This time last year, people from across the globe were gearing up to head off on their summer holidays. However, 2020 is an entirely different scene due to the spread of Covid-19. Travel has been paused for the past few months. Unprecedented travel restrictions have been put in place in many countries due to the global pandemic. Overall, it has been an uncertain couple of months for the travel industry as a whole. Many travellers are asking the questions; “Will my summer holiday go ahead?” and “When can we travel again?”
The short answer is this: nothing is for certain right now.
There is no confirmed date for when worldwide travel restrictions will be lifted. This leaves many globetrotters uncertain about their future adventures.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom! Travel is slowly beginning to become a possibility and upcoming summer vacations could be on the table, specifically within the European Union (EU).
The answer to this question depends on where you live. Several countries in the EU are gradually reopening travel, many with a focus on domestic travel and “staycations”.
EU member states are currently working together on plans to remove travel bans and border checks while keeping certain health and safety measures in place; making summer vacations in the not-so-distant future possible within the region.
The new measures are put in place on a country-to-country basis. Some destinations, such as France, continue to maintain travel restrictions making travel to different countries more complicated. The United Kingdom (UK) is another example. From 8 June, travellers returning to the UK will need to complete a 14-day self-quarantine. This makes short European trips less feasible. The UK’s Foreign Office currently still advises against all non-essential international travel.
Before setting off, an important question to ask yourself is what steps you should be taking before committing to a summer break.
While New Zealand is the only country to have declared itself Covid-19 free, there are many destinations which are reopening travel with a number of strict health and safety rules in place. The aim is to keep travellers as safe as possible during their visits.
Good news for beach-lovers and history-buffs – Greece was one of the first countries to announce the revival of travel to the country! Greece has seen relatively low Covid-19 infection numbers and is looking forward to welcoming travellers in the summer season.
Travel to Greece is possible from 15 June with travellers from high-risk countries needing to complete a 1-week quarantine. Over the past few weeks, city and seasonal hotels have been opening up and direct international flights begin from 1 July. Short European tours to Greece and the Greek islands could be a great option for a summer break.
After making headlines for being one of the countries hardest hit by Covid-19, Italy is emerging from this tough period with the goal of safely reviving tourism in the country.
Italy has imposed a number of strict measures in line with the slow reopening of travel. The government has placed restrictions on non-essential travel from outside of the Schengen Zone (apart from the UK). EU and UK travellers will enjoy quarantine-free visits.
Museums slowly began opening at the beginning of June. Local Italians enjoyed exploring spots like the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum minus the usual crowds. As popular monuments and destinations begin to welcome visitors once again, new rules such as social distancing, face masks and limited admission numbers will be in place.
Also hard-hit by the Coronavirus outbreak, Spain is tentatively getting ready to safely reopen travel with a current emphasis on local travel. The country will welcome foreign tourists back from 1 July and the 14-day quarantine imposed on arriving travellers will be lifted.
Business, schools and museums began reopening in Portugal towards the end of May. People were allowed back on the beaches from 3 June with social distancing rules in place – Portugal is even using technology to ensure people are staying safe! An app called Info Praia has been developed for sun, sand and sea lovers to use to find out info about their preferred beach and potentially book a spot to avoid overcrowding.
Portugal’s National Tourism Authority also announced a Hygiene Certification Stamp to help hotels and businesses ensure they are ready to safely open for business.
Interestingly, in addition to Schengen countries (currently excluding Spain and Italy), Portuguese airports will be open to the USA, Canada, Brazil and more Portuguese-speaking countries. If you live in one of these, Portugal could be your option for a short getaway to Europe!
Across the Atlantic Ocean in the United States of America, the Center for Disease Control currently discourages all unessential foreign travel. But the good news for Americans is that travel is opening up within the states making domestic tourism an option for a summer break.
Theme park lovers are in for a treat as popular family spots including Universal Studios and Disney World in Florida are opening from June and July respectively. The reopenings come with new safety rules; admission numbers will be limited, there will be temperature checks at the gate and visitors will need to wear face masks and practice social distancing. At Disney, there will be no parades, meet and greets with characters or fireworks shows for the time being.
The German government is aiming to lift the travel restrictions on visitors from the EU plus the UK, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein from 15 June. Currently, Germany maintains warnings about non-essential trips outside of the country.
In Eastern Europe and the Baltic States, travel is reopening mostly to neighbouring countries. Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia were some of the first countries to open borders to each other back in May.
Australia is another country which has imposed strict travel restrictions, with a travel ban in place since 25 March. No confirmed news on when travel in Australia will be possible again. However, this is a great opportunity for local Aussies to do some exploring within their own borders!
As with all forms of travel, group tours will look a little different once travel is open again. There will be stricter hygiene and health and safety regulations in place, social distancing may be encouraged and there may be a possibility of reduced tour group sizes and short tours.
The world as a whole will likely be different once the pandemic is over. There will be new approaches to many walks of life, travel included.
Overall, this year it is possible that you may be able to enjoy summer holidays, fall getaways or winter vacations on a reduced basis. It depends on where you live in the world and where you would like to visit. Keep in mind that your vacation style may be different from usual – think staycations, domestic travel, regional trips and discovering the hidden gems in your own town or country!
Currently travel still remains a bit uncertain so, right now could be a great time to start saving up and book your 2021 travel adventures!
As is always the case with travelling, your safety is incredibly important to our team. Stay tuned to our blog for tips on staying healthy while travelling.