Every twist and turn of the COVID saga can leave your head spinning, and while headlines about the omicron variant can be deflating, there’s good news too, with Merck and Pfizer pill treatments coming out that should help reduce COVID to an epidemic nuisance rather than the fierce and novel virus it has been. Travel advisors are always here to help answer any questions you may have about the latest travel requirements for your destination. Fortunately, there are new places opening their borders to tourism this month and in 2022 that will allow us to explore once again much of the world. With each protocol change that comes out, it’s abundantly clear that being fully vaccinated will open more doors for travelers.
Just in the last few weeks, places as far-flung as Fiji, India, the Cayman Islands, Madagascar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Cuba, Grenada, and Uruguay have begun welcoming foreign visitors. There’s a growing list of countries set to join them in 2022.
New Zealand has announced plans to reopen to fully vaccinated visitors from April 30, though among the protocols is a weeklong quarantine, so be prepared for that if you’re planning to head to that part of the world. Depending on how reopening goes, COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins said, the quarantine requirement could be removed for visitors from certain countries throughout the year, so that’s something to keep an eye on for those longing to be 100% pure New Zealand.
Hong Kong is working on opening around mid-2022, making sure the densely populated metropolis is equipped to keep its citizens safe. “We maybe need half a year or so to develop an adequate vaccination rate, especially among the older people,” Lam Ching-choi, a member of the government’s working group on vaccinations, said in November. “Hopefully by then, we have opened up the border with China and we might have conditions favorable to open up the border to other places.”
Already testing a pilot reopening program on the island of Langkawi, Malaysia plans to fully open to vaccinated visitors in time to ring in the new year. As of mid-November, more than 75% of the country’s residents had been vaccinated, prompting hopes the full reopening could come before the Jan. 1 target. Malaysia has already opened a travel lane with neighboring Singapore so fully vaccinated travelers can pass between the nations without quarantine.
We look forward to many more borders reopening in the year to come, and we’ll keep you updated on announcements as they come. Given the still-high demand for travel in 2022 and forgiving cancellation policies, we still advise that if you have a destination in mind, you get something booked as soon as possible to secure the space. Your travel advisor will help guide you through the process and recommend the right travel insurance to protect your investment. There are sure to be more travel changes in 2022, here’s hoping it’s mostly good news.
It’s been far from perfect, but we’ve been able to enjoy a lot more activities in 2021 than we did the year before. And while COVID is going to be part of life for a while, even more events are poised to happen in 2022. There can still be setbacks, such as more variants and cancellations like those of the Munich Christmas markets. That’s why travel insurance is so important. But there’s much to look forward to in the coming year.
The Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany, is scheduled to go from May to October after a two-year postponement. The play was started as a way to give thanks after a 17th-century plague receded. The tradition will continue with a hearkening back and a looking forward after another plague has disrupted the flow of life.
After a year delay, the Tokyo Summer Olympics went ahead, and just a few months later, from Feb. 4-20 the Winter Olympics will take place in and around Beijing. Athletes from 80 nations will compete in more than 100 events, with strict COVID protocols and no shortage of political intrigue surrounding the games. Beijing will be the first city to host both Summer and Winter Olympics, having staged the 2008 summer games.
On the heels of last summer’s continental championships, the World Cup is slated for its original dates in November and December in Qatar. The traditional Northern Hemisphere summer dates of soccer’s quadrennial world championship moved to avoid the worst of the desert heat. Temperatures should be in the 70s and 60s Fahrenheit during the tournament, far better than the 100-plus that would have greeted players and fans in July. Some lucky nation will take home a gift to remember from the final, which is slated for a week before Christmas.