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Nations around the world are looking into various ways in which to restart tourism as soon as possible. The tourism sector is a vital part of many countries’ economies, so welcoming back travellers in a safe and sustainable way is at the top of a lot of to-do lists. Recently, Iceland’s prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, announced plans to reopen the country to international visitors in June by providing COVID-19 tests for all new arrivals. This would mean that those who test negative for the virus would be able to avoid the normal two-week isolation period. Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, has said that they will also waive the once mandatory 14-day isolation period for all incoming EU arrivals. The Guardian has published a great in-depth article outlining current travel information on each EU country’s border openings.
Spain is also working with officials of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, to create a digital health passport for a flight going to the Canary Islands in July. If the flight is successful, then it has the potential to also be applied to Greek and Italian islands that rely almost exclusively on visitors in the summer holiday period. Many other countries have jumped on the mobile tracing app bandwagon as a method of controlling the virus locally.
Vietnam has done exceptionally well during the virus, maintaining zero deaths and it has begun reopening travel, shops, and hospitality domestically since April. The country is now suggesting the idea of travel bubbles with South Korea and China, which account for 55% of the nation’s tourist count. The travel bubble seems to be a growing trend as well, with countries eager to open up in a controlled, safe way, while not entirely losing out on important international arrivals. Even Mexico is looking at a reopening of travel for US visitors to Cancun, and other tourist hotspots for the beginning of June.
The takeaway? The northern hemisphere summer holiday season is looking positive for some international travel. We should still expect an extremely reduced arrival rate but perhaps not as empty as previously expected, of course, only assuming that curves continue to flatten as planned.
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