As restrictions on isolation and movement begin to ease, several nations have laid out plans to reopen with new measures in place to keep COVID-19 at bay, and ensure the safety of locals and visitors. But is it too soon to get excited about travel returning? Is it too soon to talk about all the great places we want to see? Is it too soon to start planning that next trip beyond your backyard or TV room?
At Goway, we think now is the perfect time to plan for that trip, keeping informed about applicable restrictions and safety measures, and preparing for what international travel may look like in a post-isolation world – at least until a vaccine is found for COVID-19. It’s certainly not too early to imagine yourself at the foot of Machu Picchu, walking the rainforests of Costa Rica, dining in Rio, Lima, or Buenos Aires (or all three), trekking around Torres del Paine National Park, or sailing the waters of the Galapagos islands, or even the Polar Regions!
That’s not to encourage rushing. Rehabilitation after any long illness or injury takes time, and Goway and its partners have been working towards our collective ‘rehab,’ in preparation for the day we can all travel again. That day may be here sooner than some think. As one of the last major regions affected, Latin America has been copping some negative press recently in respect to COVID. Yet most countries in the region are working hard on new safety measures, with the goal of July 1st reopening.
Goway’s local office in Quito, Ecuador, has implemented all protocols as laid out by the WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council). The WTTC Safe Travels Protocols are designed to help to rebuild confidence among travelers, so that safe travel can resume as restrictions are eased. They provide consistency to destination authorities as well as guidance to travel providers, operators, and travelers, about the new approach to health and hygiene in a post COVID-19 world. Developed in collaboration with WTTC members, leading industry associations, and international organizations, these protocols take into account the current guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The WTTC Safe Travels stamp is based on self-assessment and it is not a certification. Destination authorities and companies using the stamp have confirmed that they have implemented and will ensure ongoing compliance with the Safe Travels Protocols. This is not just a Goway initiative. We expect restaurants, hotels and tourism operators across the industry worldwide to implement these protocols as soon as possible to ensure the highest safety standards for travelers.
Ecuador opened its borders in early June, and plans to reopen access to the Galapagos Islands from July 1, 2020. The Galapagos Islands have been declared COVID=free territory. There are no active cases on the islands, and strict health and safety protocols are in place for travel between the airports of Quito, Guayaquil, and Baltra Island. Ecuador’s tourism authority and local providers are anticipating a slow trickle of globetrotters to return by the end of the year.
A small, controlled destination with limited capacity, the Galapagos Islands are safe and will soon be ready to receive guests looking to connect with their unique natural habitat and see something outside of their backyard or living room.