates will vary and depend on how vacation packages are sourced but could be as high as 9% or as low as 2%. Jenkins said the tax is anticipated to be levied on nearly every aspect of selling vacations and travel services to Germany and that especially for small travel businesses and travel advisors, it could pose a financial and administrative burden.

“Tax will be levied on travel advisor commissions, marketing and sales, bonding and insurance overheads, website, purchasing and head office costs; all of these are paid for out of the margin,” Jenkins said. “It is a sales tax explicitly aimed at services delivered in another country.”

The tax ruling would also require companies based outside of the EU to register with Germany to buy and sell German tourism products and to file a tax return. 

Jenkins said the taxes levied against non-EU travel businesses could end up being passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices, making travel to Germany much more expensive for non-EU travelers who buy vacation packages and services. 

“This is not just a taxation on the export of services — it targets the process by which Germany has been sold as a destination for generations,” Jenkins said in a statement provided to Travel Weekly, calling

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ADVENTURE

A Complete Summer Adventure Guide To Banff, Canada

As someone who’d rather spend my free time exploring outdoors than hanging out at home, Banff, Canada has been at the top of my bucket list for years. Immersed within the Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park is a massive playground for nature lovers and adventurers of all experience levels. And while Banff is famous for its winter ski season, summer is an equally as worthy (if not even better, IMO) time to visit.

I recently crossed over the Canadian border for the first time to spend a few days exploring everything Banff has to offer. But the truth is that I only scratched the surface of what you can see and do there. I could have easily spent two full weeks in town without running out of activities (mountain towns are maximalists when it comes to stuff to do). Between the stunning views, incredible wildlife sightings, and endless hiking opportunities, nearby lakes for boating and water sports, and the main stretch of Downtown Banff — full of local businesses and restaurants — the small but mighty mountain town is the ultimate hub for adventure.

If you’re ready to make the most of the season with a visit to one of Canada’s most beautiful destinations, follow my complete adventure guide below. I’m sharing where to play, stay, eat, and drink in Banff this summer.

ALSO READ:

PART I — WHERE TO PLAY

The Banff Gondola

As I said, I only had a few short days to spend in Banff, so I wanted to soak in as much as I could in a short amount of time. The Banff Gondola is an excellent way to do just that. It’s a tram ride that takes you to the top of Sulphur Mountain where you’ll get sweeping views of the Bow Valley

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TRAVELLING

How to Plan for a Retirement Filled with Luxury Travel

As you approach retirement, it’s normal to start thinking about all the places you’ve always wanted to visit but never had the time or money for. After years of working hard and saving for the future, you deserve to enjoy a luxurious retirement spent exploring the world. But what does it take to make this dream a reality? Is it even possible without retiring on a six-figure salary?



Due – Due

You’ll be happy to know that, with a bit of smart planning and by taking the appropriate actions at the right time, you’ll be able to live your dream without worrying about outliving your savings.

So, here are a few tips to help you plan and save for a luxury-travel-filled retirement.

Step #1: Turn your wishes into SMART goals.

They say that a goal without a plan is only wishful thinking. This couldn’t be more true regarding saving for retirement travel. That’s why you need to plan ahead if you wish to travel in retirement. Moreover, when crafting any plan, be it in business or life, you must start with a clear set of goals.

This is where many people fall short. Goal setting is a critical part of any plan since it gives you a clear target to work towards. But, people’s goals are often either too vague or completely unrealistic. For example, a goal like “I want to travel the world” is great in theory, but it doesn’t give you anything specific to focus on or work towards. That’s why you need to make sure to start on the right foot by setting goals the right way, and one of the best ways to do that is by making sure your goals are SMART.

SMART is an acronym that describes the best way to set goals

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VACATION

Why I gave up summer vacation

I quit! Belatedly, I’ve decided to join the “great resignation” and the “lie-flat” movement, dropping out, refusing to participate in petty bourgeois capitalism. No, I haven’t quit my job or quit washing my clothes. I have simply quit . . . going on vacation. 

Before COVID-19 hit in March 2020, I was a workaholic about my vacations. In 2019, I went to London, Paris, Lyon, Turin, Milan and London again.

If you told me back then that I wouldn’t get on a plane for going on three years now, I would’ve been disbelieving. Spend three sticky summers in Manhattan? Spend Christmas at the foldout kitchen-slash-living-room table? No Eurostar, no Louvre, no snacks on the balcony at Aperol Spritz world headquarters overlooking the Duomo (definitely worth doing, by the way)?

Theoretically, we could have gone somewhere this August. Other people appear to be doing it. But . . .

It’s expensive. The pandemic made me into a miser. We used to spend how much? Nah, we can stick to sitting in the kitchen-slash-living-room. It doesn’t help that everything costs more.

It’s a hassle. I don’t long to be among the people searching fruitlessly for their luggage or waiting in a nine-hour-long line at Heathrow after paying a third more for a ticket than I would’ve paid three years ago.

There’s always that moment when you wake up at 4 a.m. the day you’re starting your long trip after packing ’til 1 a.m. and briefly think, hmm, wouldn’t it be a nicer vacation to sleep in today instead? Just pretend you have to race for that plane today — and enjoy not doing it.

Heathrow airport
Flight prices have increased immensely over the last few years.
Shutterstock

It’s hard work, even for lazy been-there-done-that sit-at-the-hotel-bar-instead-of-going-out tourists like me. Tourists are

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TOUR

Back after two-year hiatus, Singapore travel fair sees younger crowd, travellers opting for more ‘exotic’ destinations

Back after two-year hiatus, Singapore travel fair sees younger crowd, travellers opting for more 'exotic' destinations

In spite of rising costs, travellers are now more keen to take up single-destination packages. — TODAY pic

Sunday, 14 Aug 2022 9:10 AM MYT

SINGAPORE, August 14 — After a two-year hiatus, the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas) fair returned and was held at the Singapore Expo on Friday (Aug 12), welcoming crowds hungry for “revenge travel”.

Tour operators at the convention and exhibition venue in Changi said that the turnout was better than expected, though they observed that some travel preferences have changed. For instance, they were seeing a trend of younger people turning to agencies and signing up for tours.

Mr Jeremiah Wong, senior marketing communications manager from Chan Brothers Travel, said: “Customers who are used to travelling ‘free and easy’ are coming to us to book tours as well, especially those who are taking their parents along.”

Ms Michell Devina Ngan, marketing manager at the Travel Corporation, said that her company has received sign-ups from young couples as well, possibly due to the need to navigate travel restrictions with ease. Mr Shawn Patrick, 20, said that this was the first time he had gone to the travel fair. He normally travels free and easy. “I am planning a trip for my parents,” he said. In spite of rising costs, travellers are now more keen to take up single-destination packages.

Retired businessman Steven Oh, 61, who had recently returned from Thailand, said that he was planning to go on a package tour to either Australia or New Zealand around the end of this year.

Having browsed through several packages at the Natas fair, he is not too bothered about the rise in package tour costs, which travel operators said have jumped by up to 20 per cent, mainly fuelled by an increase

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HOTEL

Study finds hotel shelters for unhoused people reduce emergency service use

A study conducted by researchers at UC Berkeley and UCSF has found that placing unhoused people in hotels leads to a reduction in emergency service usage.

According to campus researcher and study co-author Mark Fleming, the research team analyzed data tables to compare services used by houseless individuals in San Francisco during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fleming said unhoused people who were provided private hotel rooms, private bathrooms and on-site healthcare used emergency services at a lower rate than unhoused people without shelter.

Fleming speculated that improved conditions at the hotel-based shelters have led to better outcomes for the unhoused individuals.

“It’s very likely that people are more willing to stay sheltered when they have a private room because privacy is important for anybody,” Fleming said. “Having the embedded health services at the shelter-in-place hotel sites was beneficial at getting people connected to care before they progressed to an emergency.”

Fleming said the congregate shelters offered prior to the pandemic imposed greater risk of contracting COVID-19, which in turn forced San Francisco to move many people into non-congregate shelters like hotel rooms. People experiencing homelessness often have greater rates of chronic health conditions than other populations, according to Fleming, leading to greater health risks and dangers in contracting COVID-19.

Fleming also speculated that the privacy of the hotel shelters helped discharge unhoused people from hospitals at a faster rate than those without shelter, as the hotels provide a reliable and safe space upon return.

Maria Raven, co-author and chief of emergency medicine at UCSF Medical Center, speculated that since emergency departments are open 24/7, many houseless people use these services first rather than seeking treatment elsewhere. She said when shelter is provided, it is easier for these unhoused people to take care of themselves.

“What surprised me the most

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TOUR

These are the 15 Best Ghost Tours in New Jersey

Mysterious, spooky, mystical, scary, and downright creepy.

This may not be the site of the Salem witch trials, but the Garden State has plenty of opportunities to scare the bejeezus out of you. Plus, you’ll learn some cool history and maybe an apparition will even follow you home.

Here are 15 of the best ghost tours in New Jersey:

Princeton Tour Company

116 Nassau St, Princeton, NJ

Dates: Fridays and Saturdays: Oct. 14-29

Times: 7 pm and 8 pm

Cost $35

Click to visit website

Trying to prove that spirits are real through science and technology, these private ghost tours take those interested in the paranormal through the cemetery. You’ll learn about the legends of Princeton’s past by exploring shadowy passageways and dark corners of the campus and surrounding neighborhood.

Ghost hunters train participants to use certain technology to interact with the other side.
Be sure to bring a flashlight and a fully charged iPhone or digital camera for orb shots.

Paranormal Museum

621 Cookman Ave., Asbury Park, NJ

Dates & Times: Open every Thursday through Sunday at 8 pm

Cost: Party cost of $120 for a 60-minute guided tour of the museum for up to 6 people maximum. Your party will be the only party in the museum during the tour.

Click to visit website

This ghost and legends tour offers stories of murder and mayhem on the Jersey Shore. The After Dark Tours is also offered which can be with your existing group and equipment. Private psychic readings can also be arranged. Also, if you choose to, you can book dinner, brunch, or tea for up to 6 people.

White Hill Mansion

217 Burlington Street, Fieldsboro, NJ

Dates & Times: Random Fridays and Saturdays on the schedule are selected from Aug. 26 to Nov. 11. Time slots are

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HOTEL

The 7 Best Hotels in Tokyo

When it comes to hotel options in Japan’s sprawling capital, the sky’s the limit—literally, as many of the city’s most coveted bookings are tucked into the tallest skyscrapers. Yet no matter how high in the clouds they are, the best properties showcase deep-rooted cultural connections that reveal an age-old reverence for hospitality called omotenashi, the hard-to-translate Japanese concept of selfless hospitality cultivated from tea ceremony traditions. From vertiginous suites to contemporary retreats inspired by ryokans (traditional inns), these are the best places to stay the next time you’re in Tokyo.

Aman Tokyo

  • What to Expect: A true urban resort with unmatched service in the heart of the city
  • Neighborhood: Otemachi
  • Book now

Known for its matchless hospitality in sublime natural settings, Aman Resorts made its urban debut in 2014 with the Aman Tokyo, which delivers the transporting cultural experiences and superlative service it’s famous for to the center of Japan’s sprawling capital. Elevators open onto a 33rd-floor lobby with a soaring atrium that’s close to 100 feet high. The focal point is a show-stopping, seasonally inspired ikebana flower arrangement, reflected to dazzling effect in a shallow pool and anchored by rock gardens.

The 84 ryokan-inspired guest rooms, designed by Kerry Hill Architects, are among the city’s largest entry-level accommodations in Tokyo. They’re a minimalist’s dream, with chestnut floors, sliding shoji screens, floor-to-ceiling windows framing city views, and large stone furo soaking tubs worth clearing an entire afternoon to enjoy. Equally worthy of an extended exploration, the sprawling spa, which has onsen-style baths and a 90-foot pool facing city views, offers treatments that embrace the herb-based Kampo healing philosophy. Of the hotel’s dining options, the eight-seat Musashi by Aman is the most coveted reservation, with its omakaseexperience led by master chef Hiroyuki Musashi.

Hoshinoya Tokyo

A guest room at the

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ADVENTURE

Stone Ocean Actor Celebrates Chainsaw Man Role

Anime franchises might not crossover too often, though there is plenty of overlap when it comes to voice actors. With the first season of Chainsaw Man announcing its cast, it seems that a star player from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean will be bringing a fan-favorite devil to life. Being a big anime fan herself, the voice of Power arrived with the perfect aesthetic to the event that delivered fans a new trailer from Studio MAPPA.       

Ai Fairouz’s story within the medium of anime has been a heartwarming one, specifically thanks to the fact that her initial entry into the field was to become Jolyne from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean. Bringing to life the daughter of Jotaro Kujo over the first thirteen episodes of the series that are available on Netflix, Fairouz isn’t done bringing new anime characters to life and participated in the recent announcement of the voice cast for Chainsaw Man’s first season. Taking the opportunity to celebrate the occasion, the voice of Jolyne arrived to the event in style, wearing attire that definitely fits with the beloved character of the bloody series in Power.

Ai Fairouz took to her Official Twitter Account to share the news that she would be bringing Chainsaw Man’s Power to life in the upcoming anime adaptation from Studio MAPPA, joining a number of other big-name voice actors that are set to voice the likes of Denji, Makima, and Aki in Kikunosuke Toya, Tomori Kusunoki, and Shogo Sakata respectively:

While Chainsaw Man will arrive this October, Ai Fairouz will be returning to the role of Jolyne Cujoh the month before as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean is set to hit Netflix on September 1st. When last we left

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TRAVELLING

‘You don’t have to go save 13 people in a cave in Thailand to do the right thing’

Even as the actual event was unfolding, you knew the 2018 Thai cave rescue — a gripping real-life story of ingenuity and international cooperation with a happy ending — would become a Hollywood movie. But we should count ourselves lucky that the resulting film is Thirteen Lives, directed by a consummate pro, Ron Howard, and starring the flinty, always-interesting Viggo Mortensen as Richard “Rick” Stanton, the no-nonsense British cave diver who devised a daring plan that resulted in all lives being saved. We spoke with Mortensen, 63, about his attachment to the story, his preparation for the role, and his deeper thoughts about inspiration and heroism.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’ve played one of the most iconic heroes in literature, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Aragorn, but what I like about your Rick Stanton is that he’s not iconic. There’s something very rough-edged and cranky about him — an unlikely hero — and it’s fascinating watching you perform this. Was that part of the appeal of the role for you?

VIGGO MORTENSEN: It’s interesting that you compare him to Aragorn. There are similarities. Both can be a little gruff, but they’re very direct: men of few words, men who are determined to do the right thing. They’re both working within a team. Both stories are about a collective effort, a selfless effort, for the common good, for the good of all people on the planet. Or, in the case of Lord of the Rings, Middle-earth.

(L to R) Viggo Mortensen as Rick Stanton, Joel Edgerton as Harry Harris, Tom Bateman as Chris Jewell, Colin Farrell as John Volanthen, and Thiraphat 'Tui' Sajakul as Capt. Arnot Sureewong in THIRTEEN LIVES, directed by Ron Howard, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Vince Valitutti / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(L to R) Viggo Mortensen as Rick Stanton, Joel Edgerton as Harry Harris, Tom Bateman as Chris Jewell, Colin Farrell as John Volanthen, and Thiraphat ‘Tui’ Sajakul as Capt. Arnot Sureewong in THIRTEEN LIVES, directed by Ron Howard, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Vince Valitutti / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

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