Compiled by KRIZETTE CHU

Despite the fact that Covid-19 is still very much present—and claiming lives worldwide by the day—some countries and major industry stakeholders have decided to resume businesses and flights. Are you brave enough to risk it? Here are the most recent updates from all over the world

Machu Picchu, Peru, and other archaeological sites to reopen
Peru will allow some locals free admission to Machu Picchu and other archaeological sites in a bid to kickstart its tourist industry, the government announced on May 12.

Peru’s government is due to ease a nine-week long quarantine on May 24.

The country’s trade and tourism ministry said the move would help boost the sector, which is expected to lose $4 billion this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Entry to 55 archaeological sites, as well as 22 reserves and national parks in the Amazon rainforest region, will be free to public service employees, children, and pensioners between July and December.

More than 1.5 million tourists, mostly international, visited the 15th century stone citadel of Machu Picchu last year, according to official figures.

Peruvians normally pay the equivalent of $30 dollars to enter the site. Only half the price is going to be charged to foreign visitors.

The government has allocated $5.8 million to increase health security measures for visitors to the country’s Inca archaeological sites once they reopen, as well as $2.9 million for national parks.

The government has stepped up security at Machu Picchu, which has been closed since the lockdown began, for fear of archaeological thefts from the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Peru has so far registered more than 2,000 COVID-19 related deaths and nearly 70,000 coronavirus infections since the first case was detected on March 6.

Greece’s beaches open, with hotels to open in July
Greece announced it would open 515 beaches beginning May 16, as a weekend of expected beautiful weather approached, but it would apply strict social distancing measures. “This will be an important test, which we must come through,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas says. “We will have to show that with rules and a serious approach we will be able to enjoy our country’s beauty in total security.”

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Relatively unscathed with 152 deaths and 2,744 cases, Greece decided that a maximum of 40 people would be allowed per 10,800 square feet of the beach while parasols must be placed four meters (13 feet) apart. Loungers will be sprayed with disinfectant after every use and there will be no cafe or drinks services.

Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he was committed to doing all he could to ensure the tourist season could begin on July 1. Under provisional rules, restaurants and cafes are set to resume business on June 1 and hotels from the end of June.

Following weeks of lockdown, Greece has started a phased reopening of services in the country, with the goal of having hotels operational by July. Recently, businesses such as salons, florists, and bookstores were allowed to reopen for the first time.

New Zealand airline to fly all domestic destinations
Air New Zealand has announced resumption of its services to Taupo and Timaru, which it will do on June 8.

At first, the airline will operate Auckland-Taupo and Wellington-Timaru services three days per week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Flying into and out of Taupo and Timaru means Air NZ will be flying to every domestic destination it did pre-COVID-19.

Walt Disney World partially reopens on May 20
A few Walt Disney World employees were back at the park on May 16 to get a part of the Florida resort ready for its partial reopening on May 20. The theme park has been closed since mid-March due to the pandemic, which has resulted in more than 100,000 employees company-wide being furloughed.

On May 20, only sub-contracted shops will be open in the Disney Springs shopping and dining complex. The next phase will start seven days later when Disney retail shops, such as World of Disney Store, and Disney eateries reopen. Precautions have already been discussed, and will include the wearing masks, temperature checks, and Plexiglass dividers at registers. Guests will swipe their own payments cards, as they will no longer be handled by employees. And custodians will be retrained to pay attention to high-touch areas.

As for the rest of the theme park, there are no definite dates yet, but Disney World has been closely following the May 9 reopening of Shanghai Disneyland Park.

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Universal Studios Orlando to partially reopen
The Florida destination, along with the Hollywood theme park, has, like Disney, been shuttered since mid-March. The CityWalk portion has reopened, with select venues operating from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. There, subject to temperature checks, all visitors will be required to wear masks. The Universal Studios Park and Islands of Adventure will remain closed at least through May 31. Universal Studios Hollywood is also closed through that time.

Iceland to reopen by June 15
Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir has announced plans for the country to reopen to visitors by June 15. Systems are now being put in place for those arriving to be tested at the airport in an effort to forego self-imposed two-week isolation.

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The government has announced that it expects to start easing restrictions on international arrivals “no later than June 15, while from May 15 some professionals arriving in Iceland, including scientists, filmmakers, and athletes will be eligible for a modified quarantine,” an official statement said. Iceland is expected to give travelers a choice between a test for the virus upon arrival or a two-week quarantine.

The Icelandic government said tourists may be required to download and use the official tracing app already in use by 40 percent of the population in Iceland. The app has been developed with privacy measures, with location data stored locally on a user’s device unless released for tracing purposes if and when an infection is discovered. In May, Iceland only recorded three reported cases of Covid-19. Iceland has had 1,801 cases of Covid-19 and 10 deaths.

Budget airline Ryanair to resume flights by 1 July with new rules for passengers
Ryanair has announced new measures to resume 40 percent of flights by July 1. The airline confirmed on Tuesday that it is to resume operating up to 40 percent of its normal flight schedule by July 1 across 90 percent of its route network. This means it will schedule almost 1,000 flights a day from most of its 80 bases.

“Ryanair will operate a daily flight schedule of almost 1,000 flights, restoring 90 percent of its pre-Covid-19 route network,” the airline said in a video shared on Twitter.

Spain to quarantine travelers for two weeks, to test world’s first health passport flight in July
Spain has announced that international passengers will be required to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

The world’s first flight carrying passengers with a digital health passport that certifies they don’t have Covid-19 will fly to the Canary Islands this summer. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (WTO) is working alongside officials in Spain to share and develop measures to revive tourism in a safe and sustainable way, including traceability systems and precautions to protect people from the coronavirus.

Departing in July, all passengers on board the pioneering flight will carry a digital health passport, which is a mobile app developed by the Canary Islands’ company Hi+ Card and researchers from Spain’s Tourism Data Driven Solutions (TDDS). The app stores medical records validated by government health departments and will allow passengers to travel “safely, traceably, and with immutability of [their] data.”

A number of Greek and Italian islands, including Santorini, Crete, and Capri, are also considering the introduction of health passports for international arrivals.

Portugal’s tourist board rolls out ‘Clean and Safe’ stamp for tourism businesses
Portugal’s tourist board has created a “Clean & Safe” stamp for hotels, restaurants, and tourism-related businesses that shows their compliance with increased safety and hygiene measures. Turismo de Portugal was launched recently, with online training programs and requirements for businesses, including enhanced cleaning protocols, and making personal protective equipment available for everyone.

Portugal’s state of emergency was lifted on May 2 after six weeks of lockdown. Some shops and businesses have already opened. Cafes, restaurants, and bars are to open on May 18. Some hotels are scheduling their openings in June and July, but right now domestic tourism is the focus.

 


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/05/18/travel-updates-to-excite-or-scare/)