Border Openings Update: International Business Travel Restarts

border reopenings

Countries are reopening their borders like crocuses cautiously poking their noses out of the spring ground. Not everyone is ready yet, and some countries are emerging from their pandemic restrictions more slowly than others. Since June, however, borders that had closed in March of last year have begun to open back up for business travel. border openings

While tourism has not yet resumed in full, international destinations are developing plans to reopen to tourists in the final months of 2021 and at the start of new year. In the meantime, many destinations have been readying, renovating and innovating to prepare for the return of tourism and group travel.

But among the reopened and reopening, each country has its own travel restrictions and requirements. Here’s an update.

Canada

Canada’s borders reopened to vaccinated international travelers in August. The country saw an uptick in Covid cases shortly thereafter, but by the end of September the rate of cases had begun decreasing and has steadily decreased since. New spots for business meetings and events are also opening up across Canada. The Muir, Halifax, a Marriott hotel in Queens Marque on the coast of Nova Scotia, opens this November. It has a total of 2,400 sq. ft. of event space in three sizable rooms, and the location features a waterfront terrace.

Mexico

Mexico’s borders, on the other hand, never closed. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mexico has continued to allow international travel. But Covid cases have declined considerably in Mexico since late August and have stayed on a decided downtrend. Baja California Sur has started to see many visitors, especially in Los Cabos. The Los Cabos Tourism Board’s media contact Andrea Romero explained in an announcement released Oct. 20 that “the destination’s commitment to efforts that support the well-being of the community and visitors have been foundational to its successful recovery and capability to offer a safer travel environment.” Covid-19 health and safety protocols and a successful vaccination program for the community allowed the destination to see a 40 percent upturn this September in international travel compared to September 2019, indicative of a full travel and tourism recovery.

A relatively new arrival to the Cabos San Lucas hotel scene is The Cape, A Thompson Hotel—an alluring event space for business planners that opened in 2015. The property has 25,000 sq. ft. of event space and sits directly where the soft sand of beachfront meets a shallow rocky slope. At 2,155 sq. ft., Glimpse is one of its most impressive meeting rooms, with its clear, expansive ocean view and open-air setting.

MoreIncentive Experience – Mexico

Although the rate of cases is declining, the country has over 1.5 million recorded Covid cases at the moment. Mexico does not require foreign nationals to be vaccinated or have a negative Covid test result to enter the country. So, if you are planning on traveling to Los Cabos or any other part of Mexico, make sure to adhere closely to Covid-safety guidelines as determined by the CDC.

Australia

Bucking the trend, Australia has yet to open its borders. But the country has big plans when reopening comes. Australia’s tourism and hospitality industry has been preparing new travel experiences for visitors that are set to open to the public at different times throughout 2022. Tourism Australia is promoting the nation’s many new hotels, one of which is to open this December—The Tasman. It’s located in central Hobart, Tasmania’s capital. The building has an Art Deco theme throughout and six meeting spaces, as well as an outdoor terrace for business events.

Another hotel that prioritizes spaces for business travelers is the Crystalbrook Kingsley, which had its debut in June in New South Wales. The Crystalbrook also engages in eco-conscious upcycling and recycling.

Australia plans to have its borders open by the start of the new year.

European Union

The U.S. was removed from the European Union’s list of Covid-safe countries for incoming travelers on Aug. 30. For this reason, individual European countries have begun determining their own rules for allowing U.S. nationals to enter. Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden are all closed to U.S. travelers of all types as of this month; however, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland all have opened their borders to vaccinated U.S. nationals.

Belgium accepts unvaccinated travelers, as does Austria, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Ireland, Slovakia and England, but they will be required to quarantine upon arrival. Denmark and Germany may require you to quarantine even as a vaccinated individual traveling for an essential reason.

Saint-Tropez, on the southeastern coast of France, opened a new hotel this July. The Château de La Messardière has 118 guest rooms and 6,997 sq. ft. of meeting space for business travelers. The grand, charming building is surrounded by tall, green trees for 25 acres. The hotel has eight meeting rooms, the largest of which is 2,691 sq. ft., making it an exceptional location for hosting events.

Asia

In Asia, travel restrictions vary by country and region, as do Covid case statistics. China has curbed its swell of Covid cases, but still face over 96,000; Thailand is recovering from an influx of cases that picked up their pace between May and July, with over 1.75 million current cases, yet that rate has been dropping since July. In general, Asia is still difficult for business travelers and nearly impossible for tourists to enter.

China, India and Japan are allowing U.S. nationals to enter with a work or residence visa. Hong Kong, Myanmar and Taiwan are effectively closed to all travelers from the U.S. South Korea is open to U.S. nationals, but only with proof of a negative Covid test result and a quarantine process. Malaysia is planning to fully reopen its borders to foreign visitors Dec. 1.

One of the few locations in Asia available for regular U.S. business travelers and tourists to visit is Phuket Island in Thailand, as of July. Intercontinental Phuket Resort opened in 2019. It has 221 guest rooms, nine meeting rooms and 3,272 sq. ft. of meeting space—and it awaits planners looking to book a business meeting abroad.

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