THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY:Happenings in the pandemic

The pandemic is unfortunately showing no signs of a miraculous disappearance. However, destinations are beginning to open and airlines and tour operators are resuming operations. It’s going to take some time before the industry hits the highs of 2019, but at least in some places it has started to improve.

Air Canada to Grenada

With the opening of Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport on July 15, as part of the Government of Grenada’s phased strategy to restart the destination’s tourism industry, Air Canada will resume scheduled service to the tri-island nation of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique on August 10.

Canada is included in the Medium Risk Countries due to active but manageable transmission, however visitors traveling from these destinations are still required to agree to and observe mandatory protocols prior to booking and on arrival to the island.

“This is a huge step for Pure Grenada, as we continue to observe a measured approach to reopening the destination to international travellers,” said Patricia Maher, CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA). “As one of our key source markets, we are pleased to know that we will be able to welcome back visitors from Canada. While we are happy to have visitors explore our vibrant culture and immersive activities, we encourage all travellers to be mindful and ensure they adhere to the current advisories implemented to ensure their health and safety while visiting Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean.”

Air Canada’s weekly scheduled flight will operate on Mondays, utilizing the carrier’s main line as opposed to the Rouge that was used in the past.
For complete details on required travel protocols and general destination information, visitwww.puregrenada.com.

Swoop starts operations at YYZ

WestJet’s low cost carrier, Swoop is announcing the start of operations at Toronto Pearson Airport beginning on October 25.

“Travel is beginning to rebound, and we want to help encourage Canadians to reconnect with family and friends or plan that long-awaited vacation,” says Charles Duncan, president.

“With the robust health and safety measures we have put in place on each of our flights, travellers in Toronto will now have more affordable air travel options than ever before.”

Swoop’s service at Toronto Pearson Airport will include a mix of domestic and international routes. The winter schedule outlining the destinations and routes will be released in September.

For more information, visit www.flyswoop.com.

Newfoundland and Labrador

People who own property in Newfoundland and Labrador but who don’t live there full-time can apply to enter the province next week. Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said Wednesday that the travel restriction imposed on non-residents who own cabins and second homes in Newfoundland and Labrador will be lifted on Aug. 31.

Property owners will have to apply for an exemption to the order prohibiting people outside Atlantic Canada from entering the province. She said they will have to apply with proof of home ownership and will be required to isolate for 14 days.

Fitzgerald said it’s safe to accept the travellers now because officials have strengthened health-care capacity and have learned more about COVID-19 mitigation since the travel ban was put in place in May.

The province defended the travel ban this month during a Supreme Court challenge that alleged the order violates mobility rights and falls outside the province’s jurisdiction.

The government has said it was necessary to prevent travellers from bringing contagion into the province, which has reported fewer than 10 COVID-19 infections since the ban came into effect.

A proposed class action lawsuit seeking damages on behalf of property owners also alleges the ban is contrary to mobility rights guaranteed under the charter.

The Dominican Republic

President Luis Abinader Corona has announced a set of initiatives to address the Dominican Republic’s tourism industry challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure that the country is a safe travel destination.

The Plan for the Responsible Recovery of Tourism in response to COVID-19, which will be led by President Abinader, will protect the health, welfare and safety of tourists as well as promote a sustainable recovery of the tourism sector.

“Our goal is to minimize the effects of the pandemic and facilitate a responsible recovery that prioritizes health, maximizes the potential for job creation and economic growth, and promotes the further sustainable development of the sector,” said Abinader.

David Collado, Minister of Tourism, said that the new administration and the Association of Hotels and Tourism of Dominican Republic – rather perplexingly acronymed ASONAHORES – have been meeting to better understand the tourists’ concerns of the industry’s needs.

The government’s plan provides a set of measures to ensure the health and safety of locals and visitors. These measures will include new internationally certified health protocols and will apply to the entire industry, including restaurants and bars.

The measures include:

• Starting at the end of September, rapid tests will be performed on randomly selected travellers upon arrival, such as the diagnostic breath test for COVID-19. Once this measure is in place, the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival will be eliminated. However, it continues to be valid until then.

• Social distancing and the use of masks will be mandatory for the duration of a visitor’s stay.

• All tourists visiting a hotel will be granted, on a temporary basis, a travel assistance plan that will include coverage for emergencies, telemedicine, lodging for prolonged stays and costs for changing flights in the event of an infection. This insurance will be provided at no cost to the visitor until December 2020 and will be 100% paid for by the Dominican State.

• A Sanitary Bubble will be implemented to ensure that hotel employees stay as long as possible within the facilities.

• Properties will implement effective health management with suppliers, contractors and employees. The latter will be regularly tested and will follow a specific protocol to come in and out of the facilities.

• Labor regulations will be adapted to minimize and mitigate risks for employees.

The government said that this protocol is in the process of being certified by the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels and Buró Veritas, both world leaders in certifications of the sector.

Saint Lucia

Based on the impact of a responsible opening plan, traveller pre-testing and on-island protocols, Saint Lucia has confirmed the lowest Covid-19 rates across the Caribbean region, with only 26 cases to date and no deaths (1.42 cases per 10k population).

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reduced Saint Lucia’s Covid-19 rating to the lowest, Level 1, as one of only eight countries globally. The CDC notes that “over the last 28 days, new cases of Covid-19 in Saint Lucia decreased or stabilized.”

Tourism accounts for 65 percent of the island’s GDP, and Saint Lucia is proceeding with caution in a phased re-opening program. Having successfully managed the pandemic across the island, the Government has announced further easing of certain restrictions for visitors and has added even more ways to enjoy their island vacation.

As such, visitors are now permitted to stay in up to two Covid-certified properties for the duration of their stay, which will offer varied experiences across the island. Guests staying at Covid-certified properties can take part in various water-based activities like scuba diving and sailing, following the protocols put in place at their hotel.

The following accommodation providers are Covid-19 certified:

Anse Chastanet; Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa; Ladera; Caille Blanc Villa, Cap Maison, Jade Mountain; Marigot Bay Resort, Spa and Marina (scheduled to welcome guests in October); Sandals Grande St. Lucian; Serenity at Coconut Bay; Stonefield Resort Villas; Sugar Beach – A Viceroy Resort, Tet Rouge and Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort (scheduled to open October 8). Several other hotels and resorts are on track to receive certification and will be opening soon. Marigot Bay and Rodney Bay Marinas are also open.

Entry requirements for arrivals continue to include:

• Completion of online Pre-Arrival Registration Form
• Negative Covid-19 PCR test up to seven days before date of travel
• Rapid test will not be accepted upon arrival
• Screening at airport
• International visitors may stay in up to two Covid-19 certified hotels per visit
• Nationals and residents must quarantine for 14 days on arrival at a Government facility
• Those visiting from the regional ‘bubble’ are now required to show a negative PCR test taken up to seven days prior to travel

For more information about Saint Lucia’s Covid-19 response, all protocols and details of requirements prior to entry, please visit www.stlucia.org/covid-19.

Princess Cruises

Due to the continued progression of COVID-19 and related decisions of various governments, health authorities, and airlines regarding travel restrictions, Princess Cruises is extending its pause in cruise operations in Australia through December 12, 2020 which includes cruises throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Guests who have paid in full on these cancelled voyages will receive a refundable Future Cruise Credit (FCC) equivalent to 100% of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 25% of the cruise fare paid. To receive the above FCCs, no action is required by the guest or their travel advisor.

For guests who have not paid in full, Princess will Double the Deposit, providing a refundable FCC for the money currently on deposit plus a matching bonus FCC that can be used on any voyage through May 1, 2022. The matching bonus FCC is non-refundable, will not exceed the base cruise fare amount of the currently booked cruise, and will have a minimum value of $100 per person.

Alternatively, guests can forfeit the bonus FCC offer and request a refund for all money paid on their booking by using this online form.

Guests have until September 30, 2020 to elect a refund, or they will automatically receive the default offer listed above.

Princess will protect travel advisor commissions on bookings for cancelled cruises that were paid in full, in recognition of the critical role they play in the cruise line’s business and success.

The most current information and instructions for booked guests affected by these cancellations, and more information on FCCs and refunds, can be found online at Information on Impacted & Cancelled Cruises.

Source: Travel Industry Today
THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY:Happenings in the pandemic

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