While the virus is still going strong and forcing the entire world’s population to isolate and stay in lockdown, I am sure I’m not the only one who’s been dreaming about a decent vacation. Personally, I am looking forward to submitting my last assignment and at the very least travelling home (to Kazakhstan). A change of scenery (and activity) is crucial to our mental wellbeing.
Aside from the biggest question of when can we travel again? There is also the matter of cost. Reasonably cheap holidays can be hard to come by, especially when the tourism industry is trying to recover from a huge income loss. Or so one would think…
Apparently, some countries believe otherwise. Not only do they offer to pay part of your flight tickets’ cost, but you can also get a free stay at the hotel for a certain number of days. Let’s take a closer look at these affordable travel opportunities:
Deals: Covering half the cost of post-pandemic air travel tickets and a free stay at a hotel for each third night. Not to mention free tickets to the majority of museums, cultural and archaeological locations.
Situation: Italy has been gradually easing the lockdown. Initially, people were allowed to visit parks and travel within the neighbourhood. Shops and museums were able to reopen soon after. Finally, even sitting in at a restaurant was made possible, as long as the customers wear masks. It is also promised that the borders will not be closed to tourists, and that the government is moving towards the opposite of that. This means that a warm sunny holiday might actually be in you near future.
Reasons to Visit: Sicily would not only make for a great vacation at the seaside, but it is also a place full of cultural and historical heritage to discover. Plus, it never hurts to be surrounded by stunning scenery every step of the way.
Deals: For every two adults booked, hotels offer a free stay for up to two children. Alternatively, an offer encompassing both accommodation and car hire: two booked nights will gain you two more for free. It has also been mentioned that 20% discounts will be offered for entry to the theme parks, golf courses, and spas.
Situation: Economic activity has been resumed in a few municipalities, which had registered none or low numbers of coronavirus cases. Some economic sectors, such as construction, mining and automotive manufacturing returned to operation following a set of guidelines. An alarm system of colours (red, orange, yellow and green), tracking health situation by region is in place from June 1st onwards. This will signal the need for immediate response and reinforcement of social distancing in specific areas.
Reasons to Visit: Yet another destination with sun, sea and sand. With a range of water activities available, Cancun is the perfect place to connect with nature, go on an adventure and visit the jungle. But do not forget that historical museums and archaeological sites are a must see too. And to wrap it all up, relax and let lose at one of the numerous theme parks.
Holidays will be subsidised by up to £152 per day in the form of vouchers to use at shops and restaurants. It applies to those who make bookings through Japanese agencies or directly with a hotel or a traditional ryokan inn. Unfortunately, regardless of what many articles state, the scheme is intended towards domestic travellers only.
A remarkable generosity and hospitality has been expressed in these trying times. The government is promising to cover the costs of accommodation, meals and medication for all those who have tested positive for COVID-19 while on a holiday in Cyprus. There’s a 100-bed hospital reserved specifically for foreign travellers, as well as a 500-room hotel for patients’ family members.
While not a considerably well-visited destination, there is much to see in this country. It might not come with any outrageous offers, but it has made all the beaches access free, as well as loungers and tables free to hire. If you’re looking for an affordable sunny vacation by the sea, this might just be it.
All things considered, it seems like these countries have made risky moves to restore the failing economy. And in some cases it has really paid off and attracted the attention they needed. However, I cannot say that these decisions have been made with locals’ best interests at heart. Increased tourism can put them at risk of spreading the virus and facilitating a new peak in countries where the situation has mostly been under control thus far.
Now, the real question: is a vacation really worth it? On one hand, this might be the cheapest holiday you will ever score, and who doesn’t want to take a break in these difficult times. But on the other, you might wind up with a virus that hasn’t yet got a cure or a vaccine. Is this a risk you are willing to take? I’d urge everyone reading this article (and dreaming of summer) to think twice before booking your next flight. I sure will be staying at home and waiting out the storm, regardless of how tempting these deals sound.
Last modified: 17th June 2020