The Future of Travel in the Covid-19 Era

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After being shut down for nearly a year and a half, international travel has started to pick up again, with countries in the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe paving the way. The reopening of borders has been far from straightforward as the world negotiates inequities in Covid-19 containment, vaccine access, and economic recovery. And everything can change in an instant.

For airlines, airports, cruise lines, and hotels, the new normal is increasingly looking like the old normal; While advanced cleaning protocols are (happily) here to stay, social distancing and even mask requirements have started to peel away. A lack of cohesive guidelines from governing authorities mean that protocols are being patched together by individual properties and companies, leaving consumers to wade through fine print and determine what fits their risk thresholds.

If the wealthiest initially set the tone for the future of nonessential travel, the masses are now unleashing a storm of pent-up demand that has caused prices to multiply and availability to evaporate. Compounding those issues are labor shortages in many popular vacation destinations, already slim inventory gobbled up by last year’s cancelations, and a hampered import market that’s making it impossible to get a rental car or wrap up that hotel renovation. Consumers may feel safe traveling again, but it’s going to be a bumpy rebound.

Those of us who remain stuck in place can still daydream. According to the National Institutes of Health, simply planning a trip can spark immeasurable joy—and there’s high hope that the ongoing challenges of availability and border restrictions will iron themselves out by 2022. Getting into an adventurous frame of mind can remind us of the power of travel—not only in the billions of dollars in daily economic activity but also to forge cross-cultural connections and bring us closer to those we love.

By The Numbers

  • $150 million The amount of cash U.S.-based airlines were losing on a daily basis as of March 2021.
  • 1.2 million Average increase of daily travelers passing through TSA checkpoints in June 2021, compared to June 2020. The number still represents roughly a 30% decline from 2019 figures.
  • 67 Percentage of people who would feel confident traveling once vaccinated.

Why It Matters

It’s not just your vacation or business trip that’s on the line. The travel industry customarily accounts for 10% of the global economy, rippling to the remotest corners of the world. Each trip a person takes sets off a domino effect of consumption that directs dollars to airlines, hoteliers, restaurateurs, taxi drivers, artisans, tour guides, and shopkeepers, to name a few. In all, the tourism industry employs 300 million people. Especially in developing countries, these jobs can present pathways out of poverty and opportunities for cultural preservation.

In 2020, the pandemic put a third of all tourism jobs at risk, and airlines around the world said they needed as much as $200 billion in bailouts. By December, the World Tourism Organization had tallied $935 billion in global losses from the tourism standstill, and was estimating that the ripple effects would result in a total economic decline exceeding $2 trillion. Even with international tourism now cautiously reopening, the organization expects that the world will not return to 2019 tourism levels until 2023.

According to data from the World Travel and Tourism Council, every 1% increase in international arrivals adds $7.23 billion to the world’s cumulative gross domestic product. Any improvement in this sector is significant—and it’s just beginning.

Americans, who have easy access to vaccines and command an overwhelming share of the international travel market, are back on the road; two-thirds intend to take a trip in 2021. In the U.S., flight capacity has climbed back to 84% of 2019 levels. The questions are what it will take for the rest of the world to catch up and how the industry must evolve to be flexible at handling future Covid-19 variants so travelers will feel safe and willing to spend.

Grounded for many months, airlines are beefing up their summer schedules—though the number of flights will be a fraction of their pre-pandemic frequency. Airports are still mostly ghost towns (some have even been taken over by wildlife), and international long-distance travel is all but dead. Around the globe, the collapse of the tourist economy has bankrupted hotels, restaurants, bus operators, and car rental agencies—and thrown an estimated 100 million people out of work.

With uncertainty and fear hanging over traveling, no one knows how quickly tourism and business travel will recover, whether we will still fly as much, and what the travel experience will look like once new health security measures are in place. One thing is certain: Until then, there will be many more canceled vacations, business trips, weekend getaways, and family reunions.

Travel will normalize more quickly in safe zones that coped well with COVID-19, such as between South Korea and China, or between Germany and Greece. But in poorer developing countries struggling to manage the pandemic, such as India or Indonesia, any recovery will be painfully slow.

All this will change the structure of future global travel. Many will opt not to move around at all, especially the elderly. Tourists who experiment with new locations in their safe zones or home countries will stick to new habits. Countries with strong pandemic records will deploy them as tourism marketing strategies—discover Taiwan! Much the same will be true for business, where ease of travel and a new sense of common destiny within each safe zone will restructure investment along epidemiological lines.

With the support of IATA and others, the International Civil Aviation Organization developed a global restart plan to keep people safe when traveling. Restart measures will be bearable for those who need to travel, with universal implementation the priority. It will give governments and travelers the confidence that the system has strong biosafety protections. And it should give regulators the confidence to remove or adjust measures in real time as risk levels change and technology advances.

Contributors: Nikki Ekstein

Source: The Future of Travel in the Covid-19 Era – Bloomberg

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Critics:

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the tourism industry due to the resulting travel restrictions as well as slump in demand among travelers. The tourism industry has been massively affected by the spread of coronavirus, as many countries have introduced travel restrictions in an attempt to contain its spread. The United Nations World Tourism Organization estimated that global international tourist arrivals might decrease by 58% to 78% in 2020, leading to a potential loss of US$0.9–1.2 trillion in international tourism receipts.

In many of the world’s cities, planned travel went down by 80–90%.Conflicting and unilateral travel restrictions occurred regionally and many tourist attractions around the world, such as museums, amusement parks, and sports venues closed. UNWTO reported a 65% drop in international tourist arrivals in the first six months of 2020. Air passenger travel showed a similar decline. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development released a report in June 2021 stating that the global economy could lose over US$4 trillion as a result of the pandemic.

References

Where To Find a Green Vacation Rental

Where to Find a Green Vacation Rental

If you’re thinking about booking a vacation before the leaves begin to change colors, then consider doing something a little different this year – try renting a green vacation home! Vacation rentals, instead of a hotel or campground, can let you live like a local in whichever city you choose to visit. No matter whether you’re looking for Southern charm in a city such as Charleston, South Carolina, or midcentury class in Austin, Texas, a green vacation home is just a click away thanks to the internet.

There are plenty of online marketplaces to find vacation rentals, but it takes some commitment to wade through their listings to find eco-friendly rentals. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Below you can find a few sites that cater to those who want extended leisure without being harmful toward the environment.

GetawayGreen

Whether you’re in the mood to hike a mountain, canoe down a river or relax by an ocean, GetawayGreen can get you close to nature without harming it. This community of vacation rentals spans the globe and focuses on sustainability. The site, getawaygreen.com, is exclusive to rentals with environmentally friendly features, and everyone who stays with GetawayGreen helps fight climate change thanks to the company’s green initiatives.

Every month GetawayGreen donates 10 percent of its proceeds to a charity or organization that works to reverse global climate change. If it’s just you and your significant other or an entire group that’s interested in vacationing green, then explore what GetawayGreen has to offer.

Green Vacation Hub

With an expansive list of green hotels, houses and bed-and-breakfasts, Green Vacation Hub is an efficient way to sift through hundreds of rentals with sustainable features. What makes Green Vacation Hub unique are its six areas of evaluation for lodgings: energy efficiency, water efficiency, recycling, air quality, food and fragrance-free. The site offers listings all over the world;  if there is a place you want to visit, you can do so in an environmentally friendly fashion. By visiting greenvacationhub.com, you can see all the site has to offer. It even offers tips to be more Earth-friendly when travelling.

Carolina Mornings

While this site is region-specific, Carolina Mornings offers many vacation rentals for those interested in visiting the colorful Blue Ridge Mountains in the Asheville, North Carolina, area. Carolina Mornings has many places for people to stay across the Asheville area, but distinguishes those that are eco-friendly.

Through its EcoFriendly certification program, rentals are evaluated on several criteria such as low-flow toilets, solar panels, LEDs, composting and recycling. You can see Carolina Morning’s entire list of green property features, and all of its green listings, at carolinamornings.com.

EnvironmentallyFriendlyHotels.com

Since 2005, EnvirontmentallyFriendlyHotels.com has offered green places to stay for travellers and eco tourists. Managed by HealthyStatys.com, the company has thousands of hotels and vacation rentals for people to choose from. It has a search engine that allows you to choose what you’re looking for in a rental, and ranks rentals based on a green leaf rating system.

The company also participates in 1% for the Planet, an alliance committed to donating 1 percent of sales to environmental groups across the globe, and is committed to being an eco-conscious and health-oriented business to help travellers stay green and healthy.

Other options:

Sites like Airbnb and VRBO have thousands of vacation rentals, but you’ll have to search around to find places that are specifically eco-friendly. Sometimes these sites curate lists, such as Airbnb’s “It’s Easy Being Green,” but more often than not, a quick internet search will do the trick.

By: Arthur Murray

Source: Where to Find a Green Vacation Rental – Save On Energy Blog

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New Europe Travel Bans: Covid Red Lists, Here’s What To Know

As Covid creeps up again across Europe, many countries are reimposing travel restrictions on neighbours.

As this happens, the map of Europe is being color-coded red, green and yellow.

Travelers on high-risk red lists are being shut out, either with total travel bans or quarantines. Those on green lists meantime have a green light to travel.

But n a sign of the times, Norway for example no longer ranks any zones as green in Europe or beyond.

Hungary First In EU To Reinstate Blanket Ban Foreigners

Police control EU travelers at Hungarian borders as Hungary closes to foreigners Covid
Police officers control car drivers at the Hungarian-Slovakian border on September 3, after Hungary … [+] AFP via Getty Images

The most spectacular and controversial return to shutdown EU borders came with Hungary’s decision to add all countries to its red list from September 1.

Barely two months after reopening to Schengen travelers, it’s defying the bloc’s recommendations on internal borders and travel freedoms. The measures will stay in place at least until October 1. Recommended For You

Green Lists Shrinking, Red Growing

Links to government restrictions are included in the country headings. See useful details on the Reopen Europe website too.

PROMOTED

BELGIUM

Man at Brussels airport in Belgium with mask as Covid Travel Bans return to Europe
“Travelling within Europe: pay attention to the colour code of your destination,” urges the Belgium … [+] AFP via Getty Images

Belgium in early August added many parts of Romania, France and Spain to its red list. That means a total ban on non-essential travel to those places. Travelers returning must both quarantine and test on return.

  • The current red list includes Andorra, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, Romania, many parts of Spain and France, and Scotland’s Aberdeen.

CYPRUS

  • Countries are divided in 3 categories: A (no restrictions), B (some), and C (no entry other than for citizens/residents).
  • Banned C list countries include France, Luxembourg, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro.
  • Germany, Norway, Hungary and Slovenia are among the A listers.
  • B countries must show a Covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours. They include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Czech Republics Green Red covid risk zones and destinations for travel in Europe
The same quarantine rule applies to Czech citizens returning from the red countries Czech Republic Ministry of Health

DENMARK

Denmarks yellow blue green Covid map Europe for travel bans
The Danish government’s health map of the EU, Schengen zone and the U.K. indicates “open” and … [+] Danish Police/Statens Serum Institut

FINLAND

Finland covid travel restrictions green red yellow lists for Europeans and others
Residents from mixed red-green countries face no travel restrictions either to Finland. They include … [+] Finnish Border Guard

Finland too has a red, green, yellow system, updated on August 24.

  • Italy, Hungary and Slovenia are currently among the handful of welcome green countries.
  • Most other EU/Schengen countries and the U.K. fall on the yellow list, allowing onlyessential travelers including workers to visit.
  • Family members, parents, siblings, spouses and couples are among the exceptions.

HUNGARY

A boy on scooter looks on as Hungarian police officers control drivers at border Europe
Exemptions from Hungary’s wide-reaching new travel restrictions include freight transport, … [+] AFP via Getty Images
  • Almost all foreign tourists are now on Hungary’s Red List for a month.
  • The government advises its citizens against travel to some 40 red list countries in Europe and overseas.
  • Those who do must self-quarantine for 14 days, or until they can show two negative tests taken with a two day interval.
  • Exemptions include transit passengers and Visgrad Group travelers (Poland, Czechia, Slovakia) with a negative Covid test taken within five days.

IRELAND

Men in masks by holiday advertisement Ireland no non-essential overseas travel Europe
Ireland has a Green List for travel, and a not green list, which it doesn’t officially call a red … [+] PA Images via Getty Images
  • The Green List just shrunk, even for Europeans. As of August 31, “normal precautions” and a green “security status rating” says the government, applies only to Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Slovakia.
  • With the EU Covid seesaw, this could change at any time. The list is constantly under review.

LATVIA

Latvias red list was super-sized in past days.

  • The list from the Latvian Centre for Disease Prevention and Controlshows red and yellow countries, with infections above the required threshold of 25 cases per 100,000.
  • Some 25 European red list countries include Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. They are classified as a “Serious threat to public health”.
  • Even those who transit these countries must quarantine on return. The state “discourages” travel to those places.

LITHUANIA

Map of red list countries in Europe EU and world travel bans restrictions in Lithuania
A map of “red painted” countries shows on Lithuania’s KORONA STOP government website shows how the … [+] Lithuanian Government
  • The red list of countries grew on August 31, with travelers from Belarus, Italy, Slovenia and Slovakia now also facing mandatory self-isolation on arrival.
  • Norway, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Hungary and Latvia are the only EU/Schengen countries on the green list, due to less than 16 cases/100,000 in the last 14 days. face no quarantine requirement.

NETHERLANDS

Travelers with face masks at the Schiphol airport in the Netherlands Europe during Covid
Given red and green lists are based on relative Covid risk levels, countries rated Yellow for travel … [+] SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Dutch government zones countries for Covid as Yellow (OK) and Orange (not ok, quarantine required). “Foreign travellers from countries where the health risks are similar to or lower than in the Netherlands can enter for tourism,” it says.

  • Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, Malta, Romania , Spain, Monaco and various departments in France are on the orange list.

NORWAY

Norwegian Health map of EU Europe Covid red green yellow countries
The Norwegian Institute Of Public Health map shows there are no longer any green, totally safe Covid … [+] Norwegian Institute Of Public Health

Norway has a red, green, yellow Covid map. Currently no country is marked as a restriction-free green zone. Many more Europeans were added to the “high transmission” risk red list on August 29.

  • Red List: 10-day quarantine for travelers from France, Switzerland and Sweden since August 11. Now applies to most EU/Schengen arrivals–from Portugal to Poland–and to the U.K. The few exceptions include Hungary, Slovakia, Italy and Norway.
  • Yellow list countries are exempt from quarantine, but the Norwegian Institute of Public Health still classifies them as “increased risk”.
  • The government currently advises against all overseas travel.
Norwegian people sit by lake in Oslo amid Covid EU  travel bans no travel in Europe
With Norway adding nearly all EU and Schengen countries to its red list – some 20 in all – … [+] AFP via Getty Images

SLOVENIA

Slovenia too has a color-coded system with green, yellow and red lists.

  • Those in the green category like Canada and Australia can enter restriction-free.
  • Red list countries with more than 40 Covid cases per 100,000 must quarantine for 14 days.
  • The yellow list applies mostly to EU/Schengen citizens, who face no quarantine–provided they are not coming from a red destination.
Temperature control for Covid in Slovenia amid new Europe virus wave and travel bans
Slovenia’s updated red list includes several Europeans – Albania, Andorra, Belgium, Croatia, … [+] AFP via Getty Images

U.K.

The U.K. red list comes in the form of quarantine for a growing number of countries. The Czech Republic and Switzerland are among the latest Europeans to join others like France, Croatia and Austria who no longer enjoy a quarantine-free travel corridor with England.

Showing the nation’s quarantine policy disarray, Scotlandand Wales are imposing quarantine on Greece and Portugal–both of which remain on England and Ireland’s corridor lists.

Further Reading: More Covid Tests, No Travel Bans: EU Urges Europe To Make Common Rules

empty tables on Greek island amid Covid resurgence and new wave of travel bans EU Europe
The empty tables on Meis Island in Greece say it all about the new wave of Covid travel bans and … [+] Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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Tamara Thiessen

Tamara Thiessen

I have three decades of experience as a journalist, foreign correspondent and travel writer-photographer. Working for print, digital and radio outlets on four continents, I am also a veteran hotel industry reporter and author of travel guides and cultural histories to Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Borneo. Very often on the road between my Paris and Australian bases, I write for Forbes with a globetrotters perspective and newsy edge on travel, culture, hotels, art and architecture. My passion is capturing the distinctive people, places and events I encounter along the way, both in words and pictures. I hold a degree in Professional Writing from Canberra University, an MA in European Journalism from the Université Robert Schuman Strasbourg, and am a member of the Society of American Travel Writers. A love for my wild home-island of Tasmania fuels my commitment to sustainable travel and conservation.

United Airlines Is Getting Rid Of Fee To Change Flights, Permanently

United Airlines is getting rid of change fees on domestic flights, as a measure to give passengers more flexibility with scheduling during the current coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, August 30, the Chicago-based airline announced that it will permanently let customers change flights for free on all of its standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets for travel within the United States, effective immediately.

The new policy is applicable on these types of tickets for travel within all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is said in a media release that customers will not be limited in the number of times they adjust their flights.

This move by United is said to be in response to a top request from passengers.

“When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of this fee is often the top request,” said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, in a video message. “Following previous tough times, airlines made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service. United Airlines won’t be following that same playbook as we come out of this crisis. Instead, we’re taking a completely different approach – and looking at new ways to serve our customers better.” 

Flying on Standby for Free

United's removal of change fees is said to have come from being a top customer request.
United’s removal of change fees is said to have come from being a top customer request. United

Starting next year, United will enable passengers additionally to change their flights at no additional cost in another way — same-day standby.

Beginning on January 1, 2021, United customers can choose to add themselves to the standby list for free to travel on a different flight earlier or later on the same day as their original departure. If a seat opens up, they will be able to take that other flight instead.

United’s previous flight switch fee for domestic U.S. travel was $200, and the fee to be listed for standby travel was $75; however, the carrier’s Basic Economy cabin is not included in this new policy but with the pandemic its change fees have been waved.

Southwest Airlines has preceded United in not charging change fees, even before the pandemic hit.

Extending More Waivers

United is also extending its waiver for new tickets issued through the end of 2020, to permit unlimited changes with no fee and applying to both domestic and international ticket types issued after March 3, 2020.

For MilagePlus members, United will waive all redeposit fees on award travel for flights changed or cancelled more than 30 days before departure and allowing all MileagePlus Premier members to confirm a different flight on the day of their travel. On January 1, all Premier members will be able to confirm a seat for free on a different flight with the same departure and arrival cities as their original ticket. This expanded option will allow MileagePlus Silver members and above to confirm a new seat in the same ticket fare class if space is available.

Michele Herrmann

 Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann develops guides on U.S. and international destinations and writes about travel trends, food and culture for various print and digital media outlets and travel companies.

How Travelers Are Beating Tough Flight Restrictions Eight Month Into the Pandemic

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Travel curbs and border restrictions are upending lives around the globe, with some people resorting to chartering planes on their own or paying many times the regular ticket price to get back to their jobs and homes.

Eight months into the pandemic, the push to normalize is seeing some try to travel internationally again, whether for a long-delayed but essential business trip or to return to where they live. Yet with global coronavirus cases surpassing 18 million and rising, airlines are only reluctantly adding flights to their bare-bones schedules, and virus resurgences have some countries imposing new travel rules.

The flight paralysis underscores how deep and lasting the pandemic’s damage is proving to be. The number of international flights to the U.S., Australia and Japan has fallen more than 80% from a year ago, while flights to China are down by more than 94%, according to aviation industry database Cirium.

Travelers have to be creative just to get on a plane. Support groups have sprung up on Facebook and Wechat for those who have been stuck thousands of miles from their jobs, homes and families. Unable to get tickets, some are attempting to organize private chartered flights, while travel agents say they’re having to bribe airlines for limited seats. Others are shelling out for business or first-class tickets, only to be turned away for lack of the right documentation.

“So many people with families are separated, it’s so heart-breaking,” said Ariel Lee, a mother in Shanghai who administers a few Wechat groups of 1,650 members in total trying to get into China. “The toughest part is there are no clear guidelines and there’s no end date to this.”

The hopeful talk of travel corridors and a summer recovery have faded away among airline industry experts, replaced by a consensus that global travel will not effectively re-start before a vaccine is found.

“We are not going to see a material recovery for international travel in the near future,” said Steven Kwok, associate partner of OC&C Strategy Consultants Ltd. “The pandemic also brings about a consequential impact beyond the virus outbreak –- it is causing a slowdown in the global economy, which will hurt travel appetite for a longer term.”

Higher prices

Chris Wells had been stuck in his hometown in Texas for half a year, eagerly looking to return to Guangzhou, a city in southern China where he’s been living and working for more than a decade. International travel to China has been severely limited by the government to stem imported infections, and any seats on flights are snatched up almost instantly.

Wells, 41, a manager in an international sourcing company, searched and searched for a ticket. The only one he could find: an $8,800 one-way, first-class flight from Chicago to Shanghai, via Zurich.

“It was the only seat available,” he said. “I’d normally never pay that much for a ticket, but I was desperate to get back so I grabbed the seat when I found it.”

Cherry Lin, a Shanghai-based travel agent, said her company is having to pay kickbacks to airlines — more than 10,000 yuan ($1,438) per seat — to get tickets on popular routes like those departing from the U.S. and U.K. that they can then sell to customers.

The flight or passenger cap set by many countries largely limits seats, pushing fares up — a ticket for a direct flight from London to Shanghai is currently going for about $5,000, said Lin, but those are quickly purchased.

Additional seats are likely to pop up this month as more airlines resume flights, “but still not enough that everyone can easily buy online,” she said.

Changing rules

Jessica Cutrera, 44, an American who has lived in Hong Kong for more than a decade, was looking to return to the Asian financial center last month when the city suddenly required a negative virus test for passengers coming from high-risk countries including the U.S. She had to show results from a test taken within 72 hours before boarding and fulfill a requirement that travelers present a letter — signed by a government official — verifying that the lab is accredited.

Getting test results within 72 hours was hard enough given that testing is so backed up in the U.S that results usually aren’t available before a week. Then there was the required letter. “I called everybody I could find,” she said. “Most offices and agencies said no, it didn’t make sense to them to sign such a letter.”

Eventually, someone in California agreed to sign. So Cutrera flew from Louisville, Kentucky, to Chicago, and then to Los Angeles, where she had the test done. A few days later, she was allowed to board her flight to Hong Kong, while others trying to get on the same plane were turned away as they didn’t have the proper paperwork.

Cutrera is proving to be one of the lucky ones, as many continue to be in limbo.

Lucy Parakhina, a 33-year-old Australian photographer, had decided to stay in London, where she has lived for two years.

But in June, she started to plan a return trip when her U.K. work visa expired. Though she managed to buy a one-way ticket from London to Sydney for less than 700 pounds ($922) with Qatar Airways, she was bumped from her flight and told it was postponed.

She already left her job in London and gave up her apartment, and won’t have income to stay in the U.K. beyond September. But with a virus resurgence in Australia showing no signs of ebbing and international flights down by 92% to the country, she’s likely stuck for a while.

“Now the only thing I can do is to wait for the easing policies and my flight to depart as planned,” she said.

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U.K. To Allow Quarantine-Free Travel For 75 Countries: Air Bridge Idea Scrapped

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According to the Daily Telegraph, the U.K. government is about to release a list of 75 countries with whom travel will be allowed, quarantine-free, meaning that it has decided to get rid of the idea of allowing travel through ‘air bridges’.

The list is due to be published today or tomorrow and will lift the foreign office ban on non-essential travel to many countries. It is understood that these countries will include all EU destinations, all British territories, such as Bermuda and Gibraltar, and Australia and New Zealand. Turkey and Thailand are also thought to be on the list.

Travelers arriving back into the U.K. after visiting these countries will no longer have to quarantine for two weeks upon their return. The 75 countries have been decided based upon their low rates of Covid-19.The list of air bridge countries was expected 2 July, to begin 6 July, but it appears the government has scrapped the plan–deemed confusing by travel agents–in favour of quarantine-free travel.

However, whilst the U.K. is lifting quarantine on 75 destinations, U.K. arrivals in these destinations will still be subject to individual border controls and requirements.Ryanair began flying from the U.K. on 1 July to EU destinations, reporting that planes were 67% full. It seems that holidaymakers from the U.K. decided to take the risk that the quarantine would be finished upon their return, or that they would face the consequences when they returned.

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, told The Telegraph that “it’s quite clear that British families going on holidays have decided, one, either the quarantine will be removed before they come home, or two, they will fill in the form and then just go about their normal lives.”

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I have lived in Provence ever since I exchanged my London city life for the charms of the south of France. I have a background in research, business and finance.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

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Britons will be able to go on summer holidays abroad as the government prepares to announce that people travelling to certain countries will no longer be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to the UK. Ministers are poised to clear the way for trips to France, Greece and Spain after confirming the quarantine measures would be changed at Monday’s review. Officials will replace existing rules with a traffic light system that will see countries placed into green, amber and red categories based on the prevalence of coronavirus in each.
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When Will You Be Able To Travel To Europe Again?

With utmost caution, slowly, carefully and nervously watched, the process of relieving lockdown restrictions has started country by country in Europe, each at its own pace and according to its own approach as the continent marks a turning point in its coronavirus crisis.

As countries across the continent report further declines in new Covid-19 cases, governments are lifting some prohibitions, partially opening schools and permitting the reopening of some shops and public areas.

Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Czech Republic and Iceland, where new infections have mostly plateaued, are among the first wave of countries easing their most severe restrictions, allowing partial returns to work and announcing other measures to help resuscitate their economies.

The official announcements have been extremely cautious and in a number of cases severely criticized, especially relating to plans for reopening schools because, as Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said: “If we open too quickly, we risk that infections rise too sharply and then we have to close down again.”

That warning also came from Ursula Von Der Leyen, the European Commission head who explained that life cannot return to full normality before a vaccine has been developed.

As for traveling, the European Commission has been very clear: “I’d advise everyone to wait before making holiday plans,” Von der Leyen told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag. “At the moment, no one can make reliable forecasts for July and August.”

The need for caution and the step-by-step reopening plans are what the various countries have in common. While there’s consensus that societies should reopen segment-by-segment, governments cannot agree about which age groups or industries should be sent back first, which ones afterwards and when.

As countries unveil their “phase two” plans, it’s not the similarities in their approaches that prevail but their differences. “As Italy opens bookshops, stationers and children’s clothes shops, Spanish shops can expect to remain shut until April 26,” reports online news site The Wire. “While Spain’s factory staff returned to work on Monday, Italy’s factories (barring pharmaceutical and food-processing plants) are still closed. It is mandatory to wear masks outside the home in the Czech Republic, but not in Denmark.”

“A similar gulf in strategy has emerged between Austria and the Scandinavian countries,” The Wire continued. “Vienna is prioritizing the opening of non-essential stores while hinting schools could stay closed until September. Countries such as Norway and Denmark, however, are sending students – especially younger pupils – back to school this month.”

The same can be said about the travel industry and the new directives necessary in order to emerge from the crisis. All the countries are carefully considering what to do and when as borders for the most part remain closed. But each is taking its own decisions, at the time of its choosing and, for now, confusion is widespread.

With so many people around the world having booked summer holidays before the crisis, and a tourism industry reeling globally and massively, one message seems to be getting clear: The lockdown, even in the countries already easing restrictions, will last ‘at least’ three more weeks before opening borders and maybe permitting short flights.

Industry experts are warning about the losses at all levels in the industry, with small, low-cost airlines and many in the cruise industry unlikely to survive.

While the vast majority of flights in April and May have been cancelled, excluding repatriation flights, airlines are hoping to resume operations ahead of the peak July and August season, despite more somber industry predictions.

Some airlines such as Jet2 and Ryanair expect to resume flights in June, while easyJet has launched holidays for late 2020 and is trying to convince travelers to book summer flights by cutting its fees for hold luggage to £1. Despite those moves, it’s becoming clear that overseas travel won’t be possible any time soon.

In a move that probably will be extended to the rest of the industry, the airline has announced that once travel restrictions are lifted it will encourage on-board social distancing by barring use of middle seats.

Such measures could become the new normal for travelers at airports, train and bus stations and aboard all their vehicles.

Domestic flights are more likely to resume before international bookings, airlines could start conducting on-site Covid-19 tests for passengers, while airports could install small testing centers to monitor heart rate, temperature and respiratory rates of passengers in order to reveal infection.

“Ahead of boarding their Emirates flight from Dubai to Tunisia last week, masked passengers were given blood tests for Covid-19, with results delivered within 10 minutes,” reports Quartz. “Emirates, which claims to be the first airline to perform these tests, now intends to scale up its capabilities until they are available before any flight to destinations requiring the Covid-19 test certificates currently under consideration by countries such as Germany and the U.K.”

Theories abound as to how the recovery will occur, starting most likely with permission for road trips, followed by green lights for short flights and train travel, with long-haul flight later.

“When will it be safe? Where to go? By plane, train or automobile?” asks the San Francisco Examiner. There are no clear answers. The general conclusion is that things won’t take a turn to “normal” until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine.

And that will take time. Experts agree that travel restrictions likely will remain in place for many more weeks. Extending France’s state of lockdown, President Emmanuel Macron has called for the external borders of the Schengen passport-free travel zone to stay closed until September, which has been interpreted by experts as a further indication that EU restrictions on travel are set to remain in force for months.

The British government, for its part, has advised people not to book summer holidays and to avoid all non-essential travel indefinitely, with no date suggested as to when domestic or overseas trips can resume.

However, each country will make its decisions, with destinations across Europe facing many different levels of lockdowns making predictions practically impossible.

One indication of light at the end of the tunnel: France decided to postpone the Tour de France until August, meaning that traveling around that country could be on the agenda by then.

There are other hopeful predictions coming from travel experts and agencies. “Autumn and winter getaways could prove more popular than ever as people still want their yearly holiday,” according to a poll by The Sun. “We may see more late bookers as people cautiously search for the best deals and popular familiar destinations. Family favorite destinations such as Florida, mainland Spain and the Canaries are still top on searched destinations and we may see a demand for Caribbean holidays for winter sun at the end of 2020 and into 2021.”

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I’m a dual Colombian-Luxembourgish freelance journalist, inveterate traveler and writer based in the world’s only Grand Duchy. I write a column on European affairs for the editorial page of El Tiempo, Colombia’s main newspaper. I have been a columnist for Newsweek and written for, among others, the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and Toronto Globe & Mail.

Source: When Will You Be Able To Travel To Europe Again?

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Subscribe now for more! http://bit.ly/1JM41yF As coronavirus continues to spread through Europe, infecting an estimated 400 people, the cost of travelling abroad has never been greater. At least 30 British tourists are currently quarantined in the popular H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife after an infected Italian doctor stayed there on Monday. We speak to four of those tourists before Simon Calder explains your rights if the virus disrupts your holiday, and virologist Stephen Griffin discusses the ongoing health risks. Broadcast on 26/02/20 Like, follow and subscribe to This Morning! Website: http://bit.ly/1MsreVq YouTube: http://bit.ly/1BxNiLl Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1FbXnjU Twitter: http://bit.ly/1Bs1eI1 This Morning – every weekday on ITV and STV from 10:00am. Join Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes as we meet the people behind the stories that matter, chat to the hottest celebs and cook up a storm with your favourite chefs! Dr Zoe and Dr Ranj answer all your health questions, stay stylish with Gok Wan’s fabulous fashion, be beautiful with Bryony Blake’s top make-up tips, and save money with Martin Lewis. http://www.itv.com http://www.stv.tv #thismorning #phillipandholly #eamonnandruth

Could A Tourist Tax Be The Answer To Norway’s Overtourism Problem?

The number of tourists coming to Norway continues to increase. In 2019, several natural attractions including the trail to the Pulpit Rock and hiking trails in Lofoten received record numbers of international visitors.

Locals are frustrated with congested roads and inconsiderate parking, while small municipalities complain that they can’t afford the necessary improvements to cope with the number of visitors, which more often than not far outnumber local residents. Calls have never been louder for a tourist tax.

A study by Innovation Norway of the highest profile Norwegian destinations found that discontent is high among a clear majority of the local population. These areas include the cities Bergen, Stavanger and Ålesund, along with more remote areas including Geiranger, Lofoten, Aurland and Svalbard. Almost two-thirds of those surveyed supported the introduction of a tourist tax.

According to the European Tourism Association, the concept of a visitor tax is not yet popular in northern Europe. Denmark, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia are among the countries not to have implemented the concept. The most visited countries in Europe—France, Spain and Italy—have all introduced charges.

Tourist tax under discussion by Norway’s MPs

For the second time in two years, the Norwegian Parliament is discussing the concept of a tourist tax. Last time the proposals were voted down, but given the recent changes in the coalition government, things could well be different this time around. Both the Labour party and Center party appear to now be in favor of allowing select municipalities to introduce some kind of local visitor fee.

One person who is hoping for an agreement is Jan Ove Tryggestad, the Mayor of Stranda municipality, which includes the tourist magnet Geiranger. “Today, there are a number of tourist destinations in Norway that are struggling. We cannot take any responsibility for what mass tourism imposes on us,” he told NRK.

Tryggestad also said he believes “tourist tax” is a loaded term and prefers to call the proposal “joint fundraising.” He also proposed alternatives to the typical accommodation-based way tourist taxes are collected at locations across Europe, presumably because so many visitors to Geiranger are day-trippers from cruise ships.

He suggested mobile payments, toll stations or a simple levy on goods and services in the specified zone could all be potential solutions.

How authorities elsewhere in Norway are tackling overtourism

Elsewhere in Norway, other measures are being introduced ahead of what is expected to be another record-breaking summer season.

The Foundation responsible for the facilities at Pulpit Rock are implementing limits on the number of tour buses allowed at the parking lot at any one time. While they are not limiting numbers taking the hike, they hope to better spread those numbers across the day.

City bosses in Bergen have extended the summer ban on passenger vehicles using Bryggen and Torget in the historic center to tourist buses. Such buses will also be banned from Øvregaten, an important access road to Bryggen. While many in the city are pleased with the news, owners of local tourism companies have spoken out against the proposals. There are several hotels in the restricted zone, which could cause problems for those traveling to and from cruise ships.

Finally, the Norwegian government is also considering imposing a size limitation on cruise ships around Svalbard. They are also considering extended the current ban on the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) to cover the entire archipelago.

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I was born in the U.K. but moved to Norway in 2011 and haven’t looked back. I run a website and podcast for fellow expats, authored the Moon Norway travel guidebook, help Norwegian companies with their English, and spend my free time touring the country to discover more about the people and places of this unique corner of the world. I write for Forbes with an outsider’s inside perspective on Norway & Scandinavia.

Source: Could A Tourist Tax Be The Answer To Norway’s Overtourism Problem?

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Cities and attractions across the globe are experiencing severe overcrowding and other stresses brought on by too many tourists. According to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization, there were around 70 million international tourist arrivals back in 1960. Today, that number has hit more than 1.4 billion. Erin Florio, travel news director for Conde Nast Traveler, joins “CBS This Morning” to discuss the impact of all that tourist traffic. Watch “CBS This Morning” HERE: http://bit.ly/1T88yAR Download the CBS News app on iOS HERE: https://apple.co/1tRNnUy Download the CBS News app on Android HERE: https://bit.ly/1IcphuX Like “CBS This Morning” on Facebook HERE: http://on.fb.me/1LhtdvI Follow “CBS This Morning” on Twitter HERE: http://bit.ly/1Xj5W3p Follow “CBS This Morning” on Instagram HERE: http://bit.ly/1Q7NGnY Get new episodes of shows you love across devices the next day, stream local news live, and watch full seasons of CBS fan favorites anytime, anywhere with CBS All Access. Try it free! http://bit.ly/1OQA29B Each weekday morning, “CBS This Morning” co-hosts Gayle King, Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil deliver two hours of original reporting, breaking news and top-level newsmaker interviews in an engaging and informative format that challenges the norm in network morning news programs. The broadcast has earned a prestigious Peabody Award, a Polk Award, four News & Documentary Emmys, three Daytime Emmys and the 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast. The broadcast was also honored with an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award as part of CBS News division-wide coverage of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Check local listings for “CBS This Morning” broadcast times.

How To Visit Scandinavia On A Budget In 2020

An aerial view of the harbour at the Aker Brygge neighbourhood in Oslo.

It’s true that Scandinavia is one of the most expensive regions in the world to visit. But the real truth is that it’s only expensive if you mimic behaviors from ‘home’ such as staying in hotels, driving everywhere, visiting theme parks and eating out every night. The great thing about visiting Northern Europe is that none of that is necessary. In fact, doing so will limit your experience.

So while Scandinavia will never be a budget travel destination, there are ways to save money while still enjoying the best, authentic experiences.

Embrace slow travel

The concept of slow travel encourages travelers to slacken their pace, re-consider motivations and embrace a “less is more” instead of a “fast is better” ethos. Travel photographer Lola Akinmade Åkerström runs the website Slow Travel Stockholm and says there is a “frustratingly frequent habit of speeding through all the best known landmarks of a city in 24 or 48 hours.”

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Given the high prices, that habit is very tempting in Scandinavian cities. Yet with their compact nature, walkable streets, multiple green spaces and plenty of apartments with kitchens to rent on AirBnB, Scandinavian cities are also well-suited for slow travel.

It may seem counter-intuitive to stay for longer when on a budget, but cheaper accommodation, much lower cooking costs and the ability to spend longer enjoying the same attractions can all keep the final bill down.

Embrace the outdoors lifestyle

Speaking of slow travel, nature is the theme park of Scandinavia and wild camping is one of the biggest joys of visiting the region. Not only do you get to explore the spectacular scenery with just wildlife for company, it doesn’t cost you a thing. It’s all possible thanks to allemannsretten, which is the freedom to roam law that preserves the right for anyone to access so much of the countryside. The rules differ slightly, but Norway, Denmark and Sweden all have similar regulations in place.

For a more comfortable yet still budget-friendly option, consider staying at one of the region’s many camping grounds. A tent is the cheapest option, but most campsites rent out cabins, which vary in quality from basic shelter to mountain lodge style luxury. They usually sleep at least four and always offer better value than a hotel. Most also come with at least a basic kitchenette so you can cook your own meals, saving yet even more cash.

Skip Norway

It breaks my heart a little to write this given that I’ve lived in Norway for more than eight years. The country’s natural landscape is simply stunning and there’s so many opportunities to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Yet there’s no denying that it’s much easier to rack up a big bill in Norway than it is in Sweden or Denmark.

If you’re not willing to embrace slow travel or the outdoors lifestyle, or if your idea of Scandinavia is cutting-edge design and urban chic, Sweden or Denmark could be better choices for you.

Plan ahead

If you want to travel quickly around the region and/or you prefer to stay in hotels, all is not lost. It’s still possible to slash the total bill simply by booking and paying in advance. This applies especially to domestic flights and trains, for which prices can be up to half by booking a specific departure at least a week in advance.

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If you’re confident you won’t change your plans, savings can be made with some hotel chains by paying upfront. For example, the popular Radisson Blu chain typically offers a 10-15% reduction in room rates when you pay in advance, although the bookings are non-refundable.

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I was born in the U.K. but moved to Norway in 2011 and haven’t looked back. I run a website and podcast for fellow expats, authored the Moon Norway travel guidebook, help Norwegian companies with their English, and spend my free time touring the country to discover more about the people and places of this unique corner of the world. I write for Forbes with an outsider’s inside perspective on Norway & Scandinavia.

Source: How To Visit Scandinavia On A Budget In 2020

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Travel Trends To Watch For 2020

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The travel industry continues to see massive changes as the Internet of Things continues to morph the world into its virtual, app-based mold. Along with technology, the issue of global warming is another major factor in change with travelers increasingly paying attention to carbon footprints and factors like single-use plastics when they book their vacations. Another factor in travel trends continues to be the emphasis on marketing to millennials with hotels creating entire brands to seize the almighty millennial dollar.

Top travel trends to watch in 2020 include:

The Rise of the Hotel Sub-Brand

Large hotel brands like Marriott, Hilton, Accor, and Hyatt are increasingly turning to the sub-brand as a way to reach new segments of loyalty and as a method of distinguishing the many properties they acquire.

The trend was spearheaded with the birth of Hyatt’s Andaz when it debuted in 2007 as the Andaz London Liverpool Station.

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One of the fastest growing brands is Marriott’s “Moxy” brand, designed for millennial “fun-hunters and to a more mature guest who is still young-at-heart” according to branding literature. The first Moxy opened in Milan in 2014 and there are currently 50 properties around the world with more than a hundred planned in the pipeline.

Millennial lures include free drinks on check-in, whimsical room decor, lots of meet and mingle space in the public areas and grab-and-go dining options. The PR machine around the Moxy is also whirring with celebrity events like the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit launch event being held in the NY Moxy in 2018.

Your Phone Is Your Key…And Everything Else

Hotels are increasingly offering key-less options for travelers. Your phone operates as your hotel key and in some tech-forward properties it can do things in the room like turn lights on and off and raise and lower temperature. Hilton is one chain that offers an app through their Honors program allowing guests the option of bypassing those little pieces of plastic that get lost in your bag.

Bathtubs Are Disappearing

Your next hotel room may not have a bathtub. You might have to book a room in a vintage property or a five-star hotel to get yourself a good soak. Hotels are increasingly doing away with bathtubs in all but their most palatial rooms. The reason? Modern travelers don’t want them, say designers. They are also time consuming to clean and use more water resources.

Get A Cookie Or A Meal Or a Non-Reclining Seat But Forget About Leg Room

In 2017 Delta announced the restoration of free meals in economy class on some national flights. At the same time, they also said that increased leg room wasn’t going to be part of the new deal. As airlines look for ways to placate passengers wedged into increasingly smaller seats, expect more offers like cookies or in flight meals. Some airlines have also tried to stop the seat recline battle when passengers try to settle in tiny spaces by preventing the seats from reclining at all. Allegiant and Ryan have such seats and British Airways has ordered new aircraft with seats with a “gentle” recline that doesn’t end up in your fellow passengers’ lap.

Get Ready To Pay Extra for Carry-On

As airlines continue to look for ways to increase revenue, they continue to eye the sacrosanct carry-on bag allowance as the next pay-for-play jackpot. Carry on bags cause passenger disruptions when people wedge too-big-bags into too-small spaces and take over fellow passengers’ overheads. Starting with no-carry-on budget fare options, the possibility that all airlines will soon charge for any carry on bag is fast approaching. Enjoy the overhead while you can.

The “Experiential” Boom is Waning

While hotels and destinations have been riding on the “experiential” travel trend, offering in-house cooking classes with local chefs and tastings at local restaurants with native chefs, among other “experiences” this trend seems to be exhausting hoteliers who are now hoping that guests will use options like online concierge services to figure out how to “live like a local” on their own.

Millennials Are Being Lured Out to Sea

Image - WP TravelSite FeatureThe travel industry has figured out that it better youth-en up their demographic fast. Cruise lines like Celebrity Edge are increasingly being marketed to younger travelers. Perhaps the biggest happening in this arena is the 2020 debut of “The Scarlet Lady,” the first ship in the new Virgin Voyages line. The first of four ships planned for the Millennial-baiting cruise line heralds a new chapter in cruising, designed to ensure the survival of the industry after the Baby Boomers have gone.

Swings. Everywhere.

Designed expressly for people to get the Grammable moment of their dreams, these swing destinations (where all you do is sit on a swing and get your picture taken) are popping up all around the world but primary in Bali.

Look for this trend to fade as soon as the Grammers find another visual metaphor for living the life of their dreams and everyone else’s.

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I’ve been to over 80 countries in all the continents of the world, starting my solo travels at age 13 as a student in Spain. Books, movies, paintings spark me to travel. I’ve crossed Wadi Rumm on a camel in the steps of Lawrence of Arabia. I’ve toured the Paris sewers under the old Opera House searching for the real Phantom of the Opera. Luxury is a subjective word but I love and report on creature comforts: memorable food and wine moments that blend seamlessly with the journey. I also believe that bringing your whole self and all your experience and emotion to the trip makes for better travel journalism (and better travels). I’m not afraid to push myself to explore the human experience from a very different point of view than my own. Follow my journeys on http://www.extremeluxurygetaways.com, on Twitter at @gretchenkelly and on Instagram at ExtremeLuxuryGetaways.

Source: Travel Trends To Watch For 2020

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