January 28, 2021

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Just Do Travel

Scotland yanks protected status of dunes at Trump golf course; Travel agency to refund $500,000 in cancelled trips

2 min read

Conservation officials in Scotland said Wednesday that the coastal sand dunes at President Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf resort have lost their special status as a protected environmental site.

NatureScot, Scotland’s nature agency, said that following construction of the Trump International Golf Links course at Menie, north of Aberdeen, the dunes no longer “merit being retained as part of the Site of Special Scientific Interest.”

The sand dunes had been a “high quality example” of a geological system characteristic of northeast Scotland, the agency said.

But it said that despite nature conservation work by the Trump golf course to protect the rare habitats and plants remaining on the site, “there is now no longer a reason to protect the dunes at Menie as they do not include enough of the special, natural features for which they were designated.”

Scottish authorities have already approved plans for a second Trump golf course next to the original one on his Menie Estate, which opened in 2012.

Travel agency to refund $500,000 in canceled trips

An online travel agency has agreed to pay more than $500,000 to hundreds of Massachusetts residents for allegedly continuing to collect payments for travel reservations despite knowing they had been or would be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then failing to provide refunds, the state attorney general’s office said Wednesday.

In a proposed consent judgment, Florida-based BookIt.com agreed to pay almost $552,000 to 539 Massachusetts consumers, according to Attorney General Maura Healey. Some conusmers will receive more than $8,000.

The state sued BookIt in June after dozens of Massachusetts residents complained to the attorney general’s office.

The state alleged that when BookIt suspended business operations in March, the company also stopped paying hotels and resorts for reservations, leaving many consumers with no choice but to pay their hotels a second time for their stay. BookIt also closed its call centers so consumers had no way to contact the company to seek a refund.