Image: Portugal

After being locked up for a few months, wanderlust citizens from all over the world are eager to flap their wings and travel again. We remain vigilant for news and updates on which countries are on the red flag and which ones were the least affected by the virus. 

Meanwhile, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) collaborated with the different governments, industry associations, and health experts to produce a list of recovery protocols for travel. This list is a guide with insights and toolkits to inform tourists on what to expect when they start travelling again. The present list includes protocols affecting the following sectors: Hospitality, Theme Parks/Attractions, Outdoor Retail, Aviation, Ports, Rentals, Cruise, Tour Operators, MICE, and Insurance. Companies that have conformed to the new protocols will have a stamp of Safe Travels displayed to reassure their guests of safety. 

However, as a precaution, WTTC also warns that the travel landscape is still continually changing; thus, travellers should always check for updated news before making plans. 

Listed below are places we may recommend for travel right now.  

  1. Madeira, Portugal 

Portugal’s multi-awarded destination has zero Covid-related deaths. Tourists will enjoy sunny weather all year round. This place has joined the top ranks in several surveys such as: 

  • Best Bird-Watching Destination
  • Best Hiking Destination
  • Best Sunny Christmas
  • Best Place to Spend New Year’s Eve
  • Most Romantic Destinations in Europe
  1. Santorini, Greece

This lovely island in the Aegean Sea was one of the first to announce their reopening on the 15th of June. To entice tourists to return, hotels, restaurants, and shops gave attractive promo offers that will make their package more affordable than the pre-Covid period. 

Be one of the first to travel to Santorini in 2021, and you may get to enjoy the once populated island (they have more than two million tourists a year!) to yourself. 

  1. Tbilisi, Georgia

Georgia, located in Eastern Europe, was only slightly affected by the Coronavirus. The government reacted quickly by closing all borders, thus, saving their country from a pandemic. 

Before reopening their gates to tourism, the government made sure that health security measures are in place to protect not only foreign tourists but, most notably, Georgian citizens. 

Tbilisi’s culture will wow visitors – it is an eclectic mix of the past, present, and future. Ancient buildings from the Middle Ages stand shoulder-to-shoulder with extremely modern ones. 

An interesting trivia to know is that an overnight stay in a 5-star hotel in Tbilisi would cost only a fraction of what the same brand would cost in London or Paris. 

  1. Warsaw, Poland

Poland, along with Portugal and Greece, is one of the few countries least affected by the Coronavirus. The Polish people are a resilient lot, declaring that if they have survived two world wars, they can certainly survive this virus. And they did! 

This very green city has lush gardens right smack in the city center. One of the famous sites is the Old Warsaw Town, a UNESCO Heritage site. World-renowned pianist and composer, Chopin, called it his home. 

Poland is also one of the safest countries to visit. Their crime rate is a quarter that of the more popular European cities. 

  1. Vienna, Austria

The capital of Austria has also kept their country safe from the dreaded virus, resulting in a very low number of positive cases. 

History buffs will love Vienna. It has an exciting city landscape, characterized by many Baroque buildings dating back to the 18th century. Classical music enthusiasts will find the home of Beethoven and Mozart a MUST-SEE. And during the Christmas season, Vienna’s Christmas Market is considered one of the best in Europe!

Closing

We have just selected some of the cities least affected by this pandemic. It is still wise to practice caution on social distancing and to wear face masks. Be alert of sudden changes in the situation per country and city.  Before finalizing your flight and hotel bookings, ask all the necessary questions about their safety procedures and cancellation policy. 

Be safe, and enjoy travelling in the post-Covid era!

Willy Hobal / www.willyhobal.com