With the turn of the new year, we welcome a new President for the United States, along with a feeling of renewed hope and optimism in many ways. But we are keenly aware that we remain deep in the pandemic.
Now there are heightened precautions in place for The Netherlands, including:
- Implementation of a curfew beginning this weekend:
- Restriction of a maximum of one person (per day) visiting another household;
- Suspension of all flights to The Netherlands from the UK, South Africa and South America for one month in order to curtail the mutated virus strain originating from the UK;
- And, stricter testing for entry into The Netherlands.
A mandatory negative Covid test must be taken 72 hours or less prior to arrival in The Netherlands, along with a rapid test taken a maximum of four hours before boarding. These stricter travel requirements have resulted in KLM suspending all long haul flights worldwide beginning today.
The infection, hospitalization and death rates have all been declining over the past two weeks as a result of very tightened restrictions over the holiday period. The vaccination roll-out in The Netherlands has begun, and although its start was delayed, the national plan is being executed smoothly and the expectations are that everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to receive it at least by June.
Meanwhile in Belgium, the country is the first in the European mainland to implement a pre-clearance agreement with the United States. This will allow US-bound passengers departing Brussels to process through US customs and immigration checks before departing Europe, so that passengers may proceed directly to connecting flights or exit the airport upon landing in any US gateway from Brussels.
15% Savings on travel in the US
Another bit of good news for European travelers is the increased strength of the Euro against the US Dollar. About a year ago, the EUR-USD was almost at par (0.96 Eurocent to 1 USD). Lately, the exchange rate was a favorable 0,82 Eurocent to 1 USD. This means a straight savings of 15% on all spending inside the US – accommodations, attractions, food, shopping. The favorable exchange rate, combined with low prices on air travel and flexible terms and conditions on tickets, are incentivizing consumers to book their travel to the US as soon as the borders are open.
Rekindling the passion for travel
We will continue to inform and educate potential travels on the guidelines, rules, regulations, health and safety protocols and the status of re-openings. When the time is right, we can move onto the next phase of the plan – rebuilding consumer confidence and rekindling the passion for travel. Finally after we reach a stable situation, marked by a majority of the population being vaccinated or “herd immunity”, we will collectively inspire, inform and actively promote the open opportunities of travel. Let’s hope we will get there soon, and we look forward to working together with you to rebuild our industry.
For now, please stay safe and stay healthy,