Coronavirus has utterly disrupted many industries and economies across the planet. Estimations say that the virus could cost the world up to $8.8 trillion, that’s $8,800,000,000,000 or almost 10% of the world’s economic output.
The virus has been particularly tough on the travel industry. Obviously, you can’t travel much when countries and airports are shut down. To combat this large loss of money flow, many countries are offering interesting incentives to try and convince people to visit them once COVID-19 allows for international travel once again. After researching all of these claims, I have identified the best five for you to check out, and perhaps start planning your future travels.
Cancún, Mexico, a very popular tourist destination and the home of the Cancún Underwater Museum, is offering a two-for-one program. According to Mexican Media, once the virus will allow for it, the Cancún Hotel Association (AHCP) are implementing “Come to Cancún X2” and “pay 1 and get 2 packages”.
The programs will offer packages such as; two free nights for every two paid nights, plane ticket refund if traveling with a companion, and might add social media contests that will equate to free stays in the area for life. Of course, all of this is dependent upon travel restrictions, local laws, and the state of the virus itself. Still, free vacations for life is a contest I would definitely not want to miss.
While Bulgaria won’t be putting money into your pockets via refunds or reimbursements, they will be opening many tourist destination up for free.
Beach access, umbrellas and sun beds will be completely free of charge at 17 of Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast beaches including Kavatsi South, Kavatsi North, Elenite, International Youth Centre Primorsko, Tsarevo Central, Aheloi and Obzor South.
Other beaches throughout the country will instead be lowering their prices. Interestingly, all beach concession must, by law, reduce their prices by 50% on accessories, or face a 50,000 Leva ($28,704 USD) fine. While not as nice as free travel, free destinations and cheap goodies make any trip more enjoyable.
Ok, this ones a little different. Cyprus, in an attempt to reassure tourists visiting, are promising to take care of anyone that catches the virus for free.
The Associated Press reports that the Cyprus government will provide free lodging, food, drink and medication for anybody that catches Coronavirus while in the country, as well as their family. They are dedicating a hospital that will exclusively care for tourists with the virus, and adding a “quarantine-hotel”. Anybody that visits the country will have their temperature taken on arrival. While travel to any destination may be dangerous right now, at least Cyprus is offering a bit of reassurance.
Similar to Cyprus, instead of offering free or reduced prices , Uzbekistan is offering some peace of mind.
Anyone who gets infected while visiting the country will be given $3,000 to help with safety, care and medicine. They have estimated that this would be the price to cover all necessary treatment.
The government is very satisfied with their efforts to control the virus and are confident people can visit safely, which is why they are implementing this program. There are stipulations, however. You must have booked your stay with a local travel agent, and the country is currently only open to people living in a handful of places including China, Israel, Japan and South Korea.
Sicily went immediately viral when they announced their plans to covering the costs of many incoming tourists.
The island in Italy will put over $56 million USD towards bringing back international tourism. They plan to cover half of the flight of each tourist, and cover every 4th night of stay (you pay for three nights, they’ll pay for one).
They are also considering waving fees on many popular museums, archeological sites, and tourism destinations. Italy’s economy largely depends on tourism, and Sicily is hoping this can help things get back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible.
Many other countries are offering domestic or “stay at home” incentives, attempting to boost internal tourism without bringing in foreigners, or a higher risk of spreading the virus. These countries currently include Japan, Switzerland and the UK. Portugal and Iceland are offering free testing to anyone that visits once travel opens back up.
Many countries are adapting their policies based on the ever-changing situation. Stay tuned and pay attention to media for changes, and most importantly, stay safe.