Travel In The News September 19th

News for Travelers September 19th, 2020

An aggregate of recent articles about what’s happening in the world of travel updated every day or two. Tips are always appreciated.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) announced 100 destinations have now received the organization’s Safe Travels stamp with the latest addition of the Philippines.

The WTTC launched the world’s first global safety and hygiene certification stamp earlier this year and the certification is now being used by popular travel destinations like Bermuda, Croatia, Ecuador, Egypt, Grenada, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, the Maldives, Mexico (certain regions), Montenegro, Namibia, Panama, Sri Lanka, and Uganda. Each government has agreed to enhanced public health protocols and has embraced the the Safe Travel initiative:

Aruba reopened to international tourism, including U.S. travelers earlier this summer. Like many places, the popular Caribbean island is requiring visitors to undergo COVID-19 testing and has also implemented elevated sanitation and health standards for added peace of mind.

Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism Gustavo J. Segura called the WTTC’s Safe Travels stamp a “source of tremendous pride” for the Central American destination, adding that the recognition “reinforces the international image of Costa Rica as a tourist destination, which fortunately is robust.”

Tourist numbers collapse – The nine top travel destination countries in the past six months compared to the same period prior to the pandemic have seen drop-offs in bookings. Each of these countries depend on tourism for a measurable part of their GDP. Comparison numbers:

  • Mexico (minus-75.15 percent)
  • Italy (minus-93.89 percent)
  • France (minus-90.78 percent)
  • Canada (minus-74.92 percent)
  • Spain (minus-93.16 percent)
  • United Kingdom (minus-84.27 percent)
  • Bahamas (minus-83.53 percent)
  • Israel (minus-86.55 percent)
  • Costa Rica (minus-91.64 percent)

Barbados’ government supports hospitality workers and will spend $150 million to retain “tens of thousands of Bajan hospitality and tourism workers left unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic paying 80 percent of their previous salaries going forward.

Thailand added to England quarantine safe list yesterday. Visitors arriving in England from Thailand and Singapore will no longer be expected to isolate for 14-days from Saturday Sept 19th after both countries were added to the safe travel list.

President Trump supports aid to airlines and would support narrow legislation to provide more financial aid to airlines, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said after meeting with industry executives Thursday. He indicated the industry needs $25 billion to save 30,000 to 50,000 jobs that are at risk by October 1st.

California Theme Parks – Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said Wednesday September 16th an announcement will be coming “very, very shortly” on issuing COVID-19 guidelines that would allow California theme parks to safely reopen after more than six months of coronavirus closures.

Hong Kong reopens, (Reuters) – Hong Kong will reopen bars, swimming pools and theme parks from Friday Sept. 18th 2020 as it relaxes coronavirus restrictions after the testing of nearly two million people in a program by the government found only 42 cases.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control on cruising issued a No Sail Order for cruise ships through September 30, 2020. As of today there has been no official announcement of an additional extension but the CDC did indicate that it is reviewing responses to a request for public comments.

Royal Caribbean in Australia, one of the largest cruise companies operating in Australia, has cancelled all its remaining cruises in the region for 2020, with plans to restart in 2021.

The move comes after the Australian Government extended its ban on cruise ships in Australia waters to December 17. The ban was previously scheduled to end today, September 17tth .

Mexico begins to reopen ancient sites in the past week like Tulum, Cobá and Teotihuacan that will begin to welcome visitors again for the first time since March. (Chichen Itza will apparently reopen later). The number of admissions will be reduced to 30% for the time being.

Carnival Announces sales and cancellations -Carnival announced it will be selling at least 18 ships, which amounts to 20 percent of the company’s combined fleet. Two ships, Carnival Fascination and Carnival Imagination — both of which launched in the 1990s — have already been sold.

  • Carnival Magic itineraries operating from Miami will be cancelled until Mar. 13, 2021
  • Carnival Paradise itineraries operating from Tampa will be cancelled until Mar. 19, 2021
  • Carnival Valor itineraries operating from New Orleans will be cancelled until Apr. 29, 2021 (including the transatlantic cruise from New Orleans on Jan. 25, 2021 and the return from Barcelona on Feb. 26, 2021)
  • Carnival Spirit itineraries operating from Brisbane will be cancelled through May 16, 2021, with the first sailing being the Singapore to Brisbane voyage embarking on June 12, 2021.

Several Caribbean islands are reopening to international tourism, with protocols in place to protect visitors and residents against Covid-19. However, border re-openings are not uniform: Some islands are not accepting arrivals from the U.S.; others have not opened at all; others have reopened only to reverse course or scale back. Most openings are accompanied by strict new public health procedures

However, border reopenings are not uniform: Some islands are not accepting arrivals from the U.S.; others have not opened at all; others have reopened only to reverse course or scale back. Most openings are accompanied by strict new public health procedures. MORE HERE

Mexico The U.S. State Department has dropped its “do not travel” warning to Mexico, despite the nation remaining on the CDC’s most stringent travel level. The State Department is listing Mexico’s status as “reconsider travel,” while “do not travel” warnings remain for five states because of crime and kidnapping.

MGM Resorts International will complete its reopening of properties worldwide in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic with the opening of Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas on September 30.

Nassau’s Sandals Royal Bahamian delays opening and joined the Baha Mar mega-resort this past week in opting to delay their opening until this winter, months beyond the October 15 reopening date set by The Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism for the return of the territory’s resort industry.

San Francisco Hotels Just Reopened to Tourists for the First Time Since March
Sept 14,2020 After only being open to essential workers and essential travelers since March, the Bay Area city’s hotels can now welcome tourists again.

UNWTO reports gradual reopening of global borders to tourism Sept 11, 2020. The U.N organization reports a majority of destinations around the world have now started easing travel restrictions introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Though many are still cautious the seventh edition of the Covid-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism from the UNWTO confirms the ongoing trend towards the gradual restart of global tourism.

Colombia to Reopen Its Borders to International Flights Starting Sept. 21
Despite its current status as the world’s sixth largest hot spot for coronavirus, Colombia plans to resume international travel in coming weeks.

MSC Cruises Pushes Back Restart Date for Second Ship in Med and extends MSC Grandiosa’s Season. MSC Cruises has pushed back the MSC Magnifica to October 19 (lack of demand?).


Icelandair and easyJet have entered into a partnership agreement Icelandair is joining Worldwide by easyJet, a flight connection platform. MORE HERE

Cruising and the Cayman Islands
Sept 11th 2020 Cayman Islands officials announced it is closing its George Town port—one of the Caribbean’s busiest cruise destinations—to all ships through the end of 2020.

Moses Kirkconnell, the country’s deputy premier and minister of tourism, indicated the decision was driven by safety concerns in a statement he made in late August. “We have continuously monitored the rate of infection in other countries, especially in the United States, where COVID-19 is still widespread,” Kirkconnell said. “The situation remains fluid [and] maintaining the health, safety, and well-being of the Caymanian community remains our top priority.”

Canadian Council of Tourism
TORONTO, Sept. 11, 2020 /CNW/ – This week, as tourism ministers across the country convened at the Canadian Council of Tourism Ministers (CCTM), business leaders in the sector are calling for urgent dialogue and action with governments to discuss the pandemic and its impacts on the sector.

“We are asking this government to act on measures taken around the world, such as testing and opening safe travel corridors to get our businesses, employees and customers moving again,” stated Mike McNaney, President & CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada.

Southwest Airlines
Air Travel With Covid-19 Still A Serious Issue (Yahoo)
In order to stop bleeding cash, airlines need to fly passengers. Southwest Airlines reported its 47th straight year of profitability in January, but by May it said it was expecting to burn through at least $30 million a day in cash as its planes sat empty. By July that had been reduced to $16 million per day, but in the second quarter Southwest still reported a net loss of $915 million.

CDC Announces Big Change to Air Travel Restrictions The CDC has released new measures for air travel – READ MORE

Airline Travel Surges Over Labor Day Weekend – Airports had three of their busiest days since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic over the Labor Day holiday, a hopeful sign for airline investors waiting for travel to rebound.

The Transportation Security Administration screened 968,673 travelers on Friday, Sept. 4, the highest single-day number since March 17. Monday was also encouraging, with 935,308 travelers going through security.

Frequent Flyer Mile Accumulation Rebounds (Atlanta) While a majority of travelers are staying home, many continue to accumulate frequent flier miles through spending on their airline-branded credit cards.

That’s inspiring hope at Delta Air Lines and its credit card partner American Express that there’s pent-up demand for travel.

“That’s actually a really, really encouraging sign,” said Delta chief financial officer Paul Jacobson during an investor presentation this week. He sees it as an indication that travelers are building up miles because there’s a trip to Europe or other vacation coming.

English tourists rush back from Portugal to avoid COVID-19 quarantine
Frustrated travelers rush home to England cutting short summer holidays in Portugal on Friday to dodge a mandatory quarantine. READ MORE

Japan and Singapore In Travel Agreement (Bloomberg) — Japan and Singapore plan to open a reciprocal green lane for reciprocal travel next week in a bid to revive business between the two Asian countries.

Health And Safety Tips (yahoo) Medical Consultant Offers Important Health And Safety Tips For Late Summer Travel READ MORE

CDC Asked For Cruising Comments (Cruise Critic) One Month In: Nearly 2,500 Comments on Cruising Restart Submitted to the CDC. READ MORE

Rapid Covid-19 Tests On Cruise Ships (Cruise Critic) Rapid COVID-19 Testing Likely to Be Part of Resumption of Cruising. READ MORE

Carnival Named Most Trusted Cruise Line in America (Readers Digest) The cruise line industry has faced some tough hurdles in 2020, but Americans have spoken. They love cruises and they trust this line the most! READ MORE ()

CDC Gives Two Ships Low Health Rating (Readers Digest) Two Silver Seas ships get below average sanitation ratings. READ MORE to close its Bellevue office as pandemic hits online travel, hotel businesses laying off 235 employees. It is owned and operated by United States-based Booking Holdings while has its headquartered in Amsterdam.

Disney’s Priority Projects Right Now Include New Rides And A New Hotel At Disney World (Forbes). READ MORE

JetBlue and American Airlines Announce Strategic Partnership to Create More Competitive Options and Choice for Customers in the Northeast. READ MORE

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