While European countries are still building on/off relationships with their neighbours and green, orange and red have become the new colours on our travel compass, there is light at the end of the tunnel. And for this we have to look to the Orient.
China, where the Covid-19 virus was first identified, has been sending out a number of encouraging signals. Meanwhile the Chinese have the Covid-19 outbreak under control - with the exception of the odd cluster - with negligible figures in terms of new infections, hospital admissions and deaths.
This translates into a slight economic revival, increasing air traffic and a phased reopening of its borders.
Unfortunately our media still prefer to focus on negative and gloomy news coverage, which is starting to make travel seem like a utopian dream. However, we should have the courage to look beyond that coverage and also keep sight of the rays of hope, however small they may be.
Fully recovered domestic aviation market
China’s domestic aviation market will be back to its old self by early September. This is predicted by ForwardKeys, a research agency that monitors travel patterns by analysing millions of reservations every single day.
In August domestic arrivals at Chinese airports had already climbed to 86% of their former level. More even, with 98% the number of bookings is almost back to the pre-Covid situation. Consequently expectations are that air travel within China will continue to grow in the course of September.
Resumption of international flights
China will gradually start to resume international flights to Beijing. Since March and apart from a few exceptions, only Chinese citizens had been allowed to enter the country. As of the start of September, flight connections to Thailand, Cambodia, Pakistan, Greece, Denmark, Austria, Sweden and Canada have been restored. Before their departure for China, passengers will have to produce a negative Covid-19 test and stringent health measures are in place, including quarantine, but this is still the start of a phased reopening of China’s borders.
Even more good news
And there’s even more good news to be had in the east. For instance, KLM resumed air operations to Taiwan on 1 September. Emirates has started flying between Dubai and Bangkok again. Vietnam is also starting to unlock its borders with four return flights per week to Japan and South Korea in the initial phase.
So let’s end this week - which was once again completely overshadowed by the tightened travel advisories to countries such as France and Spain - on a positive note. There’s hope in the east!