Almost exactly three months ago, the corona crisis had italy firmly in its grip. 14000 deaths and 115 000 infected people put the country in a state of emergency. Dramatic scenes played out in the completely overloaded hospitals. Eyewitnesses report of infected people dying like flies in the corridors.
In front of ingrid wagner now sits a young parchen and books his italy vacation. Seven days in rome, starting at the end of july by plane from munich. The managing director of sonnenklar in kronach.TV travel agencies explain to young people in detail the consequences of a possible cancellation of the trip – so much for the standard of comprehensive professional advice.
At the end, however, she gives you a few valuable tips for traveling in corona times: "take a pair of disposable gloves with you in case you have to wear them on site" and "you are allowed to take disinfectant in a 100-milliliter-bottle in the handpack of the airplane – but disinfectant wipes as many as you want". And then there is also: "spare vacation!"
No towel wars at the pool
For some, this scene may seem bizarre. But wagner confirms: "in the meantime, it’s mainly young people who want to travel to rome, lake garda or the adriatic sea again." for a few weeks now, the 48-year-old has been able to offer such trips to her customers again – and with a clear conscience.
Wagner does not believe that traveling during the summer vacations could have triggered a second corona wave. "The most important thing was that the countries within europe were able to agree on a uniform line, which is why the travel warnings – with a few exceptions – have been lifted in the meantime." hotels are currently only offering a reduced number of rooms and a lot of emphasis is being placed on compliance with hygiene regulations.
Wagner can also take a positive view of these decreases. "You can take a very relaxed vacation at the moment, because there’s simply less going on and people are keeping their distance." the typical towel war at the pool is therefore unlikely this summer. Also the typical buffet is omitted in many facilities until further notice. "This is more staff intensive, but the guests can choose their food and it will be freshly prepared."
But if the destination is not safe, wagner gives a refusal. She has just received an inquiry about a trip to asia. "I clearly stated that I do not recommend such a trip at the moment." now the travel agency owner hopes that the foreign office, punctually to the summer vacations, also the popular travel destinations like turkey, agypt and tunisia earlier than announced again as safe estimates.
Currently, the worldwide travel warning is supposed to be in effect until 31. August are considered. "The countries are in negotiations and the people there are really trying hard", notes wagner. "These are not rich countries. They are naturally dependent on the tourists." so far, however, vacationers are still restrained anyway. "I’m not stupid, we’ll stay at home", kirsten bruckner, for example, responds to the question on our facebook page as to whether the people of kronach are planning a vacation abroad during the summer vacations. Bruckner is apparently not the only one who thinks so. "We stay at home, also writes diana loffler.
Uncertainty after maas statement
The expert believes: "the statement by aubenminister heiko maas ‘there will be no second jerkback action’ has unsettled many vacationers." this is especially evident on arrival. The means of transport decides where we go this year. "Many people who were planning to take a long flight are now driving to hotels in austria, for example, because they are afraid that they will not be able to get home in the event of a serious incident."
But even if you travel by plane, in the event of another corona outbreak in your vacation destination, no one needs to worry about not getting home, according to the travel agency manager. "All major tour operators give a return guarantee or grant special cancellation rights for their package holidaymakers in such a case." the warning of maas was rather directed to individuals who travel to unsafe countries on their own initiative.
But wagner also remembers well the moment of the lockdown in march, when she was faced with the challenge of getting her guests abroad back home again. "The phone has been ringing off the hook. The customers had questions – and i had no answers." their travel agency was closed. But the 48-year-old has been on the phone for weeks, hanging on hold for hours and writing e-mail after e-mail. "It was difficult to reach some organizers – partly until today."
According to wagner, she spent several sleepless nights during this time until she finally knew that all her customers were safe in germany again – at least almost. "An elderly gentleman is still stuck in africa" – and that voluntarily. The senior had already traveled to agypt before the pandemic broke out. When the first traps appeared in germany, wagner offered to organize a return flight for him – but he didn’t want it. "At that time, the virus had not yet been noticed in africa, and he said that he felt safe and wanted to stay there."
At the end of may his regular flight home would have gone – but it was canceled due to corona. "In the meantime, he would gladly come back to germany. I am now trying to organize a flight."
But these were not the only challenges. Every day dozens of mails with new regulations and travel changes from tour operators had arrived. "Then i had to check each time if this affects one of my customers."
Corona has also left its mark on wagner financially. She runs her travel agency since 2016 and had expected a good year. "But we keep getting notifications that another trip has been cancelled. I had to pay back commissions for travel that I had already earned last fall." wagner had to part with her two employees with a heavy heart.
"The virus will certainly continue to affect us throughout the year", the 48-year-old believes and hopes that the situation will continue to ease and that one or two vacationers will lose their shyness in time for the summer vacations. Even though the past few months have shown that you don’t have to travel far to be close to true happiness, the latin church teacher aurelius augustinus already knew centuries before the birth of christ: "the world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read one page"."
Traveling in corona times: that’s allowed
EU member states
The foreign office has now lifted the warnings for travel to the member states of the european union as well as to the schengen-associated states (iceland, liechtenstein, switzerland) and to the united kingdom, northern ireland, andorra, monaco, san marino and the vatican state. Specific travel advice applies to these countries.
For finland, norway and sweden the lifting of the travel warning is delayed. Travel to great britain, ireland and malta is currently still not advised.
As things stand, a worldwide travel warning is in effect for all other countries until 31 december. August 2020.
As many ports are not yet open for cruises, there are not so many trips taking place at the moment.