5 Popular Tourist Destinations That Are Slowly Reopening
From beach retreats to European getaways, these vacation spots are making a comeback.
As summer approaches, tourist destinations around the world are looking for safe ways to reopen in time for the peak season. Some countries are planning to welcome international visitors, as long as they take a mandatory COVID-19 test or agree to self-quarantine upon arrival, while other regions are only opening locally. Either way, jetsetters find themselves with more options than they've had in months. Though the CDC still recommends everyone stay home and avoid all non-essential travel to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, these are the popular vacation spots that are giving sightseers hope for the future. And if you absolutely must travel, here are the 7 Worst Mistakes to Avoid If You Have to Fly Right Now.
Italy was the first country outside of Asia to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. In one of the swiftest and strictest lockdowns, Italian citizens were told to shelter in place as COVID-19 sickened more than 226,000 people. Thankfully, after two months in quarantine, Italy is loosening its restrictions.
The country entered its second phase of reopening on May 4, allowing Italians to go to parks and return to work. On May 18, restaurants, bars, and shops resumed business, and citizens were able to travel between regions to visit loved ones. Even St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican welcomed visitors, and gondolas once again graced the Venice canals. EU residents can visit starting on June 3, but a date has yet to be announced for U.S. citizens.
For the past few years, Iceland's tourism industry has boomed, making it one of the most popular international tourist destinations for international travelers. Until the coronavirus, that is. But last week, officials announced that the country would begin welcoming all visitors—even those from the U.S.—on June 15.
However, some safety precautions will be taken. Upon landing at Keflavík International Airport, visitors will take a free COVID-19 test or agree to a 14-day quarantine if they decline testing. If they have negative test results from their home country, that documentation will also be permitted. No matter which of the three options they choose, everyone will be required to download the contact-tracing app, Rakning C-19.
Though Madrid and Barcelona are still in lockdown, some smaller towns in Spain are reopening. For instance, Canet d'en Berenguer, a coastal enclave outside of Valencia, has devised a strategic way to allow people to hit the sand. Officials have created a mobile app that lets people book "beach appointments" in order to reduce crowding during peak hours. The beach itself will operate at half capacity (5,000 people max) and have clearly marked squares for social distancing.
Sanxenxo, a town in Galicia, is also using the grid format and tractor-like "cleaning machines" to sanitize the sunbathing area. Transport Minister, José Luis Ábalos, said that they are hoping to reopen Spain's borders by the end of June.
As the weather warms up, sunseekers are looking to head to the beach. And Mexico is delivering on that promise. The country will open up many of its most beloved waterfront resort areas in June, with more phases continuing through August. Los Cabos is leading the charge with health screenings and increased sanitation as limited travel becomes available on June 1, followed by the reopening of the airport's international terminal in July. All eyes are on Riviera Maya and Cancun to dip their toes in the water next.
On May 18, the Sunshine State kicked off phase one of its reopening plan, allowing restaurants, malls, museums, libraries, and gyms to operate at 50 percent capacity. Each region is on its own timeline—the Florida Keys is set to reopen to tourists on June 1, and select counties in the Panhandle have lifted the ban on short-term vacation rentals just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Walt Disney World in Orlando also reopened its Disney Springs entertainment district on May 20. Miami is the only notable exception as the city has remained under lockdown until further notice. And for more trip inspiration, here are the 6 Easy Getaways You Can Safely Take This Weekend.