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Holidays: Bed bugs ‘getting worse’ as they pose threat to tourists on flights and hotels | Travel News | Travel




Bed bugs are “getting progressively” worse and are resistant to insecticide, posing an increasing problem for travellers, an expert has warned. One explanation is that more and more people are travelling these days – and, as a result, more bed bugs are travelling in their suitcases. What’s more, travellers are getting are less vigilant when it comes to checking for the nasty critters in their hotel room. The new strain of bed bugs can no longer be killed off by DDT which makes the problem even greater. This is the latest travel advice on how to beat the bugs.

“It is becoming more difficult to kill them,” Michael Potter, a professor of entomology – the study of insects and their relationship to humans – at the University of Kentucky, told The Telegraph.

“The bugs are becoming incredibly resistant and we don’t have the potent, long-lasting products that were so effective years ago.

“People have also become less vigilant than they used to be. Back in the day, they knew to check beds when travelling or after people paid them a visit.”

Bed bug bites can lead leave, red welts in zigzag lines across the skin. They can be quite irritating and itchy, but scraping the bites raises the risk of bleeding and infection.

The bites are most likely to appear on exposed areas of skin, such as the arms and shoulders.

It’s recommended holidaymakers take precautions when they arrive at their accommodation.

The bed should be checked thoroughly by looking at each corner of the mattress, the seams and the bed frame.

According to the NHS: “Bed bugs tend to prefer fabric or wood over plastic and metal, and often hide near to where you sleep – for example, under the mattress or along the headboard.”

Check for small bugs or tiny white eggs and tiny black spots on your mattress (it could be their dried poo).

Also keep an eye out for mottled bed bug shells – bed bugs shed their skin as they grow – as well as blood spots on your sheets. These can occur if you squash a bug after it has fed. Lastly, you might be aware of an unpleasant, musty scent in your bedroom.

It’s advisable not to put your suitcase on the bed or the floor as the bugs can climb inside and travel home with you.

However, there is a way to stop them from migrating from the hotel to the home. A study found that by washing dirty laundry whilst on holiday in a hotel, it could stop the spread

Scientists from the University of Sheffield did a test study, creating a room with laundry bags containing both dirty and clean clothes, but with no humans. They then added bed bugs into the room to record their movement.

According to the journal Scientific Reports, the bed bugs were “twice as likely to aggregate on bags containing soiled clothes compared to bags containing clean clothes,” meaning people could bring them back with them when returning from a holiday with a suitcase of dirty clothes.

This was due to the clothes containing body odours and skin which the bugs were attracted to the most.

Bed bugs are commonly associated with hostel accommodation or travellers who live in close contact with local people in developing countries.

However, even high-end hotels can be afflicted by infestations. For instance, in 2016, US database the Bed Bug Registry reported complaints of bugs in some of New York’s most luxurious hotels, including the Waldorf Astoria, reported The Telegraph.

Airlines too can be infested. In January 2018 BA cabin crew refused to fly on a flight from Heathrow to Ghana after bed bugs were found on board.

Bed bugs aren’t the only concern for travellers. Flights could be spreading head lice through the seat cushions of plane seats, according to experts. 

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has found an increase in head lice cases in the last five years, with 45 per cent of parents admitting they had caught them.

Pharmacist Shamir Patel, founder of online pharmacy Chemist-4-U, warned: “If the seat comes into contact with a passenger with head lice, it’s very probable that some of the bugs could linger in the headrest.”


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Travel & Escape

Opinion: Are we ready for the tourism rebound?




Canadians are ready for the borders to be re-opened and will be flocking to sun destinations this winter like never before. The number of people who have said that they are ready to “get out of Dodge” and “fly the coop” is an indication that there is a pent-up demand for travel and excursions that has been bolstered by a two-year sabbatical from vacations of any semblance. 

While Canadians are going to be heading south, we can expect some of our citizens as well as those from other nations to be looking to Canada for their adventure holidays. When the requirements for the two-week quarantines are lifted, we will be seeing a quick rebound of tourism as other countries who have already lifted their restrictions have seen. 

But are we ready?

In 2019, tourism contributed $105 billion to the Canadian economy. Tourists from outside of Canada spent over $16 billion dollars.  Those numbers were down considerably in 2020 and it is only natural that many people in the industry suffered as a result of the effects of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

While some folks, fearful of the spread of variants, believe that the borders should never be re-opened, the reality is that to save our tourism industry and the economy, we need tourist traffic from outside of Canada as well as interprovincial travel. As Canadian and foreign tourists start their migration towards our tourist and nature attractions, there is some hesitancy about the readiness of the industry to manage the coming tsunami of people.

Hit harder than many sectors, the tourism industry has been affected by the pandemic in ways that other industries haven’t. The closure of attractions, fairs, tour bus companies, sporting events, concerts and community events with any semblance of a large group has forced workers in this industry to look for jobs elsewhere to survive. As a result of this migration of talent there will be many tourism related businesses that will have difficulty scaling up to meet demand.  According to Statistics Canada, 32 per cent of accommodation and food service companies expect that attracting workers is going to be an obstacle for them this year.

Even if you have some warm bodies to fill your positions, having well-trained staff will remain a problem for many tourism and food service companies. Most business leaders in the industry understand the result of having improperly trained staff working in positions serving the public. The consequences of poor customer service can be long lasting and devastating. Unfortunately, as a result of the constant opening up and shutting down scenarios that have been seen in the economy over the past 18 months, most operators have been reluctant to increase the staffing levels that will be necessary to meet demand. The consequences will be that there will be no other option but to have staff that are not fully trained or optimally equipped to take care of the flood of vacationers.

In order to adjust to the coming demand, tourism-related businesses will need to be prepared to hire and train new employees to promote and deliver their services. This should include systematization of training, hiring and onboarding processes to enable companies to get up to speed quickly when the demand starts.  

While tourism deserves to have their days in the sun and profit from increased business, we need to recognize as Canadians that it takes a country to host visitors and we need to encourage and support those people in the industry who have been hit so hard.

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Travel & Escape

COVID-19: Tourism bookings start increasing as B.C. opens up




Tourism in B.C. is restarting but don’t expect it to be the same as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

While B.C. Ferries is welcoming recreational travellers and relaxing its mask requirement at terminals, face coverings will still be mandatory on board whenever you’re not in your vehicle.

Several Indigenous tourism businesses and locations that were closed to visitors are planning to reopen July 1.

Other tourism businesses are welcoming back visitors but won’t be in a position to handle big volumes because of a lack of staff, said Anthony Everett, president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island.

“Everyone needs to travel with a great deal of patience,” Everett said from Nanaimo. “Most businesses are running at a fraction of capacity of what they did prior to COVID.”

Many tourism sector workers have left the industry and found work elsewhere, Everett said. Particularly hard hit are restaurants that can’t find kitchen workers and companies doing tourism-related activities such as kayaking.

He said the benefits of tourism won’t be evenly distributed.

Last year, Victoria struggled all summer long and while bookings for accommodation have increased, some of the city’s restaurants are only open for lunch, others only for dinner.

“This is all going to take time to build up,” Everett said.

“Frankly, I think it will take years. This summer, bookings are going up, that’s what we’re been waiting for. It’s not going to be the exact same experience you were used to prior to the pandemic. I hope people remember and recognize that.”

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Travel & Escape

Mountain biking the Sea to Sky Trail




With the 700-metre granite dome of the Stawamus Chief as a backdrop, my friend, Ken, and I climbed on our bikes in Squamish and began pedalling north. Our destination was Whistler, an uphill trek of some 80km that we hoped to cover in two days.

It would be easier to ride the opposite way—from Whistler to Squamish—because it’s downhill. But it wouldn’t be the Sea to Sky Trail if we rode that way. Besides, how hard could an elevation gain of more than 600 meters be?

I have driven the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler many times. It’s arguably one of the best drives in Canada, but when I learned about the Sea to Sky Trail, I knew I needed to experience it on a bike. It’s a slower pace, and largely away from the highway, so it would allow us to appreciate the journey—the valleys, river gorges, lakes, and forests—in a way you can’t in a car.

While the Indigenous peoples of the Coast Salish and Interior Salish have used this corridor as a historic travel and trade route, the idea of a multi-purpose Sea to Sky Trail was first imagined in the early 1990s. But given the geographical and funding challenges, it’s only been in the last decade or so that the vision of the 180km trail from Squamish to D’Arcy, north of Pemberton, has been realized.

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