This Week in Travel: September 18

A roundup of COVID-19-related updates, including closures and reopenings.

Looking for the latest travel news from around the world? You’ve come to the right place. 

Each week, we’re rounding up the top headlines and news stories to help you stay in the loop on all things travel. From tourism reopenings to restriction updates, we’re here to help keep you informed on the latest. 

Here’s what you need to know from the past week:

Aruba Is Inviting Remote Workers to Take a Workation to Its Beaches

Its new program is enticing professionals with the opportunity of a 90-day stay, with deals on accommodation, attractions, and more.

Aruba just announced its new “One Happy Workation” program, which allows remote workers to live and work on the island anywhere from one week to three months.

The program offers a variety of deals and special rates on accommodation, as well as discounts to local events, popular attractions, and experiences. Amenities like free wifi, breakfast, and all-inclusive food and beverage options are also available through the program.

According to the Tourism Authority’s website, One Happy Workation is open to anyone with a valid U.S. passport and does not require any special visas or paperwork to be obtained.

While remote workers are being targeted, the website says that “working is not mandatory,” and that “you can spend your extended stay as you like.” For those that are wishing to bring their work with them, it should be noted that they must either be self-employed or employed by a company in their home country.

For more details on the program, just visit here.

Thailand to Reopen to Long-Stay Visitors With New Tourist Visa

This new visa will be the first stage of the country’s tourism reopening, allowing in visitors who agree to stay for a minimum of 90 days.

Thailand could reopen to international visitors as early as next month. In their meeting on Tuesday night, the country’s cabinet announced their approval of a special tourist visa that would allow travellers to visit Thailand, with some conditions.

Applicants for the visa will have to agree to a mandatory 14-day state quarantine upon arrival. They will also have to agree to a minimum 90-day stay and will be required to show proof of their payment for hotels or accommodation bookings. 

According to the Government Public Relations Department’s website, “This visa will allow them to stay in Thailand for 90 days. It can be renewed twice, for 90 days each time. The special tourist visa will cost 2,000 baht [approx. US$64].”

The move is aimed at helping Thailand’s tourism industry, which has been heavily affected by the pandemic. Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisaranakul said, ”The target is to welcome 100-300 visitors a week, or up to 1,200 people a month, and generate income of about 1 billion baht a month,” according to the Bangkok Post.

More details about the visa are expected to be released in the coming weeks. To read the announcement, head here!

Colombia to Resume International Flights This Month

The South American country has announced it will be reopening its borders for international flights on September 21.

After being suspended for six months, Colombia will reopen its borders to international flights beginning September 21.

The Minister of Transport, Angela Maria Orozco, said in a recent statement that “international flights will restart with a gradual first phase which will be announced shortly.”

She added that their resumption will depend on destination countries, airport capacity, and the interest of the airlines. 

Entry requirements have yet to be confirmed but will likely involve requiring travellers to take a Covid-19 test and show proof of negative results.

Head here to read more about the announcement, and be sure to stay tuned for more details when they become available!

Puerto Rico Has Reopened Again After a Drop in Covid-19 Cases

After shutting down for a second time in August, the U.S. territory has once again reopened its beaches, malls, and more.

As of September 12, Puerto Rico has reopened once again. The announcement from Governor Wanda Vazquez came after the territory saw a drop in Covid-19 cases over the recent weeks.

The executive order allows for the reopening of beaches, casinos, gyms, and more, following social distancing guidelines and with the use of masks when not in the water at the beach. Attractions and tours remained closed at this time.

As part of the entry requirements to Puerto Rico, all travellers must:

  • Fill out an online Travel Declaration Form.
  • Show proof of a negative molecular Covid-19 test result (which consists of a nasal or throat swab), taken no more than 72 hours prior.
  • Obtain an Airport Exit Confirmation number and QR code, which travellers will automatically receive when uploading their test results to the online portal.

A quarantine or self-isolation period will not be mandatory for those with proof of a negative test. 

For more information on travel to Puerto Rico, simply visit here.

Mexico Has Reopened Its Famous Ruins

The pyramids of Teotihuacan, one of the country’s top tourist destinations, reopened this week after more than five months of closure.

After being closed since March, Mexico’s most-visited archaeological site, the pyramids of Teotihuacan, reopened to visitors on Thursday with new health and safety measures in place.⁠

According to the Associated Press, admission is being limited to 30 per cent of the sites’ capacity. Those wishing to visit the sites will have to line up for limited tickets, undergo a temperature screening, wear a face mask, and sanitize their hands.⁠

In addition, visitors will not be allowed to climb up the Pyramids of the Sun or Moon, which typically sees tens of thousands of visitors for the Spring and Fall equinoxes each year.⁠

For more information on the reopening, visit here.

U.S. Airports Will Stop Screening International Arrivals for Covid-19

International travellers will no longer be required to undergo a Covid-19 health screening or fly into one of 15 airports where enhanced screening measures were being carried out.

Starting September 14, travellers flying into U.S. airports will no longer be screened for Covid-19. This will apply for both international arrivals and Americans returning to the U.S. from abroad.⁠

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), “symptom-based screening has limited effectiveness because people with COVID-19 may have no symptoms or fever at the time of screening, or only mild symptoms.”⁠

Instead, the CDC is switching its strategy and “prioritizing other public health measures to reduce the risk of travel-related disease transmission.”⁠

In addition, the U.S. will no longer require all flights carrying passengers that are arriving from “high-risk” countries to land at one of the 15 designated airports, and will be stopping the enhanced health screening for these arrivals.⁠

Travellers included in this category were those who were from or who had recently been to China, Iran, Europe’s Schengen Zone, the UK, Ireland, and Brazil.⁠

Interested in reading more on the announcement? Head here!

Morocco Has Reopened to Travellers From 67 Countries

With confirmed hotel reservations, travellers from 67 visa-exempt countries including the U.S. and Canada will be permitted travel.

As of last week, Morocco has reopened to international travellers. 

Those travelling from a list of 67 visa-exempt countries are allowed to enter, so long as they have a confirmed reservation with a Moroccan hotel or travel agency, or are travelling on business with an invitation from a Moroccan company. 

Countries on the list include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union, but the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not yet confirmed any further specific requirements for entry. 

In a recent tweet, Royal Air Maroc said, “All foreign visitors must comply with the health measures issued by the Moroccan authorities, in particular the obligation to carry out the required tests for COVID-19.”

According to the U.S. Embassy & Consulate’s website, visitors to Morocco must complete a negative PCR test (less than 48 hours old) and a serological test (which can be outside 48 hours), with printed results to present upon arrival. 

It is important to note, however, that there are restrictions on travel to some cities within the country, such as Marrakesh and Fez.

For more information on travel to Morocco, visit here!

Zimbabwe Has Announced Its Reopening Plans

The government has said that domestic flights would resume today, while international flights would start again in October.

After being shut down since March, Zimbabwe is resuming flights both domestically and internationally. 

Domestic flights restarted on September 10, whereas international flights are set to resume again on October 1.

According to a statement by the government, “All travellers will be required to have a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) COVID-19 clearance certificate issued by a recognised facility within 48 hours from the date of departure.”

Currently, travel is being restricted to Zimbabwean nationals and residents. All those arriving in the country have to undergo a 21-day self-quarantine. 

Head here to learn more about Zimbabwe’s reopening plans, and be sure to stay tuned for updates! 

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