Month: June 2020

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Maldives will re-open for international tourists on 15th July 2020

Maldives will re-open for international tourists on 15th July 2020

His Excellency President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Republic of Maldives announced that Maldives will re-open its borders for international tourists on 15th July 2020. Resorts, Liveaboards and hotels located at uninhabited islands will be open from 15th of July 2020. Guest Houses and hotels located at inhabited islands will be open from 1st August 2020.

Mr. Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) shared this good news and welcome Malaysian to visit the sunny side of life during his interview with BERNAMA TV today at noon in Mid – Day Update Segment.

Maldives relies heavily on the tourism industry as it accounts for the largest foreign exchange earnings, making it the biggest economic contributor in the country. However, it has come to a standstill due to the stringent public health measures taken to curb COVID-19. The tourism industry has been gearing up to restart; it is set to resume in compliance to protective measures, taking into account the safety of tourists and staff working in the industry.

The guidelines for re-opening the tourism sector, “Public Health Interventions to Prevent COVID-19 Transmission in the Tourism Sector”, was also released by the Ministry of Tourism giving comprehensive information for all sectors across the tourism industry on their standard operating procedures, as well as important information to tourists.

According to the guidelines, tourists are not required to pay an additional fee, produce a certificate or test result indicative of negative status for COVID-19 prior to entry into Maldives. For tourists without symptoms, there is no requirement for quarantine either. The guideline will be periodically reviewed based on further developments.

Before your travel to Maldives
• Travellers who have a history of contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID- 19 within the past 14 days and persons who have fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, shortness of breath within the past 14 days are advised not to travel to Maldives.
• Regular official updates on travel to the Maldives re provided on the websites of the Ministry of Tourism ( ) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ( ) of the Maldives.
• A confirmed booking in a tourist establishment registered with the Ministry of Tourism, prior to travelling is mandatory.
• Tourist resorts, liveaboard vessels and hotels located on uninhabited islands are open for bookings starting from July 15th, 2020.
• Guest houses and hotels located on inhabited islands will open for bookings starting from 1st August, 2020.

•However, guest houses and hotels located on inhabited islands will be allowed to accommodate transiting passengers waiting for domestic transfers under special permits. Transit arrangements can be made through the primary facility where the stay is booked.
• Tourists are advised to directly check offers and operational status with the preferred tourist establishments on their websites and mobile applications.
• Tourists who are visiting Maldives during phase 1 of opening shall book their entire stay in one registered establishment. Stays at multiple resorts and hotels are not permitted during this period. However, exemptions will be made for transit arrangements.

During your flight
• All passengers should submit a health declaration card upon arrival, completed onboard the aircraft.
• As per border health and aviation procedure, if a passenger has fever, cough or shortness of breath on board the flight it should be informed to the Health Protection Agency.

Arrival at the airport
• Tourists travelling to Maldives will be provided a free 30-day tourist visa on arrival.
• A health declaration card will be required as part of the on-arrival procedure.
• All arriving passengers should wear masks
• Physical distancing should be ensured.
• Hand sanitization at entry to the arrival terminal.
• All arriving passengers must undergo thermal screening at entry.
• Tourists will not be subject to any quarantine measures upon arrival to the Maldives.
• Tourists will not be required to submit any medical test results for entry to the Maldives.
However, travellers presenting with symptoms of Covid-19 upon arrival will be subject to a PCR test at the traveller’s cost. The tourist will be sent to a designated facility for isolation. Isolation will be done at a designated transit facility or at the tourists’ destination resort (depending on the resort policy). If the result of the PCR test is positive, the tourist may continue isolation at the resort or will be transferred to a designated state-run isolation facility. If the result of the PCR test is negative, the tourist will be released from isolation. In the case of negative PCR test in a tourist who is isolated temporarily at a transit facility, he/she will be released from isolation and may travel to the destination resort. Although released from isolation, a symptomatic tourist will have to follow restrictions on attending public places such as restaurants until the symptoms resolve.
• Contact tracing should be done for the symptomatic patient to identify passengers who were close contacts during the flight and during the journey. Contacts who are tourists can be quarantined in their destination resorts until the PCR test result of the patient is known.  Contacts will be released from quarantine if the patients’ PCR test is negative.
• On arrival, if any tourist gives history of contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within 14 days prior to arrival (as per passenger health declaration card), the tourist must be examined by the doctor at the airport clinic.

If the person is asymptomatic, he/she will require to be quarantined. If the person is symptomatic, a sample should be taken for PCR for COVID-19 and the patient should be sent to a designated facility for isolation.
• Installing the contact tracing app “TraceEkee” is encouraged for all tourists.
• Additionally, local health authorities may conduct random testing at no cost to travellers.
• Mandatory restrictions on travel within Maldives for tourists during the COVID-19 pandemic: Tourists should observe the existing Health Protection Agency (HPA) rules and regulations on restrictions on inter island travel. The Ministry of Tourism should continuously update and inform the tourist establishments regarding the travel restrictions imposed by HPA.
• Requirement for tourists to inform the resort if he/she tests positive for COVID-19 upon return from Maldives: All tourists should inform the resort if they test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of departure from the resort.

At departure from your place of stay
• Tourists will have to undergo an exit screening prior to departure from the place of stay.
• The exit screening questionnaire should document any history of fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath within the prior 14 days. It should be ensured that the guest is not under quarantine or isolation. Temperature should be checked to exclude fever.
• Routine testing for COVID-19 is not required prior to departure, however during exit screening if any tourist is found to have fever or symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 within the prior 14 days, they should undergo PCR testing for COVID-19.
• Testing services are available in the Maldives for tourists who require Covid-19 test results to return to their countries of origin or another destination.

Maldives is an island nation made up of 1,190 coral islands strewn across the equator. It is a world-class holiday destination well-known for its unique one-island-one-resort concept. Only tourists and staff are accommodated on these resorts, far away from the hustle and bustle of other islands. Along with the pristine natural beauty surrounding the resorts, privacy and seclusion are the epitome of what makes it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world. We look forward to welcoming you to the sunny side of life once again.

United Airlines Strengthens Onboard Mask Policy to Further Protect Passengers and Employees Against COVID-19 Spread

United Airlines Strengthens Onboard Mask Policy to Further Protect Passengers and Employees Against COVID-19 Spread

United Airlines announced today that, along with other Airlines for America (A4A) members, it will strengthen mandatory mask policies to further mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 and help continue to keep passengers and crew safe. While the overwhelming majority of passengers are complying with United's mandatory policy, starting on June 18, any passenger that does not comply when onboard a United flight will be placed on an internal travel restriction list. Customers on this list will lose their travel privileges on United for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review.

United currently requires all passengers to wear a face covering onboard its flights and expects that policy to remain in place for at least the next 60 days. The only exceptions to this policy are individuals who have a medical condition or a disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering, those who cannot put on or remove a face covering themselves and small children. Customers are expected to wear a mask for the duration of the flight, except when eating or drinking.

"Every reputable heath institution says wearing a mask is one of the most effective things people can do to protect others from contracting COVID-19, especially in places like an aircraft where social distancing is a challenge," said United's Chief Customer Officer, Toby Enqvist. "We have been requiring our customers to wear masks onboard United aircraft since May 4 and we have been pleased that the overwhelming majority of passengers readily comply with our policy. Today's announcement is an unmistakable signal that we're prepared to take serious steps, if necessary, to protect our customers and crew."

Under this new policy, if a flight attendant notices or is informed of a customer onboard who is not wearing a face covering and that passenger does not fall within an exception, the flight attendant will proactively inform the customer that for the health and safety of everyone, face coverings are mandatory for all customers and crew on board. They will also offer to provide the customer with a mask if needed. If the customer continues to be non-compliant, flight attendants will do their best to de-escalate the situation, again inform the customer of United's policy, and provide the passenger with an In-Flight Mask policy reminder card. If a customer continues to not comply, the flight attendant will file a report of the incident, which will initiate a formal review process. Any final decision or actions regarding a customer's future flight benefits will not occur onboard but instead take place after the flight has reached its destination and the security team has investigated the incident.

"U.S. airlines are very serious about requiring face coverings on their flights. Carriers are stepping up enforcement of face coverings and implementing substantial consequences for those who do not comply with the rules," said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. "Face coverings are one of several public health measures recommended by the CDC as an important layer of protection for passengers and customer-facing employees."

In April, United became the first major U.S.-based airline to require flight attendants to wear a face mask while on duty, and beginning in May, expanded that mandate to include all employees and customers on board. This includes front-line workers like pilots, customer service agents and ramp workers when on board an aircraft, along with any other United employees traveling using their flight benefits.

"Wearing a mask is a critical part of helping make air travel safer," said Dr. James Merlino, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Cleveland Clinic. "The more people in a given space wearing masks, the fewer viral particles are making it into the space around them, decreasing exposure and risk."

The airline's mask policy is an important part of the United CleanPlus program, which brings together one of the most trusted brands in surface disinfection - Clorox - and the country's top medical experts - Cleveland Clinic - to inform and guide United's new cleaning, safety and social distancing protocols. As part of this program, United is taking a layered approach to help protect passengers and employees on board. In addition to requiring masks, United Airlines planes have HEPA grade filters that recirculate air every 2-3 minutes, and the airline is using electrostatic sprayers to disinfect the cabin before flights.

In addition to the onboard actions, United has implemented dozens of other new procedures at other points in the travel journey including offering touchless check-in for baggage at more than 200 locations, asking customers to complete a health assessment at check-in, installing sneeze guards and adjusting the boarding process. 


“Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” is open for applications from tomorrow for progressive resumption of tourism activities

“Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” is open for applications from tomorrow for progressive resumption of tourism activities

A local tour project entitled “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” is officially launched on 17 June. Macao residents can sign up for local tours scheduled between 22 June and 30 September at the outlets of all travel agencies under the umbrella of the project. Each participant will be subsidized 280 patacas per tour participation, and is entitled to a maximal subsidy of 560 patacas granted by the project. The Macao Special Administrative Region Government hopes that the project “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” can lead to progressive resumption of tourism activities in Macao in parallel with the city’s scheme for economic recovery.

The project “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” is coordinated by Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), sponsored by the Macao Foundation, and undertaken by a Task Force formed by Macau Travel Agency Association, Association of Macao Tourist Agents and Travel Industry Council of Macau. The Task Force takes charge of project management as well as procurement, product development, pricing and quality management, among other tasks. During implementation of the project, the Task Force coordinates with various travel agencies for their provision of resources such as coaches, drivers and tour guides, as well as arrangements for catering and tourist attractions, etc.

At present, the project “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” covers a total of 15 itineraries in two categories, namely “Community-based Tours” (six itineraries) and “Leisure Tours” (nine itineraries). The tour fees cover sightseeing, catering, tour guide service, insurance and so forth. The project is tailored to provide residents with economical travel plans and opportunities to get familiarized with the latest development of the local communities and tourism products.

To support small and medium-sized enterprises in Macao, holders of Macao SAR Permanent Resident Identity Card or Macao SAR Non-Permanent Resident Identity Card can opt for either “Community-based Tours” or “Leisure Tours” upon their first participation. For second participation, they are to choose tour itineraries under the other category. For each of the first and second tours joined, each participant will be subsidized 280 patacas. After completion of both tours, residents can still join other tours under either category at full price at their own expense. In addition, to cater for participants with special needs, community organizations, schools and other institutions are welcome to contact the Task Force for coordination of tour application. For enquiry and application, please contact travel agencies under the umbrella of the project “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” via email:

MGTO has established a specific monitoring mechanism to ensure appropriate use of public funds and prevent irregularities. The Office will collect relevant data about this project to assess its effectiveness, which will serve as reference for formulation of tourism promotional strategies and tour route design in the future.


Alitalia will resume flights in July 2020 to 37 destinations

Alitalia will resume flights in July 2020 to 37 destinations

Alitalia will operate in July over 1,000 weekly flights to 37 destinations
Number of flights and seats increased by 60% compared to June; the
Airline is resuming international services from Milan

Alitalia will increase number of flights and destinations served in July. During the month, the Airline will operate over 1,000 weekly flights reaching 13 new domestic and international airports: Amsterdam, Athens, Boston, Malta, Nice, Tel Aviv, Tirana, Tunis and in Italy Brindisi, Florence, Lampedusa, Pantelleria and Reggio Calabria.

Alitalia will operate 60% more flights compared to June and l double number of services compared to May. Alitalia aircraft will fly on 52 routes (22 more than June) to 37 airports, including 19 in Italy and 18 abroad. Seats offered in July will grow by 60% compared to the previous month.

The Alitalia flight schedule in July will mainly include the reopening of international air services from Milan and the increase of international flights from Rome, as well as the increase of services from Northern Italy to Southern Italy and the Italian islands.

In detail, Alitalia will resume flights from Rome Fiumicino to Athens (2 flights per day, from 1 July), Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Tunis (10 flights per week with each of the three airports, from 1 July), Nice and Tirana (6 flights per week for each airport, from 1 July), Malta (6 flights per week, from 2 July), Boston (6 flights per week, from 16 July), Brindisi (2 flights per day, from 1 July), Florence (2 flights per day from 1 July, replacing the services to Pisa), Reggio Calabria (2 flights per day, from 1 July), Lampedusa and Pantelleria (4 flights per week with each of the two airports, summer seasonal services from 4 July).

Alitalia will also increase from 1 July the number of air services from Rome Fiumicino airport to Barcelona and Madrid (from 6 flights per week to 2 per day for each airport), Paris (from 20 flights per week to 4 per day), London (from 4 to 6 flights per day), Milan (from 8 to 10 flights per day), Bologna, Lamezia Terme, Turin and Venice (from 2 to 4 flights per day for each of the four airports). The Airline has already planned to increase, beginning from 15 June, the number of services from Rome to Catania and Palermo (from 8 to 10 flights per day with each of the two airports) and to Cagliari (from 6 to 8 daily flights).

From Milan Malpensa airport, where the Airline will carry on its operations until the reopening of Linate airport, Alitalia will resume international services to London, Paris, Amsterdam (2 flights per day with each of the three airports, from 1 July), Brussels (12 flights per week, from 1 July) and domestic services to Brindisi, Lamezia Terme, Naples, Reggio Calabria (2 flights per day with each airport), Pantelleria and Lampedusa (2 flights per week with each of the two airports, summer seasonal services which will start, respectively, from 4 and 5 July).

Furthermore, the Airline has already planned to increase, beginning from today, the number of flights from Milan to Cagliari (from 4 to 6 daily flights) and to double services, from 13 June, to Catania and Palermo (from 2 to 4 flights per day with each of the two airports).

Overall, with about 750 weekly flights Alitalia will connect its hub in Rome Fiumicino airport with 36 domestic and international destinations (Alghero, Bologna, Bari, Brindisi, Cagliari, Catania, Florence, Genoa, Lamezia Terme, Lampedusa, Milan, Naples, Olbia, Palermo, Pantelleria, Reggio Calabria, Turin, Venice and, abroad, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Boston, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneve, London, Madrid, Malta, Munich, New York, Nice, Paris, Tel Aviv, Tirana, Tunis and Zurich).

From Milan, Alitalia will serve 17 domestic and international destinations (Alghero, Bari, Brindisi, Cagliari, Catania, Lamezia Terme, Lampedusa, Naples, Olbia, Palermo, Pantelleria, Reggio Calabria, Rome and, abroad, Amsterdam, Brussels, London and Paris) with over 350 weekly flights.

All passenger flights are operated with reduced aircraft capacity, in order to comply with the provisions of the Italian law on social distancing on board aircraft. Alitalia’s aircraft are sanitized with high-powered sanitizing products every day and, thanks to HEPA filters and vertical circulation, the air on board is 99.7% pure, just like in a sterile medical room.

Europcar: A New Partnership To Consolidate Hygiene And Sanitary Measures For Stations & Vehicles Fleet

Europcar: A New Partnership To Consolidate Hygiene And Sanitary Measures For Stations & Vehicles Fleet

Europcar Mobility Group and Bureau Veritas announce today they have signed a business partnership for the entire Europcar Mobility Group's corporate network, to ensure that the company’s facilities and vehicles comply with Health Authorities’ safety recommendations and follow best-in-class cleaning standards and protocols.

Bureau Veritas, a global leader in testing, inspection and certification services, will provide Europcar Mobility Group, a major player in mobility markets, with support across its operations.

“As we were actively preparing for the full restart of our activities, anticipating the progressive lift of lockdowns and travel restrictions that the world is currently going through, we decided, as the European leader, to design and implement a highly demanding “Safety Program”. This provides material evidence of our commitment that safety is our #1 priority for our employees and our customers. Thanks to this partnership with Bureau Veritas, we will ensure that we flawlessly deliver this promise, so that you can book and travel with us in full confidence.” declares Olivier BALDASSARI, Group Countries & Operations Director, member of the Management Board of Europcar Mobility Group.

“We are proud to stand by Europcar Mobility Group in order to help them make a difference and demonstrate they are fully prepared to serve their clients in a healthy and safe environment. By leveraging our 200 years expertise in conformity assessment and certification, Bureau Veritas is committed to support all sectors of the economy to cope with this “New Normal”. Our teams around the world are engaged to help our clients in addressing society’s new expectations in terms of health, hygiene and safety as well as transparency” explains Didier MICHAUD-DANIEL, Chief Executive Officer of Bureau Veritas.

The partnership covers operations across 14 countries and relies on two main axes:

  • Assess and challenge Europcar Mobility Group guidelines and processes, to ensure safety for customers and employees, in line with local regulations and scientific recommendations.
  • Support the deployment of best-in-class sanitary protocols in Europcar Mobility Group’s corporate geographies.