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Time to put the boot in | Travel News | Travel

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FRESH START…..Time to get in shape after festive feasting (Image: getty)

Technical sessions on foot movement and basic defence moves are combined with speed, agility and reaction work together with a morning run, skipping plus a relax and stretch class to deliver a fun and challenging workout that will leave you energised for the new year. The lakeside spa has just had a major refurb so after the knockout sessions, you can unwind in the new Thermal Poolside Suite complete with tropical rain and cool-mist showers, an outdoor relaxation area with heated water beds and a heated outdoor Hydropool. THE DEAL: Arriving on January 19, Champneys Forest Mere Boxing Boot Camp break starts at £350pp including all meals and up to 20 fitness and relaxation classes (champneys.com).

BOOTCAMP IN PORTUGAL

pool

GO WITH THE FLOW: Champneys Forest Mere will help you bounce back (Image: getty)

Scoffed one too many mince pies at Christmas? Sign up for the Longevity Cegonha Country Club’s seven-night Bootcamp programme.

You can expect up to eight hours of workouts each day – think pulse-racing power hikes, cardio camps, circuit training and a testing TRX (total body resistance exercise) camp.

Cool down with soothing yoga, Pilates and Tai chi classes, and enhance recovery with an osteopathy session and massage to help relax tired muscles. Take time out to go exploring – the resort is located just a sweatband’s lob (or rather three miles) from Vilamoura, with its picturesque marina and sandy beaches?

THE DEAL: The seven-night Bootcamp programme (between February 1 and December 31) starts at £1,600pp (two sharing) on full board which includes transfers from Faro airport. EasyJet fly to Faro from Gatwick, Luton, Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Southend (healthandfitnesstravel.com/ 0203 397 8891).

YOGA AND MEDITATION IN CORNWALL

yoga

Head to the southwest for yoga and meditation wellbeing workshops (Image: getty)

What better way to kick-start your 2019 fitness regime than with a weekend in a beautiful Scandistyle lodge, set among the white sand dunes of Gwithian beach in Hayle?

This month Cornish Gems is offering a three-night wellness break which includes six yoga and meditation sessions and two wellbeing workshops (led by a health psychologist).

You’ll also go on a series of guided walks following the South West Coastal Path – so you can burn calories while taking in sweeping sea views.

Afterwards, return to your lodge – a short drive from St Ives – which sleeps six in three en suite super-king bedrooms complete with a private hot tub, log burner and veranda.

Food is sure to be highlight too, with healthy and hearty meals such as baked banana porridge and Sri Lankan monkfish curry.

THE DEAL: Available on January 18 and 25, the three-night half board wellness break starts at £390pp based on six sharing a lodge at Sandy Acres (cornishgems.com/01872 241241).

REJUVENATE ON ANTIGUA

Soak up some Caribbean sun on a restorative break at the Energie Retreat Centre in Antigua’s historic English Harbour overlooking Falmouth Harbour.

Just launched by personal trainer, nutritionist and masseuse Shayne van Beek, the island’s first dedicated gym and yoga retreat offers classes from pilates and yoga to kickboxing and belly dancing.

antigua

Antigua offers a restorative break with the Energie Retreat Centre (Image: getty)

And there’s a chance to work out with a personal trainer in the state-of-the-art gym then soothe sore muscles with a Thai yoga massage (from £56 for 60 minutes).

THE DEAL: Seven nights self-catering in an Energie apartment sleeping two starts at £959, including daily yoga and fitness classes and gym access. Massage, reflexology and acupuncture treatments (extra charge) can be booked. Flights extra. energieantigua.com

DETOX IN BATH

Sign up for a one-night detox break at boutique hotel No 15 Great Pulteney. Feel Prosecco-induced toxins escaping your body via three 60-minute Ila Spa treatments; you’ll be treated to a facial, massage and scrub, each focusing on relieving stress.

In between treatments you can kick back in the spa’s cedar wood hot tub, barrel-shaped sauna and steam room or sink into one of the comfy armchairs in the relaxation room in front of the open fire, sipping a herbal detox tea.

Afterwards, get some well-earned sleep in one of the hotel’s 40 luxurious bedrooms, complete with big beds, wall murals created by local artists and – for some – bird’s-eye views over Great Pulteney Street.

THE DEAL: From £499 per room (two sharing), including breakfast and three spa treatments each (no15greatpulteney.co.uk/spa15/01225 807015).

WALKING IN LANZAROTE

Fancy combining your get-fit regime with some winter sun? Head to Lanzarote for a week-long walking trip in February.

With two different levels of walks each day, you can follow mountain paths through the Valley of a Thousand Palms, taking in wild sandy beaches, vineyards, idyllic villages and deserted coves.

lanzarote

Head to Lanzarote for some winter sun and get-fit regime (Image: getty)

Highlights include an 11-mile walk along the Femes Ridge, renowned for its panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys, followed by a visit to a secluded lava beach.

Be sure to pack your bathing suit – with temperatures reaching up to 24C this time of year you’ll need to cool off after all that exertion.

THE DEAL: From £1,225pp (two sharing), including B&B at Hotel Lancelot in Arrecife and dinners at the hotel or local restaurants, return flights to Arrecife from Gatwick (Manchester and Birmingham also available at a supplement) departing February 17 or 24 and transfers (ramblersholidays.co.uk/01707 331133).

IN THE BAG: Fitness gear

HEADPHONES, £69.99 These Jakan headphones from Urbanears have an adjustable ergonomic fit, magnetic earbuds and a clear sound for 12 hours. Available in seven colours. Stockists: urbanears.com SHORTS, £16 These Supernova Pure Parley shorts from Adidas are made of lightweight, moisture wicking fabric spun from recycled plastic. They have a zip pocket and reflecter strips on the sides for running in the dark. Stockists: adidas.co.uk

TRAINERS, £105 Hoka’s new Cavu 2 shoe, features their PROFLY™ cushioning (softer in the heel for shock absorption, and firmer in forefoot for propulsion) and are as light as a feather. Available from February 7. Stockists: hokaoneone.eu

JANE MEMMLER SOCKS, £13 These 2XU Vector cushion crew socks provide ankle and arch stability with a wide toe box and a light cushion on the sole. Stockists: 2XU 01189 321 556/2xu.com T SHIRT, £30 Björn Borg Cynthia long sleeved tee with iconic BORG print on sleeves. Made from Hydro Pro that wicks moisture away. Stockists: bjornborg.com

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Travel & Escape

Opinion: Are we ready for the tourism rebound?

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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

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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

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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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