Covid trip this week: what we learned


(CNN) – Seven more days have passed, so it’s time again for CNN Travel to check the Destination Barometer and tell you where it’s hot, where it’s not, and where you’ll need your two shots.

Here’s what we learned on pandemic trips this week.

1. There is going to be a honeymoon boom

Bad news for fans of sweatpants and company logo t-shirts: you might be forced into formal wear sooner than you think.

The wedding industry is rebounding in the United States, with some jewelers reporting that sale of engagement rings have quadrupled from year to year.
Customers are now on the hunt for engagement rings because they can “finally travel” and offer a vacation, said Kyle Simon, co-founder of New York-based jewelry company Clear Cut. CNN Affairs this week.

It’s time to dry clean those suits and dresses for those destination weddings.

2. There is still time to escape a return to the office

How far are you willing to go to avoid microwave chatter with your coworkers? Sicily perhaps? Maybe Sri Lanka?

The Italian town of Sambuca di Sicilia has just put on the market a new batch of abandoned houses and a A Sicilian getaway can be yours for just € 2. There are plans to open remote work centers to attract digital workers, Deputy Mayor Giuseppe Cacioppo told CNN Travel.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, has jumped on the digital nomad trend by launching long-term visas of up to one year to attract foreign visitors wishing to work remotely while enjoying the sun and landscapes of Sri Lanka.

3. Ireland finally reopened on Monday

It has experienced one of the toughest lockdowns in Europe and a cyber attack delayed the introduction of the EU’s Covid digital certificate by almost three weeks, but Ireland has finally rolled out the green carpet for international visitors July 19.

Fully vaccinated travelers from non-EU countries, including the US and UK, should not be tested or quarantined. (A 14-day self-quarantine or hotel quarantine still applies to people without valid proof of vaccination or who are arriving from an “emergency brake” country).

Inner Hospitality – and yes, yes, that includes pubs – is slated to reopen by July 23.

4. Two old rivals are back

From 1884 to 1889, the 555-foot-tall Washington Monument – a white stone obelisk in the District of Columbia built to commemorate the first US President George Washington – was the tallest structure in the world.

And then came Gustave Eiffel and his new 984 foot wrought iron tower on the Champs de Mars in Paris. The Eiffel Tower held the title for 41 years, until honor returned to the New World with the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York.

The two iconic structures reopened to the public this week, with the Washington Monument welcoming visitors on Wednesday and the Eiffel Tower resuming operations on Friday.

The ultramodern skyline of Doha, the Qatari capital.

Courtesy of Qatar Tourism

5. Qatar is open to fully vaccinated travelers

Football fans mourn the end of Euro 2020 can be consoled that the host of the next big international tournament, 2022 World Cup in Qatar, has just opened up to fully vaccinated international travelers.
Visitors who completed their Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson shots more than 14 days ago will be able to skip the quarantine but will still need to take a Covid test before travel and get government clearance. Etheraz website.
Once in the country, tourists can explore attractions such as the Northwest Coast “ghost towns”: abandoned 19th century fishing villages showing what life was like before Qatar’s spectacular economic boom, fueled by oil and gas.

6. Vacationing in Caribbean paradise just got a little easier

The swimming pool at Cap Juluca d'Anguilla, a Belmond hotel.

The swimming pool at Cap Juluca d’Anguilla, a Belmond hotel.

Richard James Taylor / Belmond Juluca Cap

The elegant Caribbean islands of Anguilla and Saint Kitts and Nevis have opened their doors to luxury a little further.

Anguilla now allows entry to fully vaccinated visitors – and only fully vaccinated visitors. This means that the doses of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 were topped up at least 21 days before arrival.

Saint Kitts and Nevis has reduced its self-quarantine period – or “Vacation in Place,” as they call it – from nine days to three, with testing on day four. Results should be within 12 hours.

The Cayman Islands, meanwhile, will expand a careful welcome travelers fully vaccinated from September, as part of a five-phase plan. However, cruise ships are not expected to call there until at least January 2022.

7. Thousands of Australians are still stranded abroad

As the rest of the world suffered the lockdown after the lockdown, Australia was one of the success stories of the pandemic. By closing its borders, it was able to largely block the Covid-19.

The price to pay for keeping the virus at bay is that thousands of Australian families have been separated since early 2020. There are around 34,000 stranded Australian citizens who have registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as being stuck in abroad and wanting to return home.

Now that Australia’s limit on international arrivals has been halved to just 3,000 passengers per week by July 14 and air fares have skyrocketed, the outlook is even bleaker. CNN’s Hannah Ritchie reporting.

8. Venice has – once again – banned downtown cruise ships

TOPSHOT - The MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen from the San Maggiore Bell Tower leaving the Venetian Lagoon on June 9, 2019. - Thousands took to the streets of Venice on June 8, 2019, calling for a ban on the great cruise ships in the city following last week's collision between a huge ship and a tourist boat.  (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP) (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP via Getty Images)

The MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen from the San Maggiore Bell Tower in June 2019.

Miguel Medina / AFP via Getty Images

Cruise ships are the ex-bad boy Venice just doesn’t seem to be giving up.

First there was a ban. Then there was a pre-ban. And then – like Dolly Parton “You come back here” – they were back in town until further notice.

Rather than pass in front of Saint Mark’s Square and go up the narrow Giudecca Canal, they will be diverted by the Venetian Lagoon and dock on the mainland, at the industrial port of Marghera.

9. Oil wrestling is back, baby

CNN’s Ivan Watson explores the ancient sport of wrestling that dates back hundreds of years.

Last year’s contest was canceled due to the pandemic, but you can’t hold back the greasy men.

The contestants, dressed only in olive oil and leather pants, fought for three days in hopes of winning the title of Baspehlivani, or chief wrestler. Ali Gurbuz of Antalya retained his title for another year.

CNN’s Alexis Benveniste, Julia Buckley, Silvia Marchetti, Hannah Ritchie and Dimitris Sideridis contributed to this story.

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