Travel Will Return Sooner than You Think
The coronavirus pandemic has upended travel regulations. It has lost both travelers and travel plus insurance industries lots of money. Sadly, the virus and quarantining against it, have created a depression simultaneous with a deep employment crisis. We cannot opine about the economy; let’s leave that to The Fed and brainy economists. We can opine about the near future of travel and what is happening in real time.
Not so long ago we didn’t have TSA lines and could carry any liquid onto a plane. Not so long ago, we could see that handsome pilot as he (it was guys then) flew the plane. As children, some of us were invited into the cockpit to view the horizon and get a special airline pin. Then came TSA, no liquids, then no powders, locked cockpit and now masks! Travel has always required flexibility and 2020 travel will also. Make no mistake 2020 travel is opening up and you will go sooner than you think.
Good news for travel! Countries are beginning to loosen restrictions first for EU visitors. US Tourists will be next in line; keep your eye on mid-June for some changes. May 31 was a date for safe reopening overseas. It is fun to see what each culture views are essential and needs protection: France-bakeries and Britain-betting shops?
One thing to know about statistics from Europe is that most EU countries have a national health. This means, everyone can go to their doctor, then get a test for FREE. Everyone can go into the hospital for FREE. If the number of tests is more, the number of positives is more. Same for hospitals, if you can be treated for FREE, you go without hesitation, and hospitalizations rise. This is not a plea for socialized medicine, it is a fact about comparing numbers here to number overseas.
Until June 15 the borders of the European Union are closed to tourists and non-EU/non Schengen citizens. For those of you not familiar with the Schengen countries, these are the European countries which are not EU: Norway for instance. European countries have varying restrictions; however, today Spain announced that in July all tourists are welcome back. One of the worst hit countries, Spain is close to completely in the lowest safety Phases. They are opening beaches, shopping malls and some in house dining. Major museums in Spain are receiving a limited number of visitors already. Melia Hotels stock has risen 14% since March’s low a good litmus test.
Adjacent countries elsewhere in Europe are opening borders. Croatia opened to five of its neighbors; many neighbors will not even need a health certificate (Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Lithuania). Others will need a certificate dated within 3 days of entry. Anyone remember the yellow Vaccination Certificates we used to carry?
Greece, the least effected country in Europe, is inviting in nationals from specific countries plus Israel without any certificate and only with spot checks.
France is experiencing a dramatic decline of the virus and has opened up significantly. A quote from Reuters: “No hairdressers? I’d rather go without food,” a regular at a hair salon in the central Marais district in Paris told a journalist from Reuters. Bakeries were never shut by the way.
Italy and Britain still require 14 days of quarantine once within their borders and US citizens cannot enter yet. It is unclear how much longer the 14-day rule will continue. However, the Brits are reviewing the rule every 3 weeks. Britain is interesting because of its strong national approach. After all, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was sick with Coronavirus. On June 15 the UK opens non-essential shops and some schools. Shops will need to pass risk assessment rules agreed on with trade unions and shop employees. Returns will be monitored and kept aside for three days, specific cleaning regulations go into effect. Some items will be wrapped and areas like touch pads will be vigorously cleaned. Uniquely British, one focus of heavy cleaning will be betting machines! Britain’s 5 levels, with 5 the worst, is now at 4, rapidly moving to 3. If the Pound is a test, it has gone up week after week against the dollar.
For us, flights are increasing to Europe: Delta has eliminated the middle seat until July. Lufthansa favors wearing of masks and spacing as available. A good article is from Forbes below. Things are changing weekly so keep your nose on your computer.
There is one definite, travelers will be back and sooner than you think today. Our phone is ringing again as are the phones of our fellow tour operators. Contact us for information on where we are going, why and how we changed our tours to make you feel safe and healthy.
Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets” ~ Oscar Wilde
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