Tourism

Lifestyle • Travel
India: Taj Mahal reopens after six-motnh-long closure
India: Taj Mahal reopens after six-motnh-long closure
Credit: unsplash.com/Koushik Chowdavarapu

The Taj Mahal has reopened its doors to visitors after a six-month-long closure. To ensure people's safety, various Coronavirus measures have been implemented, e.g. reduced capacity, temperature checks and mandatory face masks.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
England puts Portugal back on Covid-19 quarantine list
Torre de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal
Torre de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal Credit: Berthold Werner (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

British transport minister Grant Shapps announced that travellers from mainland Portugal to England would have to quarantine from 03:00 UTC on Saturday. The announcement comes just weeks after the country was put on the safe list.

Travellers from the Portuguese islands of the Azores and Madeira are still allowed to skip quarantine.

Lifestyle • Travel
India: Taj Mahal will reopen despite India's high Coronavirus cases
India: Taj Mahal will reopen despite India's high Coronavirus cases
Credit: unsplash.com/Koushik Chowdavarapu

The Taj Mahal will reopen on September 21st," mit Srivastava, deputy director of Uttar Pradesh state’s tourism department has announced. Masks, social distancing and other Covid-19 protocols will be required for visitors. Instead of the usual daily 20,000 visitors, only 5,000 will be allowed. Visitors will have to buy tickets only as no physical tickets will be sold.

Business • Economy
Airbnb files to go public
Airbnb files to go public
Credit: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Public Domain)

Airbnb announced on Wednesday that it had confidentially filed to go public. Reports indicate the company could have an IPO as soon as the end of the year.

The company had been privately valued at $31 billion before this year and it must now convince investors that it can thrive and turn a profit in a new era of limited travel.

Lifestyle • Travel
Covid-19 causes huge losses for German travel giant TUI
Covid-19 causes huge losses for German travel giant TUI
Credit: Marco Verch (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

TUI, the world's largest travel operator, suffered a 98.5% drop in revenues due to Covid-19 restrictions. The group posted a €1.42 billion loss between April and June.

On Wednesday, TUI secured a second credit line from the German government, adding to a €1.8 billion loan taken on in April, and while the CEO said it might not need to use the latest line, the focus is now on debt.

In May the company stated it would need to cut 8,000 jobs and save €300 million a year to help it withstand the crisis.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Italy threatens to ban Ryanair over Covid-19 compliance
Boeing 737 Ryanair
Boeing 737 Ryanair Credit: Dylan Agbagni (Creative Commons Attribution 1.0)

ENAC, the Italian air transport regulator, has threatened to suspend Ryanair from flying to Italy over what it claims were "repeated violation of anti-Covid-19 health measures drafted by the Italian government".

Ryanair said in a statement that ENAC’s assertions were "factually incorrect" and that the company "complies fully with the measures set out by the Italian government."

Italian rules require passengers to maintain distance from others unless other precautions are taken including controlled boarding and disembarkation to avoid close contact, temperature tests and the wearing of face masks.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
United Kingdom removes Andorra, Bahamas and Belgium from safe travel list
Grant Shapps
Grant Shapps Credit: Richard Townshend (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

British Transport Minister Grant Shapps announced Thursday that Andorra, the Bahamas and Belgium were removed from the Covid-19 Travel Corridors list. The decision means passengers arriving from those countries will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

On Twitter, Shapps said: "Data shows we need to remove Andorra, Belgium and The Bahamas from our list of #coronavirus Travel Corridors in order to keep infection rates DOWN. If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days."

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
EVA Air will have a Hello Kitty-themed flight to nowhere on August 8
EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER with Hello Kitty painting
EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER with Hello Kitty painting Credit: Jeffhuang0627 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

EVA Air announced Monday it will be celebrating Father’s Day, August 8 in Taiwan, by selling tickets to a Hello Kitty flight to nowhere. The company is looking for innovative ways to get in the air again despite travel restrictions to other countries.

The Hello Kitty-themed plane will take off from Taipei Taoyuan Airport and will land three hours later back at the same location.

During the flight, guests onboard will be treated to a special amenity kit filled with gifts, and be given the chance to purchase Hello Kitty duty-free items at a steep discount. The company also announced passengers would be served a meal designed by Michelin three-star chef Motokazu Nakamura.

Politics • American • Brazil
Brazilian government lifts four-month ban on foreign air travel
Temperature screening at São Paulo International Airport
Temperature screening at São Paulo International Airport Credit: Ricardo Stuckert

Despite still having a daily average of more than 1,000 deaths by Covid-19, the Brazilian government decided to reopen its borders to foreign visitors arriving by plane. Jair Bolsonaro signed, this Wednesday, an ordinance revoking the ban that was in place since the end of March.

The ordinance states, "The foreign passenger on a visit to the country for a short stay, of up to ninety days, must present to the transport company, before boarding, proof of purchase of health insurance valid in Brazil and with coverage for the entire period of the trip, under penalty of being prevented from entering national territory by the migratory authority due to provocation by the health authority ".

Politics • European • Germany
German Government advises against travel to Aragon, Navarra, and Catalonia
La Barceloneta, Barcelona, Spain
La Barceloneta, Barcelona, Spain Credit: Lucrezia Carnelos

Germany's Foreign Ministry issued a notice warning against tourist travel to the Spanish regions of Aragon, Navarra, and Catalonia after a spike in coronavirus cases.

The Ministry website states: “We currently advise against unnecessary tourist trips to the autonomous communities of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre due to high infection numbers and local lockdowns,”.

Bernat Sole, Catalonia's foreign affairs chief, said: "We do not get into evaluating the decisions by other countries but we obviously don't share it. The Catalan government is responsible … and we are working to protect the life and health of people that live here or are visiting us,".

Lifestyle • Travel
Croatia sees decline in tourists as pandemic worsens
Croatia sees decline in tourists as pandemic worsens
Credit: unsplash.com / Colton Jones

Tourism in Croatia is on the decline as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Croatian National Tourist Board, July saw 1.8 million tourists enter the country, 51 percent compared to last year's numbers. The most popular destinations were on the Dalmatian coast, with Rovinj, Umag and Split among them.

Tourism is a significant part of Croatia's GDP. Many businesses rely on the influx of tourists in the summer, with July being one of the busiest months.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
UK government implements two week quarantine for returners from Spain
Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport
Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport Credit: unsplash.com/Roberto Arias

The government of the United Kingdom has announced that a mandatory two-week quarantine will be implemented for all returners and travellers from Spain following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Health Minister Robin Swann has stated that "the advice from the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser is that a negative Covid-19 test immediately on return from Spain would not exclude infection - so a period of self-isolation would still be required" and that "public health considerations must take priority".

Lifestyle • Citytrips
France: Disneyland Paris, Eiffel Tower reopen
View from the Eiffel Tower
View from the Eiffel Tower Credit: unsplash.com/Matt Boitor

Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios have partially reopened on Wednesday after almost four months. Other tourists attractions are also being reopened. The top floor of the Eiffel Tower is now open for visitors but is restricted to maximum of 250 people.

Science • Animals
Uganda: Wildlife poaching doubled as tourism income dwindles
Rafiki, a silverback gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in South Western Uganda was killed in a poaching incident recently
Rafiki, a silverback gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in South Western Uganda was killed in a poaching incident recently Credit: unsplash.com/Mike Arney

The Uganda Wildlife Authority recorded 367 wildlife poaching cases between February and June, twice as much as during the same period last year. This is due to many people who rely on income from tourism now have turned to poaching to make money or obtain food.

“They set snares for other animals that they want to eat. Like, the small antelope. Or a bushpig," Gladys Kalema Zikusoka, founder and chief of non-profit wildlife group Conservation Through Public Health, said. "They’ll go for those to eat them. And when they set these snares, gorillas can accidentally get caught in the snare. But worse still, we’ve had cases of people spearing gorillas. Yet they were not going for gorillas, they were going for diker and bush pig.”

Lifestyle • Travel
India: Taj Mahal and other Indian monuments to remain closed
Taj Mahal in Agra, India
Taj Mahal in Agra, India Credit: unsplash.com/Julian Yu

The Taj Mahal and other Indian monuments such as Agra Fort and Sikandra will stay shut. The national government had given permission to reopen attractions, local authorities in Agra decided to keep them closed to visitors.

"The Taj Mahal, which is in the Taj Ganj police station jurisdiction, is a 'containment zone'," so Agra's District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh.

Politics • American • Brazil
Brazil issues Covid-19 international border restrictions for 30 days
Rio de Janeiro view from the Sugar Loaf
Rio de Janeiro view from the Sugar Loaf Credit: Raphael Nogueira

The Brazilian Government published an ordinance restricting foreign nationals access to the country for 30 days.

"It is restricted, for thirty days, the entry into the country of foreigners of any nationality, by road, by other terrestrial means, by air or by water transport", says the ordinance.

Excluded from the restrictions does not apply are those arriving by air "to establish residency for a specific time and who hold a temporary visa for the following purposes:" research, teaching or academic extension; study; job; making investment; family meeting; artistic or sporting activities with a fixed-term contract ".

Politics • American • South America
Uruguay is the only Latin American country in EU's Covid-19 'safe list'
Munich International Airport passport control
Munich International Airport passport control Credit: Vasyatka1 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The European Union has named 14 countries whose citizens are deemed "safe" to be let in from July 1, and the only Latin American country is Uruguay.

As infection rates in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia are still high, their nationals will face travel restrictions.

The current list is formed by Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Lifestyle • Travel
Eiffel Tower reopens after longest closure since World War II
Eiffel Tower reopens after longest closure since World War II
Credit: Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE)

The Eiffel Tower reopened on Thursday after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the Paris landmark’s longest closure since World War II.

Access to the tower's first and second level is only possible via staircases until early July, while lifts are closed to ensure a safe distance between people to limit infection risk. The summit of the iconic monument will remain off-limits to the public for now.

Also, visitors over the age of 11 are required to wear face masks.

Lifestyle • Travel
Finland to remove Covid-19 restrictions for some European tourists
Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki, Finland Credit: Érico Andrei (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Finland’s Minister of Interior Maria Ohisal announced the country would remove, from July 13, restrictions for leisure travellers from European countries where infection rate remained at a maximum of 8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a period of two weeks.

Lifestyle • Travel
After a three-month lockdown, Spain is reopening its borders to tourists
Chueca neighborhood of Madrid, May 2020
Chueca neighborhood of Madrid, May 2020 Credit: Nemo / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Spain is reopening for tourism after a three-month strict lockdown. The country is welcoming back tourists, however, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez urges to uphold social distancing measures and the use of face masks. Sánchez said to remain "on our guard" as a second wave of Covid-19 "must be avoided at all costs". Portugal will keep its borders with Spain closed until July 1.