Country-Specific Information-Ethiopia

October 3, 2020
  • On October 1, Ethiopian Public Health Institute announced the presence of 76,098 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ethiopia.
  • Under the Government of Ethiopia State of Emergency, masks are mandatory in public where social distancing is not possible; funerals are limited to a maximum of 50 people; all other gatherings are limited four people.
  • Fact Sheet – The U.S. Response to COVID-19 (Updated August 21, 2020)

Latest Updates: Effective October 2, 2020

  • All passengers traveling to Ethiopia MUST present a negative RT PCR test certificate for COVID-19 before boarding a flight. The certificate validity shouldn’t exceed 120 hours on arrival from the date sample is given.
  • Negative RT PCR test result is not a mandatory requirement for diplomatic passport holders while entering Ethiopia. However, diplomats are required to self-isolate for 14 days after entry.
  • Children less than or equal to 12 years of age are exempted from the RT PCR test certificate requirement.
  • There shall be no COVID-19 test to be done on arrival at Addis Ababa.
  • A Rapid diagnostic test (RDT antibody test) will not be accepted for this purpose.
  • The above requirement does not apply to transit passengers.
  • https://www.ethiopianairlines.com/aa/travel-updates/updates-on-covid-19(coronavirus)
  • https://et.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

USTOA and Other Major Tour Associations Set Guidelines for Resuming Safe Operations

June 29, 2020

by Daine Taylor / June 19, 2020

USTOA,  CATO, and ETOA are encouraging tour operators to adhere to a new set of health and safety protocols for a safe return to travel. Photo: Shutterstock.com. 

As demand for travel is steadily increasing, travel companies are considering the best way to resume service while keeping guests safe. In a combined effort, the leading tour operator associations; United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO), and the European Tourism Association (ETOA), have collaborated to develop a unified set of health and safety standards for tour operators called TOURCARE.

The TOURCARE initiative provides guidelines for tour operators across all levels of service to help them maintain appropriate sanitation standards and adhere to WHO, CDC, and local health protocols.

“By their very nature, tour products are complex, involving many different variables that are under the watchful eye of the tour operator, yet not every element fully under their control. We felt that our members – and the tour operator industry as a whole – would benefit from one set of guidelines developed with their specific needs top-of-mind,” said USTOA President and CEO Terry Dale, ETOA Chief Executive Tom Jenkins, and CATO Executive Director Pierre LaPage in a joint statement announcing the program.

“The TOURCARE Guidelines will help our tour operator members fulfill their mission to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their passengers while continuing to provide exceptional travel experiences in destinations around the world.”

The guidelines comprises training methods and sanitization protocols for customer-facing employees, equipping them with PPE’s and facilitating social distancing whenever possible.

It also lays out steps tour managers can take to further ensure the welfare of the tour, like asking guests to disclose their COVID-19 exposure prior to departure and agree to adhere to all recommended and required health and sanitization procedures including wearing of masks, gloves, and social distancing where appropriate.

Some of the protocols are:

  • Promoting frequent hand washing for all staff and passengers.
  • Promoting the use of face masks.
  • Exercising social distancing where viable.
  • Providing and promoting the use of hand sanitizers.
  • Requiring a passenger health declaration form pre-travel.

Source: TravelMarket


African Travel Inc. Shares Updated Resources and Offerings for Advisors

June 25, 2020

by Daine Taylor / April 17, 2020

Africa is traditionally “most under-crowded places that we can possibly be in.” Photo: Shutterstock.com

As the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, travel agencies are focusing on how they could meet the needs of travelers that are concerned for their health and safety while abroad. 

African Travel Inc. held a webinar on April 9 entitled “We’ve Got Your Back,” which featured information on the updated tools and resources available to travel advisors to help them learn about, and sell African destinations.

Kevan Cowie, the director of sales for African Travel Inc., led the webinar and touted some features of the destinations they offer as being perfect for travelers who are concerned about visiting dense population centers and overcrowding.

“Only 10% of global travel goes to Africa. It’s one of the most under-crowded places that we can possibly be in, and over –crowding of tourist destinations has been something that’s been on so many people’s minds right now,” said Cowie.

“The lodgings we work with frequently have only between 12-15 rooms, for a maximum of 25-30 people in a lodge at any one time.”

The webinar shared details of the company’s newly revamped website and how advisors can take advantage of these resources to learn about, and ultimately sell Africa to their clients. Among the updates, the website features a travel alert section which is updated daily and relays information about the outbreak for each of the 17 countries in African Travel’s network of destinations.

It also features a living room safari gallery to help advisors bring the wonders of these destinations right to their homes.

“This is really where we’re going to bring to you images, reading material, videos, and of course our previous webinars. With these you can sit back in your chair at home, hook it up to your TV, and let Africa come to life in your living room.”

The company also updated its advisor resource center which provides advisors with the tools to make it easy for you to sell Africa. “This is where you’ll be able to order brochures, you’ll have links to our travel academy, and you’ll be able to find safari resources by destination or type of safari, and a whole lot more.”

African Travel also announced it is launching a revamped Agent Academy training program beginning May 1, and invites all agents, even those who have taken previous Agent Academy courses, to join and learn what new offerings are in store for African Travel.

And speaking of new, African Travel will be offering Morocco as its newest destination in 2021. “We’re absolutely thrilled to be able to bring that to you. You know the level of service we provide, this will be the ultimate in luxury in what is a fascinating and very exotic destination.”

While he recognizes that people aren’t traveling right now, Cowie also shared his positive outlook for a steady return to travel when the coronavirus crisis passes, citing the number of clients who have chosen to rebook with African travel, rather than cancel future trips. “95% of travelers who’ve been effected by the current situation have rebooked. In a time where so many people are cancelling, we’ve maintained a 95% rebook rate.”

“We know nobody is ready to travel immediately, but down the road…Africa is a wonderful place to [visit] and know that you’re going to be surrounded by the most amazing and incredible experiences.”

Source: Travel Market Report


Major destinations Guide in Europe and their plans to reopen.

June 25, 2020

COVID-19 reached global crisis levels which has left much of the world at a standstill. Now many places, as we are seeing in Europe, have begun to reopen.

Here is a country by country guide of the major destinations in Europe and their plans to reopen.

Austria

On June 16, Austria allowed EU residents, except those from the UK, Sweden, and Portugal, to enter without a medical certificate or quarantine. Those flying into Vienna International Airport can undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival to bypass the country’s mandatory two-week quarantine. 

The easing of border restrictions comes after Austria reopened restaurants and museums on May 15, as well as hotels on May 29. Austria has also implemented a process to test hotel employees for the virus in an effort to assure tourists of a safe environment.

Belgium

Belgium opened its borders for travel to and from the European Union, the UK, and Schengen countries on June 15. Belgium requires travelers from outside the Schengen area to stay home for 14 days and practice social distancing, according to the U.S. Embassy in Belgium.

Croatia

Croatia is not allowing non-EU citizens to enter until at least July 1. Croatia has lifted restrictions for residents of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Germany, and Slovakia.

Croatia has distancing recommendations in place for things like museums and performances.

France

France lifted restrictions on travelers from the European zone on June 15, no longer requiring them to have an international travel certificate and not subjecting them to quarantine.

France started lifting lockdown restrictions in May and on June 2, further lifted restrictions to allow for the opening of many restaurants, bars, and cafes, as well as swimming pools, beaches, and museums. 

Restrictions still remain in place for people entering France from outside the EU, including from the U.S., according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in France

Germany

Germany has limited entry to residents of the EU, currently not allowing entry to citizens of most other countries, including the U.S., according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Germany.

Germany has begun lifting restrictions on things like shops, but social distancing requirements will remain in place until at least June 29. 

Greece

Greece is limiting entry to EU citizens through June 30. Travelers from certain European countries, including Italy, Spain, and Sweden will be tested upon arrival and required to stay in Athens overnight.

Starting July 1, international flights will be allowed into all airports and arrivals by sea will resume. Greece may conduct random COVID-19 tests on visitors upon arrival.

Ireland

People entering Ireland from another country with the exception of Northern Ireland is required to self-quarantine on arrival for 14 days, according to the U.S. Embassy in Ireland.

While shops have reopened, retailers have to put measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus including installing protective screens.

Italy

On June 3, Italy reopened its borders to European citizens, becoming the first country in Europe to do so. 

The country’s restaurants and most shops along with famous museums have all reopened. Some regions in the country, however, will require visitors to pre-register before coming, including Sardinia, Puglia, and Basilicata.

Netherlands

On June 1, restaurants, cafes, movie theaters, and museums were allowed to reopen with occupancy restrictions. On July 1, campgrounds are expected to open.

Travelers from outside the EU are not allowed to enter the Netherlands for non-essential travel until at least July 1. 

Portugal

Portugal currently allows EU residents to come in along with those from Portuguese-speaking destinations like South Africa, Canada, the U.S., the UK, and Venezuela – as long as there is reciprocity for Portuguese citizens, according to Visit Portugal.

Portugal has reopened shops as well as restaurants, cafes, and beaches with some capacity restrictions.

Spain

On June 21, Spain lifted border restrictions for all European Union countries, no longer requiring visitors to quarantine. Spain started easing its lockdown policies in phases including beaches and tourist attractions, which reopened on June 6.

On July 1, Spain will consider allowing people from other countries to enter based on a list of safe countries that will be drafted by the EU Commission. 

Switzerland

Switzerland opened its borders to travelers from the Schengen area on June 15 and said it will subject people from countries with high numbers of new infections to a temperature check upon arrival.

On June 6, Switzerland opened areas like amusement parks, zoos, swimming pools, and mountain cableways. On June 22, Switzerland lifted most restrictions on restaurants, but will leave the ban on large-scale events in place until the end of August.

United Kingdom

On June 8, the UK imposed a mandatory two-week quarantine for anyone arriving in the country. Travelers coming from Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man are exempt from this order.

Restaurants and pubs will open on July 4 with precautions in place. Hotels will also be open along with most retail businesses. Locals have been allowed to return to work as well as take public transportation.

–Read more on the remaining countries in the EU and their plans to reopen from Travel + Leisure.

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Source: Guidester : https://www.guidester.com/

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Think Outside the Box and Save Big on Travel. By Jesse Clark

January 13, 2020

Whether you hop on a plane and trek across the globe, or rent an RV and drive across the
country, travel is a great way to experience new places. It allows you to explore new areas, meet interesting people, and get a better understanding of the world we live in. But don’t just take our word for it. Scientists have looked into the benefits of travel as well. According to a recent study, taking a trip abroad keeps you healthier and boosts your creativity! Travel is great. Who wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to drop everything and go on a trip? But even if you have the time to travel, there’s one reason people don’t travel more – cost. Travel can be restrictively expensive. So how do you trim the costs and make your dreams of getting away a reality? Take a look.
Travel off the beaten path We’d all love to spend three months in Italy, but for most people, it isn’t in the budget. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great vacation. If you are looking to get the Italian vibe without the Italian price, Croatia is a much cheaper alternative. Similarly, almost anywhere in Eastern Europe is substantially less expensive than Western Europe.

Looking for a tropical location? Consider the Caribbean instead of Hawaii. While the Caribbean is not exactly “off the beaten path,” it can be a lot less expensive than Hawaii, especially if you are traveling from the East Coast.
Travel slow Thinking about taking an extended vacation? Instead of making a bunch of stops, consider staying longer in one location. With slow travel, you choose one home base and stay for an extended period of time. You can stay at more than one location, but you should aim to spend at least a week in each location.
There are many benefits to slow travel. For one, you are able to see the location in a deeper more intimate way. You can connect with the locals and visit the hidden spots that no one knows about. Another benefit – the cost. When you book a place to stay, you will likely see lower rates the longer you stay. Vacation rentals and hotels often offer lower rates for extended stays.
Choose the right phone plan No matter where you’re traveling, you’ll almost definitely be bringing your smartphone along whether you’re using it to stay in touch with people back home, to find places to eat or stay, or for GPS. And if you’re traveling internationally, you’ll want to avoid being charged overage fees by your provider. To avoid these charges and roaming fees, review unlimited phone plans to find one that can accommodate all the data you’re using.
Consider alternative accommodations If you’re used to staying at a hotel when you travel, it’s time to think outside the box. Hotels can be expensive, especially in hot tourist locations like New York and LA. There are sites that allow you to book apartments, houses, and even igloos at a greatly discounted price. In addition to saving money on your booking, these options typically come with some sort of kitchen, meaning
you can cook from “home” instead of eating out. Compare rates on Priceline
If you are planning on booking a flight or renting a car, it’s always a good idea to compare rates.
But why waste your time hopping from site to site when you can find all the information you need in one place? Priceline pulls rates from thousands of hotels making it easy to search online for the best deals, allowing you to choose the rate that’s best for you. Worried that you might miss out on a better deal somewhere else? One of the great things about Priceline is their price match guarantee. Find a better rate within 24 hours of booking, and they’ll refund 100 percent of the difference. You can save even more by using Priceline coupons and promo codes.

Travel can be expensive. We get it. But it doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. When you plan ahead, are flexible with where you want to go, and think outside the box, the price will drop dramatically. Don’t let costs get in the way of your travel dreams. The only question left is:”Where will you go?”


Foreign tourists spent a record 5.94 million nights at Israeli

July 31, 2018

Foreign-hotel-stays-Wikimedia.jpg

As reported in Ha’aretz, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported that 2.18 million foreign visitors came to Israel in the first six months of the year, a 19% increase over the same period in 2017.

The Israel Hotel Association reports that foreign tourists spent a record 5.94 million nights at Israeli hotels during the first half of 2018, up about 13% over the first half of last year and 43% higher than in 2016.

The data also show that about half of all stays at Israeli hotels between January and June of this year were made by foreign visitors and half by Israelis.

Fully 34% of all foreign tourist hotel nights for first six months of this year were spent in Jerusalem, with another 24% in Tel Aviv.

Source I.T.N


Ethiopia Launches Online Entry Visa (E-Visa)

June 11, 2018

E-Visa-2

The Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs Main Department, in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines, has finalized preparations of the initial phase to commence an e-visa service for international visitors to Ethiopia.

The e- visa is processed and issued online on a single website where applicants apply, pay and secure their entry visa online. Once the online application is approved, applicants will receive an email authorizing them to travel to Ethiopia and they will get their passport stamped with the visa upon arrival in Addis Ababa.

Regarding the new service Group CEO Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde GebreMariam said, “Ethiopia, the oldest independent civilization in Africa and one of the oldest in the world, is endowed with historical places, natural beauty, colorful and diverse cultural activities and various endemic wild animals which are of great interest to international tourists. However; we have not made best use of these natural resources to attract large number of tourists. To this effect, this project is part of a new national initiative to transform the tourism sector in the country. The full commencement of the Online Visa application and issuance system will promote tourism, trade and investment to the country. It will save time, energy and cost for travelers to Ethiopia in addition to the simplicity and convenience that it facilitates. With direct flights to/from more than 95 destinations from all corners of the world operated by the most modern airplanes, we will continue to make travel to Ethiopia, dependable, easy, convenient and affordable. I will take this opportunity to thank our IT team and our colleagues at the Main Department for Immigration & Nationality Affairs for the commendable collaboration and the job well done.”


Visit Gateway to hell-Danakil Depression

May 19, 2018

Dallol-hottest-place-on-earth-3

The Dallol region of Ethiopia is a cauldron of burning salt, volcanic rock and sulfuric acid and is officially the hottest place on the planet.

Near the southern end of the Red Sea an immense, triangular, depression descends far below sea level – some points near the ghost town of Dallol are nearly 120m below sea level). Known as the Danakil/Dallol Depression, the northern part is extremely hot and dry and an extension of the Great Rift Valley. In this seemingly inhospitable area live the nomadic Afar people who number about 3 million and largely disregard the notional borders between Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somaliland.

The whole Afar Depression is a plate tectonic triple junction where the spreading submarine ridges that formed the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden emerge on land and meet the East African Rift. The Afar Depression is one of two places on Earth where a mid-ocean ridge can be studied on land, the other being Iceland. At present, the Afar is slowly being pulled apart at a rate of 1-2cm per year. The floor of the Afar Depression is composed mostly of basaltic lava. The Afar Depression and Triple Junction also mark the location of a mantle plume, a great uprising of the earth’s mantle that melts to yield basalt.

This place, which used to be part of the Red Sea, has kilometers of salt deposits. In some places the salt deposits are about 5km (3 mi) thick. Below many salt lakes are substantial sources of volcanic heat which causes hot water to rise through layers of salt and deposit anhydrites. Minerals also get dissolved and are deposited near the springs, and form shapes very much reminiscent (but smaller than) hornitos on basaltic lava flows. Sulphur, other minerals and possibly Thermopylae bacteria cause spectacular colors.

This is a vast expanse of blisteringly hot desert with lava flows and salt plains and lakes that lie below sea level. Active and extinct volcanoes lie along a south–north axis with the extremely salty Lake Afrera, at 120m below sea level, kept alive by the many thermal springs feeding it.

Dallol offers an opportunity to see the first signs of a new ocean basin forming. The Dallol volcano, the only volcanic crater below sea level on land, has remained dormant since 1926, as the seabed it will one day occupy gradually widens. South of Dallol, rectangular salt slabs are cut and transported up into the highlands in a near endless procession of camel caravans. The salt canyons south of Dallol Mountain are some of the most impressive geological features in the area. It looks like another planet because there are lots of colorful rocks in each meter of terrain. It looks like something out of a science fiction novel.

the Danakil Depression sits deep below sea level (more than 100 meters below at some of its lowest points) in northern Ethiopia’s Afar region. Not only is the depression one of the hottest places on the planet, it’s also one of the most geologically active: the depression is essentially a molten, acidic, and bubbling expanse of land unlike anything else you’ve ever seen.

The depression contains a mixed bag of minerals, salt, sulfur and dissolved iron, all of which manifest themselves in the vibrant combination of yellows, oranges, and reds that make the landscape look equal parts neon and deadly.

Some of the Danakil Depression’s pools boast a pH level below 1 (which in terms of acidity sits somewhere between battery and stomach acid), with thin salt crusts frequently disguising underlying pools of deadly acid. Life isn’t really a thing here, which means that Danakil is one of the most barren and desolate ecosystems in the world.

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The Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela

May 11, 2018

lalibela

Truly Amazing Places You Must Visit Before You Die

In a mountainous region in the heart of Ethiopia, some 700 km from Addis Ababa, eleven medieval monolithic churches were carved out of rock. Their building is attributed to King Lalibela who set out to construct in the 12th century a ‘New Jerusalem’, after Muslim conquests halted Christian pilgrimages to the holy Land.

Lalibela (ላሊበላ) is history and mystery frozen in stone, its soul alive with the rites and awe of Christianity at its most ancient and unbending. No matter what you’ve heard about Lalibela, no matter how many pictures you’ve seen of its breathtaking rock-hewn churches, nothing can prepare you for the reality of seeing it for yourself. It’s not only a World Heritage site, but truly a world wonder. Spending a night vigil here during one of the big religious festivals, when white-robed pilgrims in their hundreds crowd the courtyards of the churches, is to witness Christianity in its most raw and powerful form.

Hidden for centuries in the remote highlands, about 700 kilometers north of Addis Ababa, the magnificent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are not to be missed by today’s visitor. This group of eleven monolithic and semi-monolithic structures was carved directly into the stone of the mountainside at least 800 years ago. With the largest monolithic church in the world; a maze of passageways and tunnels; intricately carved reliefs; and fabulous examples of icon paintings; the Lalibela churches were built by carving a massive rectangular trench around a solid stone block.  This solid block was then hollowed out, leaving interior columns, windows, reliefs, etc.  Other churches were carved in a similar fashion but leaving either one side or the roof attached to the surrounding stone.  Not only the craftsmanship but also the sheer size of the churches is stunning.  Medhane Alem, the largest, sits on 800 square meters and St. George is 15 meters deep.


Killings continue but travel agents keep selling trips to Cancun

April 26, 2018

Cancun

Canadians travel to Mexico more than any other country except the United States. But many visitors may be unaware of the growing violence in a main city that was once hailed as one of the country’s safest: Cancun.This week, five people were found dead near the public prosecutor’s office in the city on the Yucatán Peninsula, bringing the death toll by violence in the beach city to more than 100 since the beginning of the year.Story continues belowDrug cartels are operating in the region more openly. While tourists have not been the targets of violence so far, killings are starting to take place closer to destinations popular with visitors.The Government of Canada has a general travel advisory for Mexico but has not advised Canadians against planning travel to Cancun or the surrounding areas, including Playa del Carmen, another popular beach location. More than 100 people have now been killed in the popular beach resort since the start of 2018.

Cancun.jpg-2

Forensic doctors carry the body of a Canadian woman found with multiple stab wounds in Cancun last month

Drug-related violence in Mexico has increased massively in recent years with murders now commonplace. Morgues even closed down in the Mexican state of  Guerrero after they were deluged with gangland victims.

Cops are trying to protect tourist destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco and Nuevo Vallarta.

However, in the first three months of 2018 more than 100 people were killed in Cancun alone.

In one 36-hour spell in April 2018 NINE PEOPLE were murdered.

Source: Travelwire News


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