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Archive by Category "Covid-19 News"

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TRAVEL NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

BA THREATENS TO CUT HEATHROW FLIGHTS OVER AIRPORT FEE ROW

Airport plans massive 76% fee increase. “Hiking charges will not help. It will not attract demand – it will have the opposite effect. If the rise in landing charges goes ahead, I know IAG will not be alone in reconsidering our airlines’ use of Heathrow.” The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) plans to allow the airport to lift the normal cap on the airport’s average charge per passenger by up to 76%.

TRAVEL COVID TESTS COULD BE SCRAPPED BY EARLY 2022

Policy up for review in January. Hoping the aviation industry will ‘bounce back’ in the coming months, he told industry leaders the testing policy will be reviewed in early January. “We’re going to review the policy. We’ll be looking to see what we can do at that stage,” he said at the Airlines 2021 conference. The government has reportedly formulated a Covid exit plan to end self-isolation and testing by next spring. Dubbed Operation Rampdown, it is part of an extensive review of the current ‘test, trace and isolate’ policy by the Health Security Agency. The 160-page leaked dossier looks at scrapping self-isolation and ass testing as Covid will be ‘endemic’ for years, health experts say. These protocols will be rolled back by next April, according to a government source.

Link: https://www.travelmole.com/news/destination/government-reportedly-reviewing-covid-exit-strategy/

REFUND CREDIT NOTES (RCNS): BRITISH HOLIDAYMAKERS URGED TO ‘USE IT OR LOSE IT

Still £132 million worth of unused vouchers

TRADE GROUPS CALL FOR EU TRAVEL POLICY ALIGNMENT

Governments must coordinate their responses. Travel industry groups across Europe are urging member states to align and coordinate in their responses to the current Covid situation sweeping across Europe. A broad group of travel and tourism stakeholders called on governments to better coordinate and their heath and travel policy responses to avoid re-imposing restrictions. It cites the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which states that in the current situation, travel restrictions are ineffective in reducing virus transmission, hospitalisations, or deaths. They claim limiting border crossings would indeed not carry any public health benefit.

Up to 900,000 jobs could be lost across the EU’s tourism sector this year if travel restrictions are re-imposed this winter, citing WTTC data. It says European tourism cannot function with ‘inconsistent and constantly changing national approaches.’

Coordination is the only solution to protect the sector from the effects of prolonged uncertainty in Europe.”

The lobby groups are calling for a number of measures including move towards an individual risk-based approach, rather than the current country-to-country approach. Member states should urgently adopt a common and fully aligned approach on the eligibility as well as timing of booster doses.

The groups, made up of Airlines for Europe, CLIA,  WTTC, European Travel Commission and others, also want national governments to support the full digitalisation of the verification process by providing a simple ‘okay to travel’ message as part of the online check-in process.

www.travelmole.com/news

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COVID UPDATES IN THE EUROPEAN CITIES

HOLLAND

Partial lockdown in the Netherlands is set to last three weeks. Restaurants, bars and essential shops must by 8 pm and non-essential stores and other services by 6 pm. A second night of protests took place in The Hague at the weekend. There were protests in Belgium with police firing tear gas and water cannon at crowds, while an estimated 40,000 people took to the streets of Vienna to protest.

AUSTRIA

A nationwide partial lockdown commences in Austria on Monday. Austria upped the ante and has imposed a full national Covid-19 lockdown starting on Monday. It comes days after the government decided to lockdown only the unvaccinated. It is extended to a full national lockdown for up to 20 days. Additionally, everyone must get vaccinated by 1 February 2022, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said. Austria has record infections and one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe. People are asked to work from home, and on-essential stores will close.

GERMANY

CHRISTMAS MARKETS SCRAPPED IN GERMANY . German states Bavaria and Saxony are cancelling all Christmas markets due to of surging Covid infections. “The situation is very, very serious and difficult,” Bavaria Premier Markus Soder said. Restrictions will amount to a ‘de facto lockdown ‘for unvaccinated people. He also called for mandatory vaccinations. The state of Saxony also announced public restrictions to start Monday the closure of Christmas markets. It includes one of Germany’s largest festive markets in Dresden. Link: https://www.travelmole.com/news/destination/christmas-markets-scrapped-in-germany/

CROATIA, ITALY, SWITZERLAND, IRELAND, GUADELOUPE

Thousands protested in Zagreb, Croatia over the mandatory use of Covid passports to enter public buildings. Violent protests in Milan and Rome saw clashes with police for the same reason. other demonstrations occurred in Switzerland, Northern Ireland and even the French Caribbean territory of Guadeloupe.

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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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