Do you ever glance over at your passport or 2020 travel plans and just laugh? It’s been quite a sobering year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t plan for the future or be fully up to date on what travel restrictions, safety protocols, and predictions are important to consider around the world. That’s why during my first CrushGlobal travel chat, I asked five talented experts to share their insight on the dos and don’ts of travel today. The panel, which included award-winning Ethiopian-American travel writer Lebawit Lily Girma; Zapwater Communications VP Jennifer Johnson; CEO of the Africa Tourism Association Naledi Khabo; Development Counsellors International Senior Account Executive Symeria Palmer; and award-winning multimedia journalist Melissa Noel, provided a breadth of information on travel considerations spanning the United States, Caribbean, and Africa — all over cocktails, of course. Here are four major takeaways from the conversation.
For interest in travel to the Caribbean:
“There is no one Caribbean island that is like the next. Each island has its own challenges, has its own realities, so what might be protocol for one island may not necessarily be protocol for another,” said Noel. For interest in a particular island, she suggests staying up to date on requirements to travel there because they change often.
Barbados’ very popular welcome stamp campaign is ready for Americans. The year-long remote work opportunity was first announced July 12. “With being stuck at home, this announcement of the welcome stamp gave people a glimmer of hope like okay, travel will return, or I have the option of traveling abroad now and living in a destination that has done an amazing job at managing and containing the virus,” said Palmer of DCI.
We can reimagine what travel looks like for the future and include a more responsible narrative.
In thinking about travel marketing campaigns and how freely we were once able to travel and leave our footprint on the globe, this time is a great opportunity to be more conscious, responsible travelers in the future. That’s why Girma, who’s a sustainable travel expert, created See the Caribbean, a collaborative initiative showcasing a sustainable and green Caribbean. “We’re seeing the effects of climate change, of coastal erosion, of big resorts on surrounding communities. My platform is beginning as an informational campaign. I really want people to be informed about how rich the heritage is in the Caribbean through videos and the economics of Caribbean tourism in a way that is interesting to them,” said Girma.
African countries that are currently open to American travelers include:
Rwanda: you must take a COVID test within 72 hours of arrival and face masks are required. During your stay, you can be randomly selected to be tested again.
Egypt: verification of a negative test and proof of insurance are mandated upon arrival.
Tanzania: screenings at the airport with encouragement of masks and social distancing are the standard.
“As travelers, it’s important that we don’t put the protocol on the venues and staff, but as a traveler, how am I making sure that I’m protecting that staff?” said Khabo. She predicts that many more African countries will open to Americans in September and October.
Your decision to travel should be a responsible, thoughtful one:
For the regions that are actually open to American travelers, it’s important to ask yourself more than just whether or not you really need a vacation, because this decision does not just affect you. “Do we in the travel industry want to push people to come, or to say, let’s be responsible, let’s be mindful and behave in a way that we would want if this was our own country? It is a tug of war but it really boils down to the ethical responsibility of a traveler,” said Johnson. Added Noel, “Yes this is your getaway, but it’s also someone’s home.”
Check out snippets of the panel discussion below and stay tuned for more CrushGlobal virtual experiences. Receive updates HERE.