Coronavirus – Are Travel Restrictions Ridiculous or Useful During Covid?

Why does the tourism industry and the politicians struggle with allowing consumers to travel during Covid times?

I’ve seen many strange regulations over the past few months.

Quite a few restrictions made me frustrated, as I feel it can be possible to let people travel safely, as long as general infection numbers remain low.

There are solutions to keep the risk low.

For example, it’s relatively easy to sell paperless tickets online for sights and activities, which limits the total number of visitors each day. Then for enforcing social distancing rules, provide limited entry to specific times, by providing extra time slots.

And if a Zoo in Cologne is capable of achieving this, others should be able to do this too. 😉

So there shouldn’t be pictures emerging online with visitors in super long queues, as you would only be allowed to turn up, when it’s your time to socially distance and to enjoy the attraction.

On the other side I think it’s essential to be strict on enforcing restrictions, as long as they make sense. If the local health system is struggling and new infections numbers are high, action should take place.

So as long the infection numbers remain high, it’s tough to recommend consumers to travel.

But what if the infection rate remains low and high-risk groups have been vaccinated?

Then we should find ways to make it possible, as we can’t let the tourism industry suffer for much longer, as local economies and job security rely on it.

Not to forget the fact that consumers might have missed out on a much needed holiday in 2020 and can’t wait to travel again, which is seen in advanced booking number figures and increased website traffic.

It seems that it’s all about testing and several times. 

Also, airlines and airports can work together with the government and health boards to provide quick test results to avoid the risk of spreading the virus.

Those tests might not provide the best reliable results, but they add to a bigger and safer situation. One piece more of reassurance.

It makes no sense on arrival to lock down tourists for 14 days in a hotel room. I doubt tourists would be eager to do this. It doesn’t sound like a dream holiday situation and I wouldn’t do it.

Instead, why not allow guests access to the whole resort or specific parts until the PCR tests come back negative.

Hotel arrivals could take place on specific days, to allow hotel staff to take part in large deep cleaning operations and to avoid past guests mixing with new arrivals.

Hotels could choose the arrival day they prefer. Limited packages could be sold to control manageable visitor numbers and they could include a minimum stay of several nights.

Believe it or not, many tourists spend their holiday time at the pool or relaxing on the beach.

Being upfront about the additional steps needed to make a trip happen, I feel many would still be interested in travelling abroad.

There could be 3-4 tests to be made by guests:

– one PCR test before arrival, usually 48 hours before departure

– one rapid test at the airport

– one PCR test on arrival 

– and one PCR test after 4-5 days before being allowed to leave the resort

If all tests are negative, the risk becomes low and avoids the chances of Covid-19 spreading further.

There is still a small chance that it can spread, but we should not forget that life itself is not completely 100% risk-free.

Washing hands, wearing a face mask, keeping socially distanced, all still help to reduce the spread of covid, we shouldn’t forget that.

With such a situation, it would be possible to allow visitors outside of the hotel and explore a destination, after a few days. Also, here again, you can define specific restrictions, which should be in place already anyway.

Destinations like the Seychelles, Barbados and Sri Lanka are good examples of how it could be done.

It might be easier for islands to manage arrivals, but I don’t see why it’s not also possible for other destinations.

Very important is that everyone sticks to the rules.

The visitors and the businesses need to play along!

The moment someone breaks the rules and refuses to follow guidance, they should be fined as they put the whole operation at risk.

Make customers sign waivers, so they’re aware of the risk. If they break the rules, send them home, allow no refund, let them pay for all extra costs as well as a fine.

If a hotel, airline or tour operator doesn’t play along, then close down the operation and add a fine.

Nobody is forcing anyone to open for business or travel. And if destinations and their politicians make it possible to travel again, everyone should appreciate this and play along to provide a safe environment for everyone.

Vaccines are currently being administered as we speak in many countries. And we will still have to deal with Sars-CoV-2 in the future, especially when we talk about international travel.

Communication is key!

When we ran the restart tourism recovery campaign with the UNWTO and Lanzarote in Spain, we got a lot of positive and interested feedback from travelers.

There was a high demand for seeking information. (Get in touch with us, if you are interested to get the case study.)

Travellers wanted to find out about the different restrictions, not really in detail, but more if it’s safe to travel.

Don’t show a post-Covid situation, as it’s not in operation yet.

Show that it’s safe and fun to travel, even with additional rules and restrictions. 

We should learn from the past and see what worked and adapt. Let’s remain sensible and respectful and most importantly keep safe.

Let’s also stay realistic and don’t create ridiculous rules, but be responsible for everyone.


coronavirus

How to stay healthy during coronavirus (and not lose your mind)

 

We’ve all read those posts about how to stay healthy when traveling, or how best to avoid germs on planes. But in these confusing and uncertain times, we now need to know how best to stay healthy when not traveling for the foreseeable future. Excuse us while we cry into our travel books for a second…

Apart from the obvious tips of washing your hands before and after you touch anything or eat, practicing social distancing, and not licking people, it’s equally as important to stay healthy mentally and emotionally as we power our way through self-isolation.

So, here’s our top five tips on how to stay healthy, mentally, physically and emotionally during coronavirus.

1. Get outside and move your body

“Roc ya body, mic check, 1, 2….” Listen to M.V.P., they know what they’re talking about. We’re travelers. And we’re humans (shock!). We’re made to move. While we can’t dance the night away at a tango club in Argentina or play volleyball with our new best mates on the beach in Thailand right now, it’s still key to move our bodies.

Don’t worry, Instagram is heaving with home-based workouts from fit personal trainers who are there to help those of us who have spent too much time eating Pad Thai and drinking Chang beers for days on end.

And make sure to get fresh air when you can; it’s amazing what being outdoors can do for your mental health. Just make sure when you leave the house it’s for essential things like exercise and food shopping!

2. Keep your routine

This is probably one of the most important tips. It can be tempting to work from bed in your pyjamas or veg out on the couch all day. It’s great the first few days but trust us, it gets old quick.

Your routine might need adjusting, but it pays to have one. Get up at your normal time, shower, get dressed and put make up on if it makes you feel more put together. Some people even wear shoes around the house. We’re opting for flip flops or bare feet and a pile of sand to stand in just so we can feel like we’re on our fave beach. It’s good to dream, right?

3. Stay social

Given that most of us are stuck indoors either alone or with annoying housemates/partners/family (who we obviously still love so much!), it’s important to stay connected. FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp your family and friends and have lunchtime video calls with colleagues. Or do what we’re doing and organise fun Monday bingo games, partake in #WineWednesday or work together as a team for the Friday virtual pub quiz!

If you’re not usually much of a social butterfly, try something that requires less effort. Netflix Party lets you and your mates watch a movie and chat about it at the same time. Or ‘attend’ virtual live gigs and meditation sessions or even a pasta-making class from the hero that is Italian grandmother Nonna Nerina!

And if you’re in a new form of long-distance relationship, set up FaceTime dinner dates. Order each other Uber Eats and wait to see what turns up, then eat together.

4. Check-in with your thoughts

Never has paying attention to our mental health been so important. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a sceptical newbie, taking some time to check-in with your thoughts can do wonders for your mood and your ability to deal with difficult situations.

Try meditation apps like Headspace or Calm and practice daily journaling to really connect with yourself. It will also help you practice gratitude, so you can remember all the things you have to be grateful for when it seems like the world just isn’t on your side.

It’s a great habit to have anyway, but especially in times like these.

5. Get creative

One of the benefits of being in lockdown is that it gives you time to get to all the things you’ve been putting off or try something new. It also gives you a change to limit your screen and social media time. We know it’s hard to do in an age where internet is life, but your future self will thank you for it.

Learn that language you’ve always wanted to be fluent in so you can put it into practice on your future travels. Or learn a new hobby, whether it’s drawing, singing, yoga, gardening or sewing. Or sift through old travel photos and videos and reminisce. That’s how our Junior Copywriter Rae is coping with not being able to travel…

Give these tips a go while you’re waiting for the day when you can explore the world again.