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: 

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:

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.


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 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 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 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 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 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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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 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.


Source: Guidester :

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