Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism
The cruise ship MSC Orchestra makes its way down the Giudecca Canal in the early morning. Early risers in Venice woke up on June 3, 2021 to the sight of a cruise ship sailing down the Giudecca Canal for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the Italian governments' promises to reroute the huge ships due to safety and environmental concerns.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania will open its hotels to tourists from Germany on June 4. From June 11, day visitors to the northeast will also be able to return. Owners of vacation homes and boats, as well as long-term campers from outside the state, will already be allowed back on May 28. Tourists must present a negative coronavirus test upon arrival, which must be updated every three days.
For the first time in six and a half months, France’s cafés and restaurants are once again allowed to open their outdoor areas. As of Wednesday (May 19), non-essential businesses and department stores, as well as museums, cinemas, and theaters have also reopened. The nighttime curfew across all of France is now in effect from 9pm – two hours later than its previous start time.
Austria from Wednesday (May 19) will allow entry from Germany without quarantine. Mandatory, however, remains a proof of vaccination, a negative test or full recovery from a COVID infection. "In many states, the infection rates are declining, so in parallel with the opening up steps in the country, we can also implement facilitation of entry into Austria," said Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein.
Portugal is easing its entry restrictions for travelers from most EU countries. People from EU countries where the COVID-19 infection rate is below 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a 14-day period will be allowed back into the country, even for "non-essential" purposes. However, testing is strictly mandatory.
Francina Armengol, the President of the Balearic Islands, has issued a preliminary rejection of any hopes for parties on the island of Mallorca this summer. “We can only start to allow places to open and nightlife to return once we have a higher vaccination rate”, Armengol said. Responsible tourism will be prioritized. “Nightlife will follow, but later, and probably not this summer.”
Munich's Oktoberfest will be canceled for a second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was made by Bavarian state Premier Markus Söder and Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter. "In the classic beer tents at the big festivals, social distancing, masks and other measures are practically impossible to implement," Söder said. Reiter said canceling the Oktoberfest again was a great pity.
Following the third wave of the coronavirus in Italy, the Vatican Museums reopened on Monday (May 3). About 1,000 visitors registered for the first day alone, said Barbara Jatta, director of the museums. It was a "great joy" to finally no longer only be safeguarding the works of art, but also to be able to share them with others again, she said.
The U.S. has heightened its travel warnings on account of the coronavirus pandemic, now additionally advising against travel to Germany and other EU countries – where the U.S. State Department's has applied its red-alert level. This represents the highest of its four risk-advisory levels for travel. At the third level, previously in force, the advice was only to reconsider any planned travel.
Starting at the end of May, Israel wants to let tourists with a Covid-19 vaccination back into the country. Tourists will have to comply with the requirements, which include proof of vaccination and negative Covid-19 test results. After the pandemic broke out, Israel had effectively isolated itself, with foreign citizens only allowed into the country in exceptional cases.
Starting May 14, Greece plans to open its borders to vacationers from EU countries as well as from some other countries such as Great Britain and Serbia, to save the domestic tourism sector. Travelers will be allowed to enter the country for a vacation without having to undergo quarantine. They will, however, require travelers to either be vaccinated or show a negative PCR test.
As of April 1, foreign travellers are permitted to enter Croatia again if they can present evidence that they have been vaccinated against coronavirus. In addition, anyone who has a negative PCR test or an antigen test or can prove that they have recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months may also cross the borders. Before, you had to present a negative PCR test or quarantine for ten days.
Malta is rapidly progressing with COVID-19 vaccinations and plans to open to tourists on a large scale from June. The island is focusing primarily on outdoor activities such as scuba diving. A total of 20 million euros will be invested in the reopening. Air and sea passengers with vaccination passes will then be allowed into the country, while all others will still have to present a negative test.
On March 22, the entry rules into Germany were tightened again. After tourist travel to Germany had already been made unfeasible due to the coronavirus pandemic, in future travelers returning to Germany will also have to have a COVID test before departure - irrespective of the infection situation in the country of departure. The Infection Protection Act is to be amended accordingly.
The German Foreign Office removed its travel warning for Majorca on Sunday (March 14). You can now visit Majorca again without needing to quarantine or take a test once you’ve returned to Germany. Bookings have increased significantly, and more flights are being added. The other Balearic islands as well as parts of the Spanish mainland are also no longer considered coronavirus risk regions.
Norbert Fiebig, president of the German Travel Association (DRV), has urged that it is "time for a coordinated approach to restore safe travel." He is counting on vaccination certificates and rapid coronavirus tests – strategies also promoted by politicians. The EU decided on February 25, for instance, to have introduced standardized vaccination passports for travelers by the summer.
Greece and Israel signed an agreement (Feb 9) to that will allow vaccinated tourists to travel between their two countries withthout restrictions. In Europe, whether vaccinated people should be the first to be allowed to travel again is controversial. While Germany is still reluctant, some countries already allow easier entry with a vaccination certificate, including Estonia, Poland and Iceland.
Just how disastrous the 2020 travel year was is made clear in the latest survey by the UN tourism organization UNWTO: 74% decline in global tourism worldwide, with over a hundred million jobs tied to it. Forecasts for 2021 also remain cautious in the face of travel restrictions. The emerging trends are home-based holidays, nature-based vacations, and more interest in sustainable travel.
Hundreds of millions of Chinese are currently seeing their travel plans put on hold for the Chinese New Year on February 12, with flights and train services canceled on Thursday, especially in Beijing, at the start of the most important travel season of the year. Across the country, people are being asked to refrain from traveling to prevent a major outbreak that could lead to "massive lockdowns."
Israel is largely suspending its international flights for nearly a week. The flight suspension goes into effect at 00:00 local time on Tuesday (Jan. 26) and will remain in effect until Sunday. The measure is intended to prevent coronavirus strains from entering the country. Up to 40 percent of new cases in Israel are due to the British COVID-19 mutation.
Ten months after the border closure, international tourists can travel to Sri Lanka again. As confirmed by officials on Monday (Jan 18), travelers will be able to re-enter the island from Jan. 21 if they comply with strict security regulations, present a negative PCR test and stay in a quarantine hotel for 14 days.
Despite extended coronavirus restrictions in Italy, as of Monday (Jan 18), museums and exhibitions in some regions will be able to reopen. This rule applies to the so-called Yellow Zones, where the coronavirus infection situation is less tense. Among others, the Archaeological Park in Pompeii is again able to receive visitors because it is located in the yellow region of Campania.
New Zealand is setting up a "travel bubble" with neighboring Australia. After months of border closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand will once again allow tourists from Australia to enter the country without quarantine requirements in the New Year. New Zealanders have been able to travel to Australia again since October without having to go into quarantine.
On Saturday (December 5) the first Aida cruise ship is scheduled to leave for a one-week trip to the Canary Islands. The ship, designed for 3300 passengers, will reportedly be 50 percent full. All passengers will need to provide a negative coronavirus test, no more than 72 hours old. On board, strict hygiene and distancing rules apply, and only guided shore excursions will be possible.
Australian airline Qantas wants to introduce compulsory vaccination for intercontinental flights. "We will require international travelers to be vaccinated before we allow them on board," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce stated. The general terms and conditions would be adjusted accordingly. Whether this will also be a requirement for domestic flights has not yet been decided.
Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca city in the Peruvian Andes mountains, has reopened almost eight months after it was closed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Peruvian authorities organized an Inca ritual to mark the reopening. To allow for distancing, a maximum of 675 tourists per day are allowed to enter the old Inca city. That is less than a third of the normal number allowed.
Rio de Janeiro's famous annual Carnival spectacle will not go ahead in February. Organizers said the spread of the coronavirus in Brazil made it impossible to safely hold parades which with some seven million people celebrating are a cultural mainstay, tourism magnet and, for many, a source of livelihood. Brazil has the second highest death rate in the world after the United States and India.
To curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic the German government has announced though new measures to start Monday, November 2. The new restrictions effect the travel business as overnight stays in hotels for tourist purposes will be banned, entertainment facilities such as theaters and cinemas will be closed as will bars and restaurants, which will only be allowed to offer take out services.
The city announced on Monday (Oct.26) that this decision had been made in view of the rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases. The mayor explained that it was to be assumed that in the near future the Covid-19 traffic light in Nuremberg will change to dark red. "Against this background, we think it would be the wrong signal to go ahead with the annual Christkindlesmarkt Christmas market.
The cruise industry has decided to make coronavirus testing mandatory for all guests and crew members aboard cruise ships. The Cruise Lines International Association, the world’s largest such organization, announced on October 8 that passengers can only board ships by providing proof of a negative test result. All member shipping companies worldwide must now comply with this rule.
In the wake of significant increases in coronavirus infection figures in Europe, Berlin has announced further EU countries as risk areas for travelers. In addition to Belgium and Iceland, additional areas of France and Great Britain, including all of Northern Ireland and Wales, were also classified as risk areas on September 30.
India's most famous building was closed for six months, but since Monday ( September 21) it can be visited again, under strict restrictions. Only 5000 online tickets will be issued per day. There are temperature checks at the entrance. Selfies are allowed, group photos are prohibited. The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is normally visited by 8 million people every year.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the tourism sector has suffered a loss of 460 billion dollars (388 billion euros) from January to June, the World Tourism Organization reported in Madrid. The loss of sales was five times higher than during the international financial and economic crisis of 2009, and the total number of tourists worldwide fell by 65 percent in the first half of the year.
The German government has extended its travel warning for around 160 countries through September 30. The advisory applies to "third countries" — i.e. countries that are not members of the EU or associated with the Schengen area. From October 1st, a "differentiated system" will apply, in which individual travel and safety information will be given for each country.
Australia has extended its travel restrictions for a further three months. The borders will remain closed for visitors from abroad until at least December 17. However, the government announced that domestic travel will soon be allowed for residents of the country. An exception will be the state of Victoria, with its metropolis Melbourne, for which a lockdown has been in place since early July.
The German government has extended the travel warning for around 160 countries outside the European Union by two weeks until September 14. A spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry explained the move on Wednesday (Aug 26) with rising coronavirus infection rates. "The situation will not relax sufficiently by mid-September to be able to lift the worldwide travel warning," she said.
Anyone entering Germany from a high-risk area must take a coronavirus test from August 8, after an order by Health Minister Jens Spahn. Currently, many countries are classified as risk areas, including the United States and Brazil. In the European Union, Luxembourg, the Belgian region of Antwerp and the Spanish regions of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre were risk areas as of early August.
Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten has stopped all cruises on August 3 until further notice after an outbreak of the coronavirus on one of its ships. At least 40 passengers and crew members on the Roald Amundsen tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, German cruise line Aida Cruises has also postponed its planned restart due to the lack of necessary permits.