Author Archives: Destination & Tourism Headlines

Americans Can Travel to Croatia Despite Europe Ban

Travelers who are healthy and looking for a taste of Europe but are disappointed by the European Union travel ban barring U.S. travelers entry can take comfort in knowing that there are still destinations that they can travel to. Trending Now Croatia is one of a few European nations that still allows Americans to visit during the coronavirus pandemic and was on the New York Times list of places that U.S. travelers can still visit.There are a few stipulations: Travelers must show proof of paid accommodation and fill in an online form with details of your trip.Total Croatia News has reported that travelers have had success booking flights through Amsterdam, Paris, Munich and Copenhagen.Guidelines within the country require visitors to wear face masks, social distance by staying six feet apart and make contact with as few people as possible while visiting. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Mexico Travel Restrictions: Can You Visit Popular Tourism Destinations?

While land-crossing border restrictions between the U.S. and Mexico have been extended through at least July 21, and the State Department’s “Do Not Travel” advisory still remains in effect due to the global impact of COVID-19, air travel to Mexico is already possible for those who just can’t wait.And, most of the country’s well-known tourism destinations had begun to reopen, (at least partially), by July 1, if not sooner. Trending Now "The plan for the country is to open in stages and by regions," said World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) CEO, Gloria Guevara. "The target is domestic travelers first, followed by travelers from the U.S. and Canada, and then the rest of the world," CNN reported.While no quarantine or COVID-19 testing is required for entry, general health and safety guidelines dictate that residents and visitors alike should wear masks while outside of their personal accommodations, and maintain social distancing. And, arrivals are subject to screening as they enter the country.“Passengers and aircrew members arriving at Mexican airports may be subject to health screenings including temperature checks. Those exhibiting symptoms may be subject to additional health screening and/or quarantine,” states an updated health alert from the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico.With each state Mexican state being responsible for orchestrating and executing its own tourism reopening strategy, let's look at a few destinations that are already leading the way: PHOTO: The Mexican-Caribbean coast at Mahahual in Quintana Roo. (Photo via iStock / Getty Images Plus / LUNAMARINA) The Mexican Caribbean - Consistently a favorite among tourists, the state of Quintana Roo was among the first of Mexico’s tourism hotspots to re-welcome visitors, starting on June 8.Home to such spectacularly popular vacation destinations as Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and the rest of the Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo sprang into action early on in order start to resurrect its tourism scene by championing new health and safety certifications for all of its travel-sector suppliers.The Mexican Caribbean launched its own ‘Clean & Safe Check Certification’ initiative prior to reopening to tourists and soon after became the first destination in the Americas to qualify for the WTTC’s ‘Safe Travels’ certification stamp.Cancun, in particular, reopened on June 8 under a four-phase plan, in which restaurants, hotels, theme parks and golf courses can currently operate at 30 percent capacity. Even with limited flights and at reduced capacities, the city has thus far welcomed roughly 70,000 visitors since its reopening. At the Cancun airport, thermographic cameras and facial-recognition software help to screen arrivals and allow authorities to identify anyone who may come through with a fever. PHOTO: Sunset in Cancun. (Photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/Jonathan Ross) Riviera Nayarit, Nayarit – In conjunction with its sister city, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit begin reopening to visitors on June 15. Hotels are currently permitted to operate at only up to 30 percent capacity and are required to strictly adhere to protocols and health measures, as outlined by state officials and uphold social distancing guidelines in all common areas.No sweat—Riviera Nayarit was awarded the WTTC ‘Safe Travels’ Stamp of Approval even days ahead of its planned reopening. The destination already has a reputation for cleanliness and sustainability, and also holds a Clean Tourism Destination certification, two EarthCheck certifications, four Blue-Flag Beach certifications and is home to ten certified Clean Beaches. PHOTO: Sayulita, Riviera Nayarit, Mexico. (Photo via Riviera Nayarit) Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco – Puerto Vallarta also reopened to tourism on June 15, with hotels subject to limited capacity. Per a July 3 update, hotels in the state of Jalisco are allowed to operate only at 25 percent capacity, although not all Puerto Vallarta-area hotels have yet reopened. Resort swimming pools, beach clubs, gyms and restaurants have been allowed to open, although spas remain closed.Puerto Vallarta’s iconic Malecon oceanfront promenade hasn’t yet fully reopened to the public, though there are access points for its restaurants and shops available.Restaurants and cafes already having established health and enhanced sanitization protocols are permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity, but bars remain closed. Stores, businesses and public roads previously deemed non-essential with links to supply chains are also allowed to open at 50 percent capacity, as are other establishments that are able to enforce social-distancing requirements. All residents and visitors should observe physical-distancing guidelines, and wear masks when distancing is not feasible.The state of Jalisco itself has managed to achieve the WTTC’s ‘Safe Travels’ certification for its facilities, including the Puerto Vallarta International Airport. Vista panorámica del centro de Puerto Vallarta. (Foto de la Secretaría de Turismo de Jalisco) Los Cabos, Baja California Sur - Los Cabos opened to travelers to travelers and tourism activities back on June 15. The very next day, the destination received its WTTC’s ‘Safe Travels’ certification stamp for its implementation of the global, standardized health and hygiene protocols.Los Cabos was given a ‘Stage 5’ classification from the Baja California Sur state government, which meant that non-essential activities could restart, with businesses required to make sure that customers maintain social distancing of one person per thirteen feet, and recreational and social activities were allowed to resume at 30 percent capacity.The Los Cabos International Airport’s international terminal, which had closed down due to inactivity, is expected to re-open on July 15, depending upon flight-traffic requirements. International flights are currently arriving at the airport’s main terminal, Terminal 1.The destination is proceeding according to its five-phase strategic reopening plan, which dictates that inbound travel remain initially limited with a focus on refining health and safety measures, though there’s no set cap on hotel capacities. Los Cabos arch in Baja California Sur (Courtesy of Visit Baja California Sur) Mexico, D.F. – Mexico City is currently operating at ‘Orange Traffic Light’ level, based upon the ‘Traffic Light Monitoring System for Epidemiological Risk of COVID-19’ that was recently instituted by the Mexican federal government’s Ministry of Health.The capital city began reopening to tourism on June 29. Today, hotels, restaurants and shopping centers are being allowed to operate at 30 percent capacity, and open-air markets and street vendors have been allowed to resume activities.However, you won’t find attractions like amusement parks, casinos, sporting venues, theatres, night clubs, spas or fitness centers reopening just yet. Photo: San Miguel de Allende, México. (Photo: bpperry / iStock / Getty Images Plus) San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato – Access to the city and its UNESCO World Heritage historic center has been closed to non-residents ever since March.At the start of July, San Miguel de Allende also received its WTTC’s ‘Safe Travels’ stamp of approval, with the city’s hotels, restaurants, cultural centers and more having completed the new cleanliness standards certification program. While hotels and resorts currently remain closed to tourists, July 15 is the tentative date that will enable visitors to begin arriving again. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Locals Still Banned From Cancun Beaches, Resort Guests Welcome

Travelers heading to resorts in Quintana Roo will continue to have private access to beaches as locals continue to be barred from visiting the sandy hotspots along the Mexican Caribbean.According to The Riviera Maya News, Comunicacion del Gobierno del Estado de Quintana Roo general coordinator Carlos Orvananos Rea said only guests at local hotels and resorts would be permitted on the beaches until the region enters the green phase of reopening. Trending Now The decision to ban locals from the beaches has drawn the ire of officials in Mexico, including President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who addressed his concerns to local government leaders.Orvananos Rea said it would be nearly impossible for the government to regulate all beaches in the country, so leaving it up to local municipalities and the hotel properties along the ocean would help control the spread of coronavirus.Officials said the decision was temporary during the viral pandemic and not meant to privatize the coastlines.“What has been established very clearly is that the hotels that have reopened are very responsible in the use of their public spaces,” Orvananos Rea told The Riviera Maya News. “It is not only the beaches, but their common areas such as swimming pools and food areas where hotels have invested a good amount of time and resources to train their employees.”Cancun Hotel Association leader Roberto Cintron Gomez said last month that the opening of beaches to tourists staying at hotels is necessary:“We have fought for visitors to have access to the beaches with certain restrictions such as avoiding groups of more than 10 people, which is working,” Cintron Gomez said. “They come to go to the beach and we must keep that in mind.” Let's block ads! (Why?)

Coalition for NYC Hospitality & Tourism Recovery Debuts New Initiatives

NYC & Company’s Coalition for NYC Hospitality & Tourism Recovery introduced The Roadmap for Tourism’s Reimagining and Recovery; All In NYC, a revitalization campaign; and a Stay Well NYC Pledge.The Roadmap for Tourism’s Reimagining and Recovery features three stages – Rise, Renew and Recover – whose “messaging and tourism-friendly programs will target first hyper-locally to metro residents, then as conditions allow, will expand to regional, domestic and, ultimately, to international travelers,” the coalition said. “The challenge of rebuilding tourism cannot be underestimated,” said NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon. “This roadmap and revitalization campaign are a significant first step to rally New Yorkers to safely explore their city once again and energize the business community as NYC comes back to life. Tourism recovery will be gradual but certain, and NYC & Company is All In on NYC.” Trending Now The first part of the All In NYC campaign is designed to work toward unifying public health practices. Through the Stay Well NYC Pledge, NYC & Company will be “creating transparency around standard operating procedures to ensure that every New Yorker and visitor knows that the City, including the hospitality, tourism, arts, culture and entertainment sectors, are aligned on best-in-class cleaning standards,” the coalition said, noting that “consumers and member businesses will be asked to logon to for information about the Pledge and download the tool kit/standards to participate.”The second component of the campaign is designed to “inspire New Yorkers, and eventually visitors, to explore neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs and support local businesses,” the coalition said.NYC & Company will be designing a series of video profiles and a platform enabling residents to share their passion for their neighborhoods “to visitors enjoy a deeper, authentic experience” in the city.The campaign will also support restaurants by featuring content on the city’s chefs, promote New York City staycations and capitalize on recognized New Yorkers as influencers.As the city continues through its recovery stages, new campaign components are scheduled to debut.“Created by New Yorkers for New Yorkers, All In NYC is a rallying cry and campaign platform designed to help unite New Yorkers around the immutable spirit that they share and the infinite experiences this city offers them,” said Nancy Mammana, NYC & Company’s chief marketing officer. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Disney World Affirms Commitment to Health and Safety Ahead of Reopening

On July 11, Disney will proceed with the phased reopening plan for its worldwide parks and resorts by reopening the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, which will become the first of the company’s domestic theme parks to welcome back guests. First, Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will reopen on July 11, followed by EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15.Chief Medical Officer of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Dr. Pamela Hymel, today released a recap of Disney’s new set of health and safety measures being implemented in the theme parks. The new system incorporates guidance from government and local health authorities, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as input from the U.S. Travel Association and Disney’s own team of health experts. With Disney cast members’ support and guest cooperation, the combination of multi-level measures will go a long way toward preserving the health and safety of everyone who comes to enjoy the parks, and the reimagined Disney experience with all of its magic intact. Trending Now Disney’s all-around approach is designed to help reduce risk within the carefully managed environments of its parks and resorts. Several new sets of operational guidelines and protocols fall under the following categories:Health and Wellness:—Limiting and carefully managing park attendance by requiring guests to make advance reservations and ticket purchases.—Reducing capacity so that there are fewer people in the parks to allow for physical distancing, which the CDC promotes as a key measure for COVID-19 prevention. Physical distancing requirements will apply in attractions, queues, dining areas and various other locations.—Physical barriers have also been installed in spots where physical distancing proves difficult to manage.—All guests entering Disney theme parks will need to have their temperature quickly scanned.—Cast members and guests (ages two and older) will be required to wear face-coverings, with the exception of while eating, drinking or swimming.—Increased hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed throughout Disney parks and resorts.—First aid locations are staffed by experienced nurses, who have updated their protocols for responding to guests displaying symptoms.Cleaning and Disinfection:—Across the parks and resorts, already high standards for cleanliness and sanitization have been elevated, with special emphasis placed on common spaces, such as attractions and queues, dining venues, hotel lobbies and transportation vehicles.—Cleaning frequency has increased, especially in high-traffic areas and for frequently-touched surfaces, like handrails, benches, tables, handles, restrooms, public elevators and escalators, etc.—After park closing, each park will undergo an enhanced cleaning prior to guests arriving on the following day.—Guest rooms at Disney-owned and -operated hotels will receive an enhanced cleaning between guest stays, with a light-cleaning service offering (e.g., trash removal, replenishing towels and amenities) will be offered every other day during guests’ stays. PHOTO: Spaceship Earth at Epcot. (courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort) Technology Solutions:—Existing Disney apps, such as ‘My Disney Experience’, have been enhanced with features that enable visitors to find hand-sanitizer and hand-washing locations, peruse digital menus and much more.—Tech solutions like Mobile Order, cashless payments and MagicBands already make it easier for guests to minimize employee-customer contact and maintain social distancing.—Hotel guests now have the ability to chat with a Resort Cast Member via the ‘My Disney Experience’ app for assistance at any time during their stay, providing convenient customer-support services that don’t require guests to wait in line or visit the lobby. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge guests use MagicBands to enter their hotel room at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Photo via Mark Ashman / Walt Disney World News) Cast Member Training:—Disney park cast members are receiving targeted training on the new policies and practices in place, including how to help guests adhere to the new health and safety measures.—Employee areas are being cleaned with increased frequency, and new workplace practices include protocols for routine temperature checks, the wearing of face coverings and physical distancing.—Cast members are instructed to self-screen for temperature elevation and any symptoms of illness prior to each shift, and remain at home if they feel unwell. PHOTO: Disney's 'Together We Can Make Today Incredible' campaign for health and safety. (Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort) Working Together:—Disney is providing all the resources necessary to make guests aware of its new policies, proactively sharing information ahead of time so that guests can know what to expect during their visit.—New signage at the parks and resorts underscores the importance of personal health and hygiene measures, physical distancing, etc.—Disney has even dedicated a special group of cast members to explain new procedures to guests in the park, who are also available to answer any questions and encourage everyone to adhere to the new guidelines.—A new 'Together We Can Make Today Incredible’ health and safety campaign brings in Disney characters from ‘The Incredibles’ movies to help emphasize the need to adhere to healthy behavioral guidelines. For more information, visit Let's block ads! (Why?)

The Maldives to Reopen for International Tourism July 15

The Maldives will reopen to international tourism on July 15.In what's certainly welcome news for eager travelers, the South Asian island destination will not require healthy visitors to quarantine nor provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival. However, the country is advising those with symptoms such as fever and shortness of breath or who have come in contact with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case within the last 14 days to avoid travel. Arrivals exhibiting symptoms will be tested at their own cost and subject to quarantine. Trending Now Visitors must have a confirmed booking at a property registered with the Ministry of Tourism prior to travel and will need to complete a health declaration card on their flight.Travelers also should expect to undergo temperature checks, wear face-coverings, practice social distancing and use hand sanitizer regularly at the airport and during other aspects of their journey.From July 15, visitors will only be allowed to stay on resort islands and live-aboard boats. Beginning August 1, guest houses and hotels on inhabited islands will be permitted to reopen.As in other destinations, properties throughout the islands have implemented new cleanliness and hygiene protocols designed to keep guests safe and provide added peace of mind amid the pandemic. During the initial phase of the islands' reopening, visitors will be required to remain at one property for the duration of their stay.Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah and Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru are among a handful of resorts already in operation but dozens more are planning to reopen in the weeks to come, with many targeting July 15 and August 1. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Cancun Welcomed Around 70,000 Tourists Since Reopening

Officials in Mexico revealed an estimated 70,000 travelers have arrived in Cancun since the popular resort town opened to domestic and international tourism last month.According to Mexico News Daily, municipal tourism official Francisco Lopez revealed that approximately 13,000 tourists are staying at the 120 hotels that reopened at 30 percent capacity on June 8. Trending Now The Hotel Association of Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres (AHCPM) announced less than 20 percent of the estimated 6,500 hotel rooms currently open have been filled over the last month.Of the round 120 hotels open to travelers, there are more than 14,000 rooms currently closed, while 74 properties with more than 17,600 rooms have not reopened to tourism. Despite the lack of occupancy, hotels are still following strict health and hygiene protocols.Lopez said more travelers are expected to arrive as international airlines from the United States and beyond continue to add service. Tourism officials also believe hotel occupancy levels can rise to 50 percent in the second half of 2020.Airports in Cancun saw a jump in the number of flights during the Independence Day holiday weekend, with service increasing from key destinations like Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City and more.Mexico has no quarantine requirements from incoming tourists, so travelers can head right to their resorts and enjoy the pristine beaches and popular amenities. In addition, access to many popular beaches in Cancun is restricted to hotel guests only.“We’ve fought so that visitors can have access to the beaches, with certain restrictions,” Lopez told Mexico News Daily. “The few tourists [in Cancun] are taking a risk by going on vacation but they come for the beach and we must keep that in mind.” Let's block ads! (Why?)

Popular Tourist Destinations Requiring COVID-19 Negative Tests to Enter

The world is gradually beginning to open back up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic but many places are requiring visitors, including Americans, to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to experience their destination in lieu of a 14-day quarantine. Here are some of the most notable destinations requiring visitors to present negative COVID-19 tests this summer. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Bali to Reopen to International Visitors in September

Following months of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bali will reopen to international visitors on September 11. Trending Now According to Reuters, the Indonesian resort island, which relies heavily on tourism, hosted mass prayers over the weekend as the popular tourist destination seeks to embrace a "new normal."Bali Governor I Wayan Koster said that local tourists will be allowed to visit the island as soon as Thursday, July 9, according to The Jakarta Post.Like most other destinations, Bali's phased reopening will include strict health and safety protocols designed to curb the spread of COVID-19. As of Monday afternoon, Bali has reported 1,900 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 974 recoveries and 23 deaths.Citing Bali statistics bureau data, Reuters reported that the occupancy rate at local hotels sunk to 2 percent in May, down from 51.5 percent during the same month last year and 62.5 percent this past December. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Caribbean Tourism Cries Out For Funding

Additional sources of funding must be established to help Caribbean tourism withstand future crises.That’s among recommendations in a new report on a study on the effects of COVID-19 on national destination management and marketing organisations in member countries of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and their early responses to the global pandemic, conducted by the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies (GW IITS) and the CTO. Trending Now The survey found that COVID-19 affected the financial health of the tourism organisations, with nearly of all of those polled either had, or expected, cuts to their operating budgets.“This is an ominous signal,” the report said.It called for advocacy on behalf of the destination organisations for financial support in order to remain strong and help to lead tourism’s recovery and rebuilding efforts.It also said these entities would have to find creative ways to do more with less, especially with regards to marketing.“Moving forward, destination organisations will need to consider how to diversify their funding sources, which are mainly based on lodging and cruise taxes, to ensure that they can withstand future COVID-19 waves and future shocks to the tourism industry,” GW IITS recommended.At the same time it said the tourism bodies needed to remain vigilant and advocate for continued support to tourism businesses if these businesses are to survive.“Without sustained financial assistance, tourism businesses that are operating at less than full capacity will be challenged to remain in business through 2020,” the report said.In addition to funding, the report also stresses the need for effective crisis management and communications among the immediate steps needed to recover from the economic fallout of COVID-19 and its impact on tourism.Seleni Matus, GW IITS’ executive director said: “It’s essential that destination organisations act now to work with local governments and businesses to find ways to create public and private partnerships that will benefit all parties involved, from hotels, tour operators and restaurants to local residents and tourists—immediate investment is urgently needed.”The online survey, designed and analyzed by GW IITS, was conducted from 6 -22 May amongst CTO’s 24 member countries. The GW IITS also inventoried tourism destination actions from mid-March to early May on mobility, economic relief, destination management and community support, crisis communication and destination marketing.The university also reviewed the websites and social media channels of various destination marketing organisations, industry associations and destination consumer-facing websites to better understand the tourism industry’s response to COVID-19, and it compiled data on mobility and economic relief from various secondary sources.Forty-three countries in the greater Caribbean, including CTO’s 24 member countries, were included in this component of the research. Let's block ads! (Why?)