Travelers eager to take advantage of easing travel restrictions will have help this summer in the form of incentives and assurances from destinations around the world hoping to jump-start their tourist-reliant economies.
As lockdowns and stay-at-home orders expire globally, establishments have begun to open up cautiously with social distancing in mind. But a few countries and tourist-heavy destinations have laid out plans to entice travelers to visit, even as health officials still advise against it.
Free flights to Las Vegas
In Las Vegas, a hotel CEO and developer announced a giveaway of 1,000 free flights to the gambling capital as the city eyes reopening in early June. Derek Stevens, who owns two hotel-casinos, the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate, wrote that the promotion was intended to help stimulate tourism and to remind travelers of the fun they could have in the city.
“As we begin to reopen our doors across the city, we are proud to help reinvigorate travel to Las Vegas while supporting airlines in America impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” Stevens said in the announcement. “We can’t wait to safely bring visitors to the city and remind them why we’ve earned the title of ‘Entertainment Capital of the World.’ And while we’d love for visitors to stop by Downtown Las Vegas, we primarily want to get people back to Las Vegas to experience the attractions and amenities that make it one of the greatest places on Earth.”
Costs covered in Cyprus — if you get covid-19
In the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, government leaders have pledged to cover all costs for any traveler who tests positive for the coronavirus while on vacation, according to the Associated Press. In a letter sent out to governments, airlines and tour operators, Cypriot officials said they would cover “lodging, food, drink and medication for covid-19 patients and their families” while on the island.
Tourism accounts for 13 percent of Cyprus’s economy, according to the AP, and with one of the lowest coronavirus ratios per capita in Europe, tourism ministers plan to restart international air travel on June 9.
As restrictions lift among many European countries, Cyprus will require visitors to complete a “COVID-19 Traveler Declaration” detailing their travel up to 14 days before. Visitors will also have to present a testing certificate before boarding an aircraft, wear masks while on the flight and be subject to random temperature checks throughout the stay.
Discounts and vouchers in Japan
Other economies that have been affected by the loss of tourism are taking measures to boost the depleted industry worldwide. In Japan, the country saw a 99.9 percent drop in visitors during April compared to last year, according to government data. Officials have developed a program to subsidize travel expenses that would inject $12.5 billion into the Japanese economy beginning in July.
The program, according to tourism leaders, would cover travel expenses while in the country in the form of discounts and vouchers to be used at local shops and restaurants in an effort to encourage tourist exploration. Travelers who make bookings through Japanese travel agencies or directly with hotels and traditional ryokan inns would be eligible for the subsidies.
Hotels and flights in Sicily
Elsewhere in Europe, Sicily is eyeing a post-coronavirus economic revival though vouchers that will cover half of flight costs and every third night of a hotel for tourists. It will also be shelling out free tickets to museums and archaeological sites.
Sicily has reportedly lost $1.09 billion since travel shut down in early March, according to The Times, and the Italian region hopes that by the fall it will start to regain some visitors. The proposed plan will cost about 50 million euros, but with restaurants and other sectors reopening, Italy is counting on tourists returning when its borders reopen.