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Archive by Category "Covid-19 News"

HYBRID MEETING SOLUTIONS: Future of Events & (MICE)

Some Hotels (Marriott International, Omni, Pullman, Others) are partnering with Tech Providers to offer New Hybrid Meeting Solutions.

During the Covid era, Hybrid meetings have become an essential way for meeting. Event professionals will have to provide an immersive, engaging experience that integrates both virtual participation and in-person experiences through technology.

Marriott has hosted “Connect with Confidence” meetings for its customers using the latest hybrid meeting technology. The most recent event included 100 in-person attendees and 800 virtual attendees at Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in January 2021. The attendees were given information about planning and implementing an in-person event incorporating cleanliness protocols, physical and social distancing, redesigned food and beverage, contactless check-in, well-being checks, occupancy monitoring, and more. Survey results from this event, according to Marriott, revealed that 51% of meeting and event professionals are planning to host a hybrid event within the next 6 to 12 months.

The “Connect with Confidence” event announced the introduction of optional health protocols including COVID-19 testing. The event implemented many of the protocols, which meeting and event professionals will be able to incorporate into their own group meetings at Marriott hotels in the U.S. and Canada beginning in March 2021.

Link: https://meetingspotlight.com/article/marriott-international-partners-providers-new-hybrid-meeting-solutions?

(Image: Eerste-livecongres-van-Nederland-met-100-gasten-een-feit-©-Patrick-van-Katwijk-v2 (1))

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The Deal: Cyprus-Greece &.. Accords letting people with vaccine certificates travel

Accords between Greece, Cyprus and Israel allowing citizens with Covid-19 vaccination certificates to travel unimpeded between the three countries have been hailed as a possible first step towards normalising tourism during the next phase of the pandemic.
The prospect of people being able to move freely in the age of coronavirus received a concrete boost last week.
The agreement is expected to come into effect by 1 April.

Like Greece, the Mediterranean island’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism….
Mitsotakis’s proposal was initially met with scepticism by the EU amid fears it could be perceived as discriminatory. But in an indication that the idea may be gaining traction the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, said on Monday he believed coronavirus certificates might be “very much in the mix down the road”.

“I think inevitably there will be great interest in ideas like: can you show you’ve had a vaccination against Covid in the way that sometimes you have to show you’ve had a vaccination against yellow fever or other diseases in order to travel somewhere” Johnson told reporters.

For more details, please click on the link:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/15/post-covid-tourism-hopes-buoyed-by-deal-between-greece-cyprus-and-israel

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VACCINE PASSPORTS

VACCINE PASSPORTS

This week, Zurab Pololikashvili, the secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, called for the global adoption of vaccination passports as part of wider measures to get the world in motion once again. “Vaccines must be part of a wider, coordinated approach that includes certificates and passes for safe cross-border travel.”
Tech companies e.g. IBM are also trying to develop smartphone apps or digital wallets, into which individuals can upload details of Covid-19 tests and vaccinations. These are gaining support from major travel industry players.

However, such pleas have been met with caution by other EU members
In Brussels on Thursday Jan. 21st: EU agreed the need for cross-border cooperation on vaccine certifications, but worried that using them to enable travel may result in the unvaccinated being treated as second-class citizens.

“Von der Leyen told the EU parliament that there were concerns over: Vaccine Unknowns, such as whether those inoculated could still carry and transmit the coronavirus; and How Long Protection Lasts…. What Alternatives do to offer those who have Legitimate Reasons for not getting the vaccine?”
The Debate is on: Worries about balancing the need to reopen borders; while others continue to endure lockdown; risk of infection etc.

To read the full article, please click on the link: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/vaccine-passports-summer-2021

 

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Tourism Has a Responsibility in Preserving Worldwide Monuments and Landmarks and …

As far as the travel world goes, there was little to nothing good that came out of the pandemic in 2020.
Nor, do I suspect, anything good will emerge in 2021 until the effects of the vaccines kick in later this year – if enough people take it.

If anything positive came about from the ravages of the virus, it was two-fold.
One, the airlines, the cruise lines, hotels all realized how much more cleaning and sanitizing they could be doing. Two, the other thing that was a plus was that the world’s great monuments and architectural treasures got a break. … it was a respite from the constant influx of tourism and in many ways refreshing to see wildlife venture out, or waters of the Venice canals turn so clear you could see the fish.

Virtually every great statue, monument and structure is in need of dire repair. That takes money, of course, and the natural place to turn to is the government. But governments around the world are tapped out, especially as long as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Instead, Italy has a novel plan and before you dismiss it out of hand consider where we are in the world today.
Corporate sponsorship.

…According to Bloomberg News, Italy has been doing this novel approach for years to help finance the restoring and maintaining its plethora of fountains, statues, historic palazzi and ancient archaeological sites. The city’s latest idea is a two-year deal with Confindustria, a national association of thousands of Italian companies, which will facilitate “acts of patronage and sponsorship” toward a list of sites and monuments in need of funds.

Tourism and tourism authorities will have a huge role in this. Tourism authorities will be charged with courting potential sponsors…  tourists would pay a modest increase if they knew that, according to Bloomberg, just in Italy alone The Fountain of Neptune in Piazza Navona is in need of $270,000 for its restoration; $83 million to maintain Rome’s vast network of ancient walls; and $238 million for maintenance in the city’s huge public parks, such as the Villa Borghese and the Villa Doria Pamphili.
Pricey, yes.

Please click on the link for the whole story: https://www.travelpulse.com/opinions/column/tourism-has-a-responsibility-in-preserving-worldwide-monuments-and-landmarks.html

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5 Early Indicators of the COVID-19 Vaccine’s Impact on Air Travel

Here’s what to know about flying after a vaccine is approved.

A COVID-19 vaccine, from both Pfizer and Moderna, proven to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing the disease. Pfizer and its partner company BioNTech have even filed for emergency authorization of their vaccine with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means the first doses could be available as early as mid-December, according to the Washington Post.

    1. Vaccine news shows early optimism from air travelers
    2. International route networks will have to restart i.e. international flights will be one of the key ways vaccine doses will be distributed around the world.

IATA estimates that shipping a single dose for the 7.8 billion people around the globe would fill 8,000 superjumbo Boeing 747 aircraft. “Land transport will help, especially in developed economies with local manufacturing capacity,” IATA’s statement says. “But vaccines cannot be delivered globally without the significant use of air cargo.” Even if half the world’s vaccines are delivered by ground transportation, de Juniac says distributing the remaining vaccines would still be the air cargo industry’s largest transport challenge ever.

      1. Proof of vaccine will be a new travel document i.e. proof of a vaccine could become as important as a passport when flying some international routes. E.g. passengers will likely need to prove they’ve had a vaccine that is deemed effective by – for instance – the Australian government.

Apps such as Common Pass, which airlines have used to put COVID-19 test results in a standardized format to make them easier to read, have the capability to show a passenger’s vaccine status, too.

      1. Tests and masks will stick around—even after a vaccine approval i.e.

“Testing is the only game in town to get people back to normal in the very near future because even with the U.K. getting early access to the vaccine, it will take a year and a half to vaccinate the entire country. And of course this is a global issue. And it’s going to take much longer before even the fastest vaccine can really have an impact around the world. So testing has to be our focus.” John Holland-Kaye, CEO of London Heathrow Airport

Additionally, both vaccines on the brink of approval require two doses to be effective, with the second shot given three to four weeks after the first. So even as vaccinations begin to be distributed on a large scale, face masks will be critical until the majority of people can get both doses.

At least 60 to 70 percent of the global population needs to be inoculated to achieve herd immunity—a tipping point at which community spread becomes unlikely—and slow the spread of the virus, according to the BBC.

      1. Flight schedules will be slow to return to pre-pandemic levels i.e. “the best case is a ~50% recovery rate until a vaccine is available,” and even when vaccinations do start, … flight demand and capacity might not fully bounce back for at least 3 years.

To read the Full Article, please click on the link: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/5-early-indicators-of-the-covid-19-vaccines-impact-on-air-travel

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Testing could be delayed until November

Hopes that Covid testing could immediately reduce the quarantine period for returning travellers could be dashed amid reports it will not happen until November at the earliest.

According to reports, a widely expected announcement on Thursday will only extend to the creation of a taskforce to explore the options rather than the introduction of testing itself.

It has been hoped that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps would unveil a detailed testing plan that would kick off immediately.

The Guardian reported that the taskforce, to be chaired by Shapps and Health Secretary Matt Hancock is not due to report back until mid-November, leaving the industry to wait at least another month for a potential reduction in the 14-day quarantine period.

A Department for Transport spokesperson told the publication there was no delay over plans.

“As we’ve been clear, work is ongoing with clinicians and health experts on the practicalities of using testing to reduce the self-isolation period for international arrivals,” the DoT said.

It is understood the Government is moving away from airport testing and favouring a test after eight days, with those with a negative result able to come out of quarantine.

Link: https://www.travelmole.com/news_feature.php?c=setreg&region=2&m_id=s~~AY!m~AT_&w_id=38103&news_id=2044582

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