U.S. to allow vaccinated foreign travelers to enter U.S. starting Nov. 8


Southern Nevada tourism officials were peppered with the same question over and over again at an international airline conference in Italy this week.

When exactly would the U.S. ease the international travel restrictions for vaccinated flyers?

“Almost every single conversation we had with a European carrier, that was the very first question they asked,” said Chris Jones, chief marketing officer for McCarran International Airport.

The answer came just after the conference concluded, though, with the Biden administration on Friday confirming that it would lift travel restrictions to the United States on Nov. 8 for fully vaccinated individuals arriving in the U.S. by air travel or by crossing land borders. The policy change was initially announced in September, but without a formal date.

“The US’ new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States will begin on Nov 8. This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel,” Kevin Munoz, White House assistant press secretary, said on Twitter.

Jones and other officials from McCarran and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority were in Milan for the World Routes conference, which ran from Oct. 10-12. Jones said Friday that the questions were frustrating because at the time they did not have a good answer, leaving questions about when the all-important overseas travelers could return to Las Vegas.

Having that confirmed date, Jones said, “is hugely important,” as it allows the carriers to actually move forward with a firm plan in place and lets travelers finally book their flights.

“We’re talking 20 months of dormancy and that doesn’t just flip back on with the flip of a switch,” he said.

‘Demand is clearly there’

Billy Vassiliadis, principal for Las Vegas-based R&R Partners, the advertising consultant for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said he expects foreign visitors to flock to Southern Nevada the same way domestic travelers did when restrictions were lifted by local government authorities.

“I think we’re going to see, as long as we get the (airline) carriers back, we’re going to see the same sort of rush to return that we saw domestically when we reopened and when the restrictions were lifted,” Vassiliadis said.

“I think demand is clearly there. I know our Mexican flights have been doing well all along and I know our Canadian partners have been shopping it big to get it back.”

Vassiliadis said the swiftness of Biden’s planning caught him by surprise, even though tourism leaders — including his wife, Rosemary, the director of the Clark County Department of Aviation — had testified in federal hearings about the importance of bringing international travel back quickly.

He said he expects to discuss the potential for international tourism marketing campaigns with LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill and Chief Marketing Officer Kate Wik.

“Now that we have a sense of it, I’m confident that Steve and Kate will want to begin to put together a campaign,” Vassiliadis said.

The convention authority doesn’t have elaborate international marketing operations in place but has had contracted offices worldwide to spread the word about Las Vegas.

In 2020, the LVCVA board of directors unanimously canceled international marketing contracts established in May 2018, anticipating a lengthy shutdown and limited hope for getting people to vacation in Las Vegas during the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Coveted customers

The LVCVA first launched a comprehensive international initiative in 2008. Since then, international visitation to Las Vegas has increased from 4 million people in 2008 to 6.7 million in 2017.

The authority had marketing office relationships in London; Paris; Seoul, South Korea; Shanghai, China; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and several other cities.

Vassiliadis noted the key “if” — if the foreign air carriers that have flown to Las Vegas in the past return quickly. Airlines often need up to six months of lead time to develop schedules.

It’s well documented that international travelers stay longer and spend more than most domestic travelers, but the volume of flights and passengers directly from foreign countries shows the potential impact of the new travel policies.

According to McCarran statistics, 3.8 million passengers arrived at Las Vegas’ airport directly from foreign countries in 2019 with 27 different air carriers offering scheduled service sometime during the year. Eight more carriers offered a small number of charter flights.

Most international air service was provided by four Canadian air carriers and six Latin American airlines. Other carriers provide service from Europe, Korea, China and Israel.

Substantial numbers

The largest number of passengers arriving internationally were flown by Canadian flagship carrier Air Canada, which transported 859,208 passengers to McCarran in 2019 — which was a 3.3 percent decline from the number flown in 2018.

Another big traffic generator is Westjet, a Canadian discount carrier, which flew 826,360 passengers to McCarran in 2019, a 13.1 percent decline from the number flown in 2018.

The largest Mexican traffic generator in 2019 was discount carrier Interjet, with 232,077 passengers, but the company ceased operations indefinitely in December 2020.

Other Mexican carriers operating to Las Vegas are discounters Volaris and Vivaaerobus, which were experiencing upswings in passenger traffic to McCarran at the end of 2019, and flagship carrier Aeromexico.

British rivals British Airways (326,112 passengers) and Virgin Atlantic (227,299), although flying fewer travelers than in 2018, were the biggest volume providers from Europe. Other smaller operators had fewer flights when service ended — Norwegian Air, Condor, KLM and Air France among them.

Asian carriers offered potential with Korean Air’s nonstop flights to and from Seoul, South Korea (128,571 passengers in 2019, a 5.6 percent increase from 2018), and Hainan Airlines’ nonstop routes to and from Beijing (42,539 passengers, off 18.4 percent from the previous year.)

A small contributor to the foreign passenger count came from Israel-based El Al, 11,173, which just started Tel Aviv service in 2019 before the shutdown.

Some domestic airlines — Frontier, Delta and Sun Country — flew passengers from foreign countries directly to Las Vegas, the statistics show. Other airlines have connecting flights to Las Vegas from overseas, but McCarran doesn’t track those numbers.

‘Important turning point’

Tourism industry leaders were happy about the announcement.

“Today marks an important turning point in the recovery of international visitation essential to Las Vegas’ tourism industry,” Hill said. “This milestone is also significant and welcome news for many of our major trade shows and conventions that draw exhibitors and attendees from around the world.”

Convention attendance has been hindered in the past three months by current travel restrictions with some shows clearly missing international representation.

Most recently, this month’s Global Gaming Expo attracted less than half the 27,000 attendees it normally hosts because many of them have been participants from foreign countries.

The Consumer Technology Association, sponsors of CES, believe the lifting of restrictions will boost numbers at January’s show with around a quarter of the attendees coming from foreign countries.

“Thank you to the Biden administration for lifting the travel ban on international vaccinated travelers. There is tremendous value in reopening borders, allowing us to reconnect face-to-face,” a representative of the association said in an emailed statement.

“CES 2022 registration kicked off just over a month ago and we already have tens of thousands registered for the show, with 25 percent of the registrants international,” it said. “Vaccines work, and we look forward to seeing you at CES 2022 in Las Vegas.”

CES was a virtual event in 2021. In past years, the trade show, Las Vegas’ largest, attracted nearly 180,000 people.

‘Critically important’ date

“We appreciate the federal administration working alongside the travel industry to advocate for a safe reopening of international travel beginning on Nov. 8,” Hill said. “We are excited to welcome back our sorely missed international visitors.”

Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, applauded the Biden administration for easing the restrictions and welcomed the newly announced date for welcoming back international travelers.

“The date is critically important for planning — for airlines, for travel-supported businesses, and for millions of travelers worldwide who will now advance plans to visit the United States once again,” Dow said in a statement. “Reopening to international visitors will provide a jolt to the economy and accelerate the return of travel-related jobs that were lost due to travel restrictions.”

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter. Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.





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Physical and Neuro Diverse Business Travelers Deserve Support


Fox World Travel’s George Kalka collaborated on a GBTA project to understand business travel gaps for physical and neuro-diverse travelers. The group produced a GBTA member-only resource to help travel managers assess their programs.

Can companies factor physical and neuro diversity into the business travel equation? BTN recently asked this question and it’s safe to say the answer is ‘yes’—without a doubt they can. And more in the industry are advocating they should. So why haven’t we?

This topic was the focus of a recent Global Business Travel Association Global Leadership Professional project. We set out to positively impact how corporate travel can improve the experience for travelers impacted by both visible and invisible conditions who seek additional care along their travel journey. To change how our industry supports travelers with physical and neuro needs, it’s crucial to begin raising awareness of their travel experiences and the complexities they face. Until recently, there hasn’t been much discussion around this topic or resources available to support travel buyers. Through efforts like the GLP project and BTN’s coverage, awareness can graduate into action. As an industry addressing this topic, we’ve sat on the sidelines long enough with a reactive approach (at best) to caring for our fellow human beings.

Scoping Physical, Neuro Health Needs

Let’s start with some simple facts. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 61 million Americans live with a disability. That’s one-quarter of the U.S. population, so it’s no stretch to assume that virtually all travel programs have employees with visible or invisible physical or neuro health conditions that impact the business travel experience. To illustrate this, 14 percent of adults face a mobility challenge, yet the American with Disabilities Act only requires one room for every one hundred in total to have a roll-in shower. There’s a 1 percent chance the traveler who needs that room is going to receive it. This friction point is where corporate travel management comes into play and can begin making a difference. If your organization’s preferred hotel is sold out of this room type and there is a traveler who requires it, do you allow your traveler to stay at a non-preferred hotel instead?


Corporate travel is in an incredible position to lead initiatives that create common care standards and work cross-functionally so travelers don’t have to continue jumping through policy exception hoops.”


What if you have a traveler with a cognitive condition, which 11 percent of adults live with, who has difficulty navigating an airport or significantly struggles when flight disruptions or gate changes occur? Does your organization permit a direct flight even if it’s more costly? 

As a travel manager, if you answered ‘yes’ to either of these examples, you’re on the right path to how corporations can accommodate for physical and neuro diversity within the travel program. Now ask yourself if the experience booking outside of policy is easy for the traveler, or will they need sharp scissors to cut through all the red tape?

What Can Corporate Travel Do?

A GBTA survey of travel managers on this topic found corporate travel is ripe with opportunity to support travelers with physical and neuro health needs. The gaps to supporting these travelers are wide: over one-third of travel managers didn’t even know if their organization had travelers with conditions that impact mobility, and 60 percent of travel managers didn’t feel they were prepared to adequately address travelers’ physical and neuro health needs. It isn’t surprising, given these insights, that over two-thirds of buyers considered their travel programs only ‘low to average’ in meeting the needs of these travelers.

While few organizations are addressing travelers’ physical and neuro challenges beyond the basics or minimum legal responsibilities, some have developed a thoughtful path for these travelers to self-disclose their conditions and plan for their travel-related needs. Given privacy concerns, this process is often outside the corporate travel program and managed through human resources. However, travel leaders are partnering with HR, legal, and diversity and inclusion teams to develop the framework to proactively care for these travelers in advance of and throughout their travel journey. These progressive organizations are removing friction from the corporate travel equation. 

Think about the experience of a traveler who self-discloses, which in itself can be an anxious moment for someone. In one organization, the self-disclosing traveler is met with a defined program and process that demonstrates care and dignity throughout the travel journey. Now think how that may play out in a different organization who hasn’t planned to support a traveler with these needs. In this organization, the traveler needs to justify a policy exception every time they travel: to book the flight and hotel they need, the multiple levels of approval that may be required, and then potentially request another exception due to increased costs when completing an expense report. At the end of the day, both scenarios provide accommodation for the traveler, but it’s safe to say as human beings we all would choose the first experience. So why do so many corporate travel processes operate like the second example?

We must move beyond passing the responsibility and saying it’s someone else’s job. There’s a better way to support these travelers than a one-off case-by-case basis. Corporate travel is in an incredible position to lead initiatives that create common care standards and work cross-functionally so travelers don’t have to continue jumping through policy exception hoops and face unnecessary friction throughout their travel experience. In the era of the ‘great resignation’ there is arguably no better time to invest in the well-being of your workforce. Beyond that, it’s simply the right thing to do. 



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77% of travelers want to travel in the next year, with Europe reigning as top destination, according to new traveler research commissioned by Amadeus


LONDON–()–The survey of 9,074 consumers across France, Germany, India, Spain, Russia, Singapore, the UAE, the UK, and the US shows the appetite to travel is high. At the same time, it reveals that greater clarity on restrictions and guidelines will be key to unlocking increased traveler confidence. Over a third (35%) of travelers said the current international guidelines around where and how to travel are confusing, making them less likely to book business and/or leisure travel.

At the same time, travelers are exhibiting increased openness to embrace technology and a willingness to share health data so they can start traveling again.

When asked about the receptiveness to share personal health data, the survey results show:

  • 93% of travelers would be willing to provide personal data for the effective use of digital health passports or certificates, a slight increase from 91% in February 2021
  • Almost half (48%) of business travelers would be willing to provide their health data to visit a conference or event, while 36% of leisure travelers would be willing to for an excursion or activity at destination.

When asked which technology would increase confidence to travel in the next 12 months, mobile solutions continue to be the most popular, with the top technologies including:

  • Mobile applications that provide on-trip notifications and alerts (44%)
  • Self-service check-in (41%)
  • Contactless mobile payments (e.g., Apple or Google Pay, Paypal, Venmo) (41%)
  • Automated and flexible cancellation policies (40%)

Mobile applications and contactless technology have remained top technologies across all three studies, with the addition of automated and flexible cancellation policies in this final instalment.

The research is the third in a series of traveler sentiment surveys, where Amadeus takes a regular checkpoint on traveler sentiment and concerns to help the industry rebuild travel in the most effective way. Both the 2020 Rethink Travel survey (Sept 2020) and Rebuild Travel Digital Health (Feb 2021) survey revealed how technology can help to increase traveler confidence and Amadeus revisited this question to see how traveler confidence has changed since September 2020. 97% of travelers now say that technology will increase their confidence to travel, up from 91% in February 2021 and 84% in September 2020, showing a growing sense of traveler confidence in technology.

When considering the future of travel and sustainability, the survey highlighted what solutions travelers believe might help the industry to become more sustainable long-term. The results showed:

  • Nearly half (46%) of travelers said greater availability of green modes of transport, e.g., electric planes or trains
  • A similar percentage (44%) believe making sustainable travel more cost effective would be beneficial
  • 41% say transparency around travel companies’ sustainability policies would help.

Although receptiveness to travel in the next year is high, the travel industry needs to consider how to respond to changing traveler concerns as the travel environment continues to adapt. The three main concerns travelers have, are:

  • Fears of catching COVID-19 while traveling (41%)
  • Self-isolation or quarantine before and after travel (41%)
  • Changing restrictions resulting in last minute cancellations (37%)

In comparison to the previous studies, fears of catching the virus maintain a top concern for travelers, alongside self-isolation, or quarantine.

Decius Valmorbida, President, Travel, Amadeus, says, “The travel industry still faces many challenges in light of COVID-19, but we are seeing positive steps taken as restrictions lift and developments in digital health certificates continue around the world. This research demonstrates the appetite to travel continues to grow, and that travelers are looking forward to advancements in areas such as touchless technology, digital health and sustainable travel. Now is the time to listen even more closely to travelers’ needs so we can rebuild our industry in a way that is more traveler focused, resilient and sustainable.”

Francisco Pérez-Lozao Rüter, President, Hospitality, Amadeus, comments, “This three-part series of research has highlighted the essential role that both technology and data have to play in the recovery of our industry and increasing traveler confidence. In hospitality specifically we are seeing how our hotel customers are implementing solutions that complement and streamline experiences without losing the human touch while using data to better prepare for guest demands. At Amadeus we are committed to rebuilding a better industry and working closely with our customers to provide the tools to achieve this.”

To learn more about the results of the survey, read our global report here: https://amadeus.com/en/insights/themes/rebuild-travel



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US to ease travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated travelers


The new rules, which are similar to those announced for international air passengers, will be rolled out in a phased approach. The first phase, kicking off in early November, will allow fully vaccinated visitors traveling for nonessential reasons, like visiting friends or for tourism, to cross US land borders. The second phase, starting in early January 2022, will apply the vaccination requirement to all inbound foreign travelers, whether traveling for essential or nonessential reasons.

“These new vaccination requirements deploy the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of Covid-19 and will create a consistent, stringent protocol for all foreign nationals traveling into the United States whether by land or air,” a senior administration official told reporters.

The US has been limiting nonessential travel on the ground along its borders with Canada and Mexico since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and extending those restrictions on a monthly basis. Air travel between the US and those countries has been possible. The restrictions don’t apply to cross-border trade, US citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as people traveling for medical purposes or to attend school, among others.

The latest set of restrictions is due to expire on October 21. Senior administration officials said the limits on cross-border travel will remain in effect until a soon-to-be-disclosed date in November.

A Trump-era public health order that’s allowed for the swift expulsion of more than 958,000 migrants will also stay in effect. Those restrictions, while also based on public health, are necessary because of concerns over migrants in congregate settings when undergoing processing, officials said.

The travel restrictions had come under heavy scrutiny by lobbyists, lawmakers and border mayors who implored the Biden administration to adjust limits to meet the evolving landscape.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul welcomed the news Tuesday night. “I applaud our federal partners for reopening our borders to Canada, something I have called for since the beginning of the closure,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “Canada is not only our trade partner, but more importantly, Canadians are our neighbors and our friends.”

New York Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democrat who represents a Buffalo-area district, also heralded the decision, saying that “strong vaccination rates in Canada made the continued border shutdown absurd and unjustifiable.”

“For months now we’ve heard from businesses that are suffering and families distraught over the separation imposed by the continued border shutdown. The sigh of relief coming from the Northern Border communities following this announcement is so loud it can practically be heard on either end of the Peace Bridge.”

When asked about the timeline for reopening borders, the White House has repeatedly pointed to interagency working groups that were formed over the summer. Overseen by the White House Covid-19 response team and the National Security Council, the groups included representatives from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with officials from the Departments of State, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Transportation.

American officials were also partnered with representatives from the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico.

“We have seen increased vaccine availability obviously in Canada, which now has very high vaccination rates, as well as in Mexico. And we wanted to have a consistent approach to both land and air entry into this country and so this is the next step to bring those into alignment,” the senior administration official said.

The US previously told the Canadians that the Biden administration wanted to keep rules on both land borders symmetrical, a source familiar with discussions told CNN, despite differing situations on both borders and inconsistencies with air travel rules.

The US-Mexico border has been facing an influx of migrants that has overwhelmed resources, prompting some concern among US Customs and Border Protection officials about easing travel restrictions on the US southern border while surging personnel to assist with an uptick in migrants.

CBP will be charged with enforcing the newly announced vaccination requirement, including seeking attestations of vaccination status and spot checking travelers for verification of vaccination status via paper or digital means, according to another senior administration official. There will not be a testing requirement.

This story has been updated with reaction.



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US to ease travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated travelers


By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

The United States plans to ease restrictions on travel for fully vaccinated visitors from Canada and Mexico starting in early November, relaxing bans that have been in place for more than 18 months, according to senior administration officials.

The new rules, which are similar to those announced for international air passengers, will be rolled out in a phased approach. The first phase, kicking off in early November, will allow fully vaccinated visitors traveling for nonessential reasons, like visiting friends or for tourism, to cross US land borders. The second phase, starting in early January 2022, will apply the vaccination requirement to all inbound foreign travelers, whether traveling for essential or nonessential reasons.

“These new vaccination requirements deploy the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of Covid-19 and will create a consistent, stringent protocol for all foreign nationals traveling into the United States whether by land or air,” a senior administration official told reporters.

The US has been limiting nonessential travel on the ground along its borders with Canada and Mexico since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and extending those restrictions on a monthly basis. Air travel between the US and those countries has been possible. The restrictions don’t apply to cross-border trade, US citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as people traveling for medical purposes or to attend school, among others.

The latest set of restrictions is due to expire on October 21. Senior administration officials said the limits on cross-border travel will remain in effect until a soon-to-be-disclosed date in November.

A Trump-era public health order that’s allowed for the swift expulsion of more than 958,000 migrants will also stay in effect. Those restrictions, while also based on public health, are necessary because of concerns over migrants in congregate settings when undergoing processing, officials said.

The travel restrictions came under heavy scrutiny by lobbyists, lawmakers and border mayors who implored the Biden administration to adjust limits to meet the evolving landscape.

When asked about the timeline for reopening borders, the White House has repeatedly pointed to interagency working groups that were formed over the summer. Overseen by the White House Covid-19 response team and the National Security Council, the groups included representatives from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with officials from the Departments of State, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Transportation.

American officials were also partnered with representatives from the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico.

“We have seen increased vaccine availability obviously in Canada, which now has very high vaccination rates, as well as in Mexico. And we wanted to have a consistent approach to both land and air entry into this country and so this is the next step to bring those into alignment,” the senior administration official said.

The US previously told the Canadians that the Biden administration wanted to keep rules on both land borders symmetrical, a source familiar with discussions told CNN, despite differing situations on both borders and inconsistencies with air travel rules.

The US-Mexico border has been facing an influx of migrants that has overwhelmed resources, prompting some concern among US Customs and Border Protection officials about easing travel restrictions on the US southern border while surging personnel to assist with an uptick in migrants.

CBP will be charged with enforcing the newly announced vaccination requirement, including seeking attestations of vaccination status and spot checking travelers for verification of vaccination status via paper or digital means, according to another senior administration official. There will not be a testing requirement.

The-CNN-Wire
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Travel Ambassador Angel Castellanos Provides Helpful Tips To Hawaii Travelers


Honolulu (KHON2) – Travel journalist and ambassador, Angel Castellanos is bringing the travel tips to Hawaii residents looking to vacation. 

With a lot of people traveling for the upcoming holidays, founder and travel journalist of Angels Travel Lounge, Angel Castellanos is providing tips for future travelers on what to pack for your next vacation. 

“I always travel with a carry on. Rarely do I ever check any bags in. With a carry-on, it allows ultimate flexibility in this changing landscape, saves time waiting for your luggage and less bags to carry,” says  Angel Castellanos, founder and travel journalist of Angels Travel Lounge.

When choosing the perfect bag to bring, Castellanos feels that the type of luggage should depend on where your final destination is.

Castellanos says, “Between a hard case and a soft case, it really depends on where you’re planning to go. Hard shell is easy to clean, but it’s limited to packing. If you plan to be on the road a lot, and will be going in and out of your luggage often, a soft sided luggage is great.”

As travelers are getting more comfortable with flying, Castellanos feels that having certain items on you, are essential in 2021.

“I highly recommend travelers pack a vaccine card, but do not laminate it. It should be kept in a protective case, a take home covid test for back up, extra PPE in all bags, hand sanitizers and extra essentials in case of travel changes,” says Castellanos.

For more tips on how to travel safely and comfortably, Castellanos encourages Hawaii residents to follow him online. 

WEBSITE:

www.AngelsTravelsLounge.com

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLE:

@Angels_travels (Instagram)



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Caribbean Mostly Under Level 4 Advisories, But Travelers Are Going Anyway


As it’s officially autumn and there’s once again a chill in the air, snowbirds are surely beginning to think about heading south for the winter. Even those of us who live in milder climates could use a tropical getaway after enduring 19 months of pandemic banality.

The Caribbean typically sees throngs of North Americans looking to escape their icy environs in the winter season, though the region, which is home to more than two dozen destinations, is an equally popular spring and summer retreat.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

But, amid COVID-19, things can get a bit complicated for travelers dreaming of an island vacation, since much of the Caribbean, like plenty of other nations on the planet, continues to battle the current Delta variant surge. And, while everyone in the U.S. is able to get vaccinated when they choose, this region is struggling with insufficient access to vaccines, according to The Washington Post.

Due to ‘very high’ COVID-19 case rates, the U.S. Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) has slapped a ‘Level 4: COVID-19 Very High’ advisory on the majority of Caribbean tourism destinations, which carries a recommendation that the public avoid traveling there altogether.

Currently in this category are over 20 tourism destinations, including Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, U.S. Virgin Islands. If we begin looking at continental destinations that line the Caribbean Sea, it becomes an even higher number.


Castries, St Lucia
Castries, St. Lucia. (photo via NAPA74/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

One level down, there’s the ‘Level 3: COVID-19 High’ warning, which recommends that travelers be fully vaccinated before traveling to these destinations. Anguilla, Bonaire, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos currently carry this label, while the Dominican Republic and the Cayman Islands are the two to carry lower-level advisories.

“Caribbean travel was the first to see a resurgence in early 2021 and, while most destinations continue to maintain a Level 4 status with the CDC, it hasn’t kept travelers away,” travel adviser Mike Salvadore of 58 Stars Travel told the Post. He observed that interest in the region declined slightly during hurricane season and just after Europe reopened, but interest in the Caribbean for fall and holiday travel is “robust”.

The CDC’s high-level travel advisories don’t seem to be dampening people’s enthusiasm for visiting the region. For instance, the Bahamas saw an almost 50 percent higher visitation number through August than it did last year. I. Chester Cooper, the Bahamian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, said in an emailed statement that his country is optimistic that it will also see a “robust holiday season”.

Of course, things still aren’t what they were in pre-pandemic times, as international travel is only beginning to rebound. Neil Walters, acting Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization told the Post that the Caribbean’s overall international tourist arrivals during the first half of 2021 reached 6.6 million, down 12 percent from the first half of last year (in fairness, travel didn’t shut down until mid-March of 2020). That’s also a decrease of 62 percent from the same period in 2019.


Emerald water idyllic beach at Nassau, The Bahamas in a sunny day. (poladamonte / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
PHOTO: Nassau, The Bahamas on a sunny day. (poladamonte / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

The CDC’s travel advisories can, however, be a source of frustration for Caribbean officials and stakeholders. Vanessa Ledesma, Acting CEO and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), said in September that the sector has worked hard to protect tourists and workers alike. “We have gone to great lengths to produce the safest possible corridors in our tourism-related communities,” she said. “Caribbean travel is safe and continues to get safer.”

Ledesma also said she feels that travel warnings based on COVID-19 positivity levels can be misleading. Clive Landis, who chairs the University of the West Indies’ COVID-19 task force in Barbados, is also skeptical of their value, especially when the warnings are applied to countries that have low overall case rates, such as Anguilla.

“I think here in the Caribbean, our record—even now with the surge of the Delta variant—is still, in terms of cases per capita…well below the U.S.,” Landis said. “It’s not as if they’re stepping into some kind of a hot spot that they’re not used to in their own country.”

For the latest insight on travel around the world, check out this interactive guide:



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Disney World for solo travelers






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Canada to require COVID vaccine for travelers starting Oct. 30


play

  • All commercial air travelers to Canada, passengers on trains between provinces and cruise ship passengers will be required to present proof of vaccination starting Oct. 30.
  • As of Wednesday, more than 72% of Canada’s population was fully vaccinated according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.
  • The U.S. land border is set to remain closed to Canadian tourists through at least Oct. 21.

Starting Oct. 30, the Canadian government will require all air travelers and passengers on interprovincial trains to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The new policy, first announced in August, will affect all commercial air travelers, passengers on trains between provinces and cruise ship passengers. The government is also requiring employers in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors to establish vaccine mandates by Oct. 30. 

The vaccine requirement does not apply to travelers under 12. A short transition period will allow travelers who are in the process of getting vaccinated to board if they can show a molecular test within 72 hours of travel, but only through Nov. 30.  

“If you haven’t gotten your shots yet but want to travel this winter, let’s be clear. There will only be a few extremely narrow exceptions like a valid medical condition,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a Wednesday press conference. “For the vast vast majority of people, the rules are very simple to travel: you’ve got to be vaccinated.”

► ‘Maybe … give us a little break?’: Canadian businesses rush to ready for Monday’s border reopening

► Canada travel: Here are 11 things to know before a trip.

Trudeau said the new travel measures will be “some of the strongest in the world.” The country also requires most foreign nationals to be fully vaccinated to enter for nonessential purposes.

“When it comes to keeping you and your family safe, when it comes to avoiding lockdowns for everyone, this is no time for half measures,” he said.  

Currently, air travelers entering Canada are required to show proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test results taken within 72 hours of their scheduled departure. Unvaccinated air travelers must take another COVID-19 test upon arrival to Canada and toward the end of a mandated 14-day quarantine upon arrival. 

The additional measures are meant to encourage more people to get vaccinated. As of Wednesday, more than 72% of Canada’s population was fully vaccinated according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Medicine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. State Department each downgraded their travel advisories for Canada in August, but the U.S. border is set to remain closed to Canadian tourists through at least Oct. 21.  

Air Canada, Canada’s largest domestic and international carrier, released a statement in support of the new measures in August, announcing that it would work with the government and its unions to implement the new policy.

“Although Air Canada awaits further details about today’s announcement on mandatory vaccinations, it is a welcome step forward in the evolving measures to protect the health and safety of airline employees, customers and all Canadians,” the statement reads. 

The United States does not require vaccinations for domestic flights, and it’s unclear if that will change. When asked if the U.S. would follow Canada’s footsteps and implement harsher vaccine mandates for air travel, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said Wednesday that the government was “not taking anything off the table.”   

Who is affected by Canada’s vaccine mandate?

The new travel policy applies to:

  • Passengers on domestic, transborder or international flights departing from Canadian airports 
  • Passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains
  • Passengers on non-essential passenger vessels, such as cruise ships, on voyages at least 24 hours long

What happens if travelers don’t comply?

Travelers who falsify information or family to comply will face heavy fines.

Air travel passengers or employees can be fined up to $5,000 per violation, and employees or travelers on cruise ships can be fined up to $250,000 per violation, per day for failing to provide proof of vaccination.  

How can travelers show proof of vaccination?

The Canadian government is developing a pan-Canadian proof of vaccination for international travel. The document will be available in a digital format and should make showing proof of vaccination “easy and quick” for travelers, according to the Canadian government. 

“Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to fight COVID-19 and the Government of Canada will continue to take action to get as many Canadians vaccinated as possible,” the Canadian Government’s website reads. 

Trudeau said Wednesday that a vaccine passport will be ready “in the weeks to come.”

► ‘There’s only so much you can say on the phone’: How COVID-19 travel restrictions have impacted families and couples

► Don’t break the rules: 2 travelers to Canada who gave false COVID-19 vaccination information each fined almost $20K

► New Zealand travel: New Zealand adding vaccination requirement as it prepares to reopen its international borders





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Should travelers avoid Mexico as delta surges? For locals who need them, it’s complicated. – The Washington Post



Should travelers avoid Mexico as delta surges? For locals who need them, it’s complicated.  The Washington Post



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