So where is tourism happening?

BY: Kofi Akpabli
The European Commission announced a plan to save summer tourism in order to help the struggling travel industry

Ghana’s tourism industry members who were banking on the removal of restrictions on related activities were somewhat disappointed during the latest review of the safety guidelines.

Borders and airways still remain shut. However, hotels, restaurants and drinking spots now have some allowance to operate so long as they abide by the general safety protocols.

So there is certainly hope for a proper take-off of tourism activities should all-powerful COVID- 19 allow. Meanwhile, many countries are also trying to ease restrictions and boost tourism business despite still discouraging non-essential travel.

Some of these countries simply cannot do without tourism and are beginning to plan to welcome back tourists.

From Italy to Germany lockdowns are slowly being relaxed, easing into a new normal that's not quite what it was pre-pandemic.

In a recent move, the European Commission announced a plan to save summer tourism in order to help the struggling travel industry.

The plan includes opening borders and putting health measures and testing in place. But it's not just the EU eyeing summer travel. Let us see which tourism hot spots are leading the march to a gradual return.

Portugal saw far fewer cases than its neighbour Spain. Portugal, after easing out of lockdown by reopening some shops and restaurants in mid-March, has become one of the first European countries to welcome back visitors.

However, since flights from outside the EU are not allowed until June 15, these tourists are mainly from Europe.
Florida. According to Florida Keys officials, the areas are hoping to be open to visitors this June. The island chain has been closed to tourists since March 22.

Disinfecting and social-distancing guidelines will be put in place, and the first phase of reopening calls for lodging to be limited to 50% occupancy, which will be reevaluated in late June.

Cancun, Mexico, is typically a popular spot with American tourists. Some of Mexico's most well-known tourist hotspots, Cancun, Tulum, and Riviera Maya, aim to welcome international travellers by June 8-10. This reopening will coincide with the resuming of flights from the US, Canada, and Europe to the area and that it expects to travel to initially centre on weddings and conventions.

Cyprus is set to start welcoming tourists back on June 9. However, it only plans to allow visitors from countries it deems "safe," and that have similarly low infection rates.

 

There are 19 countries on this list, such as Germany, Austria, Greece, Finland, Denmark, and Norway. Further, it says it will pay for the accommodation, meals, and medication of any tourist who contracts COVID-19 while visiting the island.

Iceland's prime minister said that the island nation aims to be open to tourists by June 15. The country plans to test all arrivals for COVID-19, thereby allowing travellers who test negative to bypass quarantine. Anyone testing positive, however, will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Greece went on lockdown early, which it credits with having a relatively low number of coronavirus cases and related deaths.
According to Johns Hopkins data, Greece, which has a population of 10.72 million, has seen 2,836 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 165 deaths.

Many of its businesses, such as hair salons and bookstores, have been opened since early May, and most nonessential businesses followed suit May 18, which is also when travel restrictions within the country were lifted.

Hotels aim to reopen in June and tourists will be invited back into the country starting mid-June.

Italy. Home to Europe's deadliest coronavirus outbreak, Italy has also seen the continent's longest lockdown, with its 62 million residents self-isolating at home from March 10 to May 4.

Italy's government announced that it plans to allow international travel starting June 3 and that this date will also mean the end of requiring arriving visitors to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

Taking it a step further, the Italian island of Sicily has offered to pay half of visitors' flight costs and a third of hotel expenses should they visit later this year.

Saint Lucia's government announced a phased reopening to tourists beginning June 4, when it is expected to allow international flights and tourists.

Visitors will have to present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival and should expect temperature checks at the airport, hotels, and in restaurants, as well as mask and social-distancing requirements.

Aruba announced that it will welcome back visitors sometime between June 15 and July 1. Its visitors' bureau says that this is subject to change, however, as they "may consider additional precautionary measures as needed."

Nonessential businesses such as malls, cinemas, outdoor restaurants, beauty salons, and childcare facilities opened on May 25. However, the island country has a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, requiring all nonessential businesses to close by 9 p.m.

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