WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealanders hugged and kissed, shopped, and planned parties on Tuesday as the country took off all coronavirus restrictions for the first time in more than three months, while much of the rest of the world is still grappling with the pandemic.
The South Pacific nation of 5 million declared on Monday that it was free of the coronavirus, becoming one of the first countries in the world to return to pre-pandemic normality.
This meant no more limits on people in cafes, malls, stadiums, night clubs or public and private gatherings. Life, for the most part, is back to normal.
“I’m just walking in the city today and I’ve seen more people than I have seen in months,” said Steve Price of the capital, Wellington.
“People are shopping, dining and just hanging about holding hands… it’s so lovely to see,” he said.
New Zealanders are emerging from the pandemic while big economies such as Brazil, Britain, India and the United States continue to struggle with the virus.
Its largely due months of restrictions, including about seven weeks of a strict lockdown in which most businesses were shut and everyone except essential workers had to stay home.
Katy Ellis of Mojo Coffee in Wellington said her business has removed all the social distancing measures.
“That’s what allows us to have a lot more people in the café, it’s really helped generate that absolute buzz and that real feeling of more normality, really,” Ellis said.
Offices were open again, and public buses and trains were packed with commuters.
Many offices and businesses still have hand sanitiser dispensers at the entrance, although it is no longer mandatory to use them.
Pubs are opening their dance floors and are expecting many to turn up on Friday.
“I just realised….I can hug someone today,” said one user on Twitter as #COVIDFreeNZ was trending.
New Zealand will also be one of the first countries to allow people to watch professional sports at stadiums with no limits on crowd numbers. Thousands are expected to pack into a stadiums for the opening weekend of the domestic rugby union competition.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has won praise for her leadership during the pandemic, said on Monday that she did a “little dance” to celebrate zero active cases in the country.
Her health chief, Ashley Bloomfield, who spearheaded the strict lockdown, said it was time to live a little.
“It’s about buying local, getting out and enjoying everything this country has to offer,” he told reporters in Wellington.
But he ended his comments with a warning.
“There is still a pandemic raging beyond our shores and we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep the gains we have made,” he said.
Reporting and photo: Reuters
Emirates undertakes largest known fleet retrofit project
Emirates has kick-started its plans to upgrade the entire interior cabins of 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft – two of the largest commercial aircraft types in service today.
This ambitious project, representing a multi-billion dollar investment to ensure Emirates’ customers “fly better” for the coming years, officially commences in November and is managed entirely by Emirates’ Engineering team.
The target is to completely retrofit four Emirates aircraft from start to finish every month, continuously for over 2 years. Once the 67 earmarked A380s are refreshed and back in service, 53 777s will undergo their facelift. This will see nearly 4,000 brand new Premium Economy seats installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and over 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design when the project is complete in April 2025.
In addition, carpets and stairs will be upgraded, and cabin interior panels refreshed with new tones and design motifs including the iconic ghaf trees which are native to the UAE.
No other airline has handled a retrofit of this magnitude in-house, and there’s no blueprint for such an undertaking. Therefore Emirates Engineering teams have been planning and testing extensively, to establish and streamline processes, and identify and address any possible snags.
Trials began on an A380 in July, where experienced engineers literally took each cabin apart piece-by-piece and logged every step. From removing seats and panelling to bolts and screws, every action was tested, timed and mapped out. Potential impediments to completing the installation of Emirates’ new Premium Economy Class or the retrofit of the remaining three cabins in just 16 days were flagged and documented for expert teams to review and address.
As part of the programme, new purpose-built workshops will be set up at Emirates Engineering to repaint, re-trim and re-upholster Business and Economy Class seats with new covers and cushioning. First Class suites will be carefully disassembled and sent to a specialised company to replace the leather, arm rests and other materials.
From the trials, Engineers discovered several unexpected solutions for instance: that existing food catering trucks could be easily repurposed to move parts destined for refurbishment from the aircraft to the workshop for their refresh, as these vehicles had doors of the right width and offer sufficient space.
Until the retrofit programme starts in earnest in November, a cross-disciplinary team has been assembled to regularly review the planning process, address any issues, and track updates on various aspects of the project such as procurement, staffing, and training.
Emirates’ new Premium Economy cabin class, which offers luxurious seats, more legroom, and a service to rival many airlines’ business offering, is currently available to Emirates customers travelling on popular A380 routes to London, Paris, Sydney. More customers will be able to experience the airline’s new Premium Economy cabins starting from year end, as the retrofit programme picks up momentum.
Eleanor helps over 30 Maldives hotels elevate guest services
Eleanor has been named as one of the top 10 concierge software providers globally.
Based on accurate, timely reviews from real users, the HotelTechAwards rank the world’s best hotel software firms and products and it also provides hoteliers direct access to a growing network of hotel technology professionals and decision-makers.
“The guest experience is the cornerstone of our platform. Our unified resort wide solution, Eleanor, has been built for resorts off the back of many years working in the industry and addresses the needs of both Sales and Marketing departments and perhaps just as importantly, the operational requirements of the team on the ground at the property. The days of resorts working with disjointed systems are now behind us,” says Darren Caple, co-founder and CEO.
“We are on a mission to make the guest’s resort experience as easy and as frictionless as possible. Whereas traditional providers in the market have come at this purely from a guest communication perspective, our background in resorts has allowed us to combine this basic requirement with the streamlining of operational processes. The result is truly a resort wide solution that removes the need for countless different systems to be deployed.
Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. More than 30 properties in the Maldives use our Eleanor platform to help butlers and guest services elevate the guest experience. These properties are seeing an increase in incremental revenue by over 30% and operational efficiencies of 600+ man hours per month. We are also beginning to roll out the platform in some Caribbean properties!”
Eleanor is making waves in the hospitality industry by pushing the conventional limits of what a resort guest app can achieve through its unique ability to facilitate direct bookings for services and activities. The traditional ‘request to book’ feature that is common amongst almost all other hotel apps is removed by a power booking and operational platform sitting at the heart of the solution that covers all the resorts’ departments. It’s this module which realises enormous operational benefits and insights for the resort.
“We, at Eleanor, are humbled and honoured that our clients have provided such positive reviews. Feedback from our clients, partners and hoteliers are incredibly valuable for us and we will continue to improve our offering and services”, said Caple.
To celebrate this success, Eleanor is currently offering resorts a free one month trial, together with free setup and training and discounted monthly fees.
Eleanor, founded in 2018 and has its headquarters in the United Kingdom. Created from over 15 years of hands-on expertise, Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to its guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. Eleanor also helps to unlock operational efficiencies and boost incremental revenue and guest loyalty.
Hotel Tech Report’s Best Concierge Software 2022 Runner Up, reviewed as a preferred and reliable hotel software product by the global hotelier community.
For more information, visit www.eleanorapp.com.
Emirates’ recruiters scour the world for cabin crew talent with 30 city stops
Emirates, the world’s most global airline, is seeking talented people with a passion for service to join its award-winning cabin crew team.
As air travel returns with a vengeance, the airline’s recruiters are busy meeting and hiring candidates in 30 cities from now until the end of June. In this latest drive, Emirates’ teams will travel from Australia to the UK, and dozens of European cities in between, as well as Cairo, Algiers, Tunis and Bahrain.
Abdulaziz Al Ali, Emirates Group’s Executive Vice President for Human Resources said: “There’s no more exciting airline than Emirates for anyone interested in a flying career, and we’ve received tremendous interest since we began our recruitment drive for cabin crew in November.”
“While parts of the application process are done online, we always make the effort to meet our candidates in person whenever we can, and that is why our Talent Acquisition team is doing a whirlwind 30-city tour over the next 6 weeks to assess prospective candidates.”
Emirates’ truly global cabin crew team represent 160 nationalities, reflecting its customer mix and international operations in over 130 cities on six continents.
All Emirates crew are based in the exciting cosmopolitan city of Dubai, with company-provided accommodation, tax-free salary and more benefits.
Interested candidates can read more about the Emirates cabin crew role, and apply online at: https://www.emiratesgroupcareers.com/cabin-crew/
News1 week ago
Manta Air elevates to new heights with international flights to India starting from 2024
Celebration1 week ago
Milaidhoo Maldives: Seven years of luxury and tranquility in paradise
Celebration2 days ago
Embrace Glitz & Glam at SO/ Maldives: The epitome of sophisticated festivities
News1 week ago
OUTRIGGER Maldives introduces exclusive private island retreat for discerning guests
Celebration1 week ago
Embrace the Festive Season at Canareef Resort Maldives
Action1 week ago
Umair Badheeu sets new, national freediving record at AIDA Philippines National Championship
News1 week ago
Patina Maldives achieves EarthCheck Silver Certification for 2023
Celebration5 days ago
Endless Fun in the Winter Sun at Cora Cora Maldives