The world is reopening for travel and here’s how it looks

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As pockets of the globe start welcoming visitors, the travel and tourism industry that has been in the slump for the past 4 months heaves a sigh of relief. While most governments are still advising against "nonessential" travel, a host of tourist destinations around the world are beginning to ease their lockdown and border restrictions. After all these months of global lockdown to flatten the curve, travel enthusiasts are tiptoeing back outside, masks firmly on. But, how is post covid travel going to be like? When will it be completely safe to venture out? What's open, what's not?

Headout has been closely monitoring global travel reopening trends - countries that opened borders first, attractions that are mandating online tickets, sanitisation protocols across tourist hotspots and other post-pandemic travel trends that are soon becoming a way of life. Headout is working with hundreds of partners and venues on-ground to aggregate and verify this data on a real-time basis. Check out the 6 most interesting travel insights that have unearthed from this dataset.

PS: Did you know 500+ attractions around the world have already reopened? Read more here.

1. The World Is Reopening Sooner Than Expected

10 countries across the globe - Greece, Vietnam, Denmark, China, Croatia, Egypt, Bulgaria, Portugal, Netherlands and Switzerland have reopened doors to all landmarks and attractions in their countries. Europe, Oceania & Africa are leading the way with respect to easing lockdowns and reopening tourist attractions, leaving North and South America lagging behind. To track the reopening of countries across the globe, check out this Global Travel Reopening Dashboard.

Croatia was the first country in the world to open up for domestic tourists, China and Vietnam were the first in Asia for the same.

Among the countries hit hardest by the pandemic, Italy and Germany have recovered fastest and now have opened doors to domestic tourists. Italy opened its borders on June 3 to EU, UK, Schengen area, Andorra and Monaco citizens, after the nationwide lockdown which came into force on March 9. On June 15, Germany lifted border restrictions for travellers coming from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and the United Kingdom. Visitors entering both countries do not have to self-isolate.

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2. Safest International Travel Destinations Right Now

More than 30 countries have opened their borders for international travellers from select nationalities. Japan, Greece and Hong Kong have the lowest cases per million (last 7 days average) and are the safest option depending on whether they have expanded their travel bubbles to include your home country. Italy, France and Spain have also come a long way since being the epicenter of the pandemic and are relatively safe options for travel. Check out our live tracker on real time data on travel bubbles, current COVID case load here.

3. Domestic Before International

50% of countries worldwide have hit the initial milestone of opening up for domestic travellers. As countries ease lockdowns, travel within the domestic boundaries is being encouraged before international travel, so travel enthusiasts are likely to scout for weekend getaways and short trips, not too far from home.

While domestic travel is on the rise, 31% of countries worlwide have permitted international tourists from select nationalities.

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4. Outdoors Before Indoors

Outdoor spaces have more room for social distancing without much constraints leading to more than 70% of nature camps, hiking trails, adventure sports, national parks and beaches having reopened around the world.

While only 30% of nature parks & wildlife reserves have decided to reduce the visitor capacity, over 70% of museums & aquariums have limited the number of visitors allowed

5. Online Tickets Are The (Only) Way Forward

More than 45% of tourist attractions around the world are have mandated purchase of online tickets to avoid queues. 1 in 4 of the landmarks currently open have stopped accepting cash in order to provide a contactless experience. Before the pandemic, more than 85% of all experiences were sold offline at the counter or via a concierge/travel agency.

To maintain health standards and no-contact policy, a majority of tourist attractions can now be visited only if tickets have been booked online in advance. Paper tickets that could be bought at the ticket counters have been closed and it is forseen the pandemic may push for an earlier adoption of 100% digital ticket access.

46% of venues have moved from flexible to timed entry. Pre-booking time slots ensures that there is enough time between visitors to sanitize the surroundings. It also helps limit the number of people at one time and reduce chances of a crowd.

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6. Masks, Sanitisers & Temperature Checks - The New Norm

Analysis of the safety measures across currently open tourist attractions reveal that mandatory masks and reduced capacity are more popular sanitisation protocols than temperature checks. 48% of tourist attractions have made it mandatory for visitors to wear a mask. So, you can forget your mobile but don't forget your mask!

If you're looking to travel in the near future, use our global travel reopening dashboard that tracks safety protocols and hygiene measures in countries and cities around the world.