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Pandemic travel news: Asia-Pacific holidays on the horizon

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(CNN) – It was another good week in terms of travel reopenings as tropical paradises, including Fiji and Bali, heralded relaxed restrictions. And the Dominican Republic of the Caribbean celebrated its best tourist month in history.

This is what we learned from the pandemic trips this week.

1. You may be able to start planning this Asia-Pacific vacation

Tourists on the observation deck of the Kuala Lumpur Tower in Malaysia on October 1st.

Vincent Thian / AP

On 10 October, Singapore added eight new countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, to its vaccinated and quarantined travel lanes.

The next day, its Southeast Asian neighbor, Malaysia, put an end to national and international travel restrictions for fully vaccinated residents after reaching the goal of total inoculation of 90% of the adult population.

Next were the Indonesian islands of Bali and Riau; reopened on October 14 to visitors to 19 countries. The 19 lucky ones are China, India, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Liechtenstein, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Hungary and Norway.
In Australia, the Prime Minister of New South Wales, Dominic Perrottet, announced on 15 October that the state, including Sydney, will end its Covid-19 quarantine for fully vaccinated international travelers from 1 November.
Thailand came a little closer to the full reopening of tourism by allowing fully vaccinated visitors from a handful of approved countries to go through quarantine from 1 November. The ten countries that made the reduction are Singapore, Germany, China, the US and the UK. More will be added to the list on December 1st.
Finally, the island of Fiji in the South Pacific, which has been closed to international visitors since the beginning of the pandemic, has officially announced that will reopen on December 1st with the resumption of regular tourist flights.

2. Spain joined France and Portugal on the CDC’s “least risky” list

Spain - the image of the beach of Palma in Palma de Mallorca - has recorded a drop in Covid cases.

Spain – the image of the beach of Palma in Palma de Mallorca – has recorded a drop in Covid cases.

Jaime Reina / AFP / Getty Images

It’s a small victory (it still means up to 500 cases per 100,000 people in the last 28 days), though Spain has gone down in the “Level 3: Covid-19 High” category of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their regularly updated travel alerts.

It joins other popular European tourist destinations on the level 3 list, including France, Germany, Italy and Portugal.

Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Cyprus and the United Kingdom continue to be in the highest risk level 4 category, where no non-essential travel is advised. Meanwhile, Hungary and the Madeira Islands are the only European destinations below level 2 (“moderate”).

3. Fully vaccinated foreign visitors may begin entering the United States from November 8

The US-Mexico border wall at Otay Mesa, California, on August 13, 2021.

The US-Mexico border wall at Otay Mesa, California, on August 13, 2021.

Sandy Huffaker / AFP / Getty Images

The confusing mosaic of bans covering incoming travel to the United States across its air and land borders it has started to get simpler.

Kevin Munoz, the White House’s deputy press secretary, tweeted on October 15: “The new U.S. travel policy that requires vaccinating foreign travelers to the United States will begin on November 8. This announcement and date applies to both international and ground air travel.

Earlier in the week, the White House announced it planned to do so relieve restrictions on trips for visitors totally hit from Canada and Mexico starting in early November.

The first phase will allow fully vaccinated visitors traveling for non-essential reasons, such as visiting friends or sightseeing, to cross U.S. land borders. The second phase, starting in January 2022, will allow all fully vaccinated incoming foreign travelers to enter.

4. The EU provides free train tickets to 60,000 young people

The EU Commission delivers free rail passes to 60,000 European citizens aged 18 to 20.

Young people who have been welcomed during the pandemic will be able to spread their wings by taking rail adventures between March 2022 and February 2023 for a maximum of 30 days. Applications for this round they are open until October 26th.
CNN Travel global editor Barry Neild traveled across Europe by land and down to Morocco in the 1990s, with an initial budget of just $ 100. You can read its history here.

5. There was more chaos and cancellations at an American airline

Passengers are waiting in line at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport on October 11th.

Passengers are waiting in line at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport on October 11th.

Joe Cavaretta / South Florida Sun-Sentinel / AP

Already in August, there were days of massive cancellations on the American and Spirit airlines. This week, it’s been Southwest’s turn.
He even stayed with a Chicago girlfriend who got married in Las Vegas no family at their wedding when all flights of his relatives were canceled.

6. The Dominican Republic had its best month of tourism in history

Beautiful beaches and wonderful scenery on this getaway to the island. Take a 60-second vacation in the Dominican Republic.

David Collado, the Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, has done so he tweeted that in September the country enjoyed the largest number of visitors in history.
This year it has received 3.3 million visitors, more than in the days before the 2019 pandemic, of which more than 365,000 were in September, according to the Caribbean Journal.

The Dominican Republic is on “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” on the CDC’s list of travel advisors.

7. Dubai had the busiest international airport in the world

Dubai (DXB) has surpassed Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) as the busiest international airport in the world, according to the latest report from OAG travel data provider.

Calculated from the airline’s total capacity, there are more than 2.7 million seats on scheduled flights to the airport this month. Much of this will have to do with the October opening of the Dubai Expo 2020, which was delayed by the pandemic. The six-month extravaganza will run until March 31, 2022.

8. An American woman was the only tourist allowed in Bhutan

Monks in Punakha Dzong in Bhutan.

Monks in Punakha Dzong in Bhutan.

Adobe Stock

American Fran Bak, a 70-year-old widow who meditated on the gong after her husband’s death in 2018, was granted the first tourist visa in Bhutan since the country closed in March 2020.

“Bhutan is a gift of perfect deals,” Bak told CNN from the Thimphu apartment, where he spent a few weeks before heading out on the road to do gong workshops in rural villages.

9. New Zealand allows people to get vaccinated on a plane (but doesn’t make them fly anywhere)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces that the country will move from eliminating Covid-19, amid a persistent outbreak of the Delta variant, and instead move to a strategy of “living with the virus” .

October 16 is presented as Super Saturday in New Zealand, where the government is urging eligible unvaccinated New Zealanders to receive their shots.

Some lucky people will be able to get their Pfizer vaccine on board one Air New Zealand 787 aircraft at Auckland Airport. They will also receive a tour of the Air New Zealand hangar, free snacks and drinks served by Air New Zealand crew members, and a commemorative boarding pass.

10. The Airbus A380s return to the sky

Passengers love the A380, but the airlines gave up. Your window to fly in one is closing now that there are many stored.

Thanks to Covid-19, most of the world’s Airbus A380s landed. Airbus had already announced plans to stop production of superjumbos in 2019 and their strong operating costs had no place in the pandemic’s minimum and cost-effective international flight schedules.

Although his days are still numbered, some airlines, including Singapore Airlines and British Airways, have announced plans to get the plane back into the air.

CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez, Marnie Hunter, Masrur Jamaluddin, Betsy Klein, Ramishah Maruf, Lilit Marcus, Rhea Mogul, Kocha Olarn, and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.

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