Coronavirus, Coronavirus Travel, Coronavirus Travel News, Coronavirus Travel Curbs: Covid Pandemic To Cost Global Tourism $2 Trillion In 2021: UN Body


Covid Pandemic To Cost Global Tourism $2 Trillion In 2021: UN Body

Coronavirus: A total of 46 destinations currently have their borders completely closed. (File)

Madrid:

The coronavirus pandemic will cost the global tourism sector $2.0 trillion in lost revenue in 2021, the UN’s tourism body said Monday, calling the sector’s recovery “fragile” and “slow”.

The forecast from the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization comes as Europe is grappling with a surge in infections and as a new heavily mutated Covid-19 variant, dubbed Omicron, spreads across the globe.

International tourist arrivals will this year remain 70-75 percent below the 1.5 billion arrivals recorded in 2019 before the pandemic hit, a similar decline as in 2020, according to the body.

The global tourism sector already lost $2.0 trillion (1.78 trillion euros) in revenues last year due to the pandemic, according to the UNWTO, making it one of sectors hit hardest by the health crisis.

While the UN body charged with promoting tourism does not have an estimate for how the sector will perform next year, its medium-term outlook is not encouraging.

“Despite the recent improvements, uneven vaccination rates around the world and new Covid-19 strains” such as the Delta variant and Omicron “could impact the already slow and fragile recovery,” it said in a statement.

The introduction of fresh virus restrictions and lockdowns in several nations in recent weeks shows how “it’s a very unpredictable situation,” UNWTO head Zurab Pololikashvili told AFP.

“It’s a historical crisis in the tourism industry but again tourism has the power to recover quite fast,” he added ahead of the start of the WTO’s annual general assembly in Madrid on Tuesday.

“I really hope that 2022 will be much better than 2021.”

– ‘Confused’ –

While international tourism has taken a hit from the outbreak of disease in the past, the coronavirus is unprecedented in its geographical spread.

In addition to virus-related travel restrictions, the sector is also grappling with the economic strain caused by the pandemic, the spike in oils prices and the disruption of supply chains, the UNWTO said.

Pololikashvili urged nations to harmonise their virus protocols and restrictions because tourists “are confused and they don’t know how to travel”.

International tourist arrivals “rebounded” during the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere thanks to increased travel confidence, rapid vaccination and the easing of entry restrictions in many nations, the UNWTO said.

“Despite the improvement in the third quarter, the pace of recovery remains uneven across world regions due to varying degrees of mobility restrictions, vaccination rates and traveller confidence,” it added.

Arrivals in some islands in the Caribbean and South Asia, and well as some destinations in southern Europe, came close to, or sometimes exceeded pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter.

Other countries however hardly saw any tourists at all, particularly in Asia and the Pacific, where arrivals were down 95 percent compared to 2019 as many destinations remained closed to non-essential travel.

Closed borders

A total of 46 destinations — 21 percent of all destinations worldwide — currently have their borders completely closed to tourists, according to the UNWTO.

A further 55 have their borders partially closed to foreign visitors, while just four nations have lifted all virus-related restrictions — Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Mexico.

The future of the travel sector will be in focus at the WTO annual general assembly, which will run until Friday.

The event — which brings together representatives from 159 members states of the UN body — was original scheduled to be held in Marrakesh.

But Morocco in late October decided not to host the event due to the rise in Covid-19 cases in many countries.

Before the pandemic, the tourism sector accounted for about 10 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and jobs.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Omicron variant triggers scramble to impose travel curbs: Live | Coronavirus pandemic News


A new variant of the coronavirus has prompted several countries to impose restrictions such as travel bans, while others have renewed lockdowns over the Omicron strain.

The new restrictions come after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new COVID-19 variant to be “of concern”.

The Omicron variant, which scientists say has a high number of mutations, was first detected in South Africa last week and has spread rapidly through the province of Gauteng, home to the economic hub Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.

It has so far been detected in at least four other countries.

Also known as B.1.1.529, the mutations could help the virus evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible, according to scientists.

It could take weeks to know if current vaccines are less effective against it.

In response to the variant’s discovery, the United States, Canada, Russia and a host of other countries joined the European Union in restricting travel for visitors from several southern African countries.

Here are the latest updates:


UK Labour Party calls for quicker COVID booster jabs

Britain should cut the gap between the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccination and the booster jab from six to five months, Britain’s main opposition Labour Party said.

“This new variant is a wake-up call,” said Labour’s junior health spokesman Alex Norris. “The pandemic is not over. We need to urgently bolster our defences to keep the virus at bay.”


Japan tightening border controls on three more African countries

Japan will tighten border controls for the southern African nations of Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia, requiring a 10-day quarantine for any entrants, the Foreign Ministry.

The new rules will take effect from midnight (15:00 GMT on Saturday) and come a day after Japan tightened border controls for those arriving from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Lesotho.


Travellers from South Africa in Netherlands positive for COVID-19

Dutch health authorities said that 61 people who arrived in Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa on Friday tested positive for COVID-19, and they were conducting further testing early Saturday to see if any of the infections are with the Omicron variant.

“Travelers with a positive test result will be placed in isolation at a hotel at or near Schiphol,” health authorities said in a statement.

“Of the positive test results, we are researching as quickly as possible whether they are the new variant of concern, now named ‘Omicron’.”

The Dutch government banned all air travel from southern Africa early on Friday.


Sri Lanka bans travellers from six African nations

Sri Lanka said it was barring travellers from six Southern African countries on Saturday over concerns about the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.

From Monday, travellers will not be allowed into the country from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini, Colombo said in a statement.

Travellers who arrived from these six countries over the past two days will have to undergo mandatory 14 days quarantine.


Thailand bans entry from eight African countries

Thailand said it would ban the entry of people travelling from eight African countries it designated as high-risk for the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Starting in December, travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, will be prohibited, senior health official Opas Karnkawinpong told a news conference.

Thailand will not allow travellers from these countries to register to travel to Thailand starting on Saturday, he said.

“We have notified airlines and these countries,” Opas said adding that travellers from other African countries will not be allowed to use the country’s quarantine-free travel scheme for vaccinated travellers.


South African scientists brace for wave propelled by Omicron

South Africa’s numbers are still relatively low, with 2,828 new confirmed cases recorded on Friday, but Omicron’s speed in infecting young South Africans has alarmed health professionals.

“We’re seeing a marked change in the demographic profile of patients with COVID-19,” Dr Rudo Mathivha, the head of the intensive care unit at Soweto’s Baragwanath Hospital, told an online press briefing.

“Young people, in their 20s to just over their late 30s, are coming in with moderate to severe disease, some needing intensive care. About 65 percent are not vaccinated and most of the rest are only half-vaccinated,” said Mathivha.

She said urgent preparations are needed to enable public hospitals to cope with a potentially large influx of patients needing intensive care.





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Airport screenings reach pandemic high


Airports are busy again, and air travel is inching closer to pre-pandemic levels.

Driven by pre-Thanksgiving travel, 2.3 million people passed through airport screenings Wednesday in what the Transportation Security Administration said was its busiest day since travel plummeted to coronavirus lows in April 2020.

That is more than double the 1.1 million people who went through TSA checkpoints a year earlier on the day before Thanksgiving, according to a TSA database.

It’s also 12 percent below the number of travelers screened on the equivalent day in 2019, when TSA checkpoint workers saw 2.6 million people a few months before the pandemic.

The day before Thanksgiving is typically among the busiest travel days of the year, along with the days after the holiday as people return home.

The TSA has hired 6,000 new officers this year and has enough staff to deal with the increase in passenger volumes, Lorie Dankers, a TSA spokesperson, told Reuters.

“So staffing, while we are hiring, will not slow people down this holiday season,” Dankers said.

Still, airlines advised passengers to arrive at airports early in case of long security lines. Delta Air Lines suggested two-plus hours early for domestic flights and three-plus hours early for international flights.



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Holiday travel at Dayton International Airport shining light on airport’s pandemic rebound – WHIO TV 7 and WHIO Radio


DAYTON — One of the busiest travel days of the year is putting a spotlight on air travel and its impact on the economy.

While the Dayton International Airport is seeing an uptick in travel the day before Thanksgiving, city leaders said the airport has been seeing a nice recovery from the worst part of the pandemic.

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News Center 7′s Mike Campbell was at Dayton International Airport on Wednesday when plenty of people were prepared to travel to catch up with loved ones. Darryl Monfels, of Dayton, did fly a little during the COVID-19 pandemic, but feels safer to do so now.

“Each time we feel like the restrictions and requirements, and attention to detail, has gotten much better, especially in the last three to four months,” Monfels said.

The more travelers feel safer has impacted the amount of flying they do. The passenger numbers, and revenue, at Dayton International Airport recovered much quicker than expected, according to city officials.

“They are expected to be about 12 percent off of 2019 revenues, so that’s good news,” Shelley Dickstein, Dayton City Manager, said.

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Dickstein said the rebound is amazing when compared to the original projections.

“We were 80 percent off,” Dickstein said. “This was an industry that almost completely shut down for a good chunk of time.”

Dickstein said a lot of Dayton travel returning to 100 percent will depend on business travelers returning to airports for travel.

While the number of travelers is up, it has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. City leaders told News Center 7 that they will wait and assess the numbers throughout 2022 to determine whether they will reach that level again.





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Is travel safe during the pandemic this holiday season? – News-Herald


By DEE-ANN DURBIN
AP Business Writer

Is travel safe during the pandemic this holiday season?

It depends. It can be safe if you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but officials say people who haven’t gotten the shots should delay travel.
Regardless of vaccination status, all travelers should keep taking precautions like avoiding indoor, unmasked crowds, says Dr. Keith Armitage, an infectious disease expert at Case Western Reserve University.

“The delta variant has really brought us back to an earlier time in the pandemic,” he says.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says not to travel if you’re sick, or if you tested positive for COVID-19 and your isolation period isn’t over yet — even if you’re fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated people who decide to travel should get a COVID-19 test one to three days before travel and three to five days after returning.

All travelers must still wear masks on trains, planes and other indoor public transportation areas, the agency says.
Airlines say plane cabins are low risk since they have good air circulation and filtration. However, there is no requirement for vaccination or testing before domestic flights, and passengers can remove their face masks while eating or drinking.

Hotels aren’t risky for the vaccinated as long as they wear masks around strangers, Armitage says. More fraught are family gatherings with unvaccinated individuals, particularly for those who are older or have health problems.

Health experts suggest looking at the case levels and masking rules in the place you are visiting before you travel.

The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org.

 



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Is travel safe during the pandemic this holiday season?


Is travel safe during the pandemic this holiday season?

It depends. It can be safe if you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but officials say people who haven’t gotten the shots should delay travel.

Regardless of vaccination status, all travelers should keep taking precautions like avoiding indoor, unmasked crowds, says Dr. Keith Armitage, an infectious disease expert at Case Western Reserve University.

“The delta variant has really brought us back to an earlier time in the pandemic,” he says.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says not to travel if you’re sick, or if you tested positive for COVID-19 and your isolation period isn’t over yet — even if you’re fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated people who decide to travel should get a COVID-19 test one to three days before travel and three to five days after returning.

All travelers must still wear masks on trains, planes and other indoor public transportation areas, the agency says.

Airlines say plane cabins are low risk since they have good air circulation and filtration. However, there is no requirement for vaccination or testing before domestic flights, and passengers can remove their face masks while eating or drinking.

Hotels aren’t risky for the vaccinated as long as they wear masks around strangers, Armitage says. More fraught are family gatherings with unvaccinated individuals, particularly for those who are older or have health problems.

Health experts suggest looking at the case levels and masking rules in the place you are visiting before you travel.

______

The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org. Read more here:

Why can’t some COVID-19 vaccinated people travel to the US?

Can at-home COVID-19 tests make holiday gatherings safer?

Can I get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?

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© 2021 . All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.





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Thanksgiving air travel already breaking pandemic records – Boston 25 News


BOSTON — Thanksgiving is still four days away, but it’s already breaking pandemic travel records.

The Transportation Security Administration reports 2.2 million people flew out of airports nationwide on Friday, Nov. 19 – considered to be the first day of Thanksgiving travel.

PREVIOUS: The Best and Worst times to travel Thanksgiving week

Friday was the busiest single travel day since the pandemic started, and the TSA anticipates the Sunday after Thanksgiving will be even busier.

Logan Airport officials expect between 800,000 – 900,000 people to pass through the airport for Thanksgiving travel this year.

Logan Airport officials recommend people arrive at the airport at least two hours before domestic flights and at least three hours early for international flights.

COVID-19 testing sites are available in Terminal C and Terminal E at Logan Airport.

In total, AAA predicts 53 million Americans will travel for Thanksgiving this year – up 13% from last year.

Download the free Boston 25 News app for up-to-the-minute push alerts

>> Complete Covid-19 vaccine coverage

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As Thanksgiving travel approaches, U.S. screens highest number of air passengers since start of pandemic


TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein announced the milestone on Twitter, saying it was the “highest checkpoint volume” since March 2020, when the pandemic took hold in the United States, bringing travel and business to a halt.

Airlines offer staff holiday incentives after operational meltdowns

Earlier in the week, the TSA said it had expected to screen about 20 million air passengers during the busy Thanksgiving travel period – from Nov. 19 to Nov. 28 – and predicted volumes may be close to pre-pandemic levels.

Major U.S. airlines had predicted an uptick in air travel over the last few days.

Delta Air Lines said it expects to fly up to 5.6 million passengers from Friday through Nov. 30, nearly 300% over 2020’s 2.2 million Delta passengers for the period but still below the 6.3 million passengers during the same period in 2019.

United Airlines said it anticipates more than 4.5 million passengers during the Thanksgiving travel period – about 88% of 2019 volume.

Last week, the Biden administration lifted travel restrictions for fully vaccinated air travelers from 33 countries, including China, South Africa, Brazil and much of Europe. (Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis)



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TSA sees most airline passengers since start of pandemic as Thanksgiving travel kicks off


For weeks, officials have been forecasting a rise in the number of holiday travelers this year. On Friday, their predictions were proven correct — the Transportation Security Administration reported a record number of flyers since the pandemic began in early 2020. 

@TSA officers screened 2,242,956 people at airport security checkpoints nationwide yesterday, Friday, Nov. 19,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein tweeted Saturday morning. “It’s the highest checkpoint volume since passenger volume tanked in early 2020 as a result of the pandemic. The Thanksgiving travel period has begun! #MaskUp”

With Thanksgiving just days away, the number of travelers is expected to continue to climb. Last week, experts predicted holiday travel could be up as much as 80% over last year, when COVID-19 kept many people at home. 

In 2020, the TSA screened around 1 million travelers per day in the week surrounding Thanksgiving. However, the agency saw a record number of travelers the year before. In fact, TSA reported its busiest travel day ever on December 1, 2019, with 2,870,764 people screened.

Also adding to this year’s holiday travel crunch — a November 22 deadline for all TSA workers to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination or risk being fired. As of last month, the most recent month for which data is available, 40% of the agency’s employees had either not submitted the required paperwork or not been inoculated.


Holiday travel could be near pre-pandemic lev…

02:10

TSA Administrator David Pekoske has brushed off concerns of staffing shortages, telling “CBS Mornings” on Wednesday that the agency’s vaccination numbers have “improved greatly.” He said most passengers should expect to spend about 30 minutes going through security.

“If they’re a pre-check passenger, 10 minutes or less,” Pekoske told “CBS Mornings.”

“I don’t think they should expect chaos… We’re very confident that this is going to be a very smooth operation over the next several days,” he said.

Earlier this month, AAA said more than 53 million Americans were expected to travel over the holiday weekend, a sharp rebound in Thanksgiving travel that nearly matches pre-pandemic levels. Up to 90% of travelers are expected to drive, according to AAA.

Those planning to drive should hit the road Wednesday before noon or Thursday morning if they’re not traveling too far, AAA said. 

Nelson Oliveira contributed reporting.





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