Vaccines and Travel: What You Need to Know

Proof of vaccination may also be required to board a cruise ship: Royal Caribbean is requiring passengers 16 and older to be vaccinated for the May maiden voyage of Odyssey of the Seas, which will depart from Israel — which is outpacing much of the world in vaccinations — and sail the Mediterrean. Virgin Voyages, Crystal Cruises and other cruise lines have also announced vaccine requirements for all passengers and crew.

The idea of proof of vaccination as a requirement for travel is not new; certain countries require travelers to be vaccinated against yellow fever. The World Health Organization, for its part, has come out against the idea of Covid-19 vaccine certificates to greenlight travel.

“Quite simply, vaccination is just not available enough around the world and is not available certainly on an equitable basis,” said Michael Ryan, the executive director of the W.H.O. Health Emergencies Programme, during a news conference earlier this month.

In short: fewer people, lots of cleaning and, most likely, scaled-back amenities.

The hotel industry got clobbered last year; the latest forecast from the American Hotel & Lodging Association projects that half of domestic hotel rooms will remain empty this year, with sector employment hovering around 500,000 jobs lower than prepandemic levels.

The report also found that 62 percent of consumers consider cleanliness among the top factors when choosing a hotel. Last year, all the major chains and most of the independents introduced sweeping new health-and-safety guidelines, which are still in place today even as business ticks up: enhanced cleaning and disinfection, social distancing, mask mandates and, depending on state and local restrictions, occupancy limits and pared-back services like dining, spas and babysitting. Many hotel companies, including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and IHG, also offer contactless digital check-in and checkout; some have also introduced physical door “seals” — an indication that no one has entered a room since it was last cleaned.

Vacation rental companies have also revised their standards. Airbnb guests and hosts are required to wear masks when interacting in person, and hosts are required to complete a five-step cleaning process — which includes detailed guidelines for how approved disinfectants must be used — between stays.

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