Pandemic travel news: Asia-Pacific vacations on the horizon6 min read
Here’s what we learned in pandemic travel this week.
1. You might be able to start planning that Asian-Pacific vacation
Tourists on the observation deck at Kuala Lumpur Tower in Malaysia on October 1.
On October 10, Singapore added eight new countries, including the US and the UK, to its vaccinated and quarantine-free travel lanes.
The next day, its Southeast Asian neighbor Malaysia ended its domestic and international travel restrictions for fully vaccinated residents after reaching its target of full inoculation for 90% of the adult population.
2. Spain joined France and Portugal on the CDC’s ‘less risky’ list
Spain — Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca is pictured — has had a drop in Covid cases.
Jaime Reina/AFP/Getty Images
It joins other popular European tourist destinations on the Level 3 list, including France, Germany, Italy and Portugal.
Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Cyprus and the UK are still up in the highest-risk Level 4 category, where all nonessential travel is not advised. Meanwhile, Hungary and the Madeira Islands are the only European destinations down on Level 2 (“Moderate”).
3. Fully vaccinated foreign visitors will be able to start entering the US from November 8
The US-Mexico border wall in Otay Mesa, California, on August 13, 2021.
Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images
Kevin Munoz, White House assistant press secretary, tweeted on October 15: “The US’ new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States will begin on Nov 8. This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel.”
The first phase will allow fully vaccinated visitors traveling for nonessential reasons, such as visiting friends or for tourism, to cross US land borders. The second phase, beginning January 2022, will allow entry to all fully vaccinated inbound foreign travelers.
4. The EU is providing free rail passes to 60,000 young people
The EU Commission is giving away free travel rail passes to 60,000 European citizens form ages 18 to 20.
5. There was more chaos and cancellations on a US airline
Passengers wait in line at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport on October 11.
Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/AP
6. The Dominican Republic had its best tourism month ever
Beautiful beaches and wonderful landscapes in this island getaway. Take a 60-Second Vacation of the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic is at “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” on the CDC’s travel advisory list.
7. Dubai had the world’s busiest international airport
Calculated using total airline capacity, there are more than 2.7 million seats on flights scheduled at the airport this month. A good chunk of that will be to do with the opening in October of Dubai Expo 2020, which was delayed by the pandemic. The six-month extravaganza will run through March 31, 2022.
8. An American woman was the only tourist allowed in Bhutan
Monks at Punakha Dzong in Bhutan.
“Bhutan is a gift of perfect offerings,” Bak told CNN from the apartment in Thimphu where she was spending a few weeks before heading on the road to do gong workshops in rural villages.
9. New Zealand is letting people get vaccinated on a plane (but it doesn’t fly them anywhere)
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces the country is moving from eliminating Covid-19, amid a persistent outbreak of the Delta variant, and will instead transition to a strategy of ‘living with the virus.’
October 16 is being billed as Super Saturday in New Zealand, where the government is urging eligible unvaccinated New Zealanders to get their shots.
10. Airbus A380s are returning to the skies
Passengers love the A380, but airlines gave up on it. Your window to fly in one is closing now that many are in storage.
Thanks to Covid-19, most of the world’s Airbus A380s were grounded. Airbus had already announced plans to cease production of the superjumbos back in 2019 and their steep operational costs had no place in the pandemic’s minimal, cost-efficient international flight schedules.
While their days are still numbered, some airlines — including Singapore Airlines and British Airways — have announced plans to get the aircraft back in the air.
CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez, Marnie Hunter, Masrur Jamaluddin, Betsy Klein, Ramishah Maruf, Lilit Marcus, Rhea Mogul, Kocha Olarn and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.