Covid and holidays abroad? “The country you go to…the rules you find”

Shoulder bags and boarding passes are on hand. This is the picture many Ticino residents painted a few months ago, imagining summer as if they were on vacation. After two years of pandemic and restrictions, those who work in the tourism sector for a long time, report that there is a strong desire to return to spend their holidays abroad between the sea and exotic landscapes. But if you give us certificates and masks were just a memory from a long time ago, this is not the case in other countries. Especially outside the continent. Results? One would say ‘Country you go to, the rules you find’. It is not much different from what the federation indicates on its website: “Before any trip abroad, inquire on the website of the relevant authorities of the country of transit or destination,” as stated. More useful is the portal of the European Union, which through the map indicates the entry rules for each individual country. However, the map is limited to Europe, where restrictive measures have now fallen almost everywhere. The process remains much more complex as we head toward a distant goal. Hotelplan knows something about it. “For some time we have been dealing with customers who are requesting information about the coronavirus rules in the countries where they want to spend their holidays. The website of the Federation does not help much in this aspect, it is mainly concerned with providing information regarding return to the homeland or the state of health in general, ”explains the spokesperson. David Nettuno. “So we make sure to collect information through other channels, so we can give a full explanation.”

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“People don’t trust themselves to do this bureaucracy themselves”

But which countries still have strict entry rules? Help us give some examples, the website of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which provides a fairly detailed picture. In Morocco, it is necessary to present a certificate proving three doses (or only two, but the last within 4 months) or a negative PCR smear. A similar situation is in Paraguay, where the maximum time from the last dose is 6 months (or 3, if only one injection was received). In short, choosing where you want to go can be really complicated. “There is no search engine where you enter person data, destination country, and receive a result if you are OK or not,” Nettuno says. The result is long pages to read for guidance and forms to fill out. Many travelers turn to us for this kind of advice, they don’t trust that they have to deal with this kind of bureaucracy themselves. It is a service that we had to develop because of the pandemic.”

‘You don’t have to go far to find complicated situations’

But where do the people of Ticino go on vacation? “Demand from foreign countries is back in an important way. More than we can expect, even if we have not yet reached pre-pandemic levels » says Neptune. The broadening of horizons was also progressive. “The first was the proximity approach, given that the Mediterranean basin has always been the main destination and there are no longer strict restrictions. Now there is the opening of the United States, which for a long time did not allow holiday entrants, and we are also looking back to Asia.” On the other hand, demand has not been absent, as the Hotelplan spokesperson knows, for the Maldives and the United Arab Emirates. “Even in periods of the greatest pandemic crisis.” To find complex situations to manage, one should not necessarily go to the other side of the world: “In addition to the rules of entry, there are other aspects that we must pay attention to. Example? Masks in clubs and transportation, or certificates of entry to museums and amusement parks ».

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Canceled flights: ‘Refunds are rare’

However, the problem associated with flights is the main issue these days. A major European-wide strike was announced this weekend, involving workers from various companies. Another big difficulty, which is the news of the past few weeks, is related to the staff shortage. Swiss announced that it had to cancel several flights for this very reason. A procedure that affects 2% of all passengers. “Only a few days ago, weekend flights were canceled. Nettuno stresses that these are really unpleasant situations. In addition to the need to find a solution immediately, the biggest inconvenience is about reimbursement.” Often there is none. Force majeure or strikes are not recognized as reasons for cancellation, with rare exceptions.” Those vacationers who bought tickets months in advance in order to save something are screwed up. “The number of cancellations is still low if you look at the total volume.” In any case, the desire to Going on vacation does not decrease. “The first reservations for the winter season are already in place. The news is promising.” The epidemic allows.

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