Covid trip this week: 10 things we learned

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(CNN) – Saturday has arrived – which means it’s time again for CNN Travel to check the Destination Barometer and let you know where it’s hot, where it’s not, and where you’ll need your two shots.

Here are 10 things we learned on pandemic travel this week:

1. There is going to be a honeymoon boom

Bad news for fans of sweatpants and company logo t-shirts: you might be forced into formal wear sooner than you think.

The wedding industry is rebounding in the United States, with some jewelers reporting that sales of engagement rings have quadrupled year over year.
Customers are now on the hunt for engagement rings because they can “finally travel” and offer a vacation, Kyle Simon, co-founder of New York-based jewelry company Clear Cut, told CNN Business this week.

It’s time to dry clean those suits and dresses for those destination weddings.

2. There is still time to escape a return to the office

How far are you willing to go to avoid microwave chatter with your coworkers? Sicily perhaps? Maybe Sri Lanka?

The Italian town of Sambuca di Sicilia has just brought a new batch of abandoned houses to the market and a Sicilian getaway can be yours for just € 2. There are plans to open remote work centers to attract digital workers, Deputy Mayor Giuseppe Cacioppo told CNN Travel.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, has jumped on the digital nomad trend by launching long-term visas of up to a year to attract foreign visitors looking to work remotely while enjoying Sri Lanka’s sun and scenery. Lanka.

4. Ireland will finally reopen on Monday

It has endured one of the toughest lockdowns in Europe and a cyber attack delayed the introduction of the EU’s Covid digital certificate by almost three weeks, but Ireland will finally roll out the green carpet for international visitors on July 19.

Fully vaccinated travelers from non-EU countries, including the US and UK, will not need to undergo any testing or quarantine. (A 14-day self-quarantine or hotel quarantine will still apply to people without valid proof of vaccination or arriving from an “emergency brake” country).

5. Two old rivals are back in business

From 1884 to 1889, the 555-foot-tall Washington Monument – a white stone obelisk in the District of Columbia built to commemorate the first US President George Washington – was the tallest structure in the world.

And then came Gustave Eiffel and his new 984 foot wrought iron tower on the Champs de Mars in Paris. The Eiffel Tower held the title for 41 years, until honor returned to the New World with the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York.

The two iconic structures reopened to the public this week, with the Washington Monument welcoming visitors on Friday and the Eiffel Tower resuming operations on Friday.

6. Qatar is open to fully vaccinated travelers

The ultramodern skyline of Doha, the Qatari capital.

Courtesy of Qatar Tourism

Visitors who completed their Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson shots more than 14 days ago will be able to skip the quarantine but will still need to take a pre-travel Covid test and obtain clearance through the Ehteraz government website.
Once in the country, tourists can discover attractions such as the “ghost towns” of the northwest coast: abandoned 19th-century fishing villages showing what life was like before Qatar’s spectacular economic boom, fueled by by oil and gas.

7. Vacationing in Caribbean paradise just got a little easier

The swimming pool at Cap Juluca d'Anguilla, a Belmond hotel.

The swimming pool at Cap Juluca d’Anguilla, a Belmond hotel.

Richard James Taylor / Belmond Juluca Cap

The elegant Caribbean islands of Anguilla and Saint Kitts and Nevis have opened their doors to luxury a little further.

Anguilla now allows entry to fully vaccinated visitors – and only fully vaccinated visitors. This means that the doses of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 were topped up at least 21 days before arrival.

Saint Kitts and Nevis has reduced its self-quarantine period – or “Vacation in Place,” as they call it – from nine days to three, with testing on day four. Results should be within 12 hours.

The Cayman Islands, meanwhile, will cautiously welcome fully vaccinated travelers starting in September, as part of a five-phase plan. However, cruise ships are not expected to call there until at least January 2022.

8. Thousands of Australians are still stranded abroad

As the rest of the world suffered the lockdown after the lockdown, Australia was one of the success stories of the pandemic. By closing its borders, it was able to largely block the Covid-19.

The price to pay for keeping the virus at bay is that thousands of Australian families have been separated since early 2020. There are around 34,000 stranded Australian citizens who have registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as being stuck in abroad and wanting to return home.

Now that Australia’s limit on international arrivals has been halved to just 3,000 passengers per week by July 14 and air fares have skyrocketed, the outlook is even bleaker. CNN’s Hannah Ritchie reports.

9. Venice has – once again – banned downtown cruise ships

Cruise ships are the ex-bad boy Venice just doesn’t seem to be giving up.

First there was a ban. Then there was a pre-ban. And then – like Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again” – they were back in town until further notice.

The latest twist is that cruise ships will now be banned from navigating downtown Venice from August 1.

Rather than pass in front of Saint Mark’s Square and go up the narrow Giudecca Canal, they will be diverted through the Venetian Lagoon and dock on the mainland, at the industrial port of Marghera.

10. Oil wrestling is back, baby

CNN’s Ivan Watson explores the ancient sport of wrestling that dates back hundreds of years.

Last year’s contest was canceled due to the pandemic, but you can’t hold back the greasy men.

The contestants, dressed only in olive oil and leather pants, fought for three days in hopes of winning the title of Baspehlivani, or chief wrestler. Ali Gurbuz of Antalya retained his title for another year.

CNN’s Alexis Benveniste, Julia Buckley, Silvia Marchetti, Hannah Ritchie and Dimitris Sideridis contributed to this story.


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