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By PAN PYLAS, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — Leaders from Britain’s aviation industry joined forces Wednesday to urge the British government to ensure that popular European destinations face the least onerous coronavirus travel restrictions when holidays are allowed again.
Under the government’s new traffic light system for England, travel to countries in the lowest green category could be opened up to quarantine-free travel from May 17. Arrivals would be required to take a pre-departure test as well as the gold standard PCR test on or before day two of their return to England. They would only need to quarantine if they receive a positive result.
The government has said it will categorize destinations — green, amber or red — after analyzing vaccination rates, coronavirus cases and the prevalence of variants of concern. Given the metrics being applied, countries like the United States and Israel are expected to be on the green list immediately, while much of Europe could be placed on the amber list, which would require travelers to self-isolate at home for potentially ten days on their return.
Aviation minister Robert Courts said Wednesday that the government should be able to give more details about how countries are characterized in early May so the industry — and potential holidaymakers — can start putting plans in place.
“We are giving as much notice as we can,” he said.
Lockdown restrictions are being eased across the U.K. after a stringent winter lockdown and the rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines has seen coronavirus cases — and deaths — fall sharply. However, given that previous waves of the pandemic have largely been blamed on too-lax border policies, the government has indicated it will take a cautious approach.
With much of Europe in the midst of a surge of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions being re-imposed, there are concerns that popular European destinations, such as the beach resorts of the Costa del Sol in Spain or the Greek islands may not make the green list.
“We would like to see the green category as expansive as possible,” Chris Garton, chief solutions officer at Heathrow Airport, told lawmakers in the House of Commons.
“We understand from a health perspective it’s a proceed with caution time …. but if we err to much on the side of caution then you will have some very devastating effects on the travel sector and the aviation sector,” he added.
The aviation industry around the world has been hammered over the past year with passenger numbers down around 95% from pre-pandemic levels.
Travel to Europe will play a crucial role in the industry’s recovery so any delay in putting popular holiday destinations in the green category would spell further financial difficulties.
EasyJet Chief Executive Johan Lundgren said he “would expect almost all major European countries” to be put in the low-risk category immediately and that the airline will be able to fly 20% of its normal schedule between April and June.
Lundgren said he’s optimistic that many of easyJet’s core markets in Europe will make the cut as the rollout of vaccines picks up pace.
“I wouldn’t see a reason why you wouldn’t have the majority of the countries of Europe in there,” he said.
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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Earlier this month Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) Secretary-General Dimitris Fragakis announced the country will spend 9 million euros in the promotion of Greece as an international travel destination and to extend the tourist season in collaboration with local communities. He also said Greece has been negotiating with airline companies and tour operators from abroad on agreements for cooperative advertising. Greece has announced the reopening of tourism starting May 14th.
Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis is in Moscow today to meet with state officials and representatives of travel agencies. Theoharis will attend a photography exhibition at ITAR-TASS news agency that honors the Year of Greece-Russia History today. Tomorrow, he is scheduled to meet with the head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) Zarina Doguzova, and Dmitriy Zverev, vice-minister of transport. According to the news, the Greek tourism chief will also meet the Culture, Sports, Tourism and National Policy division in the Russian government Christofor Alexandrovich Konstantinidi, honorary consul of Greece in Sochi Dimitri Sarakianidis, and First Vice-President of the Russian Geographical Society Nikolay Kasimov. Other meetings involve Mouzenidis Travel, TEZ TOUR, Biblio Globus, Pegas, Ambotis, Coral, and TUI. Rumor has it that Theoharis will also meet with Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin, whose company Norilsk Nickel currently owns the CSKA Moscow, basketball team.
In a report at HospitalityNet, experts predict white-collar workers have saved their paychecks during the pandemic, and are ready to travel. The report from GlobalData claims not all travelers will be wanting a budget-friendly option for their next holiday. The data revealed also leads these experts to believe a “now or never” mentality that has vacationers thinking of staying longer and spending more this year just in case another situation like the COVID-19 pandemic reoccurs. The report claims “upsizing” may be the next important trend in travel.
In vaccination news, Greek Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias just conducted a final inspection on a new mega-vaccination center that will open in Patras on Thursday. According to the news, all five vaccination mega-centers in the country – three in Athens, one in Thessaloniki, and the latest one in Patras – can perform a maximum of 1,650 inoculations per hour, or 22,000 per day, across a total of 412 booths. Across Europe, the vaccine rollout has stalled causing many to wonder if the Greek tourism start may be premature. In the last 24 hours, Greek health officials announced 3,089 new cases of COVID-19. The report also reveals that 81 more people have died in Greece from the coronavirus.
Finally, just as Greece was ready to give the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus jab to residents, Reuters reports Denmark and other nations either dropping or putting a halt to the vaccine that is similar vaccine from AstraZeneca over the risk of blood clotting. Greece and Italy put the J&J vaccine on hold right after it was announced that tens of thousands of doses were ready to be given to citizens. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said they believe the benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risks, but there will be further study for now.
The St. Regis Dubai, the Palm has opened to bookings ahead of its opening next month.
Situated in the Palm Tower, on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, the property will offer 264-rooms, all with stunning views over the surrounding city.
Guests will be able to experience the splendour of Dubai from a five-star hotel, which connects to Nakheel Mall with 300 shops, restaurants and entertainment outlets and its own Palm Monorail station.
With a size of 43 square metres, all rooms boast a dedicated seating area, floor-to-ceiling windows, a wardrobe area with abundant closet and luggage space.
Enjoy a tranquil rest on a feather-soft mattress with Frette linen and down-filled pillows.
“We look forward to opening the doors of the St. Regis Dubai, the Palm in May.
“Our guests will enjoy an unparalleled level of exceptional luxury and intuitive service in an unrivalled address in the heart of Palm Jumeirah,” said Marwan Fadel, general manager of the St. Regis Dubai, the Palm.
Guests can also take advantage of the attentive, personalised 24-hour St. Regis Butler Service or savour handcrafted cuisine across for restaurants and lounges.
Relax in the sun at the two infinity outdoor swimming pools, workout in the Exercise Room or unwind at the exquisite Iridium Spa.
The hotel caters to both leisure and business travellers and is conveniently located to discover the main attractions, malls and business districts with easy connectivity to and from Sheikh Zayed Road.
It will be an ideal starting point to explore all that Dubai has to offer.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union countries formally agreed on Wednesday to launch COVID travel passes as a step towards reopening to tourism this summer and will negotiate details with the bloc’s lawmakers in May, two diplomatic sources said.
The certificates would allow those vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or with negative test results to travel more easily in the EU, where restrictions on movement have weighed heavily on the travel and tourist industry for over a year.
The 27 EU member states “underlined their commitment to have the framework ready by the summer of 2021,” said a document endorsed by national envoys and seen by Reuters.
The European Parliament, which must also agree to the proposal for it to take effect, is due to agree its own position later this month and final talks between the lawmakers, national envoys and the bloc’s executive are expected to start in May.
EU countries are working in parallel to ensure “that the necessary technological solutions are in place”, the EU27 decision read, so that the new digital or paper certificates can be put to use once approved.
The member states’ agreement includes provisions against discrimination towards those who cannot or do not wish to get vaccinated and allows for a range of tests to prove recovery.
While member states would be obliged to recognise EU-approved vaccines, specific countries could also issue certificates covering jabs Russia’s Sputnik or China’s Sinovac vaccines that are only authorised on their territory.
Other EU countries would decide whether to accept a certificate referring to a vaccine not approved by EU regulators.
(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)
Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.
Arabian Travel Market (ATM) has reconfirmed that the 2021 edition of its annual showcase will go-ahead in-person at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
The event is currently scheduled to start on Sunday, May 16th, with final preparations currently being put in place.
The show will strictly adhere to the health and safety guidelines set by the Dubai government and followed by venue.
Danielle Curtis, exhibition director, Middle East, Arabian Travel Market, said: “Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world to visit with a wide range of precautionary measures in place to ensure the safety of tourists at every stage and touchpoint of their travel journey, from arrival to departure.
“More than nine million doses have already been administered in the UAE, which is also a major achievement.”
The theme of this year’s show is ‘A new dawn for travel and tourism’ and the spotlight will be focused on the very latest Covid-19 news from around the world – vaccine rollouts, social and travel restrictions and as consequence, the current state of the industry and more importantly, what the future holds.
It will also look at the emerging trends and how innovation can drive the industry forward.
The health of the travel and tourism industry is key to the region.
In-person on the show floor, 62 countries represented by main stand holders and sharers will be participating this year.
They include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Germany, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Italy, Greece, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Maldives, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and the USA to name but a few.
Features this year will include Travel Forward at ATM, which will highlight keynote speakers and world-class technology experts, that will provide industry-leading insights about the latest technologies and trends that will undoubtedly shape the future of travel and tourism.
The ATM 2021 conference programme includes the Global Stage which will feature the Hotel Industry Summit and Buyer Forums dedicated to key source markets such as Saudi Arabia, India and China.
Israel will be reopening its borders to international travellers on May 23rd after more than a year.
However, visitors will have to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and will be expected to travel in groups.
The news follows a deal between minister of tourism, Orit Farkash-Hacohen, and minister of health, Yuli Edelstein, on a framework for the reopening.
In the first stage, groups will be allowed in under guidelines to be published by the ministries.
Following an initial reopening, numbers will be increased based on the health situation.
Individual travellers will be allowed into Israel in the second stage, with health considerations determining the timeline.
Edelstein said: “Israel is the first vaccinated country, and the citizens of Israel are the first to enjoy this result.
“After opening the economy, it is time to allow tourism in a careful and calculated manner.
“Opening the tourism is important for one of the fields most hurt during the Covid-19 year.
“We will continue to look at easing regulations in accordance with the health situation.”
All visitors will be required to undergo a PCR test before boarding a flight to Israel, as well as a serological test to prove their vaccination upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport.
In the meantime, discussions will continue with various countries to reach agreements for vaccine-certificate validation, so as to cancel the need for the serological test.
Farkash-Hacohen added: “I am pleased to give this important first step to the tourism industry.
“Opening the skies for international tourism will truly revive the tourism industry, including restaurants, hotels, sites, tour guides, busses and others looking to work and provide for their families.
“I will continue to work for the full opening of tourism to Israel, which will greatly assist the Israeli economy and create workplaces for many Israelis.”
Office of the Governor News Release: Hawaiʻi expands pre-travel testing program to Taiwan
HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige announced today that starting Saturday, April 17, 2021 travelers from Taiwan and Southern California’s Ontario International Airport may bypass the State of Hawaiʻi’s mandatory 10-day quarantine if they take a COVID-19 test from a trusted testing partner.
In all cases, the test must be taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to departure and the negative test result submitted prior to departure for Hawaiʻi.
Taiwan Trusted Testing Partners
The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health (DOH) has approved the use of the COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) for Taiwan’s pre-travel test, conducted by a laboratory authorized by the Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare. The following trusted testing partners at these locations in Taiwan have been approved as of today:
- Cathay General Hospital, https://www.cgh.org.tw/
- Sijhih Cathay General Hospital, https://sijhih.cgh.org.tw/
- Hsinchu Cathay General Hospital, https://hsinchu.cgh.org.tw/
- Chang Gung Memorial Hospital – Taipei, https://www1.cgmh.org.tw/branch/tpe/index.htm
- Chang Gung Memorial Hospital – Linkou, https://www1.cgmh.org.tw/branch/lnk/2016/
- Chang Gung Memorial Hospital – Kaohsiung, https://cghdpt.cgmh.org.tw/branch/jia
- Mackay Memorial Hospital, https://www.mmh.org.tw/home.php?area=tp
- Mackay Memorial Hospital – Tamsui, https://www.mmh.org.tw/home.php?area=ts
- Hsinchu Mackay Memorial Hospital, http://www.hc.mmh.org.tw/webhc/index.html#
- Mackay Memorial Hospital – Taitung, http://ttw3.mmh.org.tw/#
“Historically, the traveler from Taiwan to Hawaiʻi has been mindful of our local ways and cultural traditions. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, visitors from Taiwan spent approximately $251 per person per day while in Hawai‘i. At a time when we seek to rebuild our economy while keeping our residents safe, the expansion of the pre-travel testing program to Taiwan is welcomed news,” said John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.
“It’s delightful to see Taiwan becoming a trusted testing and travel partner with Hawaii, as the pre travel testing program is moving one step forward. Such effort will definitely encourage more travelers via Taipei – Honolulu flights, and help to promote economic activities with a safe path,” said Jessica Pan, GM of China Airlines Honolulu Branch Office, the sole airlines serving direct flights on this route.
While there are no direct flights from Taiwan to Hawaiʻi at this time, the service will be useful for passengers arriving in the state via other international or U.S. mainland cities.
Taiwanese nationals traveling abroad are still subject to a 14-day quarantine upon their return to the country. Travel restrictions on U.S. travel to Taiwan remain in place.
In addition to the state’s program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the United States. The CDC requirement has been in effect since Jan. 26, 2021.
For international travelers coming to the State of Hawaiʻi, tests from Trusted Testing Partners only will be accepted for purposes of by-passing the state’s 10-day traveler quarantine.
Southern California’s Ontario International Airport Trusted Testing Partner
Ontario International Airport is the 2nd airport certified by the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health as a trusted testing partner. Together with Ontario International Airport Authority’s (OIAA) testing partner Covid Clinic, Inc., OIAA will offer several COVID-19 testing options, including for those traveling to Hawaiʻi under the Safe Travels Hawaiʻi pre-travel testing program. Passengers may choose one of two testing options for travel to Hawaiʻi – an expedited PCR test that provides results the next day or a rapid molecular NAAT test that provides results within 60 minutes. Travelers may utilize these testing options either on a “walk-up” basis or by appointment, 6:30am – 10:30pm every day, at the airport testing location in Parking Lot 3. Full details and appointments are available at www.covidclinic.org/ont.
“We’re honored to be a Trusted Testing Partner with the State of Hawaiʻi. At Ontario Airport, we’re committed to the safety and well-being of our passengers, and throughout the pandemic, we’ve implemented industry-leading health protocols, including our on-site testing clinic. Hawaiian Airlines’ new service to Honolulu has been very popular with ONT passengers, and we look forward to creating even more travel opportunities to the great State of Hawaiʻi,” said Alan D. Wapner, President of the OIAA Board of Commissioners and Mayor pro tem for the City of Ontario.
Updates about travel through Ontario International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic, current departure and arrival information, airport maps, and details about on-airport parking, shopping, dining and more, can be found at https://www.flyontario.com/covid19.
For more information visit https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel/.
Deputy Communications Director/Press Secretary
Office of the Governor
Office of the Governor
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