Why African-American Doctors Are Choosing to Study Medicine in Cuba

Why African-American Doctors Are Choosing to Study Medicine in Cuba

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In the countryside of western Havana, during the fall, rickety yellow buses carry first-year medical students from the Latin American School of Medicine. Wearing short-sleeved white smocks and stethoscopes, they go door to door, doing rounds, often speaking to their patients in broken Spanish. “Even people whose houses I wasn’t visiting sometimes would ask me to take their blood pressure, because they just saw me in the street,” Nimeka Phillip, an American who graduated from the school in 2015, told me.

The Latin American School of Medicine, or E.L.A.M., was established by the Cuban government, in 1999, after a series of natural disasters, including Hurricane Mitch, left vulnerable populations in Central America and the Caribbean in dire need of health care. This year, in the aftermath of hurricane season, hundreds of Cuban health workers, many of them E.L.A.M. graduates, will travel to some of the hardest-hit areas of the Atlantic to treat the injured and sick. All of the students who attend E.L.A.M. are international. Many come from Asia, Africa, and the United States. The school’s mission is to recruit students from low-income and marginalized communities, where they are encouraged to return, after they graduate, to practice medicine.

In the U.S., black and Latino students represent approximately six per cent of medical-school graduates each year. By contrast, nearly half of E.L.A.M.’s American graduates are black, and a third are Latino. “You would never see those numbers” in the U.S., Melissa Barber, another American E.L.A.M. graduate, told me.

Barber is a program coördinator at the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, in Harlem, which recruits American students for E.L.A.M. Applicants with college-level science backgrounds and the requisite G.P.A. go through an interview process with the organization. Those who make the cut are then recommended to E.L.A.M. The school accepted its first American applicants in 2001, a year after a delegation from the Congressional Black Caucus, whose leadership included Representatives Bennie Thompson and Barbara Lee, travelled to Cuba and held talks with the Ministry of Education about the need for doctors in rural black communities, and the financial obstacles that make it difficult for low-income and minority students to enroll in American medical schools. While some nations pay for their students to attend E.L.A.M., Fidel Castro decided that Americans, like Haitians and students from poor African countries, should attend for free.

Since 1987, no more than six per cent of medical students in the U.S. each year have come from families with poverty-level incomes. Meanwhile, the cost of medical school has skyrocketed; the median student debt for the class of 2016 was a hundred and ninety thousand dollars. Phillip, a first-generation college graduate, worked multiple jobs and took out loans to pay for her undergraduate degrees in public health and integrative biology, at the University of California, Berkeley. She hoped to study “stress- and poverty-related illness” in medical school, she told me, but the cost of tuition, along with the pressure that would come from being one of the few minority students in her class, discouraged her from applying.

After she graduated, she came across an online listing for an I.F.C.O. event in San Jose, while researching alternatives to medical school. At the event, there were a number of E.L.A.M. graduates who offered testimonials, but she remembered being moved by Luther Castillo’s story in particular. After graduating from E.L.A.M., Castillo returned to his Afro-indigenous village, in Honduras, and built the area’s first free, community-run hospital. Phillip was impressed by his story, and by E.L.A.M.’s philosophy of offering a free education for students who pledged to practice medicine in low-income, medically underserved areas. After she applied and was accepted, she braced herself for her six-year odyssey in Cuba.

The child-mortality rate in Cuba is lower than it is in the U.S., and life expectancy in both countries is about the same, even though per-capita health-care spending in the United States is the highest in the world. In a certain way, Cuba has America to thank for this. The U.S.-imposed embargo and the dissolution of the Soviet Union led to an increase in the cost of medical supplies; facing a crisis, the Cuban government turned its attention to preventative care, seeking to eliminate much of the need for surgeries and expensive procedures by early detection.

The vast majority of Cuba’s medical students go into primary care. Many of them take up posts in consultorios—doctor-and-nurse teams that live in the neighborhoods in which they practice. In the United States, more and more graduates are choosing specialties—cardiology, radiology, urology—over primary care, which pays less. Besides driving up the cost of medical education, this has also exacerbated physician shortages in rural parts of the country. Today, sixty-four million Americans live in areas where there is only one primary-care physician for every three thousand people. By 2030, according to a study commissioned by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States will be short at least forty thousand doctors, and perhaps as many as a hundred thousand.

Medicare and Medicaid programs support residency trainings, and the National Health Service Corps awards grants and loans to medical students in exchange for service in needier regions. But, in 2016, only two hundred and thirteen students received an N.H.S.C. scholarship. According to Congresswoman Karen Bass, of California, a supporter of E.L.A.M., funding is the main problem—particularly under the current Presidential Administration. Trump’s budget for the 2019 fiscal year will cut funding for graduate medical education by forty-eight billion dollars. It is “embarrassing,” Bass said, that “Cuba educates our students for free.”

E.L.A.M. offered Phillip a chance to pursue medicine without incurring catastrophic debt. As she put it, she would graduate with the equivalent of car payments, while her peers in the United States would be saddled with the equivalent of mortgages. Although the school was lacking in creature comforts—the students slept in bunk beds; the hot water and electricity were unreliable; there was little access to the Internet or the phone—Phillip powered through. With help from family, friends, and an organization called Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba—which helps American students in Cuba prepare for their homecoming with scholarships, tutoring for U.S. exams, and connections to American medical networks—she returned home each summer, gaining experience at hospitals in Minneapolis, Oakland, and Washington, D.C.

In March of 2014, Phillip passed the U.S. medical-licensing exam, with one year of Cuban medical school left. In 2016, she was accepted to a residency program in family medicine at a hospital in Hendersonville, North Carolina. “It’s one thing to recruit people that have high skills,” Bryan Hodge, the director of the Hendersonville program, told me. “More unique is when you find people that really have the passion and heart for taking care of underserved patient populations. These are the people needed to close the health-disparities gap.” As Peter McConarty, a veteran family doctor who advises E.L.A.M. students, put it, “A medical student in Cuba would have to actively resist the idea that they were agents of public health and social justice. In the United States, you have to actively seek it out.”

Phillip said that her biggest challenge since becoming a doctor in the U.S. had been reading CT scans and MRIs, which are used sparingly in Cuba, and that she has had to adjust to spending less time with patients. Like many doctors of color, she has experienced moments of prejudice, from patients referring to her as “girl” to an incident with a young man wearing a Confederate-flag T-shirt. The Spanish she learned in Cuba does come in handy—the hospital holds regular clinics for migrant farm workers, in the local apple orchards and tomato fields.

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June 6, 2018 at 12:27PM

Mews raises €6 million, plans worldwide expansion

Mews raises €6 million, plans worldwide expansion

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Hotel tech specialist Mews has raised €6 million in funding to continue its “aggressive” expansion plans.

London-based Mews offers cloud-based property management software to hotels and other accommodation providers designed to automate back office functions.

The new round of investment is being led by technology-focused UK venture capital firm Notion, with further backing from HenQ Capital Partners and Thayer Ventures.

Mews says the money will be used to open further offices around the world as it looks to accelerate the growth of its customer base.

The firm’s hotel management platform offers automated solutions in areas such as online check-in and payments, booking management and staff training. Third-party tools and apps can also be connected to the open platform through APIs.

Former hotelier Richard Valtr, who founded Mews in 2012, says:

“We want to build the nervous system for hotels that all apps and tools for both guests and hosts can be plugged into.

“This new capital injection into Mews will facilitate our aggressive expansion plans and help us take the hotel industry, and hosting more widely, into the future.”

Mews has already undergone a major expansion over the past year – increasing its markets from 10 to 35 countries and expanding operations from one office with 25 staff to three locations and 80 employees.

Matthijs Welle, CEO of Mews, adds:

“This new round of funding gives us the firepower required to capitalise on the momentum we have built ever since Mews was founded six years ago.”

Notion specialises in backing startup businesses in the B2B cloud and software as a service (SaaS) sectors. It is also an investor in Triptease, a direct booking platform for hotels.

Jos White, general partner at Notion, said: “We think the hotel industry is at a tipping point in terms of the way it uses technology to better manage their operations and transform the guest experience.

“We also believe that Mews can be a catalyst to this transition in an industry that has been slow to change.”

Related reading:

Mews Systems captures €1.5 million to boost development of hotel IT system

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June 6, 2018 at 12:22PM

Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Everything You Need to Know

Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Everything You Need to Know

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Dribbles. Post up! Sky hooks. Now that you know I understand basketball, let’s get right to it: Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James—who’s really the greatest of all time (GOAT)? Even if you don’t care about the sport, I’m here to give you all the information you need to pick your side in this intense debate.

First off, you have to remember that LeBron is playing in a totally different N.B.A. than the one Jordan played in. In some ways, the defense is more, but in other ways it’s, like, where did the defense go? So, that’s a lot to think about.

M.J. came to the N.B.A. after three seasons of college ball, but LeBron joined right out of high school. That sounds like it might go in LeBron’s favor, but you know what it actually means: LeBron probably spent his whole first season saying things like “Man, I know I graduated, but I keep feeling like I have a Social Studies paper due tomorrow!” and that must have been super annoying, so, clear point for M.J.

Now, think about both players in their prime. Who would you rather have playing on your team? BEFORE YOU ANSWER, let me FINISH and say what kind of team I’m talking about. O.K.? O.K. Thank you. Now, to be clear, I am talking about a basketball team.

Real talk, guys: I grew up in Chicago, but it’s getting harder and harder to insist that Michael Jordan is still the GOAT! This may or may not be true, but trust me and walk around repeating that sentence. If you’re trying to get cast in a movie in the role of Guy from Your High School Who Writes Long Facebook Posts About Sports in a Tone That Implies “I Clearly Believe That One Day Someone from ESPN Is Going to Read These and Hire Me on the Spot” Even Though They Get at Most Three Pity Likes—you’ll get the part.

But back to the debate: Who would you rather have putting baby powder on your baby? Your first instinct is LeBron, right? Because of that whole chalk-clapping thing he does? But consider this: What if that means LeBron would try to keep all of the baby powder for himself, to practice his clapping? As you can see, there are no easy answers here.

And, look, if we’re talking about who is the most self-conscious about his forearms (and so is always hiding them in those tight sleevies), then LeBron is the clear winner. But, as every sports editor I have ever worked for has reminded me, that is literally never what we are talking about.

Quick interjection: if the argument ever gets too heated, you can always ease the tension by saying, “Hey, at least we can agree that ‘Space Jam’ was amazing!” If this seems to make your interlocutor angrier, look more closely at his face. Whoops. Are you talking with Anthony Minghella, the director of “The English Patient”? Well, no wonder he’s mad—“The English Patient” came out the exact same day as “Space Jam,” so of course it’s a sensitive subject. Point: LeBron.

Off-the-court stuff matters, too. While LeBron is socially active, M.J. is seen as the guy who just wanted to play basketball, avoid controversy, and do that thing where he stuck his tongue out a lot. But what they don’t tell you is that M.J. was secretly politically active. During local elections, he would stick out his tongue either left or right, to indicate the candidate he supported. Once, when his favored candidate lost, he spent a week with his tongue out halfway, out of respect. Another time, when a teammate’s pet lizard died tragically, he darted his tongue out several times in rapid succession, as though to say, I’m sorry your lizard can no longer do this.

Here’s something else: we spend all this time fighting about whether M.J. or LeBron is the greatest that we completely forget about Tim Duncan! I’m not saying anyone thinks he’s the greatest, I’m just saying we completely forgot about him.

To really have this debate be fair, you need to imagine each player in the other’s era. Take LeBron in 2018, and then rewind—suddenly, it’s 1998. Then 1988. 1958. Wait, 1588?! Your rewinding machine is broken! LeBron is disappearing into deep time! Fast forward again to 2018 to get help. You scream and scream, and, finally, someone comes. Who is it? It’s me, in my annoying voice, saying, “Why do we still call it ‘rewinding’ when we don’t use tape and so are not technically ‘winding’ anything?” Now it’s too late. LeBron is somewhere in dinosaur times, somehow leading a team of microraptors to their first N.B.A. Finals.

As you can see, there are really no easy answers here. There is a legitimate case to be made for either player, and that’s why this debate is so good. It may just be the Michael Jordan of debates.

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June 6, 2018 at 12:13PM

An Award Trip Around the World — Reader Success Story

An Award Trip Around the World — Reader Success Story

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Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Sarah, who used points and miles to book a month-long global adventure. Here’s what she had to say:

A couple of years ago I became an avid follower of TPG with the goal of booking an around-the-world trip using miles. After following a lot of advice and maximizing rewards on each purchase and trip I’ve made, not only will I be flying around the world (mostly in business class) on miles, all of my hotels are covered by points too. If I paid cash, this trip would have cost over $27,000. Instead, I’ve spent $168 out of pocket.

The majority of my flights were booked on Star Alliance partners via United. Apart from Ultimate Rewards points, I got the United Explorer Card when it had a 50,000-mile bonus, and earned more miles by using online shopping portals and the MileagePlus X app. The total taxes for my primary six-segment flight booked through United came to $314.36, which I covered with Barclaycard Arrival miles. After booking my main itinerary, I just had a round-trip flight within Australia (booked on Qantas with AAdvantage miles) and one more Star Alliance flight to book.

There was some luck involved along the way. My first card when starting this process was the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and seven months later the Chase Sapphire Reserve was introduced. Between the two, I earned 150,000 Ultimate Rewards points in sign-up bonuses alone over the course of about eight months. That helped cover several hotel stays booked through the Chase travel portal, including an overwater bungalow at the Sheraton Maldives and two nights at the Peninsula Hong Kong. Using sign-up bonuses from a couple of hotel credit cards, I’ll stay in some more amazing properties like the Park Hyatt Sydney and the St. Regis in New York City.

I depart in September for what I hope will be the trip of a lifetime. My itinerary takes me to San Francisco, Sydney, Cairns (to see the Great Barrier Reef), Hong Kong, Bangkok, The Maldives, Dubai, Prague, Vienna, Munich (for Oktoberfest), Lisbon, and NYC. It wouldn’t have been possible without TPG!

Sarah’s story underscores two important tenets of award travel. First, a diverse rewards portfolio gives you more options when you’re ready to book. Her itinerary required a large balance of points and miles, and using them efficiently would have been more challenging if they had all been accrued in one or two programs. Earning a mix of transferable points, airline miles, hotel points and cash-back rewards gave Sarah the flexibility to get a redemption value she was happy with for each leg of her trip.

On the other hand, you should try to avoid spreading your rewards too thin, since they won’t be of much use below a certain threshold. That brings me to the second point, which is that credit card offers are a great way to boost your loyalty account balances quickly. Sarah’s trip was kick-started by bonuses from the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cards, and several others were instrumental in covering her flights and hotel stays. It’s important to maximize the rewards you earn through travel and everyday spending, but be ready to jump on a strong sign-up bonus when the opportunity arises.

Using points and miles for a trip around the world takes time and effort, but it’s totally doable. Some airlines still offer round-the-world awards that let you circle the globe at a fixed mileage cost, though they come with various restrictions (like which seats are eligible or the total number of segments allowed). Alternately, you can put your itinerary together one flight at a time; that approach will likely require more research, but it lets you take advantage of favorable routing rules (like United’s Excursionist Perk). For more ideas, check out TPG Contributor Ravi Ghelani’s account of how he planned and booked an epic eight-month trip around the world.

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Sarah for sharing her experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending her a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own award travel success stories to info@thepointsguy.com; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Feature image by Sean Pavone Photo / Getty Images. 

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June 6, 2018 at 12:01PM

How to put the smile back into your business

How to put the smile back into your business

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How do you fill those difficult mid-week spots, without inviting online travel agents to the table?

John Potter, managing director of Potter’s Resort in Norfolk has the answer – and the secret weapons, he says, are emoticons.

“In business, we suck at measuring relationships,” he told the EyeforTravel Europe 2018 summit in London on Tuesday. “They are fluffy and intangible. But we have gone through the product era and we are now in the relationship era.”

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June 6, 2018 at 11:26AM

News: Abu Dhabi puts eco-tourism at heart of new stimulus package

News: Abu Dhabi puts eco-tourism at heart of new stimulus package

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The Abu Dhabi tourism sector is assessing what impact a Dh50 billion (£10 billion) stimulus package announced by sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince, will have.

Officials have been given just 90 days to create a detailed execution plan for the package.

The money is aimed at transforming the ease of doing business in the emirate, as well as bringing lasting economic benefits to emiratis, residents and investors.

The package highlights the importance of tourism in establishing Abu Dhabi as a global destination, including not just short-term visits, but investment and longer-term residence.

As part of the plan, the crown prince has also ordered more development of eco-tourism, and programmes both on land and water.

This is likely to include establishing camping villages and a variety of areas dedicated to recreation sports.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “Echoing the leadership’s foresight and vision, the AED50 billion stimulus announcement by sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed is highly significant given its direct impact on the government’s strategy to diversify the economy and further grow non-oil sectors.

“This recent directive reiterates the pivotal role that the tourism sector continues to play, especially in introducing Abu Dhabi to the world as a global destination for not only short-term visits, but also for investment and long-term stays.

“Given its mandate to establish Abu Dhabi’s position as a destination of distinction, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi acknowledges the responsibility bestowed upon it to fulfil this directive and work towards bolstering the emirate’s cultural and eco-tourism offerings.

“Along with our partners, we have devised effective initiatives and programmes to build an industry that can provide impetus for economic growth and social development.

“As we move forward, we will continue our efforts to attract an increasing number of tourists to the Emirate for extended periods of time.”

Further proposals call for a comprehensive review of building regulations for both private and commercial property construction.

The move is designed to reduce costs for developers and encourage urban development and could have a significant impact on the hospitality sector.

Saif Saeed Ghobash, undersecretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, added: “We are confident that these recently announced stimulus measures will create a much more competitive environment in Abu Dhabi.

“This will effectively encourage private sector stakeholders and investors to seek out opportunities in booming sectors such as tourism.

“The sector presents promising diversification opportunities, as the need for culturally-enriching, authentic and unique experiences continue to grow exponentially across the globe.

“As highlighted in sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed’s directive, eco-tourism sits at the heart of the future of the tourism industry and it’s an area where Abu Dhabi has displayed and continues to display a pioneering role.

“We look forward to joining forces with our partners in the private and public sectors to leverage the emirate’s unique offerings and grow our eco-tourism sector, with the aim of creating a sustainable and culturally-enriching environment for both residents and visitors.”

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June 6, 2018 at 11:13AM

Carry On: What Janelle Monáe Can’t Travel Without

Carry On: What Janelle Monáe Can’t Travel Without

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Carry On

What Janelle Monáe Can’t Travel Without

The singer and actor always brings fuzzy socks, overalls, candles and “peace.”

Image
CreditEstelle Morris

By Nell McShane Wulfhart

The singer and actor Janelle Monáe is enviably multitalented, appearing in movies like “Hidden Figures” and “Moonlight” and creating futuristic soundscapes that pick up where Prince left off. She’s currently touring to promote her latest album, “Dirty Computer.”

Life on the road has changed for her in recent years. “I think early on I wasn’t seeing anything. I was just so insulated, almost isolated. Just go to the soundcheck, go to the hotel, get dressed, tour, next city,” Ms. Monáe said. “I have to make it a point when I go to different cities and say, ‘Hey, I want to come in a couple days earlier.’ I want to go see some things, I want to touch the people, I want to talk to them, and get that energy, and then take it on stage with me.”

Her meditation practice keeps her centered, on the tour bus and off. “I walk and meditate. Sometimes when I’m not talking, people will think, ‘Oh, she’s listening to something.’ Actually, I’m doing mantras in my head: “Oh world peace, oh world peace, oh world peace.’ All the things that bothered me during the day, or that could bother me in the future, I’m ‘Oh world peace-ing’ them and letting them roll off my shoulders.”

Asked if she finds it effective, she said, “Sure, absolutely. I hope so. Have you seen me out here acting crazy on ‘TMZ’?”

Here’s what she packs for every trip.

Peace and confidence

“Everything isn’t always physical. You know, before I go out of the house, I’m like, ‘Am I centered? Am I grounded?’ You know, ‘How am I feeling? Let me check in with my feelings.’ I think it’s important that we practice self-care as much as we possibly can. Not being selfish — there’s a thin line between self-care and just being selfish — but for me it starts there. Those are the most valuable things: your peace, your kindness, your love, your confidence, your intelligence, all those things are things that you can’t quantify, and also things you can’t touch. You can pack them up — not in a suitcase — you can pack them in your body, and that’s what I do.”

Image
CreditEstelle Morris

Jewelry

“I love to have jewelry options so I try to keep my jewelry bag with me because I like being able to get creative with that. Especially if I’m going to keep my wardrobe simple for sound check, I want to be able to have jewelry that I can really have fun with and play with. I love my Melody Ehsani earrings, she made these earrings shaped like exclamation marks, they’re really cool. They’re called “The Monae,” she made them for me.

Fuzzy socks

“I like to keep a pair of big fuzzy socks so my feet don’t get cold when I’m walking around. And I like to moonwalk when I’m on the tour bus. It’s my favorite pastime, to moonwalk on hardwood floors.”

Image
CreditEstelle Morris

Overalls

“These days I love my conductor overalls. I think they’re Wildfang overalls. They’re a group of women that make really cool stuff.”

Photos of family

“I try to keep pictures of my family with me. Real pictures of my little sister, my nephew and my niece, and my mom and my dad, my grandmother. When I get lonely I can just pull them out of my bag and look at them and stay connected and centered and remember why I do what I do.”

Image
CreditEstelle Morris

Candle

“I love candles. One of the candles that I have is by a designer, one of my friends. Her name’s Azza Gallab and she makes these custom candles that I bring with me. I love the ‘Potion No. 4: Azza’ candle. I take those with me for hotels and it kind of makes me feel at home.”

Inspirational collage

“I have this collage that I made with Michael Jackson, with Prince, with Janet Jackson, with Bowie, with Grace Jones, with Stevie Wonder, with all my favorite performers on it, like a book that I keep with all their pictures and magazine cover articles. I keep that with me to keep me motivated on tour, and I try to work harder than they do. They worked so hard, and they also inspired so many people, so it’s really just to have your heroes with you.”

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page TR2 of the New York edition with the headline: JANELLE MONÁE finds candles and ‘peace’ comforting.. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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June 6, 2018 at 11:06AM

These Are the Most Popular Summer Attractions, According to Google

These Are the Most Popular Summer Attractions, According to Google

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Summer is finally upon us, and Google Maps is trying to help its users squeeze in the most sightseeing possible before Labor Day. On Wednesday, Google Maps introduced a feature to track the most popular tourist destinations across the US using its trend data.

Google Maps is listing its suggestions to fit the interests of most travelers, so whether you’re looking for a beach vacation under the sun or a more history-oriented trip, Google Maps has you covered.

Beach Vacations

In need of some Vitamin Sea? Search “That Summer Beach Life,” and Google Maps will pull up a list of especially Instagram-able ocean- and lake-side locations in America.

History-Oriented Trips

Does your geekiness expand beyond aviation? If your trips tend to revolve around seeking out historical monuments, search “Historical Landmarks” on Google Maps for a list of significant sites you can plan to visit.

Outdoor Adventure Excursions

If you’re looking for a more adventurous trip, search “US National Parks” in Google Maps, and a list of destinations fit for those who love to explore will appear. Grab your new hiking boots, binoculars and a backpack – you’ll need them!

Google Maps also compiles some of other convenient suggestions for travelers — from lodging to transportation — right in its app.

  • Hotels: Google Maps shows hotels on its interface. You can book rooms directly from the app, and you can see descriptions and reviews relevant to the hotel.
  • Rest stops: The nearest rest stop is always available to you with Google Maps.
  • Airports: On the Google Maps mobile app and website, you can search for any airport (or terminal, for that matter) to acquaint yourself with out the layout. You can see gates, lounges, restaurants and stores.
  • Local transit: If you need directions for local transit, Google Maps can give you navigation times, ETAs, and step-by-step notifications, just like with any other trip you take with Google Maps.
  • Offline maps: You can now save regions of the map to your phone so that you can view it later without using up your data.
  • Parking: On Google Maps, you can pin your parking location so that lots and garages are less disorienting.

Featured image by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

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June 6, 2018 at 11:00AM

News: Oakwood Hotel & Apartments Shin-Osaka to open in August

News: Oakwood Hotel & Apartments Shin-Osaka to open in August

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Oakwood Worldwide today announced the opening of Oakwood Hotel & Apartments Shin-Osaka.

Set to be operational August 1st, this will be Oakwood’s first property in Japan located outside of Tokyo, joining 11 other serviced apartments in the country, as well as a growing portfolio of nearly 60 Oakwood branded properties globally.

Situated within walking distance to Shin-Osaka Station – the gateway to Japan’s Kansai region, Oakwood Hotel & Apartments Shin-Osaka caters to business and leisure travellers seeking short or long-term stays.

Designed to offer the most contemporary interiors matched with cutting-edge technology, the building comprises 126 fully furnished serviced apartments and 59 hotel-style rooms, along with traditional hotel amenities including concierge, front desk, regular housekeeping as well as an on-site gym.

“We are proud to launch our first property that is located outside of Tokyo in Shin-Osaka, a growing region in Japan with easy access to many major cities and business hubs.

“This is the newest addition to our growing portfolio of Oakwood-branded properties, complementing our broader business strategy to bring the Oakwood brand to more global markets,” said Dean Schreiber, managing director of Oakwood Worldwide in Asia.

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June 6, 2018 at 10:59AM

News: British Airways launches codeshare deal with Fiji Airways

News: British Airways launches codeshare deal with Fiji Airways

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British Airways and Fiji Airways have today announced a new partnership which will open up more routes between London and the South Pacific than ever before.

With its idyllic beaches, world-famous dive sites and lush green forests, Fiji and its extremely popular island destinations are more accessible than ever before as customers in the UK will be able to travel from gateways in the US and Asia to destinations that have previously been more difficult to access from the UK.

From today, British Airways will start selling flights between Singapore, Los Angeles and San Francisco and the Fijian gateway of Nadi direct on its website – ba.com.

This new partnership comes just days after Fiji Airways signed up to become the first oneworld connect partner – a new platform for airlines to link up to the global airline alliance which includes British Airways as a founding member. 

British Airways is one of Fiji Airways’ oneworld connect sponsors – enabling customers to enjoy more services and benefits when flying on either airline.

Rishi Kapoor, British Airways head of alliances, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Fiji Airways and welcoming them into the oneworld family.

“We are incredibly pleased that customers can now book to fly to this stunning part of the world direct on ba.com.

“We believe the start of this codeshare will make Fiji even more popular with European travellers by offering them a more attractive route network and a comfortable and seamless travel experience.

“Fijians are known around the globe for giving visitors the warmest of welcomes, so we look forward to giving them an equally warm welcome onboard our flights very soon.”

Fiji Airways operates international and domestic services to 12 countries and 31 cities, including Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, the US, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways managing director, Fiji Airways, said: “We are extremely proud to embark on a codeshare with British Airways to give travellers from the UK convenient access to our home – Fiji, one of the world’s most sought-after tourism destinations.

“This is particularly significant for us as British Airways is our third oneworld sponsor, just days out from our accession into the alliance as a oneworld connect airline.

“Given the close historical ties between Fiji and Britain, and with thousands of Fijians serving in the British Army, our partnership will make it easier for families and friends to visit each other.”

Travel

via Breaking Travel News http://www.breakingtravelnews.com/

June 6, 2018 at 10:48AM