Coronavirus Updates: Latest Travel and Tourism news
Every day, we monitor the situation on the travel market. On this page, once a week – on Tuesdays, we share the main news that affects the travel niche and affiliate marketing.
- Ireland on Tuesday (15th September) announced new rules that will likely cut popular holiday destinations Greece and Italy from a quarantine-free “green list” and leave some of Europe’s strictest travel restrictions in place for another month. Source: Reuters.
- The first European pandemic “travel bubble”, created in May by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, burst on Friday (11th September), as Latvia said it was mandating a 14-day quarantine on everyone arriving from Estonia. Source: Reuters.
- On Friday (4th September), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) saw 968,673 passengers travel through U.S. airport security checkpoints, the highest number since COVID-19 began to impact the travel industry in March. That number was followed by 935,308 traveling on Monday. Those follow four straight Sundays of 800,000-plus passengers, including the highest passenger numbers in the last six months. Source: Travelmarket.
- As of August 24, the total number of reserved room nights matched the pre-Covid level. At the end of the summer vacation month, the number even exceeded that of January, according to Shiji Distribution Solutions, a hotel distribution switch and channel manager in China. The recovery showed that pent-up demand was apparent and travelers displayed robust consumption capacity. The demand for outbound travel has been diverted to domestic travel. Source: Chinatravelnews.
- While the hotel industry is still in terrible shape and asking for a federal bailout, Airbnb looks as though it has become one of the more improbable winners from the coronavirus pandemic. Vacationers prefer homes they can have to themselves over buildings that they have to share with other people. People working remotely have realized that if they can work from anywhere, they might as well work from somewhere beautiful. Source: Axios.
- Travelers arriving in England from seven Greek islands will have to self-isolate for 14 days from 04:00 BST on Wednesday, Grant Shapps has said. The islands affected are Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos, and Zakynthos (also known as Zante). The government says islands can be treated differently from their mainland countries if infection rates differ. Source: BBC.
- Etihad Airways has launched free coronavirus travel insurance to boost travel confidence among customers. The airline, which is based in Abu Dhabi but flies to destinations including Australia, has announced if passengers are tested positive for the virus during their trip, the airline will pay for medical and quarantine costs. Source: 9news.
- Greece and Poland have updated their coronavirus travel restrictions to allow Russian citizens to cross their borders for two-week periods as Russia’s virus caseload topped the one million milestones. Poland’s government has removed Russia from its latest list of countries subject to a travel ban, meaning flights will be able to resume from Wednesday. According to the Notesfrompoland.com news website, the Polish government is expected to update its travel ban list again on Sept. 15. Greece will allow Russians to fly into the country between Sept. 7 and 21, according to a government decision cited by the RIA Novosti news agency. The number of entries is capped at 500 Russian nationals per week, who will be required to provide a negative Covid-19 test result within three days of entry and complete a detailed personal information form. Source: MoscowTimes.
- The Emirates airline has shelled out roughly $1.4 billion in coronavirus-related travel refunds — and it’s not done yet. Source: NewYorkPost.
- Canada is once again extending emergency orders that place restrictions on international travel and make mandatory 14-day quarantines for anyone entering the country during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The orders will be extended for at least another month, the government said. Source: GlobalNews.
- Japan and Cambodia agreed Saturday to reopen borders to their expatriates as early as next month on condition they self-quarantine for 14 days and take other precautions against the novel coronavirus. Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi agreed on the policy with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen during a meeting in Phnom Penh, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry. Source: JapanTimes.
- The UK Government is due to review its list of travel corridors this Thursday. Some countries, like Sweden and Serbia, have now dropped beneath the 20 threshold, marking them as potential destinations for a travel corridor. Portugal was last week given the green light, after a drop in cases. Source: Telegraph.
- Singapore relaxes coronavirus travel restrictions for mainland China, Taiwan and Malaysia Passengers from ‘low-risk’ territories – which also include Vietnam, Macau and most of Australia – will serve seven-day stay-home notices, rather than 14 Travellers from Brunei and New Zealand will not need to serve a stay-home notice at all but will be tested at the airport. Source: SCMP.
- Panama suspended all international flights for another month from Aug. 22 due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the Central American country’s civil aviation authorities said on Friday. Source: Reuters.
- AirAsia has resumed its Kuala Lumpur to Singapore flights today, allowing cross border travel for essential and official travelers following both countries’ announcement on the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) scheme. Source: AirAsia.
- Switzerland is ‘certain’ to be removed from the UK’s travel corridors list this Thursday, according to a travel industry insider. Source: Telegraph.
- STA Travel, which offered package tours for backpackers and adventurous young people, has become the latest business to cease trading because of the coronavirus pandemic. The travel company employed around 500 staff in 50 high street branches across the UK and at its central London headquarters. Source: The Guardian.
- New data from travel analytics firm ForwardKeys shows that for the fourth quarter of this year, Europe as a whole will see a 65 percent drop in its year on year inbound travel. London, meanwhile will see a 71.6 percent drop, performing worse than Paris, Rome, Lisbon, and Barcelona. Source: Skift.
Phuket eyes October 1 as launch date for “Safe and Sealed” tourism plan. The Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, says his ministry hopes to kick-start a careful and limited re-opening to international tourism from October 1, beginning with the southern province of Phuket. According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Phiphat’s ministry will meet with the Public Health, Interior, Foreign and Transport ministries on August 27 to discuss the introduction of the “Safe and Sealed” campaign. The campaign aims to revive tourism from international provinces or cities considered “low-risk” for Covid-19. Source: thethaiger.com.
AirAsia has resumed its Kuala Lumpur to Singapore flights August 17, allowing cross border travel for essential and official travellers following both countries’ announcement on the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) scheme. AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said, “Both countries have taken relentless efforts and strict discipline in containing the spread of COVID-19, and the RGL is a first step towards reviving the economy, especially for those who have essential travel needs between both countries. We look forward to seeing more ‘travel bubbles’ and ‘green lanes’ formed between countries with low infection rates or active cases, and proven pandemic curbing systems to facilitate the need for air travel. At the same time, we urge all guests to adhere to the required regulations and follow the safety measures for a safe flying journey.” AirAsia will continue to review the suitability of introducing more frequencies between the two countries. Source: newsroom.airasia.com.
Business operators in Phuket are pressing ahead with a proposal to turn around the tourism industry by allowing long-stay tourists to resume their visits to the resort island as early as November. Under the “4T” model put forward at a meeting of the provincial disease control committee, long-stay visitors have been identified as having the most potential to be welcomed. The 4T model, which stands for Target, Testing, Tracing and Treatment, is designed to balance public health issues with economic recovery, according to the province’s business community. Source: bangkokpost.com.
Scotland wants to plant the seeds for recovery following the coronavirus pandemic. Edinburgh on Tuesday debuted Traveltech for Scotland, a public-private partnership aiming to support travel technology companies and use their talent to aid the tourism industry. Investing in the travel sector might not seem an obvious move for a nation facing recession. But Scotland charts its own path. Scottish Enterprise has joined with the European Regional Development Fund to put together a three-year, about $450,000 (£342,000) project to build a supportive network for travel tech companies. The University of Edinburgh will lead the effort to create a so-called travel tech cluster, or informal, no-fee membership network. “Our priority is to help get tourism reopening via the tech solutions already out there,” said Joshua Ryan-Saha, director of Traveltech for Scotland. “We’re thinking things like contactless tech for check-in and digital methods for helping tourism-related businesses boost the quality of their online bookings.” Source: skift.com.
Although most EU countries began loosening coronavirus travel and entry restrictions in June-July, come August and several are tightening them back up again, even among themselves. As lockdown measures began easing and travel gradually resumed, many countries saw an increase in COVID-19 infections, leading to the reintroduction of border control among the EU States and increased levels of security. Some of the countries that have tightened travel measures against the COVID-19 are: Italy, Greece, Norway, France, Germany, Finland, Switzerland. Source: schengenvisainfo.com.
- Airlines and airports want countries to adopt travel requirements which accept a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours instead of asking passengers to quarantine upon arrival. Representatives from the Airports Council International (ACI) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) will make the request to a UN meeting this Tuesday, August 18, reported Reuters. According to the proposal, taking a PCR coronavirus test before departure could decrease the risk of importation by up to 90% and would allow for more countries to open up without quarantine requirements. Source: schengenvisainfo.com.
- Portugal has launched its travel insurance scheme for international tourists, amidst Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Medical, surgical, hospital and pharmaceutical expenses will be included in the travel insurance that will be extended in the whole country. Source: schengenvisainfo.com.
- The total number of flights tracked by Flightradar24, per day (UTC time), last 180 days:
- COVID19-recovery in the number of flights showing steady growth after the surge at the start of the month.
- Ryanair, Europe’s favourite low fares airline, announced it has restored over 60% of normal flight schedules from 1st August, following the successful resumption of its services at the end of June. Throughout July, Ryanair have flown 4.4 million customers to destinations across Europe, reuniting friends and family, allowing commuters to get back to work, as well as jetting tourists off for post-lockdown breaks to some of the continent’s most popular holiday hotspots. As Europe’s skies get busier and traveller confidence returns, Ryanair will continue to increase its flight frequencies throughout August with more than 1,600 routes and over 11,000 weekly flights across its network. Source: corporate.ryanair.com.
- Thailand is unlikely to reopen its borders to international tourists before the end of the year — the prediction from a deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Speaking at yet another webinar, this time hosted by Mekong Tourism and TravelMole, the deputy governor for international marketing at TAT, Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, noted that there has been “no talk of a timeline issued for reopening the country to inbound or outbound leisure travel during weekly Covid-19 national meetings”. Source: thethaiger.com.
- Australia’s remote Northern Territory (NT) will keep its borders closed to coronavirus-affected states for at least another 18 months, officials say. Australia is battling a second wave in its south-east, with about 8,000 active cases in Melbourne and smaller clusters in Sydney. But elsewhere around the country, the virus has effectively been eliminated. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said interstate travel restrictions will likely persist until Christmas. Source: bbc.com.
- Cruise firm P&O has extended the suspension of sailings due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Southampton-based company, which is part of the Carnival group, had hoped to resume cruises from October. It has extended its pause in operations until November 12 and cancelled two longer duration cruises on Aurora and Arcadia which had been due to leave in January. P&O president Paul Ludlow said: “It is clear that whilst the guidance is in place it is not advisable for us to resume operations.” Source: bbc.com.
- Germany gave a welcome break to the coronavirus lovelorn from Monday (10 Aug) — easing its border controls to allow unmarried couples to reunite after what has been months of separation for some. The exemption applies to the partners of Germans from countries that Germany considers high-risk — currently most of the world outside the EU — and couples have to provide some proof that they were in a relationship before the pandemic, the interior ministry said on Friday. Source: skift.com.
- Travelers returning to the UK from Spain after midnight will have to quarantine for 14 days, the government has said. The decision came following a spike in coronavirus cases in Spain, with more than 900 new cases of the virus reported on Friday. Spanish officials have also warned a second wave could be imminent as major cities have seen cases surge. Source: BBC.
- A travel bubble with China and resumption of air travel is helping Singapore Changi Airport and the city-state’s flag carrier begin a slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating impact on travel. But traffic levels are still catastrophically down from 2019 performance marks. Source: Skift.
- The number of daily passenger flights in China has rebounded to 80% of pre-coronavirus levels, China’s aviation regulator said on Friday, as the aviation industry recovers from the plunge in travel demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Source: Reuters.
- Despite protests from Portuguese leaders, the UK continues to keep the country off its “safe list” of countries to arrive from and not enter into a 14-day quarantine as a coronavirus precautionary measure. The list includes 74 countries, including Spain which — like Portugal — is seeing a recent surge in new cases. Source: Skift.
- Costa Rica will reopen two of its airports on Aug. 1 to tourists from the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada, the government said on Thursday, even as it reported the highest daily number of coronavirus infections to date. Source: Reuters.
- Sao Paulo, the biggest city in South America, postponed its 2021 Carnival celebrations on the same day that Formula One scrapped its next planned race. Carnival, a traditional multi-day holiday known for its colorful parades and raucous revelry, takes place in hundreds of cities throughout Latin America’s largest nation. Source: Hindustantimes.
- Amsterdam has been a draw for tourists for many years for its fabled streets, museums, and nightlife. But the pandemic has made its officials wary about visitors. Source: Skift.
- Health-conscious shoppers have made smoothies “the drinks success story of the 21st century” with an explosive growth in popularity in the past five years, according to a report. Sales of the crushed fruit drinks rose 523 percent in the five years to 2006 and the number of smoothies sold is expected to almost treble by 2011. Source: Independent.
- Ireland will hand firms hit by the COVID-19 crisis more generous grants, extend a wage-subsidy scheme keeping many afloat and aim to boost domestic tourism with “staycation vouchers” as part of a fresh stimulus package announced on Thursday. Source: Reuters.
- Emirates is claiming to be the first airline to offer free Covid-19 health cover in a bid to lure tourists back onto planes. It’s also covering any costs that could arise from quarantine. Source: Skift.
- The opening of the Singapore-China green lane and the restarting of transit flights helped to boost passenger movements at Changi Airport last month, but only barely. The number – 48,200 – is still 99.2 percent below what it was in the same period last year, data released by Changi Airport Group (CAG) showed 20.07.2020. Source: ST.
- Nepal will allow regular international airline flights from August 17, a minister said on Tuesday, nearly four months after suspending them to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Source: The New York Times.
- Dubai has launched a compliance programme to certify and recognise hotels and retail establishments, food and beverage outlets and attractions that have implemented all public health protocols for the prevention and management of COVID-19. Source: GulfNews.
- Express COVID-19 testing will be available for some passengers at Russia’s busiest airport from Monday (20 July) as part of a pilot project aimed at allowing air travel and tourism to resume safely. Source: Reuters.
- Heathrow unveils further measures that reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 at the airport. The UK’s biggest front door and only hub airport has adopted the most extensive array of technology to protect passengers and colleagues, as the country readjusts to life post-lockdown. Source: Heathrow Airport.
- Passengers of China-bound flights must provide negative COVID-19 test results before boarding, China’s aviation authority said on Tuesday, as the government looks to further reduce the risk of imported coronavirus cases amid increased international travel. Source: Reuters.
- Germany tightened travel rules to prevent outbreaks of the coronavirus as the summer vacation season gets underway. Federal and state officials on Thursday agreed to more stringent restrictions but stopped short of a complete ban on travel to and from domestic hot spots, which was advocated by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Source: Bloomberg.
- River cruises are making a quiet comeback on the Danube after the COVID-19 pandemic brought global tourism to a standstill and forced companies to suspend voyages. Source: Reuters.
- Home rental firm Airbnb Inc said on Tuesday its guests have booked more than 1 million nights globally on July 8, offering an early sign of recovery after a slowdown in reservations during the COVID-19 pandemic. A major part of the bookings are for trips that will start on or before Aug. 7, the company said, adding it hit the 1 million mark for the first time since March 3. Source: Reuters.
- Disneyland Paris welcomed back visitors on Wednesday after a four-month closure due to the coronavirus outbreak, with face masks and social distancing the order of the day. A steady stream of visitors trickled in during the morning, with one group wearing Mickey Mouse ears and dancing with glee as they entered Europe’s most visited theme park. Source: Reuters.
- Home rental firm Airbnb Inc said on Tuesday it recorded more than 1 million bookings globally on July 8, offering an early sign of recovery after a slowdown in reservations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Source: Economic Times.
- Hawaii delayed its plan to allow out-of-state visitors to return to the vacation hot spot by a month because of an increase in coronavirus cases in the state and on the U.S. mainland. Source: USA Today.
- Thailand ordered security stepped up at its land borders on Monday after concerns surged over a possible second wave of coronavirus infections, following the arrests of thousands of illegal migrants in the past month. Source: Reuters.
- Hilton EventReady with CleanStay launched Monday and is a new heightened health and safety protocol for meetings and events. An offshoot of Hilton’s CleanStay program for guestrooms, the new protocol aims to show potential clients it is safe to host events while respecting preventative measures against the spread of coronavirus. Source: Skift.
- The Japanese government aims to subsidize up to half of the eligible domestic trip costs during a campaign beginning July 22, Bloomberg News reported. But some citizens are alarmed that Tokyo reported on Saturday 206 new coronavirus infections, as Nikkei reported. The capital city accounts for about a third of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, and some worry domestic tourism could spread the virus. Source: Bloomberg.
- Britons have been urged to avoid traveling on cruise ships due to the risk of coronavirus, just hours before the government is set to allow quarantine-free travel from dozens of countries across the world. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has today changed its advice, urging all holidaymakers against embarking on cruise ships, over fears of the spread of Covid-19. The government had previously urged over-70s to avoid sailings. Source: DailyMail.
- The beaches in Brazil’s tourist hot spot of Rio de Janeiro will only reopen officially for sunbathers and swimmers once there is a vaccine for Covid-19, Mayor Marcelo Crivella said, according to Reuters. Source: Reuters.
- Japan intends to begin talks in mid-July on resuming business flights with 10 more economies including mainland China, South Korea and Taiwan, a move that will be backed by a sharp increase in coronavirus testing capacity. Source: Nikkei.
- Commercial flight growth continues to lag total flights, ending June 62% below 2019 levels. However, commercial flights in June climbed 32% above May. Through June, 2020 commercial flights are 40% below 2019 levels.
- Qatar Airways has announced that economy passengers now have to wear a surgical face shield as well as a face mask throughout its flights. The shields will be handed out to all travelers either at check-in or the boarding gate. However, whether business-class customers wear their face shield and a mask on board is ‘at their own discretion’, with the Doha-based carrier saying they ‘enjoy more space and privacy’. Source: DailyMail.
- New Zealand’s national carrier will not take new bookings for three weeks as the country looks to limit the number of citizens returning home to reduce the burden on overflowing quarantine facilities, Reuters reports. Source: Reuters.
- Kenya lowered entry fees to game parks for local citizens and foreign visitors by 50% for a year, starting July 1, as the nation seeks to revive its tourism industry that has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The sector is the East African nation’s third-biggest foreign-exchange earner after remittances and agricultural exports. The country recorded 1.44 million visitors between July last year and February 2020, compared with 1.42 million a year earlier. Source: Bloomberg.
- United Airlines is further expanding its international schedule in September, Reuters reports. It will be bringing back service between Chicago and Hong Kong and Los Angeles and Sydney, and adding new nonstop flights between Chicago and Tel Aviv. Source: Reuters.
- The EU agreed on Tuesday (30 June) on a ‘safe travel list’ including 15 third countries from where travel to Europe will be possible from 1 July, with the notable exception of the United States, where COVID-19 is still spreading. The countries approved for leisure or business travel are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. Source: Euractive.
- India has withdrawn a planned reopening of the Taj Mahal, citing the risk of new coronavirus infections spreading in the northern city of Agra from visitors flocking to see the 17th-century monument to love. Local authorities issued a new advisory late on Sunday ordering an extension of lockdown curbs on monuments in and around Agra. The government order did not specify the duration of the lockdown for monuments that have been closed since March. Source: Reuters.
- Bali conducted mass prayers on Sunday as it prepares to reopen to tourists shut out due to the pandemic, Reuters reports. More than a thousand people attended prayer at Besakih Hindu temple in the town of Karangasem, expressing gratitude for the handling of the new coronavirus on the island and seeking blessings for the start of a “new normal”. Tourism is Bali’s main source of income. Source: Reuters.
- Radical plans to give all UK adults £500 and children £250 in vouchers to spend in sectors of the economy worst hit by the Covid-19 crisis are being considered by the Treasury. Source: The Guardian.
- Starved of the travel experience during the coronavirus lockdown? One Taiwanese airport has the solution – a fake itinerary where you check-in, go through passport control and security and even board the aircraft. Source: Reuters.
- The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism (MITUR) announced the safety protocols to be followed by all tourism operators and establishments to help ensure the health of tourists and locals alike. The documents, which can be downloaded from the Ministry’s website detail the precautions and additional security measures that put into practice starting July 1. Source: Globalnewswire.
- Euronews has obtained, from EU diplomatic sources, the full draft list of the countries for which Europe’s borders will be open, and can confirm what we reported on Wednesday that Brazil, Qatar, the US and Russia are indeed not on the approved list. Source: Euronews.
- American Airlines will start booking flights to full capacity next week, ending any effort to promote social distancing on its planes while the United States sets records for new reported cases of the coronavirus. American’s move matches the policy of United Airlines but contrasts sharply with rivals that limit bookings to creating space between passengers to minimize the risk of contagion. Source: USNews.
- Britain will ditch a 14-day quarantine period for people arriving from countries it deems to be lower risk for COVID-19. Official travel advice against all but essential travel outside Britain will also be eased for some countries and regions. Taken together, these changes will make it easier for Britons to travel abroad for the summer holidays. Source: Reuters.
- Frankfurt Airport opened a walk-in COVID-19 testing center on Monday (29.06). In cooperation with airport operators Fraport and Lufthansa, biotech firm Centogene hopes the operation at Germany’s largest airport will serve as a “blueprint to opening international borders.” The scheme is expected to run until July 31 next year. Source: DW.
- London has fallen from the number one spot to the bottom of the top 10 most booked European cities, according to research by the World Travel & Tourism Council and ForwardKeys. Source: MarketScreener.
- As part of the resumption of activities in Phase 2 after the Circuit Breaker, tourism businesses in Singapore will be permitted to resume operations in stages from 1 July, beginning with 13 attractions. STB will also allow domestic tour operators to begin submitting their applications to resume operations. Source: STB.
- Hawaii will implement a pre-travel COVID-19 testing option for travelers to the U.S. state as an alternative to a two-week travel quarantine, its governor said, hours after the Department of Justice backed a lawsuit challenging the quarantine. Source: Reuters.
- Knighthead Capital Management and private equity firm Certares Management are raising $1 billion for a new fund that would seek to capitalize on a rebound in travel businesses disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to people with knowledge of the plan. Source: Bloomberg.
- China’s Trip.com Group has created a $500m fund to help airlines, hotels, and other travel companies recover from the pandemic, Nikkei reported Friday. The group opened the fund in March with $140 million and has since added to it. Source: Nikkei.
- American Airlines said on Friday it would stop limiting the number of seats it sells on each flight from July 1. The U.S. carrier also said tickets for travel through September 30 would not incur change fees prior to travel. Source: Reuters.
- The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has unveiled a new campaign, entitled Saudi Summer, to encourage residents to explore the kingdom this year. The decision comes as the country bans international visitors from making the Islamic pilgrimage, or Hajj, this year in a bid to control coronavirus. Running until the end of September, it is promoting ten locations across the nation – Jeddah and KAEC; Abha; Tabuk; Khobar, Dammam and Ahsa; Al Baha; Al Taif; Yanbu and Umluj and Riyadh. Source: MT.
- Commercial flight activity has grown steadily since mid-April lows, but remains far below 2019 levels. While 18 June’s 50,038 flights is a positive step, on the third Thursday of June 2019 (21 June) we tracked 126,753 commercial flights:
- Japan has lifted coronavirus-related curbs on domestic travel. The latest easing on Thursday comes after the end of an emergency declaration that allowed people to return to work and for bars and restaurants implementing social distancing measures to reopen. In addition to ending the domestic travel advisory, Japan is also allowing up to 1,000 people to gather at indoor and outdoor events. Source: NY Times.
- The announcement highlights that local residents are invited to enjoy the Island’s ample natural and cultural resources effective immediately, while the industry gets ready to welcome travelers once again as of July 15th with a strict set of health and safety standards in place to control the spread of COVID-19. Source: AP News.
- Emirates will offer scheduled flights for travelers from Colombo from 20 June; Sialkot from 24 June; Istanbul from 25 June; Auckland, Beirut, Brussels, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from 1 July; and Barcelona and Washington DC from 15 July. Emirates will increase the frequency of its existing flights to London Heathrow, Manchester, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, Madrid, Copenhagen, Dublin, New York JFK, Toronto, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Hong Kong in July. Source: Emirates.
- The United Arab Emirates said citizens and residents will be allowed to travel to countries deemed low-risk for catching the coronavirus from next Tuesday (23.06). Source: JP.
- Australia is unlikely to reopen its border to international travelers until next year, Reuters reports, but will look to relax entry rules for students and other long-term visitors. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said a quarantine rule for returning citizens could be applied to international students and other visitors who plan to stay for a long period of time. Source: Reuters.
- A limited number of flights between Europe and South America have been restarted by LATAM Airlines Group. LATAM began twice-weekly flights between Frankfurt and Sao Paulo again in early June. Source: Travel Weekly.
- Workers are preparing the Eiffel Tower for reopening this week, after the coronavirus pandemic led to the iconic Paris landmark’s longest closure since World War II. Only limited numbers of people will be allowed in when the Eiffel Tower opens again on June 25. Elevators to the top will be out of service, and only the first and second floors will be accessible to the public. Source: Fortune.
- Delta Air Lines has been given the green light from the Shanghai government to resume flights from June 18. t is still awaiting for the decision from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) on how many flights it can resume and when it can do so, the airline said. Delta has filed an application to operate two weekly flights from Seattle to Shanghai via Seoul. Source: Reuters.
- China’s aviation authority suspended a China Southern Airlines flight route on Sunday after 17 passengers on a June 11 flight tested positive for the coronavirus. It is the regulator’s first use of its new “circuit-breaker” flight regulations, which came into effect on June 4 as domestic carriers expanded flights and days before China reintroduced international flights after months of border restrictions to prevent the import of the virus. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) suspended the airline’s Dhaka, Bangladesh to Guangzhou, China flight—the weekly flight CZ392—for four weeks starting June 22 because of the infected passengers. The airline’s other flights won’t be affected. Source: Fortune.
- EasyJet aircraft will take to the skies on Monday for the first time since March 30, as the British carrier resumes a small number of mainly domestic flights after weeks of lockdown. The airline is starting with a minimal service, flying mainly routes within Britain to cities including Edinburgh and Belfast. It is also resuming some domestic and international routes from France, Switzerland, Italy and Portugal. Source: Skift.
- Upon arrival, all foreign passengers in Cambodia are required to deposit $3,000 at the airport in cash or through credit cards to pay for virus prevention services. Those who test negative for the virus will only be charged the fees for the test and will be given back the remainder of their deposit. A foreigner will have to pay $5 for a single trip between the airport and the waiting center, $100 for a Covid-19 test, $30 for a day’s stay at a hotel or at a waiting center while waiting for the test results and $30 for three meals during their wait, said the health ministry. If any passenger tests positive for Covid-19, those on the same flight will be quarantined for 14 days and each will be required to pay $100 for one test and $84 a day to pay for the stay in a hotel or quarantine facility, meals, laundry, sanitary services, doctors and security services. A Covid-19 positive patient will be required to pay $100 per test (maximum four tests) and $225 a day for the hospital room, medical treatment, meals, laundry and sanitary services. In the case of death, the cremation service charge is $1,500. Source: Khmertimeskh.
- Spain will open its borders to countries in the European Union’s Schengen area on June 21, except for Portugal where the border will open on July 1. The Schengen area is an area comprising 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passports and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. Source: Reuters.
- France will gradually reopen its borders to countries outside the Schengen zone from July 1, the interior and foreign ministers said in a joint statement on Friday. The borders were shut in mid-March to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, but the European Union recommended on Thursday that the bloc reopen to some countries in the Balkans from July 1. Source: France24.
- A spokesperson for the Maldives tourism board has confirmed the Indian Ocean destination will welcome back tourists of all nationalities in July without prior testing or a mandatory quarantine period, dropping a previous draft proposal travelers would need to present a medical certificate confirming proof of a negative Covid-19 test. There are also no new visa requirements or additional fees. Source: CNN Travel.
- Reinstated scheduled services include flights to Adelaide, Amsterdam, Auckland, Barcelona, Brisbane, Cebu, Christchurch, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Medan, Melbourne and Osaka. From Thursday, the airline is also allowing travelers from some cities in Australia and New Zealand to transit through Changi Airport to any destination in its network operated by SIA, SilkAir, or budget carrier Scoot. The cities are: Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Auckland and Christchurch. These flights are limited to outbound journeys only. Source: Singapore Airlines.
- Airbnb’s internal booking data tracking domestic travel from May 31 to June 6 gives it a reason to believe domestic travel is jumpstarting tourism recovery in Asia-Pacific. Source: AirBnB.
- The number of passengers going through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints at U.S. airports is rising steadily, new data from the agency say. On two days in the first week of June, TSA reported more than 400,000 people went through its checkpoints. Although this is a recovery and 11 percent better than the April 16 low, it’s still more than 85 percent off the same week last year. Source: Fox News.
- New Zealand has declared itself COVID-19-free. The country’s government will lift all Covid-19 restrictions except stringent border controls at midnight on Monday, prime minister Jacinda Ardern said, adding that she “did a little dance” when she heard there were no cases of coronavirus left in the country. Source: The Guardian.
- The Belgian government is to hand out free railway tickets in a bid to boost the country’s economy as it emerges from its coronavirus lockdown. All residents in the EU member state will get a pass entitling them to ten free journeys of any length on the country’s railways. The free ticket, agreed by government ministers at the weekend, is part of a raft of measures like higher welfare payments and a VAT cut, meant to stimulate economic activity. Source: Independent.
- Reuters reports Ryanair isn’t planning on canceling flights to and from the UK despite the introduction of a 14-day quarantine for international travelers. Its boss Michael O’Leary has said thousands of Britons are still booking holidays. Asked whether the airline would cancel July and August flights if the quarantine remained in place during those months, he said: “No, because the flights are full outbound of the UK. British people are ignoring this quarantine, they know it’s rubbish. “Ryanair is operating a thousand daily flights to points all over Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece from the 1st of July, the 2nd, the 3rd and every day after that.” Source: Reuters.
- Sri Lanka’s virus-battered tourism industry can reopen for foreign guests from August but under strict guidelines, including multiple coronavirus tests during their stay, officials said Saturday. Travelers will be able to visit from August 1, but they must carry a COVID-19 free certificate issued not earlier than 72 hours before boarding. Even with this document, tourists will have to take a virus test at the airport upon arrival. A further check will be done four to five days later – and a third if staying for more than 10 days. Source: Barrons.
- A months-long coronavirus lockdown is to be lifted in Moscow after mayor Sergei Sobyanin declared the pandemic was on the wane. Restrictions on international travel imposed by Russia are to be eased, the prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, said on Monday, as he announced a rollback of coronavirus measures. Source: The Guardian.
- The European Union will only fully open internal borders by the end of June and begin lifting restrictions on travel to and from other countries in July, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said on Friday. Johansson told a news conference after a video call among EU interior ministers that most EU governments would lift internal border controls by June 15, but that some would take until the end of the month to do so. “So that means that internal border controls are lifted by the end of June, I guess. We should consider the gradual lifting of restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU early July,” she said. Source: Reuters.
- Since mid-April there’s a slow but constant recovery with flights at -81% yesterday.
After restarting domestic passenger operations on Monday and international operations yesterday, Turkish Airlines was the busiest operator in the Eurocontrol area with 359 flights. Source: Eurocontrol.
- Japan will shortly move ahead with a much-hinted-at plan to let business travelers from some countries bypass a 14-day quarantine. Exceptions will be made for travelers who have confirmed negative test results and be from countries that have managed the pandemic well, such as Thailand, Vietnam, New Zealand, and Australia. They’ll also have to fit into categories such as corporate executives, engineers, and company transfers. Source: Nikkei.
- Following the UAE Federal Government’s announcement to lift restrictions on transit passengers services, from the 15th June Emirates will offer passenger services to 16 more cities on its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. With travel restrictions remaining in place in most countries, customers are reminded to check entry and exit requirements before their journeys. Source: Emirates.
- Turkey plans to resume flights with around 40 countries in June, and has reached preliminary agreements for reciprocal air travel with 15 countries. Flights to Northern Cyprus, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Qatar and Greece will resume on June 10. Flights to 17 destinations, including Germany, Austria, Croatia, and Singapore will restart on June 15. Flights to a further 16 countries will begin on June 20, 22 and 25, including to South Korea, Qatar, the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium, he added. The 15 countries with which Ankara has reached a preliminary agreement to resume reciprocal flights include Italy, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Albania, Belarus, Jordan and Morocco. Source: Reuters.
- Canberra Airport opened a register for travelers interested in flying from the Australian capital to New Zealand on July 1 in a proposed resumption of international travel. The proposal to restart flights connecting the two capitals was under discussion between the two governments as well as Qantas and Air New Zealand, Canberra Airport Managing Director Stephen Byron said Thursday. Under the proposal, the flights between Canberra and Wellington would not require a quarantine of passengers. Canberra Airport opened its register of interest for the first flight on July 1 and 140 names were added within the first hour. Source: Hindustantimes.
- Singapore in discussions with South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia to establish “green lanes” for travel in the Covid-19 environment. Such arrangements will facilitate short-term essential business and official travel between countries, subject to safeguards against the coronavirus. Source: The New Indian Express.
- Flights and car travel resumed between Turkey’s big cities on Monday(01 June) and cafes, restaurants and Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar reopened in the country’s biggest step to ease restrictions taken to contain the coronavirus pandemic. International flights are expected to start next week. Turkish Airlines said it expects a slow recovery in global demand towards the end of summer, but predicts a 60% drop in passenger numbers this year compared to initial expectations. Parks, gyms, beaches, libraries and museums also re-opened, but not everyone felt comfortable returning to daily life despite measures to minimize infection risks. Source: Reuters.
- Japan is considering re-opening its borders to travelers from selected countries which have low levels of coronavirus infections, as it begins to ease restrictions put in place earlier this year to control the outbreak, Reuters reports. Source: The Guardian.
- Canada will invest C$30 million (17.66 million pounds) to enable its provinces and territories to promote holidays in their “own back yard” because of the closure of the country’s borders due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Destination Canada, the country’s national marketing body which usually focuses on luring international visitors, is due to announce the new funding later on Sunday. Source: Reuters.
- Malta will reopen its airport to passenger flights on July 1. Tourism accounts for almost a quarter of Malta’s economy and hoteliers have been pressing the government to reopen the airport or risk mass unemployment. Non-essential shops and restaurants were allowed to reopen in mid-May, but churches on the Roman Catholic island and schools remain closed. Bars and gyms will reopen next Friday. Source: Reuters.
- Travel analytics company ForwardKeys reports that domestic air travel in China, which has been recovering slowly in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, has now reached over 50% of equivalent 2019 levels. The findings are based on issued air tickets. Source: Moodiedavittreport.
- Wizz Air is adding new flights between Britain and Spain and opening a base in Italy as it sees opportunities arising from the coronavirus crisis which is forcing competitors to contract. “We are one of the very few airlines in Europe which can deliver growth capacity when everyone else is cutting and contracting capacity,” Wizz Chief Executive Jozsef Varadi said in an interview. Wizz, Europe’s no.3 budget carrier, said on Friday it was opening a new base at Milan Malpensa after announcing on Thursday new routes between London Luton and Spanish holiday resorts. Source: Reuters.
- Greece on Friday listed 29 countries from where it will accept visitors as of June 15 as the Greek government looks to mitigate some of the financial damage from the coronavirus pandemic. The 29 announced Friday are: Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland. Source: RTE.
- On June 4, TAP Air Portugal will resume service between Portugal and North America, operating two flights per week between Lisbon and Newark. In July, TAP plans to expand that service to include two weekly flights between each Boston, Miami and Toronto. Additionally, TAP will add three new routes this summer: between Boston and Ponta Delgada in the Azores on July 1, between Toronto and Ponta Delgada on July 2 and between Montreal and Lisbon on July 30. In total, TAP aims to have restored its total program to 247 weekly flights by July, about 20 percent of its schedule prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, including service to 21 destinations in Europe and increased domestic service. Source: Travelweekly.
- Greece restarted regular ferry services to its islands Monday and cafes and restaurants were also back open for business as the country accelerated efforts to salvage its tourism season. But the country’s low infection rate in the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the government to start the holiday season three weeks earlier than the expected June 15 date, as other Mediterranean countries — including Italy, Spain and Turkey — are grappling with deadlier virus outbreaks. Source: AP.
- President Donald Trump has further limited travel to the U.S. from the world’s coronavirus hotspots by denying entry to foreigners coming from Brazil, which is second to the US in the number of confirmed cases. The new restrictions will come into force on 28 May, and prohibit most non-U.S. citizens from traveling to the United States if they have been in Brazil in the last two weeks. Green card holders, close relatives of US citizens, and flight crew members, among select others, would be exempt. Source: The New York Times.
- Lufthansa plans to restart service to tourist destinations in Europe. The German airline has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and is in talks with the government over a potential bailout. Source: DW.
- Three large Indian states have sought to delay the planned opening of their airports on Monday as new cases of the novel coronavirus jumped by a record, complicating the federal government’s plan to resume flights after a two-month lockdown. India registered 6,767 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, the country’s biggest 24-hour jump yet, taking the total to over 131,000. Airlines are preparing to resume about a third of their domestic flight operations from Monday, even without clarity over which states will allow flights or what quarantine rules may apply to passengers. Source: Reuters.
- Air Canada will add service over the next several months, with plans to serve 97 of its usual 220 destinations in its summer schedule. On Friday, the carrier began to resume service to the United States, with service to six destinations—New York LaGuardia, Washington Dulles, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago—by Monday. Overall, Air Canada’s schedule will increase to 58 routes in June, compared with 34 routes in May. That will run to the end of July and includes additional service to some Caribbean, South America, Europe and Pacific markets. The carrier then plans to add more routes in August and September. Source: BTN.
- Spain will reopen to overseas tourists from July, the prime minister has announced, pledging that the government will guarantee the safety of visitors and locals as the country emerges from one of Europe’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns. Source: The Guardian.
- The Vatican Museums will reopen on June 1, the Vatican said on Saturday, ending a closure caused by the coronavirus lockdown that has drained the Holy See’s coffers. A statement said the Museums, which house some of the world’s greatest Renaissance masterpieces as well as ancient Roman and Egyptian artifacts, can be visited from the beginning of June, though only by making on-line reservations in order to control the number of people. Source: Reuters.
- COVID-19 lockdown: Domestic flight services resume in India after two months States like Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, which are home to some of the busiest airports in the country, were reluctant to allow domestic flight services from their airports, citing swelling cases of the coronavirus infection in their states. Source: The Economic Time.
- Air France is putting its grounded pilots through their paces in the flight simulator as the airline prepares to restore flights to dozens of destinations that had been suspended under coronavirus lockdown measures. The French carrier, part of Air France/KLM, plans to increase capacity to about 10% of normal levels by mid-June from 3-5% today. European safety rules require extra training for any pilot who has not carried out at least three take-offs and landings in the last three months, although Air France sets the bar higher at five take-offs and landings. Source: Reuters.
- Norway will likely maintain its travel restrictions until August 20, Reuters reported on Friday. Most visitors are banned. The measures include official advice against traveling abroad unless necessary, 10-day quarantine for all people returning from abroad, and barring entry to most non-Norwegians who do not have the right to live and work in Norway. Source: Reuters.
- Travelers can vacation in Italy once again as of June 3, the government announced. It’s a major step for Italy, which is slowly starting to recover after one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the world. Source: DW.
- Seychelles Tourism Minister Didier Dogley announces ban of cruise Ships for two years as part of measures to prevent future waves of the COVID-19 outbreak. Source: FTN News.
- Brussels Airlines plans to resume flight operations on June 15, starting with a reduced schedule that will build up as demand and travel restrictions dictate, according to the carrier. Source: BTN.
- Lufthansa plans to resume flights to destinations including Los Angeles, Toronto, and Mumbai next month as it begins to restore some of the capacity grounded by the coronavirus crisis, the German airline group said on Thursday. Source: Reuters.
- United Airlines wants to resume passengers flights to China as soon as next month but is waiting on governments in Beijing and Washington, D.C. to allow it, an executive told employees Thursday during a virtual town hall meeting. Source: Skift.
- France on Thursday announced measures worth 18 billion euros ($19 billion) to support its tourism sector, which has been hammered by the coronavirus crisis and resulting shutdown in beaches, leisure attractions and hotels. Source: Skift.
- Air New Zealand has announced it will operate to the majority of its domestic airports when the nation enters Alert Level 2. In a press release this evening, chief executive officer Greg Foran says the airline plans to operate around 20% of its usual domestic capacity during Alert Level 2. Source: tvnz.co.nz.
- Shanghai Disneyland in muted reopening after coronavirus closedown. Source: Reuters.
- Marriott CEO Arne Sorensen says most of the world has seen the bottom. Marriott sees early signs of travel demand coming back to properties in China and North America. But its plans to mount an aggressive marketing campaign to take as much of the early recovery market share as possible to recognize it will be tough competition on the rebound. Source: Skift.
- Marriott International reported Monday morning revenue per room or RevPAR, the hotel industry’s leading performance metric, was down nearly 23 percent in the first quarter. Outside North America, RevPAR dropped 30 percent while the metric was down nearly 20 percent in the company’s North American portfolio. First-quarter profits were $31 million, down from $375 million in profits reported in the first quarter of 2019. Source: Reuters.
- Avis budget plans for the summer start of recovery. CEO Joe Ferraro said: “Our current reservations show improvement in June and over the balance of the summer,” Ferraro said. “In markets where shelter-in-place restrictions are being lifted, we’re seeing early indications of improving demand, which leaves us hopeful for a recovery beginning in the third quarter.” Source: BTN.
- France’s Secretary of State for Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, told the RTL radio network on Sunday that airlines would not be required to enforce a distance of one meter between passages onboard aircraft. Source: BFM TV.
- COVID-19 has placed the whole world on lockdown, with new research from the World Tourism Organization showing that 100% of global destinations continue to have restrictions on travel in place, and 72% have completely closed their borders to international tourism. Source: UNWTO.
- Turkey sets out virus precautions, prepares for tourism comeback. Step by step, people are to be gradually allowed to travel within the country starting at the end of May, Esroy told a CNN Türk live broadcast. In June 2020, international flights will gradually recommence, he added. Source: DailySabah.
- Croatia hopes for 30% of annual tourism revenues despite coronavirus. Source: Reuters.
- Airbnb is rolling out two voluntary sanitization and coronavirus prevention programs for hosts, which would block guest arrivals for 72 hours between stays.
- Hilton defined a new standard of hotel cleanliness for its global properties by working with Reckitt Benckiser to elevate hygiene practices from check-in to check-out. Marriott also announced the use of electrostatic sprayers and hospital-grade disinfectants to sanitize throughout their hotels.
- India’s Oyo Hotels and Homes plans to offload more properties around the world, three sources familiar with the matter said, as the coronavirus pandemic prompts it to speed up a retreat from rapid global expansion. Source: Reuters.
- Hertz Global Holdings Inc said on Wednesday it was in talks with its lenders to avoid defaulting on debt related to its rental vehicle fleet, after skipping a payment that was due April 27. Hertz said in a regulatory filing that it had suffered a “sudden and dramatic negative impact” on its business due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has crushed demand for rental cars as people cancel travel and stay at home. Source: Reuters.
- American Airlines lost more than $2.2 billion in the first three months of the year — its biggest quarterly loss since 2008 — as the coronavirus pandemic drove down demand for air travel. Source: CNBC.
- American Airlines will require passengers to cover their faces on flights, effective May 11.
- Spain will not allow tourism, culture or leisure until Christmas. The Minister of Labour, Yolanda Diaz, explained that measures for the country’s reactivation are being considered in two periods and warned that the most affected sectors, such as tourism and leisure, will be extended until the end of 2020. “One that will cover the productive sectors until the summer and another that will extend until the end of the year and that would affect sectors such as tourism, culture or leisure,” she said. Source: Marca.
- Infographic: Which countries stand to lose the most:
- The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in collaboration with the public and private sector partners, is introducing an “Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration: SHA” certification aimed at elevating the country’s tourism industry standards and developing confidence among international and domestic tourists. Source: Tatnews.
- SweetEscape – Indonesian travel photography startupб cuts at least 30% of the workforce. Source: Dealstreetasia.
- Singapore sees second-wave rise in the number of cases. Singapore, which has been lauded for its initial response to the outbreak, has seen a surge in cases, reporting a record 1,426 new coronavirus cases on Monday, mostly among foreign workers. Source: The Guardian.
- Virgin Australia Holdings, 20 percent-owned by Singapore Airlines (SIA), became Asia’s first airline and the first long-haul carrier to fall to the coronavirus after the outbreak deprived the debt-burdened company of almost all income. Source: Straitstimes.
- India has not yet taken a decision on when to lift or ease restrictions on domestic and international flights and urged airlines to take travel bookings only after a final decision is made. “The Ministry of Civil Aviation clarifies that so far no decision has been taken to open domestic or international operations,” civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in a tweet late on Saturday. Source: Reuters.
- The Turkish government has launched an initiative to certificate coronavirus-free tourism resorts across the country. Source: Hurriyet.
- 8 of the 10 safest places to ride out the coronavirus pandemic are in the Asia-Pacific region, including mainland China. Source: Nikkei.