2/ Many countries like France and the UK have elected to continue to limit entrance to a low number of visitors, from select countries, and propose a gradual lifting of restrictions over several weeks.
3/ The USA still maintains a Level 4 Travel Warning against all international travel.
4/ Tour companies are struggling with the social distancing dilemma. Tour buses that held 45 people were common. Will these companies come out with minibusses, fewer people on the same bus, or limit tour group size across the board?
5/ Famous tourist attractions will have to “Wake Up”. If you have watched any of the Papal Addresses from St Peters, you would have taken great awe at the EMPTY square in front. How will these attractions “wake up” is the great unknown for tour companies. Using the Vatican Museum as an example, it was not unusual to arrive at 7 am to a growing crowd waiting to get in. By 9 am daily, waiting lines stretched for over 1 mile. Add social distancing requirements to just that situation alone, and you stretch the lines for 6 miles. Impossible!
6/ Very few international tour companies plan on starting up again until at least September. Globus Tours, for example, states they had to cancel some 13,000 reservations.
Out of this dense fog, we are all in, there is a great light. As we slowly begin to “wake up” I see many changes that will benefit my clients.
A/ Improved freedom to change a reservation. Almost every company has changed away from“punitive change fees”, to more liberal policies. Some allow changes as close as 48 hours before departure, without any fees.
B/ Booking Advantage programs are popping up in all areas of travel. Companies are providing early booking discounts, or more spectacular free offerings, to folks willing to deposit a little early.
Join us next week for Where in the World is Phil- COVID, Part 7