IIf you thought 2021 was complex, prepare for 2022. As the travel industry is optimistic about the freedoms afforded by Covid-19 vaccines and as more destinations open up to vacationers, there will be always new documents, new buzzwords and new scenarios to be expected.
Here’s what to look out for on your vacation in the coming year.
Prepare to hold up this vaccination record with pride – an increasing number of destinations require you to present full proof of vaccination in order to enter the country or its inland sites. Sounds simple to most adults, but trickier for family vacations – while 82% of over 12s have now been doubly vaccinated in the UK, most of those under 12 have not. have not done.
Yet several countries already effectively ban unstung children from indoors, with strict rules regarding proof of full vaccination. Some – like France and Germany – only apply the rule over the age of 12, but New York recently implemented rules for children as young as five. Regardless of the new variations and the increase in cases, vaccine passports seem to be a part of everyday travel. Austria is trying to help families enjoy normal travel with their Holiday Ninja Pass, a record of frequent Covid tests that can be used by teens and children while traveling – albeit at the time of writing , all except those with a recall must currently quarantine upon entry into Austria. Enter our next hot topic …
Forget about double shots – getting ‘boosted’ will be the new must-have status for vacationers in 2022. Just months after the first vaccines were approved, researchers were drawing conclusions about how long they provide effective protection, most of them conclusive that immunity wanes about five to nine months after your second jab. Hence the mega-deployment of booster injections in the UK as the first shot crossed the five or six month line. As the travel industry learns to live with Covid-19, boosters will be increasingly vital for overseas travel.
Some countries already insist that you must have received a “final” dose of vaccine within the past nine months to enter – Austria and Croatia each have 270-day “expiration dates” on evidence. complete vaccination. Elsewhere, the EU recently voted to cap the validity of vaccine passports at nine months, meaning you’ll need a reminder after that date to keep your NHS Covid Pass (or similar) valid across Europe. ; and France has already insisted that those over 65 receive a reminder so that proof of vaccination is considered valid when traveling.
You might have thought that post-Brexit rule changes (like the need to have your passport stamped when entering and leaving the EU) would have been completed by 2021. But the Etias system will be the next thing. to come – this is the European Travel Information and Authorization Scheme. From an unconfirmed “end of 2022” date, travelers from the UK will need to pre-register their details and pay â¬ 7 to access all Schengen countries in Europe.
Rather than a visa, Europe claims Etias is “a pre-travel authorization system for visa-exempt travelers” – a concept similar to the US Esta and the Canadian eTA.
Elsewhere, the EU’s long-planned Entry / Exit System (EES) will also enter into force from 2022, with the collection of facial and fingerprint biometric data from every non-EU visitor to the EU. European Schengen area. Industry experts including The independentSimon Calder of Simon Calder predicted chaos for those arriving by road, rail or ferry, without an electronic gate system or equivalent in place for these travelers.
With long-stay visas for European countries proving difficult for British travelers in 2021 – Britons cannot stay longer than 90 days in a 180-day period – there is hope on the horizon when it is about visiting specific countries within the EU. Portugal, Spain, Malta and Greece are all expected to cooperate with frequent UK visitors and secondary residents by creating easier or cheaper visas for stays longer than three months.
Finally, beware of rising roaming costs from your mobile network provider – until January 2021, phone users could mainly use their phones across the EU without adding to their mobile tariffs. After Brexit, Three, EE and Vodafone all announced plans to start charging customers extra for the privilege – EE changes come in from January, while Three adds a fixed fee for European usage to from May. The Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man will be exempt from the new taxes.
The ability to filter out certain types of tourists and reopen to visitors in phases means some countries may start to become more exclusive – and not just to unvaccinated travelers. A Bali tourism minister made waves in September when he said the island would aim for “quality tourism” and suggested that backpackers would not be allowed at first. The minister quickly corrected his wording, but many countries, from Vietnam to New Zealand, are implementing gradual reopenings that start with certain nationalities or visa holders before opening up to the rest of the world.
Other popular vacation spots have used the general tourism collapse caused by the pandemic’s border closures to question who should be allowed to return once travel resumes, and how it could be managed. Venice – which has suffered from the effects of overtourism for years – is expected to introduce visitor fees, an online reservation system and even theme park-style turnstiles from next year, in order to control the number of tourists allowed to enter. Months released a ‘roadmap’ on how tourism could restart once global Covid cases decline, suggesting that a ‘new normal’ may not be reached until 2024.
Last minute getaways and “trip stacking”
If we’ve learned anything from the emergence of the Omicron variant, it’s that travel rules can change in the blink of an eye. It will have shaken the faith of many travel fans who envisioned the industry’s recovery as a steady upward trajectory, rather than two steps forward, one step back. More flexibility on moving or changing bookings has been a blessing in the pandemic era, with many other travelers trusting tour operators as the safest way to book travel.
It therefore seems likely that more travelers will wait to book closer to their planned travel dates, in order to have a clearer picture of the travel landscape at this point. In terms of advance bookings, a more preferred trend is âtrip stackingâ – booking two trips for the same period in the hope that at least one of them can come true.