RSS Tourism News

Interest in 2021 Travel Is on the Rise

Finally. Travellers are preparing to pack their bags and take to the air, road and sea again, according to anecdotal reports from travel advisors, who said bookings are gaining momentum for 2021 and beyond.

“Interest for 2021 travel began to rise in the past few weeks for myself and for my colleagues,” said Becky Lukovic of Bella Travel Planning, a Travel Experts affiliate. “The requests are still pretty all over the place: Hawaii, Caribbean, Colorado, Italy and Greece. A number [of clients] have started actually booking their plans with refundable arrangements or cancel for any reason insurance.”

For Richard Turen of Churchill & Turen, clients’ interest has been increasing over the past three months. “Bookings for 2021 are within 15 percent of ‘normal,’” he said. “The number of guests planning more than one international trip in the 24 months beginning Jan. 1 is very close to the number that just have one trip deposited.”

Claire Schoeder of Elevations Travel, a Signature Travel Network affiliate, said she is witnessing an uptick in 2021 business, especially for the summer and fall in Europe. “Clients are optimistic that cases will decline and countries will once again be open,” she said. “Discussion of rapid tests at airports is helping, and some clients are optimistic about a vaccine.”

Both Schoeder and Turen noted that their cruise bookings have also been picking up steam.

“Surprisingly, the trust in cruise protocols seems to be way ahead of expressed uncertainties about the components that make up group touring involving travel by motorcoach. The consumer media may have gotten this one wrong,” Turen said.

What comes as less of a surprise is that agents are seeing strong sales to destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. “Most of the vacations that I have booked for 2021 have been tropical beach vacations,” said Jemica Archer of TruBlue Travels. “People want to rest and relax after such an intense year. Mexico, Antigua and the Dominican Republic have been popular for us.”

While TruBlue Travels received some bookings for the first quarter of 2021, most reservations have been for the second quarter of the year. “I think people are still nervous about traveling during the pandemic – but I will say about 50 percent of my inquiries for travel have converted into reservations.”

For her part, Sarah Kline of Time for Travel is seeing a boost in Caribbean and Mexico inquiries for the first quarter of next year. “My spring 2021-2022 weddings are booking in full force,” she said. “I am getting inquiries from new couples, as well as robust bookings from guests attending spring 2021 weddings. I think it’s because other family members are going so it feels safe.”

Although James Berglie of Be All Inclusive said he continues to receive a few cancellations from guests within groups that were already booked before the pandemic struck, there is nonetheless some good news. “At the same time, we are now seeing an equal number of guests requesting to upgrade their stays to higher-end room categories, and/or requesting to lengthen their stays,” he said. “Additionally we’ve seen a big increase in last-minute reservations, [for those] traveling within the next one-to-two months,” he said.

Berglie, too, noted that clients are expressing interest in Mexico and Caribbean destinations.

“Mexico and the Dominican Republic remain at the top of our guests’ lists as they are honestly narrowing down destinations by the number of hoops they have to jump through with regard to COVID restrictions,” he said. “Our guests are ready to vacation, and don’t want to have to worry about travel authorizations and test requirements.”

Source: https://www.travelpulse.com/news/travel-agents/interest-in-2021-travel-is-on-the-rise.html

South Africa Tourism welcomes reopening of borders

South Africa has partially reopened its borders to international borders.

The move follows a decision from president Cyril Ramaphosa that the country would be moving to alert level one from today, thus opening up international borders for selected countries.

South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different countries.

High risk countries are those with higher numbers of Covid-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

Medium risk countries have a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa whilst low risk countries have a lesser number of Covid-19 infections and death toll in comparison to South Africa.

All travellers coming into the country will need to supply a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) Covid-19 test not older than 72 hours from the date of departure from their country.

Travellers will also be screened for any Covid-19 symptoms and be required to provide proof of accommodation address, should they need to self-quarantine.

“While many of our key source markets feature in the high-risk category, meaning that they are not able to travel to South Africa for leisure purposes yet, the environment is fluid and changes constantly.

“We remain optimistic and encouraged by the gradually phased opening of our sector and we will monitor the changes regularly, as the country lists are reviewed every two weeks,” said South Africa Tourism chief executive, Sisa Ntshona.

Source: https://www.breakingtravelnews.com/news/article/south-africa-tourism-welcomes-reopening-of-borders/

Reopening Costa Rica: Hotel Recovery in the New Normal

Supported by a WTTC Safe Travel Stamp, Costa Rica’s borders have slowly re-opened to international tourism. We chat to hotel operators on the ground about the fresh protocols, and the path to recovery.— Costa Rica Tourism Board

As the Covid-19 health crisis continues to impact the world, the question of how to re-open borders to international visitors remains the pressing focus for the global tourism sector.

While many nations are still facing lockdowns and restrictions, some have begun to re-open their borders following successful quarantine periods.

Together with its Latin American neighbors, Costa Rica was forced to temporarily close its borders back in March this year.

As a trending international destination – increasingly popular for its vibrant culture, tropical Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, and innovative approach to sustainable tourism – Costa Rica’s local industry felt the lockdown acutely, not least of all its hotel operators.

Thankfully, supported by a range of new health and safety protocols, Costa Rica is slowly welcoming back its international visitors. The nation recently received a World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travel Stamp, which covers over 16 new industry-wide safety protocols.

In July, Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura Sancho announced a phased re-opening to international air traffic, with flights initially from the EU, UK and Canada permitted to return as of August 1.

On August 19, this list was expanded to include Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), South America (Uruguay), and Asia (citizens and residents of Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and the People’s Republic of China).

As of September 1, residents of nine US states – Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington D.C. –  were permitted to enter Costa Rica. On September 15, residents of three more states – Colorado, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania – will be added to the list.

Travelers to Costa Rica are also now able to arrive on international health insurance policies (as well as two local options), provided they cover sufficiently for Covid-19. Encouraging news for travelers, and a promising sign of things to come for the local industry.

THE NEW REALITY

And though an impending arrival of English, European and Canadian visitors this month and beyond marks a promising addition, hotel operators are viewing the August 1 lift as the first of many ‘baby steps’ towards pre-Covid occupancy levels.

“Right now, national tourism is rising rapidly,” says Montserrat Quesada, Marketing Coordinator at Costa Rica’s El Mangroove Hotel on Panama Beach.

“On the other hand, international tourism will probably take longer, since there is still lots of uncertainty.”

According to General Manager of The Intercontinental Hotel Costa Rica, Ricardo Menendez, the prompt >re-opening of key flight corridors in the region – particularly with the U.S. – is the next vital step for the industry’s resurgence.

Costa Rica saw 3.14 million visitors in 2019, with 53 percent coming from the U.S.

“For demand to reactivate it’s important that the borders with the United States and Latin America are opened, since they are our main markets,” says Menendez.

“These have been very challenging months,” he adds, “with a new reality.”

CONFIDENCE THROUGH SAFETY

In this new reality safety comes first. Hotel health and safety protocols have become central to re-building the industry, keeping guests healthy and safe while bolstering consumer confidence.

Hotels like El Mangroove and The Intercontinental continue to work energetically alongside the government, Costa Rica Tourism Board and Ministry of Health on every mandated rule and regulation in preparation for the foreign visitors to come.

“During the past few months, while the hotel was closed, our team worked rigorously to implement all safety protocols, make all necessary changes, and train staff to be ready to welcome guests back,” says Quesada.

“We’ve implemented measures such as temperature checks at check in, luggage disinfection, sanitizing stations throughout the properties, social distancing measures at restaurants and event spaces, and deep cleaning of every room.”

Investing in technology and supplies to guarantee the wellbeing of its future guests, The Intercontinental has installed thermographic cameras for taking temperature, alcohol dispensers in all areas including entrances, restaurants, lounges and elevators, and implemented thorough staff training sessions, supported by the Cleveland Clinic and Ecolab.

Along with mandated facemask usage, and clear social distancing signage, both operators see this raft of measures as something that’ll likely exist for the long haul.

Meanwhile, local airports are doing their part to maintain vigilance against the spread, with San José’s Juan Santamaría International (SJO) and Liberia’s Daniel Oduber (LIR) airports, continuing to follow strict safety and cleaning protocols.

SPECIFIC PROTOCOL FOR THE TOURISM SECTOR

The fresh industry protocols mark a significant shift for the sector, all underscored and according to a recent paper by Costa Rica Tourism and the Ministry of Health.

As well as general guest regulation, the protocols highlight specific rules for venues, PCOs, vendors and suppliers as well as hotels with meeting spaces – while events can happen again as per the pre-Covid era, enhanced procedures will be in place to ensure the safety of attending guests, including a range of social distancing measures for venue seating configurations and all banquet-style sit-down setups.

Trade fairs will again be able to take place, but with a format allowing for one person at a time, by appointment, and a maximum of two exhibitors at each booth.

While it’s great news that conferences and meetings will again be welcome back at Costa Rica’s hotels, there’s a good chance this transition back from ‘virtual to tangible’ is going to eventuate over an extended period, with Zoom-style formats likely to last the distance, regardless of loosened Covid regulations.

Quesada agrees: “We think that virtual and hybrid events will keep standing out for large meetings, adding that ‘measures such as deep cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection procedures and the use of personal protection equipment will be kept in the long run.’”

In the event that guests or staff are exposed to the virus – or suspected to have been exposed during their stay at the hotel – they’ll be required to undergo a medical assessment through, and comply with the broader directives of the Costa Rican Ministry of Health.

PROJECTING INTO THE FUTURE

Though it might still be closed to vital markets, the August 1 re-opening can only be seen as a promising step in the right direction.

“We hope to see an increase in international travel towards the end of the year, and hopefully a reactivation on the groups and incentives business for the second half of 2021,” says Quesada.

“U.S. travelers have always been one of our top visitors, so in a post-Covid environment we expect to see them traveling to Costa Rica, hopefully as much as before Covid,” adds Menendez.

As for the travelers’ end, visitors permitted to enter Costa Rica will need to provide a negative PCR test upon arrival, as well as a completed online Health Pass. In a fluid situation, against a shifting backdrop, Costa Rica is leading the way to recovery in the post-pandemic world: a template for others in the region to follow.

“We are striving to ensure guest safety and tranquility,” says Quesada, “and we are thrilled to see guests coming back.”

Source: https://skift.com/2020/09/09/reopening-costa-rica-hotel-recovery-covid-19/

Where can I go on holiday? Here’s the lowdown on European travel country by country

Planning your next vacation already?

As it may be hard to get your bearings with all the restrictions amid COVID-19 pandemic, Euronews has broken down everything you need to know before travelling to Europe, country by country.

Austria

You may enter the country: if you have only been residing in a country where the COVID-19 situation has been stable for the past ten days.

Austrian authorities have listed the “safe” countries: Andorra, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (only the Canary Islands), Czech Republic, Hungary, Vatican, United Kingdom and Cyprus.

You shall provide a negative PCR test: if you are travelling from any third country.

More information can be found in the ordinance from the Minister for Social Affairs and Health.

Belgium

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU or the Schengen Area.

You shall provide a negative PCR test and will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are travelling from any of the “red zones”.

Belgium authorities have listed the “red zones”: Andorra, Austria (province of Vienna), Croatia (provinces of Split-Dalmatia, Brod-Posavina, Zadar, Sibenik-Knin, Dubrovnik-Neretva, Požega-Slavonia, Virovitica-Podravina and Lika-Senj, Czech Republic (Prague, Central Bohemia, Southwest, Northeast and Southeast regions), France (Paris and many French departments), Hungary (Budapest), Monaco, Netherlands (provinces of South-Holland and North-Holland), Romania, Spain (except for the islands of Tenerife, El Hierro, La Gomera and La Palma), Switzerland (cantons of Freiburg and Vaud) and United Kingdom (North West region).

All people travelling to/through Belgium for at least 48 hours now must fill out a passenger locator form.

More information can be found on the Belgium Minister for Foreign Affairs website.

Bulgaria

You may enter the country: if you are a resident from the EU, Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.

Additionally, citizens from Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, Moldova, Israel, Kuwait, Belarus and Turkey are permitted into Bulgaria without restrictions.

You shall provide a negative PCR test: if you are travelling from any third country.

More information can be found on the COVID-19 Bulgarian website.

Croatia

You may enter the country: if you are from the EU or Schengen Area.

You shall provide a negative PCR test and proof of paid accommodation: if you are travelling from any third country. If not, you will be subject to a 14-day quarantine or self-isolation measures.

More information can be found on the EnterCroatia website.

Cyprus

You may enter the country: if you are from Canada, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway or Thailand — providing you got the Cyprus flight pass.

You shall provide a negative PCR test: if you are travelling from Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Vatican, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

You may not enter the country: if you are travelling from any third country — except for special permissions and permanent Cyprus residents returning home.

More information can be found on the Cyprus Flight Pass website.

Czech Republic

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU or Schengen Area.

You shall provide a negative PCR test or undergo a period of quarantine: if you are travelling from Spain or from any non-EU country where there is a high risk of infection.

_More information can be found on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs website._

Denmark

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU or Schengen Area.

You shall justify your travel and provide a negative PCR test: if you are travelling from Andorra, Belgium, Croatia, France, Luxembourg, Monaco, Malta, Romania, San Marino, Spain and the Czech Republic or any third-country national — tourism will not be allowed.

You may not enter the country: if you are showing clear symptoms such as dry cough and fever.

More information can be found on the Danish police website.

Estonia

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU or Schengen Area.

You shall be subject to a 14-day restriction of freedom of movement: if you are travelling from any country with an infection rate above 16. You may shorten this period by getting a PCR test.

More information can be found on the Minister for Foreign Affairs website.

Finland

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU or Schengen Area.

Family members of Finnish citizens may also enter the country regardless of nationality.

You need to justify your travel: if you are travelling from Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

_More information can be found on the Finnish guidelines for travellers website._

France

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU or Schengen Area.

You shall provide a negative PCR test: if you are travelling from Algeria, Bahrain, India, Israel, Kuwait, Madagascar, Oman, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Serbia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates or the United States.

You will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival, cannot show the results of a PCR test or come from any third country (for specific imperious reasons only).

More information can be found on the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs website.

Germany

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU or Schengen Area.

You shall provide a negative PCR test: if you have spent time in a “high risk” country (where the infection rate is above 50) in the past 14 days.

_More information can be found on the Federal Foreign Office website. _

Greece

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU or Schengen Area.

You shall provide a negative PCR test: if you are travelling from Bulgaria, Romania, United Arab Emirates, Malta, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia.

All people travelling to Greece must fill out a passenger locator form.

More information can be found on the Greek government website.

Hungary

You shall provide a negative PCR test and justify your travel: if you are a resident from any foreign country (essential travel only).

Citizens of Visegrad Group Countries only need to provide a PCR test.

You will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are a Hungarian national returning from abroad

More information can be found on the Hungarian consulate website.

Iceland

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from Denmark, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Norway and Germany without restriction.

You will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are travelling from any other country in the EU/Schengen Area (essential travel only).

You may not enter the country: if you are travelling from any third country.

More information can be found on the Icelandic Ministry for Health website).

Ireland

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU or Schengen Area.

You shall be subject to a 14-day restriction of movement: if you are travelling from any location that is not on the COVID-19 Irish green list — which includes Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Slovakia.

All people travelling to Ireland must fill out a passenger locator form.

More information can be found on the Irish government website.

Italy

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU, Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.

You shall provide a negative PCR test: if you are travelling from Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain

You will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are travelling from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Rwanda, Republic of Korea, Romania Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

You will be subject to a period of quarantine and need to justify your travel: if you are travelling from any third country

You may not enter the country: if you are travelling from Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Kuwait, North Macedonia, Moldova, Oman, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic / Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Colombia (for non-EU nationals only).

All people travelling to Italy must fill out a self-declaration.

Latvia

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU and the Schengen Area.

You will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are travelling from a country where the infection rate is above 16 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Only travellers Lithuania, Finland, Liechtenstein, Cyprus and the Vatican are not affected for now in Europe.

All people travelling to Latvia must fill out a questionnaire.

Lithuania

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU, the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.

You shall provide a negative PCR test and will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are travelling from a country where the infection rate is above 25 cases per 100,000 inhabitants

All people travelling to Lithuania must fill out a form.

Luxembourg

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU, the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.

You may not enter the country: if you are travelling for any third country.

Malta

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU, the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.

You shall provide a negative PCR test: if you are travelling from France (all Paris airports and Marseille), Romania, Spain (from Barcelona, Girona, Madrid), Tunisia and the Czech Republic.

You may not enter the country: if you are a third-country national or if you have not spent at least 14 days in one of the countries allowed before reaching Malta.

Netherlands

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU, the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.

You will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are travelling from countries labelled as “orange” by the Netherlands (Andorra, Aruba, Bulgaria, Croatia, Malta, Romania, St. Maarten, Spain, Monaco, Greek islands and various departments in France, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, United Kingdom, Cyprus, Slovenia, Slovakia and Hungary).

Norway

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU, the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.

You will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are travelling from a country with more than 20 cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the last two weeks and more than 5 per cent positive tests on average per week over the last two weeks — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and some parts of Denmark, Finland and Sweden are the only exceptions at the moment.

Poland

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU and the Schengen Area.

You will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are travelling to your Polish place of residency from outside the EU/Schengen.

You may not enter the country: if you are travelling from any third country.

Note that following international locations have been banned from landing in Poland: Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Brazil, Bahrain, Spain, Israel, Qatar, Kuwait, Libya, Argentina, Chile, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Colombia, Costa Rica, Lebanon, Maldives, Namibia, Moldova, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Cape Verde, United States, Bolivia and the Bahamas.

Portugal

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU, the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.

You shall provide a negative PCR test: if you are travelling to the archipelagos of Madeira or the Azores.

You shall provide a negative PCR test and justify your travel: if you are travelling a third country (essential travel only).

Romania

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU, the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.

You will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are travelling from a country with a high incidence rate (Luxembourg, Malta and some regions in Spain).

Note that direct passenger flights from Sweden, Portugal, UK, USA, Iran and Turkey are suspended.

Slovakia

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU and the Schengen Area.

You shall provide a negative PCR test and will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are travelling from another country than the ones that were tagged as “safe” — Australia, Austria, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Slovenia

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU, the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.

You will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are travelling from a country with more than 40 cases per 100,000 inhabitants

Slovenian authorities listed the countries where the restriction does not apply: Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Hungary, Germany, Norway, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, Slovakia, Uruguay, United Kingdom and the Vatican.

Spain

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU, the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom without restriction.

Sweden

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom without restriction.

You may not enter the country: if you are travelling from any third country (except for essential travels).

Switzerland

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU, the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.

You will be subject to aperiod of quarantine: if you are travelling from a country defined as presenting a high risk of infection.

The Swiss authorities have listed the areas with a high risk of infection: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, The Bahamas, Bahrain, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Gibraltar, Guyana, Honduras, India, Iraq, Israel, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Namibia, North Macedonia, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Sint Maarten, Spain, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America and most French regions.

United Kingdom

You may enter the country: if you are travelling from the EU and the Schengen Area.

You will be subject to a period of quarantine: if you are travelling from a country which is not on the UK corridor list.

The UK corridor list has been established as follows: Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Azores, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, Gibraltar, Germany, Greece (except the islands of Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos, Greenland, Grenada, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macao, Madeira, Malaysia, Mauritius, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, Poland, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, St Barthélemy, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vatican City State and Vietnam.

All people travelling to the United Kingdom must fill out a passenger locator form.

Source: https://www.euronews.com/2020/09/18/where-can-i-go-on-holiday-here-s-the-lowdown-on-european-travel-country-by-country

Execs Say US Cruises Could Restart, Based on Success in Europe

Cruise industry stakeholders in the U.S. are optimistic that cruising’s largely successful restart in Europe bodes well for the American cruise industry.

Cruise executives have cited this European precedent in their efforts to get the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift its ‘No Sail Order,’ which is currently set to expire on September 30, but which many expect will be extended following the agency’s review. The deadline to respond to the CDC’s request for public input about the potential resumption of large- and small-ship cruising is just days away, reported Travel Weekly.

MSC Cruises and Italian line, Costa Cruises, resumed activities in August and early September at limited passenger capacities, with strict health and safety measures in place and starting with one ship each. Both now plan on launching second ships to continue sailing the Mediterranean.

Such smaller-ship operations as Hurtigruten, SeaDream Yacht Club and Ponant Cruises had already been operating in Europe, beginning as early as June. Among them, only Hurtigruten reported a large-scale COVID-19 outbreak, which occurred in August and forced the company to suspend sailing on all three of its ships.

Hurtigruten’s CEO, Daniel Skjeldam, issued an apology and attributed the onboard infection to weaknesses in the cruise line’s internal processes. It turned out that crew members from the Phillippines had been COVID-tested prior to departing their country, but weren’t re-tested upon arrival in Norway, prior to boarding the ship, and infected individual(s) must have slipped through.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio told Miami-Dade County officials earlier this month that the cruise industry’s recent successes in Europe ought to prove to the CDC that U.S. cruise lines could also safely resume service, as long as the proper protocols are in place.

“We are so happy to see MSC and Aida and Costa cruise in Europe,” Del Rio said. “It proves it can be done. I am 100% certain our protocols are second to none and it will be safe to cruise from America.”

Rick Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises USA, told lawmakers that the European arm of MSC Cruises, “shows that cruising can be done safely. The protocols we put in place for our first cruises in Europe are working effectively.” He pointed to the “close collaboration” of MSC and European authorities as a key element of coming up with effective protocols and standards. “We are ready to work with authorities in the U.S. directly to plan for a safe and successful start of cruising in the U.S.,” Sasso said.

Cruise executives and health experts have also postulated that cruise lines are now better prepared to identify and isolate infected passengers, and, in at least four cases, one passenger had come down with COVID-19, but the virus didn’t spread to anyone else onboard.

“That ability to contain an infection if one occurs on a ship is critical,” Dr. Jewel Mullen, an associate dean at the University of Texas Austin’s Dell Medical School and an advisor to Carnival Corp. “I think it’s really encouraging to see no subsequent spread.” She opined that a successful cruising restart would depend upon a combination of testing, onboard protocols (and the willingness to observe them) and what passengers do during the fourteen days before and after a cruise, even if they are asymptomatic.

Source: https://www.travelpulse.com/news/cruise/execs-say-us-cruises-could-restart-based-on-success-in-europe.html

More Than 50%of Global Destinations Are Easing Travel Restrictions – but Caution Remains

A majority of destinations around the world (53%) have now started easing travel restrictions introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though many remain cautious in view of the development of the pandemic, the seventh edition of the UNWTO “COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism” confirms the ongoing trend towards the gradual restart of tourism.

Analysing restrictions up to 1 September, the research carried out by the United Nations specialized agency for tourism found that a total of 115 destinations (53% of all destinations worldwide) have eased travel restrictions, an increase of 28 since 19 July. Of these, two have lifted all restrictions, while the remaining 113 continue to have certain restrictive measures in place.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Coordinated leadership and enhanced cooperation between governments means tourism is slowly but steadily restarting in many parts of the world. Starting to ease restrictions on travel opens also the doors for tourism’s social and economic benefits to return. While we must remain vigilant and cautious, we are concerned about those destinations with ongoing full travel restrictions, especially where tourism is a lifeline and economic and social development are under threat.”

Deepening tourism intelligence

Coordinated leadership and enhanced cooperation between governments means tourism is slowly but steadily restarting in many parts of the world

For the first time, the COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions report includes key data on the health and hygiene infrastructure in place at destinations, while also analysing rate of notifications of new COVID-19 cases. This allows UNWTO to determine the factors that are influencing destinations’ decisions to ease restrictions. Notably, the report shows:

Destinations which have eased travel restrictions generally have high or very high levels of health and hygiene infrastructure. They also tend to have comparatively low COVID-19 infection rates.Within advanced economies, 79% of tourism destinations have already eased restrictions. In emerging economies, just 47% of destinations have done so.64% of those destinations which have eased have a high or medium dependence on air as a mode of transport for international tourism arrivals.

At the same time, the report shows that many destinations around the world are extremely cautious about easing travel restrictions they introduced in response to the pandemic and some have passed severe measures in an attempt to keep their citizens safe. 93 destinations (43% of all worldwide destinations) continue to have their borders completely closed to tourism, of which 27 have had their borders completely closed for at least 30 weeks.

Furthermore, more than half of all destinations with borders completely closed to tourism are classified as being among the World’s Most Vulnerable Countries. They include 10 SIDS (Small Island Developing States), one Least Developed Country (LDC) and three Land-Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs). More than half of destinations with full restrictions still in place are also highly dependent on aviation, with at least 70% of their tourist arrivals coming by air, causing significant connectivity impacts for their citizens and economies.

UNWTO continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism. From the start, the UN specialized agency has advised that the situation is fluid and that, even as tourism restarts in some regions, in others, restrictions may be tightened and borders re-closed. Similarly, UNWTO has observed a rise in travel advisories being issued by governments for their own citizens, alongside more and varied restrictions and other measures directed at passengers arriving from specific countries or regions. 

Source: https://www.hotelnewsresource.com/article112420.html

Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay Resort to Open December 2020 in China

Accor announces its first Fairmont Resort in Greater China, in partnership with Hainan Keenwin Holdings. The newly refurbished Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay is set to open in December 2020 following extensive renovations to the property.

Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay is situated along the beautiful golden coastline of Haitang Bay. With views towards the diver’s paradise of Wuzhizhou Island and Yajia Daling Mountains, the resort has the best Feng Shui to bring harmony between travellers and nature.

Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay features a team of star designers and architects, which includes world-renowned interior designer Nick Winai Suansalee from Leo Design Group as well as landscape architecture by Francis Leung, the former Design Director of Belt Collins. The resort has the formal symmetry often found in imperial palaces, and offers a number of exquisite architectural gems that are destinations in their own right. In accordance with ancient Chinese architectural principles, a pair of Watchtowers forms the portal to the resort. Covered Lounge Bridges made from stone arches act as pathways to the lobby pavilion, providing rest, shelter and vistas of intricate cornices against the green surrounds. Within the lobby, precious detailed wood carvings on walls and ceiling friezes took more than two years to complete and demonstrate a sense of grandeur and profoundness. Its unique 1,200-meter long river is the world’s first sea water canal running within a hotel. Guests can take a dragon boat ride to reach guestrooms and all other hotel facilities whilst enjoying the ever-changing scenery and amazing landscapes. For those who wish to learn more about the resort’s relics, the Wood Art Gallery is a courtyard house boasting fine furnishings and artefacts from both the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty.

A spokesperson for the Sanya Tourism, Culture, Radio, Television and Sports Bureau said, “Sanya has been instrumental towards the development of Hainan as an international hub of tourism and consumption. The lush tropical paradise has grown its place on the world tourism map with features second to none. As a unique tax-free zone, Sanya will continue to attract the most recognisable international names to join this blessed land. The arrival of Fairmont at Sanya will be a milestone highlight of the year and a prime offering to travellers and locals alike.”

With only an eight-minute drive from Sanya Haitang Bay International Duty-Free Shopping Complex, the resort offers 523 guestrooms and suites as well as residential apartments, with some of these accommodations set within a new Fairmont Gold Tower. Fairmont Gold is the brand’s premier lifestyle concept of a ‘hotel within a hotel’ providing the highest level VIP services for the most discerning leisure and business guests. Contemporary furnishings with generous use of wood, textured carpets, soothing upholstery and soft leather enhance the relaxed elegance of the rooms. The resort is complemented by a distinctive villa area and features a 9-hole golf course.

The resort is home to a number of unforgettable dining destinations. All-day Restaurant Veranda demonstrates its authentic style through interactive dining with a global selection of market-fresh food, highlighting Southeast Asian elements and flamed-barbequed seafood selections. Chinese Restaurant Yuen Court is the place for fine Cantonese cuisine alongside contemporary Hainanese treasures. Ocean Lounge boasts the best panoramic resort vista for an afternoon tea with refreshing ocean breezes or evening drinks and tantalising worldly tapas plates against a stunning seaside setting. Culinary creativity knows no bounds, with unparalleled experiences from personalised themed dining at historic Chinese buildings to a sumptuous river feast, with countless picturesque settings throughout the resort.

Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay’s conference and banquet facilities include a 1,500sqm pillarless ballroom, nine meeting rooms, and a VIP function room, welcoming guests to celebrate special occasions, milestones and other important gatherings amid grand settings. Couples ready to commit can say ‘I do’ in a romantic Chinese inspired wedding pavilion set within a lush tropical garden.

The resort’s leisure amenities include a tranquil Willow Stream Spa, well-appointed Fairmont Fit gym, three outdoor swimming pools, kids’ club with indoor and outdoor play area, and a truly intimate Fairmont Gold Lounge.

“With the roll-out of the masterplan for Hainan Free Trade Port, Hainan Island will create impactful opportunities mostly with tourism services and high-tech industries. It is perfect timing for the arrival of Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay to China’s largest special economic zone, as Hainan continues to transform into a major international trading, financial and shipping center,” said Gary Rosen, Accor Greater China’s Chairman and Chief Operating Officer. “With Fairmont properties already in some of the world’s most famous destinations, the Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay will notably become a focal point of the Island and will exceed our leisure and MICE guests’ expectations with outstanding facilities and services. Turning special moments into lasting memories that could only be found at Fairmont.”

Li Liming, Hainan Keenwin Holdings’ Chairman, said: “We are confident to work with Accor on the operations of our property at Haitang Bay through its iconic luxury brand Fairmont, which is known across the globe for landmark hotels with unrivalled presence. We are very proud of this resort, well situated on Hainan Free Trade Port a unique destination in China. We anticipate that with the expertise of Accor and the brand excellence of Fairmont, we will be able to capture new markets once Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay is launched.”

Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay will open in December 2020 following extensive renovations to the property. The hotel joins a prestigious collection of some of the world’s most extraordinary hotels including the Fairmont San Francisco, Plaza New York and The Savoy London, both managed by Fairmont; the Fairmont Peace Hotel Shanghai; Fairmont Banff Springs; Fairmont Ajman; and the Fairmont Century Plaza Los Angeles.

Source: https://www.hotelnewsresource.com/article112437.html 

UNWTO Highlights Potential Of Domestic Tourism To Help Drive Economic Recovery In Destinations Worldwide

As restrictions on travel begin to ease globally, destinations around the world are focusing on growing domestic tourism, with many offering incentives to encourage people to explore their own countries. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), with domestic tourism set to return faster than international travel, this represents an opportunity for both developed and developing countries to recover from the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recognizing the importance of domestic tourism, the United Nations specialized agency has released the third of its Tourism and COVID-19 Briefing Notes, -Understanding Domestic Tourism and Seizing its Opportunities.- UNWTO data shows that in 2018, around 9 billion domestic tourism trips were made worldwide – six times the number of international tourist arrivals (1.4 billion in 2018). The publication identifies ways in which destinations around the world are taking proactive steps to grow domestic tourism, from offering bonus holidays for workers to providing vouchers and other incentives to people travelling in their own countries.

Domestic tourism to drive recovery

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “UNWTO expects domestic tourism to return faster and stronger than international travel. Given the size of domestic tourism, this will help many destinations recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic, while at the same time safeguarding jobs, protecting livelihoods and allowing the social benefits tourism offers to also return.”

The briefing note also shows that, in most destinations, domestic tourism generates higher revenues than international tourism. In OECD nations, domestic tourism accounts for 75% of total tourism expenditure, while in the European Union, domestic tourism expenditure is 1.8 times higher than inbound tourism expenditure. Globally, the largest domestic tourism markets in terms of expenditure are the United States with nearly US$ 1 trillion, Germany with US$ 249 billion, Japan US$ 201 billion, the United Kingdom with US$ 154 billion and Mexico with US$ 139 billion.

Initiatives to boost domestic tourism

Given the value of domestic tourism and current trends, increasing numbers of countries are taking steps to grow their markets, UNWTO reports. This new Briefing Note provides case studies of initiatives designed to stimulate domestic demand. These include initiatives focused on marketing and promotion as well as financial incentives. Examples of countries taking targeted steps to boost domestic tourist numbers include:

  • In Italy, the Bonus Vacanze initiative offers families with incomes of up to EUR 40,000 contributions of up to EUR 500 to spend in domestic tourism accommodation.
  • Malaysia allocated US$113 million worth of travel discount vouchers as well as personal tax relief of up to US$227 for expenditure related to domestic tourism.
  • Costa Rica moved all holidays of 2020 and 2021 to Mondays for Costa Ricans to enjoy long weekends to travel domestically and to extend their stays.
  • France launched the campaign #CetÉtéJeVisiteLaFrance (‘This Summer, I visit France’) highlighting the diversity of destinations across the country.
  • Argentina announced the creation of an Observatory for Domestic Tourism to provide a better profile of Argentine tourists.
  • Thailand will subsidize 5 million nights of hotel accommodation at 40% of normal room rates for up to five nights.


Source: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4100617.html

England introduces virus quarantine for Greek islands

England on Monday added seven Greek islands to its coronavirus quarantine list, but the mainland remains exempt, as the government seeks a more targeted way to limit new cases from abroad.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said anyone arriving from Lesbos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini or Zakynthos from 0300 GMT on Wednesday must self-isolate for a fortnight.

At the same time, Britain’s foreign ministry warned against all but essential travel to the seven islands, many of the popular destinations for British tourists, particularly young people.

The UK began introducing quarantine in June as one way to stop new infections of coronavirus, which has killed more than 41,500 people — the worst death toll from the pandemic in Europe.

But changes made with little notice and confusion over different policies in different UK nations — notably England and Scotland — sparked anger in the travel industry and frustration among tourists.

Shapps said quarantine measures could not be targeted at specific regions within countries as there was too much movement between high and low risk areas, but islands had natural boundaries.

“Through the use of enhanced data, we will now be able to pinpoint risk in some of the most popular islands, providing increased flexibility to add or remove them — distinct from the mainland — as infection rates change,” he said.

Scotland has introduced quarantine measures for arrivals from the whole of Greece, while Wales also has restrictions on six islands.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/travel/2020/09/08/england-introduces-virus-quarantine-for-greek-islands.html

Taj Mahal to reopen even as virus rages in India

A low number of tourists are seen at Taj Mahal amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Agra on March 16, 2020. (AFP/Pawan Sharma)

India’s top tourist attraction the Taj Mahal is set to reopen more than six months after it was shut, officials said Tuesday, even as the vast nation battles soaring coronavirus infections.

India, home to 1.3 million people, on Monday overtook Brazil to become the world’s second most-infected nation with more than 4.2 million cases, behind only the United States.

“The Taj Mahal will reopen on September 21. All COVID-19 protocols, like physical distancing, masks will be followed,” northern Uttar Pradesh state’s Tourism Department deputy director Amit Srivastava told AFP.

Visitors will be limited to 5,000 a day, down from the usual daily average of 20,000, he added.

One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the shining marble mausoleum south of the capital New Delhi has been closed since mid-March as part of India’s strict virus lockdown.

Uttar Pradesh, home to Agra city where the Taj is located, is one of the worst-hit states in India with more than 270,000 virus cases recorded so far.

India has pushed ahead with reopening to boost its virus-battered economy even as infections have steadily increased.

Since August, India has been reporting the highest single-day rises in the world.