Cape Town crew Graham Howes and Jett Bradshaw - released and ripping! / PHOTO: Kyle Cabano

THE TRAVEL GUIDE 2021

We swayed back and forth (sadly not in a hammock beside the Caribbean Sea) over whether or not to push ahead with our 15th annual Travel Guide this year. Jumping back to March 2020, we had just published our 14th Travel Guide in its traditional print format. Holding it in our hands as news of enforced stay at home orders rang out across the globe, it really felt like we were holding a slice of history; a reflection of the world as it was. 50 fantastic destinations that had grown in travel popularity thanks to the amazing kitesurfing they offered. While the sports manufacturing industry bounced back strongly last year as many of us added to our quivers rather than took holidays, it was obvious very early on in the pandemic that the travel industry was going to be the worst hit, and with immediate effect. Travel is still the hottest topic in the news here in the UK, with pressures from both sides: one calling for the need for the industry to open up to save businesses; and another side saying its irresponsible in terms of public health to do so. Specialist kitesurf holiday travel agents, Planet Kitesurfing Holidays, Sportif and KiteWorldWide all tell us that the latent demand for booking trips as soon as things open up is insane.

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It's not for us to sit here and tell you what the right thing is to do. We are lucky enough to live near a beach and, apart from early on in the pandemic, have been able to practice our sport pretty much unimpeded by restrictions all year. For many it has been a very different story. In fact, for many big city folk, or those who live far inland, the only way they can kite is to travel. While my flight tally in the last 14 months has reduced to zero, and I feel pretty good about that from an environmental perspective, I can't wait to find myself once again looking out over a warm ocean with the prospect of sublime sessions all week long. The time will eventually come. So here we have our 15th Travel Guide – and this time it's also been rejuvenated on our new free magazine platform that we launched last year. Travel reports have never looked so alluring! The destination list is a lot shorter than in previous years, but all the places featured in this guide are open, ready for visitors and many continued to welcome travellers throughout last year; those who managed to time their travels in and out of countries with cunning success. It is possible, you know... Preparing guidance for the countries that all our readers live in would be an impossible mission for a small crew of kite magazine staff, but we have included a 'Covid Protocol' button on each destination page with the basic situation you can expect to find on arrival. There are also links to government websites and info from the kite schools, centres and accommodation providers that operate there. There's such a bombardment of information hitting us about travel at the moment, and so often it seems to be changing. So do your research carefully and in some cases you may need a degree to comprehend the rules. What isn't in doubt is that you'll need to do several PCR tests (which can add jaw dropping expense for families), you'll need a good supply of masks, hand sanitizer... and patience while inevitably queuing. Travel doesn't have to involve going international. Most countries have fantastic kitesurfing experiences to explore, so pack the car, join Facebook groups and just hit the road this summer. National kiting communities thrived last year, which was great to see and be a part of. No doubt the story will be the same again in 2021. We will continue to update this guide throughout the year with further domestic and international destination reports, so do keep keep coming back. As well as all the travel juice, look out for some regular feature favourites packing out the front section of the issue. Watch our learn to kiteloop technique video with Lewis Crathern, learn how jet stream activity affected this spring's crazy northern hemisphere weather, brush up on your self-rescue skills, read test highlight summaries from our summer print issue and also jump on the content from that issue here. Wherever you go, near or far, and however you get there, stay safe, respect the local rules... and enjoy! See you on the water, Jim Gaunt Kiteworld Editor Please don’t forget to follow us and subscribe to our newsletter. Facebook / Instagram / YouTube / Newsletter

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