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Pack, pray, fly in the new normal

Sujoy Dhar gives a lowdown of how some places worldwide are gearing up to receive you once flights resume
Last Updated : 05 September 2020, 19:15 IST

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According to UNWTO (the world tourism agency of the UN), tourism needs to thrive, and this means that travel restrictions must be eased or lifted in a timely and responsible manner. It also means that policy decisions need to be coordinated across borders to face up to a challenge which does not care about borders!

Airlines, hotels and tourism boards across the world are impatient to open up, welcome tourists and assure safety protocols. Let us take a peek at the few options for you once India is ready to normalise flight operations and travel restrictions are eased. Well, as of now India has extended its ban on international flights till Sept 30.

Sri Lanka is closer home

Sri Lanka is often hailed as the Island of Paradise in the Indian Ocean. And it is ready to welcome you. Well, but we cannot go till flights become normal.

Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism, says: “The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has put in place all precautions recommended by global health and travel authorities to re-open the country to tourists.”

Sri Lanka offers a diverse range of attractions from pristine beaches to lush green mountains and is known as an island that offers ‘unmissable experiences’.

Confluence of Asia & Europe

Turkey usually welcomes millions of tourists from all over the world every year. Hit by the pandemic like the rest of the world, it has now launched the ‘Safe Tourism Certification’ programme to ensure a safe vacation for tourists this season. Turkey received thousands of applications from hotels, restaurants and transportation companies upon the launch of the programme and the number of certified facilities is now over 2,000.

So travel corridors continue to be reopened with many countries, including primarily with the UK, Germany and Russia. Indians perhaps have to wait a little more.

And here is a recommendation: beyond Istanbul, the Bosporus and Cappadocia of its hot air balloon, you can explore a place like Konya, the land of Rumi.

Finnish Lapland anyone?

No, the pandemic did not spare the hometown of Santa Claus, Rovaniemi, in the heart of Lapland. But there is no reason why you should not use this restricted travel phase to plan for a trip in the future.

Rovaniemi, part of Finnish Lapland, is situated right on the Arctic Circle. It is also the place to enjoy the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis, the mysterious lights on glittering snowdrifts or catch the Midnight Sun — also known as the nightless night or polar day.

Montreal calling

‘Summer is in full swing in Montréal. Let’s play!’ screamed the banner campaign of Tourisme Montréal, telling people that this vibrant Canadian city is ready to welcome travellers in the new normal phase.

So next when you visit, grab your bike (or rent one) and explore a neighbourhood on two wheels, preferably on a guided tour.

The news for Indians is: Canada is readying itself to woo Indian tourists next summer. The long wait, for now, is for India to overcome the challenges posed by Covid-19.

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Published 05 September 2020, 19:07 IST

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