Our Top Beach Getaways for the December Holidays

Leave Father Christmas a forwarding address this year, and soak up some sun on a beautiful beach.

Aruba

Golden beaches in Aruba

With an almost guarantee of perfect weather, Aruba is the ideal destination for sun-soaking. And it has the beaches to match. One of them, Eagle Beach, was even named TripAdvisor’s 3rd best beach in the world. Pop on a mask and snorkel and explore Aruba’s gentle, turquoise waters. There are plenty of excellent snorkeling spots around the island, Boca Catalina, and Malmok are two of them. Away from the beaches, Aruba’s mountains and caves are ideal for those wanting to get active and experience the island’s diverse landscape.

Restrictions: All travellers are required to complete the Dis/embarkation travel card online (ED Card) before being granted entry to Aruba. Visitors who do not have proof of vaccination are required to take a Covid-19 test between 3 days and 4 hours before their arrival. All travellers must purchase the Aruba Visitors Insurance. The ED Card cannot be completed without it.

Bonaire

Admire the flamingos and other wildlife on Bonaire

The island of Bonaire, in the Dutch Caribbean, is a haven for those in search of a pause button. Its unspoiled beauty is emphasised through its preservation efforts – the Washington-Slagbaai National Park is one such example, providing a sanctuary for flamingos, parrots, iguanas, and other land species. Bonaire was the first Caribbean island to have a protected marine park and the diving opportunities are unapparelled. Aside from the vivid corals and kaleidoscopic reef fish, keep an eye out for pods of dolphins, eagle rays, and sea turtles.

Stay: Divi Flamingo Beach Resort

Eat: Brass Boer

Restrictions: Bonaire has a traffic light system in place for travel restrictions. Only those from safe, green listed countries do not need to be tested before arrival. A Health Certificate needs to be completed by all travellers between 72 and 48 hours of departure.

Dominican Republic

Playa el Valle, Samaná

Beaches, beaches, everywhere. The Dominican Republic is home to the Caribbean’s longest beach coastline. At 48km long, you’re guaranteed to get a sun lounger spot. If you’re looking for a wilder side to the Caribbean, then the Samaná Peninsula has it all. Rainforests, untouched beaches, and verdant mountains all play a role in a region that specializes in ecotourism. If you fancy wandering narrow, historical streets past sleek, modern art galleries then head to the capital Santo Domingo to learn more about the Dominican Republic’s culture and history.

Stay: Cosón Bay Hotel and Residences

Eat: Pueblo de los Pescadores

Restrictions: Most travellers do not need to present a negative PCR test on arrival. Travellers from some higher risk countries are required to present either a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours, or, a complete vaccination card dated no sooner than 3 weeks before arrival. All travellers must complete the electronic exit and entry form.

>> Visit the Maldives – It’s Open!

Seychelles

The Seychelles has plenty of beaches to choose from

The Seychelles archipelago consists of over 100 islands and atolls scattered across the Indian Ocean, enough to keep even the most curious traveller satisfied. The innermost are the main islands which have more amenities. Day trips can be arranged to explore uninhabited atolls such as such as Conception Island which is home to pristine beaches and undisturbed ecosystems. Situated on Curieuse Island is the Curieuse Marine National Park. Here, visitors can enjoy activities such as bird watching, nature trails, snorkeling, and diving. The latter two will introduce you to the breathtaking coral life, and maybe even some sea turtles.

Stay: Hotel L’Archipel

Eat: Moutya

Restrictions: All travellers to the Seychelles must provide a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours before departure. All prospective travellers must apply for Travel Authorization via the Seychelles official site. All arrivals must present proof of sufficient valid travel insurance for the duration of their stay. The Seychelles are open to visitors from all countries except: Brazil, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Cote D’Ivoire & Guinea.

Zanzibar

Relax on pristine white beaches in Zanzibar

If you’re looking for a bit of everything – wildlife, history, gastronomy, and tropical beaches, then head to Zanzibar. Visit Stone Town, a UNESCO world heritage site with a vivid and complex history. Other eye-catching landmarks in Zanzibar town include the Old Dispensary which has a beautiful lattice-work exterior, and the Old Fort, which was built by Omani Arabs in the 17th century. Zanzibar’s beaches each have their own character. On the island of Pemba, in particular, you’ll find a paradisiacal haven. Startlingly white beaches, and lush forests – the tranquility makes it the ideal beach escape.

Stay: Aiyana Resort and Spa

Eat: Pemba Moonlight

Restrictions: All travellers must complete the online registration form before arriving in Zanzibar. All arrivals must present the negative results of a PCR test which is no older than 96 hours prior to arrival. Travellers from, or who have travelled through, higher risk areas will be tested again at their own cost on their arrival (USD25). Children under 5 are exempt from testing requirements.

Tagged : / /

The US Issues Travel Warnings for More Countries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA has issued risk level travel warnings for a number of countries thanks to rising case numbers.

CDC Travel Warnings

The CDC monitors Covid-19 case numbers per capita and issues travel warnings and advisories based on these figures. Countries can fall into one of four levels. These are:

  • Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ – Covid-19 levels are considered to be very high, and travellers avoid visiting these countries. If travel is essential, then the CDC advises being fully vaccinated.
  • Level 3 – High levels of Covid-19 cases have been recorded in these destinations, and nonessential travel for unvaccinated people is not advised.
  • Level 2 – Moderate levels of Covid-19 cases. Travellers should take all precautions, and preferably only travel if fully vaccinated.
  • Level 1 – Low levels of Covid-19 have been recorded in these countries, however the CDC still advises all travellers to be fully vaccinated before their trip.

>>US Travellers Face Restrictions from these EU Countries

What Has Changed?

The CDC has recently added the following countries to the very high risk, ‘Do Not Travel‘ list:

  • Albania
  • Belize
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Israel
  • Lithuania
  • Mauritius
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia

Other popular destinations already on the Level Four list are: Saint Lucia, the Bahamas, France, Iceland, Thailand, and Greece.

The following countries have been added to the CDC’s Level Three ‘high risk‘ list:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Ethiopia
  • Romania

This is a positive sign for Brazil as its risk level has been decreased from level 4. These countries join a number of Caribbean destinations already on the list, including, but not limited to, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Turks and Caicos and Bermuda.

>>EU Travel Restriction Changes

Newly added to the CDC’s Level 2, ‘moderate risk‘ list are:

  • Slovakia
  • The Dominican Republic

There have been no new additions to the Level 1, low risk list. Currently on the low risk list are holiday destinations such as Hungary, Madagascar, New Caledonia, and Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

Travel warnings can be issued and changed at any moment. All travellers are advised to check their routes before booking a trip.

Tagged : / / /

Travel to Rodrigues – An Island Escape

If you’re searching for Indian Ocean islands to escape it all, then the island of Rodrigues is just the ticket. According to Mauritians, the unspoiled beauty of Rodrigues is what Mauritius was 50 years ago. So, experience both sides of the coin, and while you’re in paradise, travel to Rodrigues. Just over an hour away by air, and you’re in paradise of yesteryear.

About Rodrigues

The Mauritian territory is located 650km from Mauritius, but, beyond the beautiful beaches, it couldn’t be more different. While Mauritius has drawn a steady stream of tourism, and development over the last few decades, Rodrigues has not. The ultimate result of this is a tropical island without too much of the modern-day trappings of development.

Rodrigues has a small population – under 40,000 inhabitants – and the pace of life is slow, perfect for a holiday escape. The official language of the island is English, however, French and Créole are the most widely spoken.

The island’s natural beauty has been kept intact, and, as a small volcanic outcrop in the Indian Ocean, it’s surrounded by a turquoise lagoon and coral reefs teeming with marine life. Volcanic mountains, cloaked with rich vegetation provide ideal hiking routes, while coves and caves make for great exploring along the coastline.

Explore

There are plenty of islets dotted around Rodrigues
Explore the islets dotted around Rodrigues

For a small space (the island is only about 18km in length), Rodrigues packs a lot in.

The Grande Montagne Nature Reserve offers panoramic views over the island. Wind through the trails of the forest to reach the 300-350m high summit. The nature reserve is a prime spot to view the island’s rare plant life, endemic trees, and previously endangered bird species.

After working up a sweat, cool down on a boat trip to Île aux Cocos, one of the smaller islands neighbouring Rodrigues. White crystal white sands and turquoise seas are somewhat ubiquitous in this region, Île aux Cocos’ charm lies in its size – 1,2km in length and 250m across. Ensuring that you feel like you truly have escaped it all. You’ll find as your companions on your day trip, seabirds of varying species.

You’ll feel like you stepped into the pages of Treasure Island when visiting Trou D’Argent. Flanked by rugged cliffs, protecting pristine waters and picturesque beach, this little cove is only accessible by foot. Indian Ocean pirates and corsairs once sailed these waters, and it’s easy to imagine them choosing this spot to hide their loot. This spot is an ideal day trip for families as the path is easy-going and well marked.

The island has plenty to offer visitors, from intricate cave systems, to giant tortoises, and incredible diving, a few days spent here while on holiday in Mauritius is worth the trip.

Your Visit

When to visit: Rodrigues usually experiences pleasant weather all year round. November to April are the summer months, and temperatures usually peak at the mid-30oCs. The winter months, between May and October see temperatures peak at the mid-20oCs. Cyclone season usually runs from December to May, although this is often difficult to predict.

Where to stay: The island offers a range of accommodation types, although you won’t find the sprawling resorts you would in Mauritius. We love the charming beachside boutique hotel, Tekoma, or, the relaxed, garden retreat of La Belle Rodriguaise, with endless views over the ocean.

How to get there: Rodrigues is a Mauritian territory, so travel via the main island. Air Mauritius is due to restart flights to Rodrigues soon. Under usual circumstances, the airline operates daily return flights between Rodrigues and Mauritius.

Current restrictions: Until the 30th of September, fully vaccinated travellers can enjoy an in-resort stay at select hotels for 7 days. PCR tests: 3-7 days prior to travel. There is still a travel ban in place for arrivals from some countries.

From the 1st of October, Mauritius fully re-opens to vaccinated travellers. After presenting a PCR test no older than 72 hours, these arrivals are free to explore the island. Non-vaccinated travellers need to quarantine in their hotel rooms for the first 14 days.

>> Travel to Mauritius: Now Open to South Africans

Tagged : / /

Travel to Mauritius: Now Open for South Africans

South Africans will once again be able to travel to Mauritius as the Indian Ocean island has lifted its travel ban. From the 1st of October, the specific bans against arrivals from South Africa will be removed, and tourists will be welcomed once again.

Prior to this, travellers from South Africa had to spend 15 days outside of the country before being allowed to enter Mauritius’ borders.

Travel to Mauritius in October

From October, South African tourists can visit Mauritius provided they meet the requirements depending on the category they fall into:

Vaccinated travellers: Fully vaccinated travellers can explore the island, and book any accommodation they choose. A negative PCR test must be presented on arrival, but otherwise no other restrictions are in place. The PCR test must be be taken no more than 72 hours from the last point of embarkation.

Unvaccinated travellers: An in-room hotel quarantine stay is required for unvaccinated travellers. The 14-day stay must be at one of the official quarantine hotels, and must be booked in advance. Arrivals need to present a negative PCR test dated between 3-7 days from their last point of embarkation. Depending on the length of stay, travellers will be tested again on day 7 and on day 14. If the final test result is negative, then the visitors are free to explore the island.

All travellers must follow the PCR testing requirements, including children and infants.

All travellers must download, print out and complete the following documents to hand over to officials on arrival:

South Africans can once again travel to Mauritius

Who is Flying to Mauritius?

The following airlines have been authorized to operate direct commercial flights between the two countries: Air Mauritius, Comair South Africa, SAA, and FlySafair. Air Mauritius has already resumed flights between Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport and O R Tambo International Airport, South Africa’s main hub, in Johannesburg. Comair is scheduled to resume flights on the 30th of November. Alternatively, routes via Kenya, and Reunion island are also viable options for South African travellers.

>> 5 Important Travel Rules You Need to Know

Recognized Vaccines

The following vaccines are recognized by Mauritian authorities:

  • AstraZeneca: Covishield
  • AstraZeneca: Vaxzevria
  • Covaxin
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Moderna
  • Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine
  • Sinopharm
  • Sputnik
  • Sinovac- CoronaVac

Mixed vaccinations are also accepted provided the travellers provides proof of both doses. Children under the age of 18 are currently exempt from vaccination requirements.

Tagged : / / /

Cambodia Looks to November for Tourism re-Opening

As the vaccine rollout strengthens, Cambodia is, at last, looking towards re-opening its borders for tourism.

The Cambodian ministry of tourism announced plans to relax travel restrictions for foreigners from November. To further entice tourists, the country is also looking at reducing its current quarantine time of 14-days, or, even removing it entirely. At this stage, it appears that the re-opening plan will only permit fully vaccinated travellers to visit the country. As yet, no further details have been announced.

Cambodia is rapidly outpacing its neighbours in the vaccination race – according to figures from Our World in Data, the country has vaccinated 54,6% of its population. Thailand, and Vietnam are lagging behind with 11,2% and 3,6% respectively. It’s no surprise then, that these positive numbers have brought the possibility of re-opening to leisure travel to the fore. In fact, Cambodia’s vaccine rollout has been so fast-paced, it’s the second highest in Southeast Asia, beaten only by Singapore, which is currently at 79,1% of the population vaccinated. Currently, Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh is the most vaccinated city in Southeast Asia. The country’s goal is to reach herd immunity by the end of September when roughly 75% of the population will have received both jabs.

>> Ethical Travelling in a Covid World

Phnom Penh has amongst the highest vaccination rates in the world

When to visit?

For foreigners eager to explore the temples of Angkor Wat, or kick back on a beautiful beach, then Cambodia‘s re-opening couldn’t be better timed. The wet season tends to run between May and October, so by then, the seasonal monsoon cycle should be over. The dry season runs from November to April, and December and January are the coolest months. With daily average temperatures sitting in the mid-20oC’s the end of the year is ideal for a beach escape. So, whether you want to snooze on the beaches of Saracen Bay, or hack through the rainforests in the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia will soon be a bucket-list possibility once more.

Tagged : / / /

US Travellers Face Restrictions From These EU Countries

The United States of America has been added to many high-risk lists across the European continent. We take a look at the new restrictions US travellers face when visiting Europe.

Belgium

In accordance with EU recommendations, Belgium has has tightened restrictions for US visitors. Travellers from the US who want to visit Belgium for non-essential reasons need to provide proof of a vaccination certificate.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria moved the US on to its red list on the 1st of September. Consequently, travellers from the US, regardless of their vaccination status, can only enter Bulgaria if they fall into specific exemption categories. These include, Belgian citizens and residents, those with student visas, and those travelling for humanitarian reasons.

Germany

Germany put the US on its ‘high-risk’ list in August. This means that only fully vaccinated travellers, or those who fall into specific exemption categories can travel to Germany.

>> Travel Changes Across the EU

Italy

US travellers to Italy are now required to undergo 5 days of self-isolation if they do not have either and full vaccination certificate, or, a proof of recovery certificate. The certificate must be recognized by the governing authorities, and if for vaccinations, must be one of the EU’s accepted vaccines, which are:

  • Comirnaty from Pfizer-BioNtech
  • Moderna
  • Vaxzevria
  • Jansen (Johnson & Johnson)
Buildings reflect in the waters of a canal in Amsterdam
US travellers face tighter restrictions from some EU countries such as the Netherlands

The Netherlands

As of the 4th of September, The Netherlands has designated the USA and a very high-risk area. Travellers from America will not be allowed to enter the Netherlands if they are not vaccinated or do not fall into one of the exemption categories. All arrivals from the US need to quarantine for 10 days on arrival, and submit a negative test result, regardless of vaccination or recovery status.

Norway

Norway is not permitting travellers from the United States to enter its borders, unless they fall into an exemption category. From the 12th of September, residents in the United States, with a relation to one of the can visit Norway:

  • Adult children and stepchildren, including parents and stepparents to adult children/stepchildren
  • Grandparents, step-grandparents, grandchildren, and step-grandchildren
  • Girlfriends/boyfriends over the age of 18 and their minor children

Spain

Spain has removed the US from its restriction-free travel list. Travellers to Spain from America now have to provide proof of full vaccination no less than 14 days old. Or check to see if they fall into one of the other exemption categories.

Tagged : / / /

Off the Tourist Track: Our Top Picks for ‘Undertourism’

At SafeScore, we have nothing against big cities, and big tourist hotspots – we’re a fan of all travel. But, sometimes its good to discover the slightly-less-known, avoid the crowds, and head to the smaller cities.

These are some of our top picks.

Trieste, Italy

If you’re visiting Italy, and want beautiful piazzas, excellent seafood, and aquamarine views, then Trieste will be your spot. Perched on the Adriatic coast, Trieste, is almost entirely surrounded by Slovenia, so you could add another country to your itinerary. As a result of its geography, its cultural history is a melting pot of history, with influences from Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Greece and more. The city was once a great seaport, as is demonstrated by it’s grand waterside architecture. Now, however, it plays a different role. Once you’ve finished playing the tourist, you can admire the rows of elegant white yacht gently bobbing on the water while you sip on your Aperol Spritz.

Albi, France

Located in southern France, and just northeast of Toulouse, is the river-side town of Albi. Infrequently discovered by the usual tourist, Albi offers a picturesque and fascinating visit, without the crowds. The world-renown artist, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born here in the 19th century. Dive into a world of Belle-Epoque cabarets and circuses at the Toulouse-Lautrec museum. Next door you’ll find the Sainte-Cécile Cathedral, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The episcopal city is a marvel of gothic renaissance architecture, towering over the banks of the Tarn River. Venture further out of the city, and meander through the region’s vineyards, or, take a leisurely boat cruise down the river and see the city from another angle.

>>Autumn vs. Spring: Our Top Picks

São Tomé and Príncipe

Just 6 hours flight from mainland Europe are Africa’s answers to the Galapagos Islands. São Tomé and Príncipe are located on the equator, and serviced by direct flights from Portugal, Ghana, Angola, and Gabon (under usual circumstances). Once you’ve arrived, you’ll find looming volcanic mountains, flocks of endemic bird species, and waterfalls and lakes hidden by the rainforest. One third of São Tomé, the main island, is a national park, making it a unique destination and offering visitors plenty of activities. If you need to unwind, the islands have many fabulous beaches, and the rich marine life will keep you diving, or snorkeling for hours.

The Faroe Islands

If you fancy dramatic landscapes, a sense of mysticism, and plenty of outdoor activities, then head to the Faroe Islands. Out in the wilds of the Atlantic Ocean, these 18 volcanic islands will transport you to another world. The lush green valleys, and turf roofs of the houses will make you think you’ve stepped into J.R.R. Tolkien‘s imagination. Precipitous cliffs thrust waterfalls into the sea, and hiking trails will lead you to panoramic views over lakes and mountains. After a day battling unpredictable weather, relax and enjoy the local music. The haunting ballads are a deeply rooted element of the Faronese culture. When the hiking has given you an appetite, try the local gastronomy scene, which is gaining world traction.

Tagged : / /

Travel to Spain: Everything you need to know

Fancy a sangria in Seville? A stroll down Las Ramblas in Barcelona? Spain has been open to tourism for a few months now, however, it maintains strict travel rules, and it’s high risk lists, may see you postponing that beach escape to Mallorca.

We take a look at the latest travel rules to Spain.

Travel to Spain From Risk EU/EEA Countries

As of Monday the 30th of August, the following EU/EEA/Schengen countries have been put on the high risk list:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland (Helsinki-Uusimaa, Etelä-Suomi, Länsi-Suomi and Pohjois- ja ItäSuomi)
  • France (Corse, Guadeloupe, Guyane, La Réunion, Martinique, Occitanie, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-FrancheComté, Bretagne, Centre — Val de Loire, Grand Est, Hauts-de-France, Ile-deFrance, Normandie, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Pays de la Loire)
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy (Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Marche, Sardegna, Sicilia, Toscana, Abruzzo, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardia, Piemonte, Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano/Bozen, Provincia Autonoma di Trento, Puglia, Umbria, Valle d’Aosta/Vallée d’Aoste and Veneto)
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Romania (Bucureşti-Ilfov)
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • The Netherlands

Travellers from these countries must provide a proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative PCR test in order to enter Spain. In addition, travellers from these countries as well as the safe countries, must provide a passenger locator form.

Travel to Spain from Third Countries

Cathedral and tower in Seville
Dusk over the Cathedral of St Mary of the See in Seville, Spain

Non-essential travel to Spain from Third party countries is not permitted unless you meet one of the exemptions, or you are travelling from a country that is considered epidemiologically safe. Currently, the following countries are regions are the only ones on this list:

  • Albania
  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • China
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Qatar
  • Republic of Moldova
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • United States of America
  • Ukraine
  • SAR of Hong Kong
  • SAR of Macao
  • Kosovo
  • Taiwan

Fully vaccinated travellers and their accompanying minors (under 12) are exempt from the travel ban, but must still ensure that they meet all the necessary entry requirements. The vaccines must be recognized by Spanish authorities and travel cannot take place less than 14 days after the second dose.

All travellers must complete a passenger locator form before departure.

What to Expect in Spain

Spain’s regions are governed autonomously, which means you may experience different regulations across the country. Many regions have dropped nightly curfew rules, and no longer require masks to be worn in outside environments provided a distance of 1.5metres is maintained. Masks must be worn indoors and on public transport.

Bars, restaurants and cafes are open across Spain, but it is advisable to check in advance, as bookings may fill up, closing times may change due to curfews, and many restaurants have a table capacity limit.

Museums, and other attractions are open, however in some regions these operate at specific capacities so always check in advance.

Tagged : / / / / /

Dodgy Travel Data can Cost you Thousands, & your Holiday!

Dodgy travel data could be costing passengers thousands, in time and money.

This past weekend, disturbing accounts of passengers’ experiences at Dublin International Airport made the headlines in Irish Newspapers.

Irate passengers quoted “long queues”, “delays” and “laborious forms to fill in” as reasons for the delays. Some passengers had to pay over €100 to reschedule flights and a “a lot of understandably anxious people” have taken to social media to voice their frustrations.

The truth is, all you have to do is visit 3 government websites, 1 airline website, call your travel agent, get a test, pay for fast results, review the vaccine validity windows, get the approved masks, find the passenger locator forms, fill out the passenger locator forms and do that all again when you get back, except from a different country. Not so simple.

Flight arrival board at an airport
Confusing travel data is causing chaos for travellers and the industry

A recurring theme


This isn’t the first bad airport experience story in the last 18 months. From Birmingham to Dubai, thousands have been turned away from check-in desks. Many more have paid for tests that weren’t valid and an unknown number have had to pay for quarantines and tests they never needed. Some have had multiple vaccines, not knowing that their current schedule wouldn’t be accepted in their destination. Airports have the thankless task of enforcing document compliance on behalf of airlines and it is starting to hurt their customers.

Our network in the airports business has told us that many passengers arrive with missing or incomplete documents like passenger locator forms. Sometimes, their tests are too old to fly or they’ve taken the wrong test completely. Some have thought their children didn’t need a test when they did, and some passengers have had children tested who never needed to be tested in the first place. In some cases, airport staff have given the wrong information to passengers, which has taken hours to resolve, causing queue buildups and further frustrations.

In many cases the root cause is that passengers simply don’t have a single point of reference for their travel requirements. Government websites aren’t always reliable and restrictions come and go faster than a toupee in a hurricane. Accurate and up-to-date travel data, that anticipates both the passenger’s and the government’s requirements is the key to solving this problem.

Take a deep breath

At SafeScore, we have built a simple, customer-facing widget for airlines and airports to add to their apps and websites. Everything from child testing ages to quarantine requirements, and vaccine validity is clearly, and easily available. We’ve even provided the passenger locator forms too. We’ve purpose-built the tool, allowing you to show exactly what a passenger needs before travelling and what they will need on return.

Informed passengers move through airports faster, get to the lounge quicker and help raise net promoter scores. Passengers need airport and airline support, now more than ever. Airlines and airports need satisfied and happy customers now more than ever. SafeScore can provide this support, with just 3 clicks.

Contact us to find out how.

Tagged : / / / /

Ethical Travelling in a Covid World

It is vital that tourism is given a clear path to recovery, particularly for developing nations. However, ethical travelling is equally as important – visitors must be sensitive to the new demands, pitfalls, and intricacies now present in the communities they travel to.

I recently took an online trip to the seven “New Wonders of the World”, triggered by a nostalgia for the travel I used to do prior to the advent of Covid. It struck me that all of the countries where these wonders are located have been significantly affected by the virus. Peru (Machu Picchu), Brazil (Christ the Redeemer), Italy (Colosseum), Mexico (Chichen Itza), and Jordan (Petra) all have seen death rates of over 1% of those infected in the population, according to Worldometers. Meanwhile, India (Taj Mahal) has also suffered hugely, and China (Great Wall) was the epicentre of the original outbreak.

Aside from the obvious direct human cost, the economic impact has been horrendous too (as will be knock-on health and social effects that will inevitably follow). For example, according to the Peruvian government tourist bureau in Cusco in January 2021, Covid has been devastating for the local population. An estimated 92% of those previously employed in the tourist industry having lost their jobs. These include families providing homestays, women’s collectives weaving ponchos and other textiles, and native guides. Prior to Covid-19, community-focused travel such as this, was on the rise, and we must, with the resumption of tourism, shine the spotlight on ethical travelling once again.

In Mexico, where 11 million people rely on tourism for their livelihoods, it is a similar story. The slump in visitor numbers combined with little or no government support has seen many slip into unemployment and poverty. Further afield, entrance ticket sales to international tourists to Angkor Wat fell 97% over the past year. An estimated 51,000 tourist jobs (and nearly 3,000 local businesses) have been lost during the pandemic, according to the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism.  

Ethical travelling requires sympathy to those who have suffer huge losses thanks to the pandemic.
The pandemic has had devastating effects on every level of tourism, such as this women’s collective, which weaves ponchos

Tourism’s Recovery – a sensitive balance

From an ethical perspective, what can and should an overseas traveller do to help people faced with such economic devastation in developing countries? As border restrictions are eased, and vaccine roll outs reach deeper into the population, this question has been puzzling me (in my case I live in the UK). Communities desperately short of tourist income may be very keen to welcome international visitors. For tourist enterprises on the brink of bankruptcy and families facing hardship, the opportunity to relaunch shuttered businesses may be welcome, allowing people to earn revenue once more.  

However, sensitivity is needed, since some communities may also be grieving Covid’s impact.  Although they might welcome economic support, compassion for their potential recent trauma is appropriate as well. Holidays are typically a time for joyful relaxation, but it would be worth tempering some behaviours to respect local sentiments. Furthermore, locals may be fearful of future outbreaks of the virus and the impact of these. Tourists fleeing various restrictions back home could endear themselves by ensuring they comply with those in place at their destination. There is a need for the tourist to take personal responsibility for their compliance to local rules, such as mask mandates and social distancing. Ethical travelling starts with the traveller.

SafeScore can help travellers make informed decisions about when are where to go, based on up-to-date, accurate Covid data.  However, tourists can also benefit from conversations with local travel agents and guides to understand what is “appropriate tourism” in this complex time.

Tagged : / /