A US-based cruise line just announced fully vaccinated Bahamas-only cruises starting in July

nassau bahamas
Nassau, Bahamas.

  • The Bahamas will be welcoming back cruises this summer with new sailings from July to October.
  • The country has partnered with Crystal Cruises for 32 trips around the Bahamas.
  • Guests sailing with Crystal must be vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days before a cruise.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Eager cruisers will finally be able to cruise around the Bahamas this summer aboard Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity ship.

In total, Crystal Cruises will be offering 32 seven-night trips from July to October starting from Bahamas’ Nassau or Bimini. The cruises will then shuttle passengers to five other destinations around the country: San Salvador, Long Island, Great Exuma, Harbour Island, and Bimini or Nassau, the latter depending on the sailing’s starting point.

This impending cruising return is good news for parts of the country’s “tourism-dependent” economy: like other travel hotspots, the coronavirus pandemic’s pause on cruises “has been felt greatly” by the Bahamas, according to a press release.

Read more: For cruise lines, ‘2020 is a wasted year.’ The CEO of Norwegian Cruise lays out when the industry could make money again.

“Crystal Cruises will go on record as the only cruise line offering Bahamas-only voyages … and the support that these cruises will bring to multiple communities within the country will be tremendous,” Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas’ minister of tourism and aviation, said in a statement. The Crystal Serenity will also be the “first ocean ship to sail from the Americas” since the ongoing cruising pause first began in 2020, according to a blog post from the Bahamas.

Bookings for the tropical cruises will open on March 18 starting at $2,000 per person. The sailings will also follow Crystal Cruises’ “Crystal Clean+” measures, which include arrangements like contactless dining, mask-wearing on certain parts of the ship, and social distancing protocols.

All Crystal guests will also have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days before the trip.

Crystal isn’t the only cruise line using a COVID-19 vaccine mandate to safely usher in the return of cruising. Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean announced its first ‘fully vaccinated’ cruises on the Odyssey of the Seas departing from Israel.

Are you a cruise industry employee or have a cruise industry story to share? Contact this reporter at bchang@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Several cruise trips have already been cancelled this year. See when major cruise lines plan on operating again.

MSC Cruise
Major cruise lines such as MSC Cruises have already begun sailings in Europe.

  • Many major US cruise line will not be setting sail around the country until, at the earliest, May.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends avoiding cruise trips during the pandemic.
  • These are the updated 2021 sailing plans for cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Disney Cruises.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Bad news for any eager cruisegoers: cruise lines are continuing to extend cruising suspensions into 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

The cruising industry initially saw a quiet period after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted and extended its no-sail order as the coronavirus pandemic began surging in 2020. But after months of waiting, in October, the CDC replaced its mandatory sailing pause with a “framework for Conditional Sailing Order,” a list of rigorous requirements needed for cruise lines to continue operating again. 

Despite this order, and the impending debut of several cruise ships over the next few years, the return of cruising still remains in limbo. Presently, no major US cruises will be setting sail until May at the earliest, but many cruise lines are now continuing to push back their sail dates as the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge around the US.

Read more: COVID-19 has created a once-in-a-lifetime crisis for Carnival and Royal Caribbean, but after surviving hijackings and shipwrecks, the industry looks unsinkable

Keep scrolling to see the updated sailing suspension dates for several major cruise lines:

Norwegian Cruises

norwegian epic cruise ship
Norwegian Cruises.

On a suspended sailings update on December 29, 2020, Norwegian hit the pause button on all of its cruises that were set to sail through March. However, on January 19, the cruise line pushed this sail date back one month through April.

Almost a month later, Norwegian canceled all of its cruises through May 2021.

Princess Cruises

A fishing boat sails past the Princess Cruises' Ruby Princess cruise ship as it docks in Manila Bay during the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cavite city, Philippines, May 7, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess cruise ship docks in Manila Bay during the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cavite city

Princess Cruises originally paused its trips through March, according to a notice posted on November 20, 2020. However, on January 6, the cruise line extended this timeline, announcing it would halt further sailings through May 14.

The Princess Cruises has also paused all sailings through November 1 that were set to be longer than seven days going to and from US ports, and any trips sailing to and from Japan through June 25, according to the November notice.

“We continue to prepare our ships for our return to service and we are eager to see our guests back on board to create summertime memories,” Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises’ president, said in a statement.

When the cruise line resume sailing, several ships – including the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess – will have Princess’ MedallionClass Experience. This “experience” includes new health protocols and contactless features, to name a few details.

Carnival Cruises

carnival cruise
Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship is docked at the Port of Jacksonville amid the coronavirus outbreak on March 27, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida.

A full list of suspended sailing dates per ship is available on Carnival’s website. In a January 6 news release, Carnival cruises announced it would resume sailing after March 31 with several ships remaining docked even further into the future.

“We are sorry to disappoint our guests, as we can see from our booking activity that there is clearly a pent-up demand for cruising on Carnival,” Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said in a statement on the news release.

However, 16 days later, Carnival updated this statement and hit the pause button on all trips through April 30. On February 24, the cruise line pushed its no-sail timeline even further back through May.

According to a press release posted on December 9, 2020, Carnival has set up dry docks for the Carnival Magic, Carnival Paradise, and Carnival Valor, therefore halting any of the ships’ embarkments through September 24, May 31, and September 11, respectively. However, on January 25, Carnival announced its plans to suspend these three ships even further until November.

The January 25 release also included announcements related to several other ships and trips. One notable sailing freeze in the update includes trips out of San Diego. Seasonal service trips and planned sailings through April 2023 out of San Diego have now been suspended, and seven of these sailings to Hawaii have been moved to Long Beach, California instead. 

Read more: Carnival’s CEO told employees in an internal video that ‘a new sense of optimism’ in the cruising industry will let him end their 20% pay cuts

The upcoming inaugural Mardi Gras trip was also pushed back as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Royal Caribbean

Wonder of the Seas cruise ship Royal Caribbean
The Wonder of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean originally suspended its cruise trips through February 28, according to a December 17 update. However, on January 12, the cruise line pushed its no-sail date back even further through April 30. The only exceptions to this are its Quantum of the Seas ship in Singapore and Spectrum of the Seas ship in China.

Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Cruises line has also halted any trips originally planned through April 30, according to an update on January 12. Several other Celebrity Cruises sailings have been paused even further through October.

Read more: Carnival and Royal Caribbean salaries revealed: From $32,000 to $383,000, here’s how much the cruise industry’s power players pay some of their employees

On January 13, Royal Caribbean’s Silversea Cruises released an updated list of sailing dates with the first trip embarking on April 1. However the soonest sail date was later pushed back to May 1, according to a January 21 update.

Celebrity Cruises

celebrity cruises apex
Celebrity Cruises.

Celebrity Cruises originally suspended all trips through February 28, and South America sailings with the winter 2021 program through April 7, according to a travel alert posted on December 2.

However, on January 12, Celebrity updated this no-sail date by pushing it through April 30.

Holland America Line

holland america
Holland America.

Holland America will be pausing all cruise trips through April 30, according to an update on January 6. Alaska cruises originally set to depart through mid-May have also been canceled, although some will be halted even further into June.

Several international trips – specifically ones in Canada and the Mediterranean – will be frozen even longer with a pause extension through August for select trips. You can find the pause timeline on Holland America’s website.

Read more: Vacationers already devote 35% of cruise trip budgets to onboard retail purchases – and experts say pandemic protocols will only make duty-free retail more pivotal

Disney Cruises

disney cruise
Disney Cruises.

Disney Cruises halted all trips through February 28, according to a travel updated posted on December 11, 2020. Cruises longer than seven nights have been suspended even further. One month later on January 12, Disney Cruises extended its no-sail date through March.

On January 27, Disney Cruises extended this order through April. Certain Disney cruises once set for May have also been suspended.

See the full list of suspended Disney Cruises here.

MSC Cruises

MSC Magnifica cruise ship passes through the Saint Mark Basin in Venice, Italy June 9, 2019..JPG
MSC Magnifica cruise ship in Italy.

MSC released a list of cancellation dates per cruise ship, and the sail dates vary from the end of January to November. Trips on the MSC Armonia, for example, have been canceled through March 31, while the MSC Bellissima won’t have any passengers through November 22.

Ships like the MSC Fantasia won’t hit the seas until April 4. 

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises
P&O Cruises.

P&O has halted all trips through April. 

Are you a cruise industry employee or have a cruise industry story to share? Contact this reporter at bchang@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mexico’s tourist corridor is becoming a dream destination for drug traffickers

Playa del Carmen Quintana Roo Mexico police soldiers beach
Municipal police stand guard on the beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, January 17, 2017.

  • Recent high-profile drug plane interceptions suggest the once tranquil Mexican state of Quintana Roo is growing as a drug-trafficking hub.
  • Most of the drugs are likely smuggled on to the US, while some are shipped to Europe or remain in Mexico for domestic production.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A recent string of high-profile drug plane interceptions suggests the once tranquil Mexican state of Quintana Roo is being increasingly relied upon as a drug trafficking hub.

On February 5, local media reports claimed a Cessna-type jet suspected of being used by drug traffickers had been found partially incinerated after it landed in the community of Nuevo Tabasco, close to Quintana Roo’s border with Campeche.

Military officials were present at the site, as it was suspected drugs transported by the plane might have been hidden in mountains surrounding the illegal landing spot, according to local media outlet, Quadratín Quintana Roo.

The report added that the aircraft had been detected by Mexico’s air force earlier that morning, before it was found partially destroyed hours later.

Last year, the state saw a number of irregular landings linked to drug trafficking.

In October, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed in a morning press conference that a plane carrying 1.5 tons of cocaine had landed at Chetumal Airport in southern Quintana Roo just hours earlier.

López Obrador reported that three suspicious jets had been detected entering Mexican airspace before they were swiftly pursued by members of the nation’s military and Secretary of National Defense. While one plane landed in Chetumal, with authorities subsequently detaining a member of its crew, the remaining two aircraft managed to evade authorities.

Mexico soldier Cancun
A Mexican soldier patrols a street in Cancun, August 19, 2007.

Military sources suggested the planes could have arrived in the state from Colombia or Venezuela, according to Sol Quintana Roo.

Last July, the state’s then-police chief, Alberto Capella, tweeted that a plane suspected of being involved in illicit activities had strikingly landed on a public highway in the municipality of Chunhuhub.

After consulting military sources, Milenio reported the Hawker 700 jet had initiated its journey in Venezuela, before landing on the Mexican road in broad daylight, where a truck was awaiting its descent. The media outlet added that authorities later found both vehicles abandoned, discovering just under half a ton of cocaine worth over $5.2 million left in the deserted truck.

Drug planes from Argentina and Colombia also disembarked in Quintana Roo last year.

Authorities intercepted an aircraft piloted by two Bolivian nationals traveling from Argentina to Mexico’s largely touristic Cozumel island in January 2020, seizing around a ton of cocaine in the process.

Some of those making such flights have reportedly managed to transport their illicit loads onward overland.

Most crews have evaded capture, despite being traced and pursued by authorities.

Just beyond Quintana Roo’s southern border, Belize has also seen such flights land illegally, as drugs are increasingly trafficked northward. On January 29 of this year, a clandestine aircraft carrying over 90 kilograms of suspected cocaine disembarked in the nation, with nine people detained following its descent, media outlet Amandala reported.

InSight Crime analysis

Mexico Cancun soldiers mall shooting
Mexican soldiers in a mall following reports of gunfire, in Cancun, January 17, 2017.

Illicit flights disembarking in the state have largely carried sizeable shipments of cocaine, ultimately fueled by record production of the drug in a host of South American countries including Colombia, Bolivia and Peru.

While 2021 has only seen one such flight disembark in Quintana Roo so far, last year eight aircraft linked to drug trafficking were reported to have made irregular landings in the state, preceded by 2019’s staggering total of 14, according to the Quadratín Quintana Roo.

However, the media outlet added that Mexico’s air surveillance system – controlled by the nation’s air force – reports an average of three irregular flights made within the state’s boundaries per week.

Although cocaine has passed through Quintana Roo for decades, security analyst Alejandro Hope told InSight Crime that an increased number of drug flights landing in the state in recent years may be a product of the tightening land border between Mexico and Central American countries, as well as former US President Donald Trump’s pressure on the Mexican government to act in this respect.

Most of the drugs that are successfully transported on from Quintana Roo ultimately reach the US, while some are shipped to Europe or remain in Mexico for domestic production, according to Hope.

The analyst added that those who receive the cocaine in Quintana Roo may be linked to the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (CJNG). The drugs may also be collected by residual members of the Gulf Cartel and Zetas, who have been known to operate in the state, Hope suggested.

InSight Crime reported on how Quintana Roo has seen an increase in violence related to organized crime of late, with independent cartels battling for control over lucrative drug distribution points. Such battles have been spilling over into events attended by tourists, allegedly including a music festival in Tulum last October.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Waldorf Astoria has unveiled a private island in the Maldives for the ‘privileged few’ at $75,000 a night – take a look around

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

  • Waldorf Astoria has unveiled its Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.
  • The island can be booked for $75,000 a night for up to 24 guests.
  • The hotel chain has another resort nearby, but wanted to unveil a private island for the “privileged few.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

If you’re looking for a lush and expensive getaway distanced from other people, Waldorf Astoria’s latest private island offering may be the perfect place for you.

The luxury hotel chain already has a nearby $1,700-a-night resort in the Maldives that was launched in 2019, but if you’re looking for more exclusivity and luxury, head to its latest Ithaafushi private island instead

Here, social distancing should be no problem, especially since you and whoever you travel with will be the only guests on the island (accompanied by a personal concierge team, of course).

Read more: Wealthy parents are investing in high-end, ‘backyard’ camp experiences and private excursions to give their kids a taste of summer in light of COVID-19

“We have launched the private island for discerning travelers during this time when we know that safety and security are a top priority amongst the evolving needs of travellers,” Etienne Dalancon, general manager at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, told Insider in an email interview. “The Ithaafushi private island offers a high level of exclusivity and natural social distancing. “

“The main focus of Ithaafushi private island was to offer an escape where guests can have their own private haven that connects with nature, offering more outdoor spaces so they can enjoy holistic activities in distanced spaces,” Dalancon told Insider.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Waldorf Astoria has done just that with this new island.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The Ithaafushi private island is the hotel chain’s “crown jewel of their luxury portfolio in Asia Pacific,” Nils-Arne Schroeder, vice president of luxury and lifestyle at Hilton’s Asia Pacific segment, said in a statement.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The three-bedroom beach villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Source: Hilton

According to the hotel chain, Ithaafushi is Dhivehi for “pearl island.”

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The island is a 40-minute yacht ride away from Malé, Maldives.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Don’t worry about providing your own boat: guests can take one of the resort’s six yachts.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

If you’re prone to seasickness, the island can also be accessed via a 15-minute seaplane flight.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The private property spans 344,445 square-feet, providing space for up to 24 guests.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Upon stepping foot on the island, visitors will be greeted by a concierge team.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Despite its isolation, the private island houses plenty of activities, including watersports and diving.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The beach swing at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Not much of a water person? Yoga enthusiasts can head to the yoga pavilion or gym, where guests can also request a personal trainer or classes.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The fitness center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

There’s also a wellness concierge and a spa for those who need some more relaxation time on the private getaway.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The yoga pavilion at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The island may be surrounded by an ocean, but its occupants can instead choose to swim in one of the island’s five pools, which includes an almost 115-foot infinity pool.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

No need to travel by foot around the Ithaafushi private island: guests can take a bicycle or one of the buggies.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Accommodations on the Ithaafushi private island include two villas and a four-bedroom home.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The first two-bedroom villa come with two primary bedrooms, dressing rooms, and a living room

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The villa also has an infinity pool and jacuzzi.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

When it’s time to clean off, the villa’s occupants can either use the indoor or outdoor rain showers.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The other villa, which has three bedrooms, has direct beach access and two swimming pools.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The three-bedroom beach villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The final four-bedroom unit is made up of two king and two queen bedrooms.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Like its smaller counterparts, the four-bed home has a living area, jacuzzis, and easy beach access.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

When it’s time to eat, the on-island culinary team can prepare your meals. But if that’s not enough, guests can take a speed boat to the main resort and dine at one of its 10 eateries.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The entertainment center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

This getaway is perfect for a variety of people, from a wedding party to a group of loved ones to a work trip for clients, according to the hotel chain.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The entertainment center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

And if you’re planning on bringing children, they can spend time on the island’s children’s pool or gaming section.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The entertainment center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Despite its high nightly price, all of these amenities have caught the eyes of several potential visitors.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The three-bedroom beach villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

According to Dalancon, the hotel chain has already seen a “significant number of requests” for the private getaway.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

“We are committed to making the Ithaafushi private island a highly sought after, world-class destination for the privileged few,” Dalancon said in a statement.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The yoga pavilion at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Source: Hilton

Read the original article on Business Insider

A New York company has created a wildly popular $21,000 DIY cabin that can be built in 3 days

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

  • Den Outdoors unveiled a $21,000 do-it-yourself A-frame Cabin kit that can be assembled in three days with the help of two or three people.
  • The A-frame Cabin kit targets three segments that have experienced a shake-up during COVID-19 times: DIY-ers, remote and tiny living, and tourism.
  • The interior can fit up to two people and the structure is only semi-permanent, which means it can be taken apart and moved as needed.
  • The kit and Den Outdoors have received so much interest, the company is now contemplating raising a seed round “because the business continues to grow despite our lack of resources,” Den founder Mike Romanowicz told Business Insider in an email interview.
  • According to Den, the kit is a good option for companies in the glamping and hospitality business, and for people looking to list properties on Airbnb.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Den Outdoors unveiled a do-it-yourself A-frame Cabin kit that can be assembled in three days.

Unlike most cabin and tiny home makers that sell fully built units, New York-based Den Outdoors takes the approach of selling both construction plans and do-it-yourself kits with all of the necessary parts. In line with these two product types, the A-frame cabin’s plans can be purchased for $99, and the full DIY kit starts at $21,000.

Read more: The top 5 do-it-yourself home renovations to maximize your property value, from the dean of a top-ranked interior design program

According to Den founder Mike Romanowicz in an email interview with Business Insider, the company and its cabin kit has seen a “huge swell of traffic and interested customers.”

“What’s propelling the product’s popularity is that we’ve launched something that has exactly the right characteristics that people want,” Romanowicz wrote in the email interview with Business Insider. “It’s beautiful, fast to build, and accessibly priced relative to other options in the market.”

Keep scrolling to see inside the wildly hyped A-frame cabin:

Read more: Here’s the pitch deck this New York startup used to raise $15 million to expand the services it offers its community of 17 million do-it-yourselfers

The A-frame Cabin kit comes in three finishes: a black Forest, grey Alpine, and cream Coast.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

Source: Den Outdoors

The back of the cabin has a large floor-to-ceiling double-pane glass window for a flood of natural light.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

The 115-square foot cabin is 12 feet tall with 11-foot ceilings …

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

… and has room for two people with a king bed or two twin beds.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

The A-frame can remain both on or off-grid, and has insulated floors and windows, making it four-seasons friendly.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

It’s no surprise the A-frame kit has become so popular given trends that have appeared during COVID-19.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

The product capitalizes on two movements that have exploded during the coronavirus pandemic: tiny and remote living, and do-it-yourself projects.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

The A-frame cabin fits perfectly in the tiny home segment boom that both rental companies and makers have been seeing during the coronavirus pandemic, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

Source: Wall Street Journal

According to Romanowicz, people have been looking for spaces that are near the outdoors, whether that be in the form of a tiny home, “normal” sized home, or cabin.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

“People are moving from cities to residential areas, and folks still in cities are seeking vacation homes for extra space and a place to go retreat from urban living,” Romanowicz wrote.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

Similarly, people started seeking do-it-yourself projects – especially home renovations – while stuck at home due to COVID-19-related lockdowns.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

According to Romanowicz, people have been seeking “self reliance” during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it be through baking bread or completing do-it-yourself projects.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

According to a blog published in July by market and consumer analysis company Netbase Quid, DIY-related trends are seeing an “explosive growth” with a yearly 4% growth rate.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

Source: Netbase Quid

To target this segment, Den decided to make the kit easy to successfully assemble.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

These new living trends, coupled with the rise in DIY-ers, created the perfect storm for Den Outdoors and its cabin kit.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

The company was officially launched this past July. Since then, Den has already seen explosive growth “partially aided by the tailwinds that COVID-19 is providing,” Romanowicz wrote.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

The company now has about 24,400 followers on Instagram, over 10,000 customers in its email database, and has seen sales increasing monthly from organic growth alone.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

“To date, we’ve been self-funded, but we’re now heavily considering raising a seed round because the business continues to grow despite our lack of resources,” Romanowicz wrote. “The path to scalable growth and profitability lies clearly ahead.”

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

The do-it-yourself kit also touches upon another segment impacted by COVID-19: tourism.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

Den’s cabin kit targets more than the private customer who wants a backyard cabin.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

The kit can also be used by glamping property owners or those interested in renting the space out for Airbnb use.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

In fact, the kit was in part designed for the hospitality industry as the cabin can be listed with high nightly rates …

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

… but can be set up quickly and inexpensively, making it a good investment, according to its maker.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

Because the cabin is four seasons-approved, it can withstand the wintertime when revenue for glamping and camping-related businesses is generally lower due to non-insulated tents.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

Like a tent, the cabin can be easily assembled and disassembled and is portable.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

However, the A-frame is more durable than a canvas tent, which is a glamping structure that many companies have started using, according to Den.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

“Because of all that, a lot of our interest has come from larger platforms in the camping and glamping industry, as well as from a number of different hotel and hospitality operators and developers who are looking to fix their seasonality problem while offering beautiful accommodations to their guests,” Romanowicz wrote.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

The full A-frame is also small enough to be placed without a permit.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

The cabin is similar to a shed in that a permanent concrete foundation is not necessary …

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

… although Den recommends placing the cabin on concrete pavers or deck blocks.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

The cabin can also be used as more than just a glamping outpost or a backyard escape.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

The A-frame can also serve as a place to work out, or as a separate office room.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

According to the company, several people have already purchased the kit to use as a backyard office.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

The kits are now being designed and produced in New York with the goal of providing “revenue, jobs, and stability” during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Den’s press question-and-answer sheet.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

“We were fortunate enough to partner with an incredibly talented local team with the right skills and tooling to enable us to build this with thoughtful craftsmanship, precision componentry, and in a cost-effective way to enable us to get to a competitive price,” the company explained.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

Den is considering unveiling more kits in the future, but as of now, it’s focused on A-frame order fulfillments.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

Den Outdoors will begin shipping out the A-frame kits next year.

Den A-frame cabin
The assembled Den A-frame cabin.

Read the original article on Business Insider

North Korea is forging ahead with plans to redevelop its Mount Kumgang tourist site, despite the COVID-19 crisis

North Korea Mountain Resort.JPG
North Korean officials visiting the Mount Kumgang tourist area.

  • Officials in North Korea are planning a reopening of Mount Kumgang tourist area, state media said on Sunday, despite the ongoing pandemic.
  • The site was previously run in cooperation with South Korea, but will be rebuilt with North Korea’s “national character” in mind, according to KCNA, a state-run media outlet. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Officials in North Korea are planning a reopening of Mount Kumgang tourist area, state media said on Sunday, despite the ongoing pandemic.

State media on Sunday published photos of high-ranking officials wearing masks and touring the site, which was previously run as a joint venture with South Korea.

Premier Kim Tok Hun reportedly said plans for redevelopment need to be made and carried out, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), a state-run media outlet, as reported by The Associated Press

A post on KCNA’s English-language website read: “He called for pushing ahead with the development project of turning Mt Kumgang area into modern and all-inclusive international tourist and cultural area under yearly and phased plans.”

It added that the project would be maintaining the principle of conveniences and architectural beauty in the construction, so that people can fully enjoy natural beauty. 

Kim Jong un at Mount Kumgang North Korea 2019.JPG
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at Mount Kumgang in 2019.

While coronavirus data has flowed freely from most countries, notoriously shut-off North Korea has mostly remained silent. In late November, the country executed at least one person who had apparently broken coronavirus rules, as lawmakers in South Korea were told in intelligence briefings, according to NPR. The country has locked down Pyongyang, its capital, and banned activities including deep-sea fishing, according to The Associated Press.

Coronavirus levels in the country are listed as “very high” on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. 

Mount Kumgang, which is just north of the DMZ, had been run as a joint venture with South Korea, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, according to Al Jazeera. Tourists visiting the site would stay in colorful huts lined up under the backdrop of Mount Kumgang.

About 2 million South Koreans visited before the resort was closed in 2008, per the AP. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had reportedly ordered some of the property destroyed, but never followed through. 

On Sunday, officials said the area needed to be rebuilt in its own “national character and modernity,” seemingly stepping away from the past partnership with South Korea.

As they toured the area, officials said they wanted to build a “world-level” hotel, golf course, and skiing area. 

 

 

Read the original article on Business Insider