By BRUCE Piper
I’m currently in Europe, and having been fortunate enough to take my first long-haul flight in more than two years I can unequivocally say that travel is well and truly back.
I’ve flown through Dubai, London and Barcelona so far, and given the level of activity, the general consensus must be “pandemic? what pandemic?”
Airports are very busy, hotels are full, restaurants and visitor attractions appear to be packed out and given the amount of traffic on the roads there is a lot of economic activity.
Certainly a few things have changed. Wearing a mask all the way from Sydney to London (except when eating and drinking) is a minor inconvenience, and having a current vaccination certificate at your fingertips is now as important as a passport, but by and large there seems to be little concern anywhere over here about the pandemic.
It’s vital to be aware of the ever-shifting entry requirements of each destination; curiously entering Spain requires a special procedure for Australians because, unlike those from perennially locked down New Zealand, our vaccination certificates are not recognised there. But it’s all a matter of completing a simple online form, and having to be aware of such quirks certainly provides new opportunities for savvy travel agents to show their value to their clients.
I’ve been cruising – so far on Celebrity Beyond and Azamara Onward, while in the upcoming days will also experience the leviathan new Wonder of the Seas from Royal Caribbean – three very different products which by the way absolutely reinforce the adage that “there is a cruise for everyone”.
Currently cruising is the only sector that seems to be concerned about COVID in any way at all, with all three cruise lines enforcing various protocols regarding testing – requiring a negative RAT or PCR test within two days of boarding.
It all seems so unnecessary given that the rest of the world seems to have moved on and is every day more and more “living with COVID”, but reinforces the fact that the beaten and battered but perennially resilient cruising sector continues to ensure it’s actually a much safer way to holiday than anything else.