Our favourite travel destinations are back in business, and we couldn’t be more excited to visit them once again. Throughout various stages of the pandemic, each of these five countries was hard hit and/or shut down completely. We’re happy to announce all five of these countries are now open for tourism.
Disclaimer: This information is subject to change. For more information on who can visit these five countries and what their entry requirements are, talk with your travel advisor.
1 | Australia
From the dramatic desert landscapes to lush ancient rainforests to coastal cities fringed with golden beaches, Australia is known around the world for its natural beauty and dazzling cityscapes. There’s also a rich culture which can be summarized as a love for nature and wildlife, a sense of adventure, and an enjoyment of living life outdoors. While some things have remained the same Down Under, in recent years, everything from food to fashion has had a fresh new makeover, and plenty of new tourism experiences and places to stay have opened in hidden corners of the country. After a 20-month closure, the country began to open at the end of February. Only fully vaccinated travellers are permitted to enter, and they must show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or rapid antigen test before departure.
2 | Italy
Wine country, Italian cuisine, spectacular coastlines, stunning architecture and art museums, and exceptional culture – Italy is a country comprised of several bucket list destinations. From small Tuscan towns to metropolises like Milan and Rome to picturesque coastal cities, the options in Italy are endless and one trip just isn’t enough. While Italy was one of the hardest hit countries at the onset of the pandemic, its borders have reopened for tourism. Currently, both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers can visit Italy, but you need to either be fully vaccinated or have proof of recovery from a COVID-19 infection within the past six months. You must also provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival or a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours of arrival, to avoid self-isolation.
3 | New Zealand
New Zealand offers incomparable space to explore. Discover unique wildlife in its natural habitat, from the nocturnal native kiwi to the rare and impressive sperm whale. Admire the magic of a clear night sky, or be first in the world to see the sun rise over an endless ocean. Witness the impressions rivers have carved across the landscape over centuries and the geysers bubbling up from underground. Observe the place where two oceans collide, or explore lush native bush and beautiful botanic gardens. New Zealand has what it takes for a perfectly unique and intimate experience. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country adopted very strict policies meant to suppress the virus. Its zero-COVID strategy made it one of the world's most closed-off nations, but this has started to change. The country is opening up with a five-phase plan; however, it’s still harder to visit New Zealand than these other four countries. In all five phases (most Americans and Canadians will fall under phase four), visitors must be fully vaccinated and self isolate for 10 days.
4 | South Africa
Known around the world for its breathtaking scenery, captivating natural beauty, incredible wildlife, and cultural diversity, South Africa is a true destination of choice. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the country placed the destination on travel ban lists but, fortunately, some of these restrictions have since been lifted. Most tourists like to go on a safari in the African reserves to see the Big Five, take a city break in Cape Town which allows them to explore the coastline and beautiful beaches, explore part of the regional wine route, retrace the steps of Nelson Mandela, and immerse themselves in the vibrant South African culture. While anyone can travel to South Africa, subject to the usual visa regulations and a negative COVID-19 test, not all borders are open and there are strict protocols to follow.
5 | Spain
Although the Spanish people are known for their midafternoon siestas, there is no lack of livelihood in Spain. From its energetic Mediterranean beaches, iconic architecture wonders, and world-renowned Flamenco dancing, to its endlessly flowing sangria, delectable paella, and famous tapas-style of eating, the country is a cultural phenomenon. While Spain announced last June that no vaccines or COVID-19 tests were required to enter the country, they changed their rules this past September requiring all travellers to be vaccinated or show proof of a recent infection no more than 180 days prior to visiting. Some unvaccinated travelers who meet exceptional situations are permitted to enter with a negative COVID-19 test.
March 2022 ·By Ensemble Travel Group
After two years of lockdowns, quarantines, and confusing testing requirements, consumers are more than ready to start travelling again. They are booking more and longer vacations, and they are spending more to upgrade their experiences having saved up during the pandemic.
But along with an increase in interest and bookings are the varied misconceptions about travelling in a post-COVID world. Below are some of the most common ones to help travellers separate fact from fiction.
Myth #1: Any kind of travel increases the likelihood of getting COVID.
While no aspect of life is immune from the spread of COVID, travel is one of the most restricted activities in our daily lives and one that is subject to higher levels of testing and preventive measures. Science and data show that the rate of transmission is much higher when participating in regular daily activities such as shopping, going to a restaurant, or working out at a local gym. Hotels have invested millions of dollars upgrading ventilation systems and introducing new cleaning protocols to ensure rooms and public areas are disinfected to the highest degree possible. Cruise lines are doing 21x the rate of testing than the U.S. is doing overall, and the positivity rate aboard a cruise ship is much lower than onshore where it is 33% higher, according to data provided by Cruise Lines International Association. In addition, the cruise industry has achieved a nearly 100% rate of vaccination compared to the general U.S. population at nearly 63% or Canada where the rate is approximately 80%.
Myth #2: If I purchase travel insurance, I will be covered for anything that goes wrong.
Travel advisors have long encouraged their clients to purchase insurance to protect them from large out of pocket expenses while travelling and potential emergency situations. The pandemic has only reinforced the need to have a safety net that travel insurance provides. However, not all plans are equal, and it’s important to read the fine print and to consult your Charrisma Advisor to ensure your plan covers what you need. No matter what your vaccination status is, if you plan to travel, you may want to have a financial safeguard in place for pandemic-related problems. This is especially true if you’re travelling abroad where your health plan may have limited global coverage. Travel insurance can provide that safety net, but not all travel insurance plans cover COVID-related problems. To help you find the right plan, ask us which ones offer the best coverage if you were to need to quarantine as a result of a positive COVID test or for other situations that are unrelated to the pandemic but can result in unexpected expenses.
Myth #3: Consumer interest in sustainable travel dropped off as a result of the pandemic.
Ironically, the pause in travel actually resulted in an increased desire to travel more sustainably post-pandemic. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), 83% of global travellers surveyed said they would make sustainable travel a priority in the future. But while many travellers want to travel more responsibly, they often don’t know where to start. At Charrisma Travel, we can help clients offset their carbon imprint through affiliations with organizations such as Cool Effect and Trees4Travel. In addition, we can help ensure that you support local businesses and tour operators to ensure your money spent locally stays there and benefits the communities that rely on tourism as their primary economic driver.
Myth #4: Business travel is dead.
While business travel dropped off significantly during the pandemic, it has resurfaced in a new form. As the lines between work and life blur, so do the distinctions between business and personal travel creating a hybrid of business and leisure travel now referred to as “bleisure.” This trend goes beyond bringing your family along to a conference; it allows for adding weekends or weeks to work trips while also bringing the family along.
Myth #5: My vacation will cost more if I book with a travel advisor.
The reality is that travel advisors can save you time and money. We have relationships with partners that include pre-negotiated rates that are not only better than what you would get from booking on your own or through an online travel agency, but we can often also include amenities such as complimentary breakfast, upgrades when available, and early check-in/late check-out. More importantly, we are your advocate for in case of an emergency.
While the pandemic may have shown on a grand scale how having a travel advisor can help you during a crisis, there will always be something that has the potential to ruin your vacation. Whether it’s a flight cancellation, problems at a hotel, or an unexpected illness, at Charrima, we can quickly jump in, assess the situation, and then navigate all the roadblocks to find a solution.
While travel confusion may still linger as restrictions are lifted around the world, your Charrisma travel advisor can help you plan your dream vacation and help ensure smooth sailing.
March 2022 ·By Debra Loew