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Archive by Category "News from around the World"

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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What to Expect from Travel in 2021

In Brief:
For Lebanese Travellers, settlement in Cash (Green Bills). For other:
1. Prices to Zigzag
2. Health & Vaccination Records – a Must
3. Masks Mandatory
4. Domestic and Near-Home Travels

In Details:
What type of traveler will you be?
Add to the below for Lebanese, to travel you will need CASH, loads of Green bills.

Grounded fliers should see plenty of change this year on prices, mask rules and rewards programs—if pandemic conditions improve
We can’t know the one thing we all want to know about travel in 2021: When can we confidently start traveling again safely? As we’ve seen lately, uncertainty continues with developments like the new variant of Covid-19 and slower vaccine distribution. But there’s a lot we can know about travel in the new year. Here are some predictions:

1. Get Ready for Prices to Zigzag
Airlines will respond to increases in demand for seats with higher prices much faster than they can get more flights into schedules. There’s tons of pent-up demand, and when it spills out into bookings, prices in some markets will surge.
Hotels in prime destinations will seem maddeningly expensive. Downtown luxury business hotels will stay especially cheap, since their core business travelers won’t be coming back in droves yet.

2. Health Records Become a Standard Part of Flying
Expect health records to become mandatory for international air travel, just like passports. That means vaccination records or recent test results. There are already several competing standards for technology—you’ll have your paperwork on your phone or loaded into your airline reservation….Covid-19 vaccination might be required for many years to come.

3. The Frequent-Flier Free-For-All
There will be a mad scramble for top-level frequent-flier status in the second half of 2021. Expect airlines to offer expensive ways to purchase your status if you don’t requalify.…The catch is now you do have to requalify this year for status in 2022. …Year 2022, which may be the year they really plan to travel a lot more.

4. The Mask Mandate Arrives
Bet on the Biden administration imposing a federal air-travel mask mandate. On masks, federal fines and penalties likely would force more compliance.

5. Recovery Starts Closer to Home
Domestic travel will be where airlines see some recovery this year. International travel will remain deeply depressed.

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-to-expect-from-travel-in-2021-if-anything-11609941849?st=v2fb3h23wbkkw1m&mod=sbacq

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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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IATA: Airlines will lose USD77 billion in second half of this year

IATA has warned more airlines will collapse over the coming months.
Even by the end of this year, passenger traffic will still be down by about 68%, much worse than its previous forecast.

Airlines are burning through $13 billion per month which will lead to more bankruptcies, said IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac.

“The crisis is growing longer and deeper than anyone could have imagined, and the initial support programs are running out. If these support programs are not replaced or extended, the consequences for an already hobbled industry will be dire,” he said during a media briefing.

IATA is urging governments to provide urgent financial aid.

“The impact has spread across the entire travel value chain including our airport and air navigation infrastructure partners who are dependent on pre-crisis levels of traffic to sustain their operations.”

The total cash burn for the second half of the year is estimated at $77 billion.

Airlines managed to cut costs by an average 50% during the second quarter but overall revenues fell almost 80% compared to 2019.

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Travel associations across Europe call for tests to replace quarantine

Twenty five tourism bodies and unions across Europe have joined forces to call for testing to replace quarantine restrictions to save the livelihoods of 27 million working in travel.

In an open letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the groups – which represent over 5,000 member companies and their workers – say a continued lack of co-ordination and diverging travel restrictions as crippling their business.

The letter is signed by representatives from across the tourism and travel sector and their workers, including airlines, airports, railways, ground handlers, caterers, travel retailers, air navigation service providers, tour operators, hotels, restaurants, cafes, travel agents, road transport operators and logistics services, camp sites, holiday parks, taxi operators, tourism boards and authorities and all their associated supply chains.

Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director of Airlines for Europe (A4E), said: “With an estimated 55% fewer flights, an overall revenue loss of some €140 billion across the European aviation industry and a growing number of frustrated travellers, it’s about time that Europe shows some leadership in getting travel restrictions coordinated properly across the continent.”

More than 20,000 A4E airline passengers were denied boarding this summer due to what it calls a ‘chaotic, fragmented situation’.

The letter comes as the latest data from airport body ACI EUROPE shows a continued decline in passenger traffic at Europe’s airports during the first two weeks of September – now standing at a loss of -73%; down from sluggish ‘peak recovery level’ of -65% mid-August.

The letter says: “This chaotic situation requires your immediate personal involvement.

“We are thus urging you to make this issue a top priority and calling on you to address this issue directly with heads of state and government”.

“We are therefore also urging you to ensure that the Commission takes the lead in the development of an EU Testing Protocol for travel and its implementation to avoid quarantines and re-open borders”.

The signatories point out that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) formally advises states against extreme travel restrictions, which are neither risk-based nor proven effective where community transmission is already present – which is the case across Europe.

The reduction and removal of quarantines is ‘instrumental in re-establishing the free movement of people, ending current discriminations and restoring the essential functionality of the Single Market’, they add.

Link: https://www.travelmole.com/news_feature.php?news_id=2044361&c=setreg&region=2

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