TALLINN – The internal and external borders of the European Union are gradually opening up, which is why the Estonian Travel and Tourism Association has put together a number of recommendations that should be taken into account for safe travel in the new situation.
Mariann Lugus, secretary general of the association, said that it is important to do homework before going on a trip. It is definitely worth consulting with one's travel agent, who has in-depth and up-to-date information on the situation in the various countries of destination. Fast and adequate travel information can also be found on the Foreign Ministry's Reisi Targalt (Travel Smart) website, flight destination information is available on the Tallinn Airport website.
According to Lugus, destinations currently popular include those where the risk of infection is low and where people can fly directly from Tallinn, such as Vienna. Of the sunny vacation destinations, Greece is the most popular in July. Last week, the first charter flights to Crete took place.
"According to the members of the association, travel agencies, the feedback from the first customers is very positive, because the weather is warm, the sea is clean and we have already become used to the abundance of disinfectants in Estonia," she said.
However, there are definitely a number of factors that passengers traveling there should take into consideration. Similar to Estonia, the number of people staying together in Greece is limited and up to six people or a family are allowed to be indoors together. The same six-person rule applies to the pools, there are no changes on the public beaches. In hotels, customers do not have to wear masks, but it is mandatory when traveling by means of transport.
"As there are still few tourists in all of Greece, the customers who have flown there can enjoy real luxury -- even the most popular and usually crowded places are still quite empty. In essence, those who go there can enjoy real private tourism," Lugus said.
It is important to know that passengers arriving in Greece by air, sea or land must fill in a registration form at least 48 hours before entering the country, upon the submission of said form, each passenger is given a personal QR code, which must be presented on a mobile phone screen or on paper upon arrival at the airport in Greece.
"In the post-crisis period, when the whole world is still getting used to the new health and safety rules, it is very important that we know how to behave during a trip and what lies ahead. In Greece, for example, there is currently a system in place for hotels in the framework of which there is service staff almost everywhere who, after indication from the customer, place what the customer said they would like on their plate," Lugus said. "It is also worth checking with the travel agent in advance whether it is possible to visit the sites and attractions that are of particular interest at the destination."
When going on vacation, the association always recommends buying travel insurance, but this is particularly relevant in the current context. For example, the Salva Kindlustus insurance company has added coronavirus protection to its products. However, whoever feels sick should definitely stay home and postpone the trip.
When traveling out of Tallinn Airport, it is worth remembering that washing one's hands and maintaining hygiene is the surest way to prevent getting sick. "When it comes to flights, the biggest change compared to before is that people must wear masks when on a plane at the moment. You do not have to wear them at the airport, but it is possible to buy them from the airport," Lugus said.
According to Lugus, when going on a trip, people should definitely register on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She emphasized that whether and how quickly opportunities to travel to various exciting places recover depends first and foremost on people themselves.