While we've been completely immersed in the world of virtual events thanks to Launchtrip+, some fantastic news has begun to emerge from the world of travel: Italy, Spain and Vietnam have announced plans to start opening up to travellers in the coming months.
Given how hard Italy was hit by the pandemic, it's heartening to hear that they will be opening their borders on June 3. While travel into the country will initially be restricted to citizens of the EU, Italian tourism experts have begun to signal that international travellers may be permitted to enter the country later in the summer.
In an acknowledgement that the decision came with some risk, Italian PM Giuseppe Conte said “We’re facing a calculated risk in the knowledge that the contagion curve may rise again. We have to accept it, otherwise we will never be able to start up again.” Conte believes the economic and social damage of a prolonged lockdown has left him with little choice.
The government also plans on eliminating its 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving from abroad in hopes that the move will help to kickstart the country's tourist industry.
Yet another beleaguered European nation eying an opening is Spain – the world's second most popular travel destination. Like Italy, Spain has also decided to phase out the quarantine period and has stated that tourists will be welcome from July on.
In a TV interview, Prime Minister Minister Pedro Sánchez declared “As of July, Spain will be expecting you.The moment has arrived ...Foreign visitors can now start planning their holidays to Spain.”
Given how important the tourism industry is to the Spanish economy, safety is critical to their reopening plans. As a result, the Spanish government will be putting into place a certification scheme for Covid-compliant tourist establishments including Hotels, restaurants, and tour operators.
Thousands of miles to the East, Vietnam is in a similar position albeit with a very different path. The Southeast Asian nation of 96 million people has reported only 324 cases of Covid-19, zero deaths, and was one of the first countries to ease social distancing measures.
To lure local travellers, hotels and airlines have cut prices by as much as half. "The recovery of domestic tourism should boost international tourism," said Vu The Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents. "After this program ends in mid-July, we will embark on another program to promote international tourism, depending on the virus situation."
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently asked the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and submit to the government a reopening plan for international tourists.