Belgium bans all non-essential travel
According to Irish Times, Belgiumis to ban all non-essential trips to and from the country as the European Union prepares tighter rules on travel in response to alarm over new variants of Covid-19.
With the traditional mid-February half-term holiday approaching, authorities are determined to avoid a repeat of last year, when tourists caught Covid-19 at Alpine ski resorts and at carnival parties and brought the virus home, fuelling the first wave of transmissions.
The emergence of new strains of Covid-19, including a more infectious and deadly variant first detected in England that is now thought to make up over half of cases in Ireland, is fuelling momentum for new rules to dissuade people from all but essential travel within the bloc.
Travel deemed “essential” includes commuting to school or work across the border, travel for co-parenting reasons, or attending funerals. People who return from essential trips of longer than 48 hours will have to quarantine for 10 days and take two tests for Covid-19 infection, on their day of arrival and seven days after. For further details, please click here and read the full article on Irish Times.
World tourism organization: vaccine passport must become mandatory
According to the guardian, the recommendation comes from the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, which met in Madrid this week to discuss measures to ensure the safe resumption of international travel. It called for international health and travel bodies to step up the coordination of a standardised digital certification system, as well as harmonised testing protocols.
Some travel companies have already made vaccines compulsory for travel. Saga requires its cruises passengers to have had both doses of the vaccine at least 14 days before departure. In November, Qantas chief Alan Joyce told Australia’s Nine Network that passengers would have to prove they’ve been vaccinated before boarding a flight.
But some experts point out multiple hurdles to health passports, including the existence of different vaccines with different levels of efficacy, how long immunity lasts and whether vaccinated people can still spread the virus to others. And not all travel bodies support the idea of vaccine certificates. For further details, please read the full article on The Guardian by clicking here.
U.S. Hotels To Be Half-Filled This Year
According to Travelweekly.com, around half of all U.S. hotel rooms are projected to sit empty this year. The source for this information is the latest report released by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).
In its annual State of the Hotel Industry forecast, the trade group said it expects nationwide hotel occupancy to average 52.4% for 2021. Although that figure is above 2020’s annual average occupancy level of 44%, it remains well below 2019’s average of 66%.
Likewise, U.S. hotel room revenue for 2021 is predicted to remain 34% below 2019 levels, at around $110.5 billion. While the AHLA expects the hotel sector to add 200,000 direct hotel operations jobs in 2021, the industry will still remain nearly 500,000 jobs below its pre-pandemic employment level of 2.3 million workers.
In terms of demand, the group projects that business travel for 2021 will be down 85% compared with 2019. Rogers called this year’s expected dearth of business travel “the most damaging part of the economic impact we have seen so far.” For further details, please click here and read the full artice on travelweekly.com.
United CEO Wants Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccines for Employees
According to Rich Thomaselli, from Travelpulse.com, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby is advocating for all airlines to adopt a policy that would mandate COVID-19 vaccines for all employees.
Kirby said, it’s a controversial for sure, however airline employees are considered essential workers and can get the vaccine long before the general public, but there is a large fraction of people – no matter what industry they are in – reluctant to take a vaccine.
In the employee memo, Kirby said United is working with government officials and health-care providers to set up vaccine distribution centers at some of its bigger hubs. For further details, please click here and read the full statement on travelpulse.com
Southwest Airlines Will Vaccinate Its Employees Against COVID-19 for Free
Similar to United Airlines, another US carrier decided to vaccinate his employes. According to Laurie Barrati, from travelpulse.com, Southwest Airlines revealed yesterday that it plans to provide employees with COVID-19 vaccinations for free, once vaccines become widely available in the U.S.
The company said that its workers are “strongly encouraged” to get the COVID-19 inoculation when the time comes. The vaccines themselves will be funded by the federal government, while the cost of administrative fees will be covered by the airline under its employees’ health plans.
For the rest of the statement from Southwest and further details, please click here and access the artice on travelpulse.com.
tripadvisor: 5 traveler trends in 2021
Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel platform did post their forward-looking market insights, shedding light on the type of trips leisure travelers are planning in 2021 around the globe.
They analyzed the very latest traveler sentiment data across six major markets (the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Japan and Singapore), and combined that with their proprietary first party traveler search data, to track how, when and where travel behaviors are likely to change (or stay the same) in the year ahead of us. According to that they published 5 key trends to watch out for 2021:
- Travelers are planning to travel abroad in the 2nd half of the year, but won’t wait to make plans: With the pandemic wreaking havoc on many people’s travel plans in 2020, it is no surprise that nearly two thirds (65%) of leisure travelers surveyed say they did not travel internationally at all in 2020. They anticipate a reversal of that behavior in 2021. Nearly half (47%) of all respondents globally say they are planning to travel internationally in 2021, with less than a third (30%) of travelers saying they don’t expect to travel internationally at all this year.
- Vaccinations have the potential to be a game changer for traveler confidence: The speed at which governments administer COVID-19 vaccinations will directly impact how quickly leisure travel rebounds in 2021. Globally, more than three quarters (77%) of travelers surveyed say they will be more likely to travel internationally if they receive the vaccine, rising to 86% for travel domestically. In the U.S, more than a third of travelers (34%) surveyed say they are much more likely to take an international trip in 2021 once they have received the vaccine.
- Domestic Vacations remain high on Travelers’ wishlist in 2021: For further details and the rest of the report please click here and read the full article on Tripadvisor.
Air Canada Will Launch Boeing 787 Flights To Cairo
According to Chris Loh from Simple Flying, Air Canada is hoping to launch a seasonal flight between Montreal and Cairo this June and is waiting for the necessary approvals. The new service will commence on June 17th and run three times per week. Operated by a Boeing 787-8, this news marks the second new destination to the Middle East North Africa region in a matter of months.
While the news has yet to surface on the airline’s website or social media, the new service can be found on the airline’s booking engine on its website. The flight will operate as AC74 outbound to Cairo and AC75 returning to Montreal. Here are the airline’s timings:
- AC74: Depart Montreal at 18:20, arrive in Cairo at 10:25 the next day. The flight will take just over 10 hours.
- AC75: Depart Cairo at 12:00 and arrive in Montreal at 17:00 the same day. The flight will take around 11 hours.
Further details regarding the new flight are available here on Simple Flying.