CWT and Serko enter global agreement

Serko has signed an agreement with travel management company CWT to offer Serko’s Zeno booking platform as a “globally preferred” tool, Serko announced.

CWT already had a reseller agreement with Zeno, last renewed in February 2019 that expanded availability to CWT clients in the U.S. and Canada, expanding on previous availability in Australia and New Zealand, and added hotel content from CWT’s RoomIt platform for their mutual clients. That agreement was due for renewal next month.

Now, as a globally preferred booking platform, Zeno is “one of a limited number of platforms [CWT] will support,” and is integrated to CWT’s various service centres around the world, Serko CEO and cofounder Darrin Grafton said in an earnings call on Wednesday. The two companies are working together to create “a consumer-grade booking experience” with Zeno available within the myCWT platform, according to Serko.

The first global launch customer for the partnership, which Grafton identified in the earnings call as Visa, is now live on Zeno in 27 countries in North and South America as well as the Asia-Pacific region. Visa previously had used GetThere as its booking tool, BTN Europe sister publication The Beat reported.

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Act now to enter the 2022 Magellan Awards: Travel Weekly

Travel Weekly is calling for entries for the annual Magellan Awards. Each year the Magellan Awards recognize industry innovators and creative communicators, suppliers and travel advisors for outstanding design, marketing and services.

Awards are given in a broad range of industry segments: Airlines/Airports, Cruise Lines, Destinations, Ground Transportation, Hospitality, Online Travel Services, Tour Operators, Travel Advisors and Travel Agencies.

And within those segments, categories have been added this year to honor industry efforts in areas such as sustainability; diversity/equity/inclusion; travel-with-a-purpose promotions; culinary/cuisine; giving-back initiatives; solo travelers; co-op travel agency campaigns and more.

The Magellan Awards are judged by a one-of-a-kind panel of top travel professionals, representing some of the most accomplished leaders in the industry.

In determining winners, entries do not compete with one another; instead they are judged against a standard of excellence. To uphold this standard of excellence, a category may have multiple winners or may have no winners at all.

See our Magellan Awards page for more information and to enter.

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Travel Industry, Airlines Urge End to COVID Testing to Enter U.S | Top News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Major U.S. airlines, business and travel groups and other companies urged the White House on Thursday to abandon COVID-19 pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated international passengers traveling to the United States.

“Given the slow economic recovery of the business and international travel sectors, and in light of medical advancements and the improved public health metrics in the U.S., we encourage you to immediately remove the inbound testing requirement for vaccinated air travelers,” said the letter signed by American Airlines, Carnival Corp, Marriott International, Walt Disney Co’s Disney Parks, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Travel Association and others.

Airline executives say many Americans are not traveling internationally because of concerns they will test positive and be stranded abroad.

The letter to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Ashish Jha said “the economic costs associated with maintaining the measure are significant,” saying international travel spending is down 78% compared with 2019 levels.

The letter noted many foreign governments “with similar infection, vaccination and hospitalization rates—including

the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada—have eliminated pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated travelers.”

The letter noted that the Biden administration does not require negative tests for entry at land-border ports of entry with Canada and Mexico but only for air travelers.

The White House did not immediately comment.

On April 18, a federal judge declared the 14-month-old transportation mask mandate unlawful and the Biden administration quickly stopped enforcing the rules on airplanes and in transit hubs like airports.

In December, the Biden administration imposed tougher new rules requiring international air travelers arriving in the United States to obtain a negative COVID-19 test within one day of travel.

Under prior rules, vaccinated international air travelers could present a negative test result obtained within three days of their day of departure.

(Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Franklin Paul and Marguerita Choy)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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Czech Republic travel update: Indian travellers can enter the country without many restrictions,

Czech Republic travel update: Indian travellers can enter the country without many restrictions

The Czech Republic has become the latest European Nation to ease travel restrictions for international travellers. Now that tourism is opening internatally, Indians are eager to travel the world. The country has removed quarantine requirements for travellers. Also, the nation is not asking for proof of illness or vaccination.

All the shops are reopened without any restrictions on operating hours. The cultural and sporting events, concerts, theatres are also ready to function and hotels are waiting to welcome travellers. The country has reopened all its museums, galleries, monuments and zoos, among others at full capacity.

There’s just one obligation to enter the country which is filling up a passenger locator form.

Entry requirements for fully vaxxed Indians:

Fully vaxxed travellers can enter Czech Republic with an EU digital COVID certificate valid for 14–270 days after the completion of the second vaccination dose (Covishield). Else, you’ll be counted as non-vaccinated and will have to carry a negative PCR test report not older than 72 hours. After entering the country, you’ll have to get another PCR test done within 5 to 7 days after arrival.

Entry requirements for unvaccinated India travellers:

Unvaccinated travellers can also enter the country showing a fully filled passenger locator form along with a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours. They’ll also need to do a test between the 5-7 day after entering the country.

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Czech Republic travel update: Indian travellers can enter the country without many restrictions – Times of India

Czech Republic travel update: Indian travellers can enter the country without many restrictions  Times of India

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‘Enter Italy From USA’ Searches Soar 1,300% as Travel Restrictions Ease

Since Italy relaxed entry restrictions for travelers originating outside the European Union on March 1, the travel experts at comparison site Next Vacay have noted an incredible 1,300-percent year-over-year increase in searches for “enter Italy from USA”.

Next Vacay Founder and CEO Naveen Dittakavi remarked, “Americans—and other non-E.U. travelers—are allowed to enter Italy for tourism without mandatory quarantine, and only a standard Green Pass will be needed: either a vaccination certificate, a recovery certificate, or a negative test result.”


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Reopening from COVID-19

Previously, non-E.U. foreign visitors were required to provide proof of full vaccination (for Americans, a paper CDC card would suffice), plus a negative pre-departure test, while unvaccinated travelers had to comply with a mandatory quarantine for the first five days of their trip.

Now, fully vaccinated or recently recovered international visitors don’t need a pre-travel test to enter Italy. Vaccinated travelers need only supply proof that they’ve been fully inoculated, with the final dose of their primary vaccine series at least 14 days and no more than 270 days (nine months) prior to arrival, unless they’ve also received a booster injection. Those previously infected with COVID-19 don’t need to be vaccinated, but must provide a medical certificate confirming their recovery within the previous six months.

Unvaccinated foreign travelers can also enter Italy quarantine-free by providing a negative pre-travel PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival or a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival (children under the age of six are exempt). All inbound international travelers are also required to complete an E.U. Digital Passenger Locator Form.

The new, simplified COVID-19 countermeasures at the Italian border makes it easier for Americans and other non-Europeans to plan their travels to the sought-after Mediterranean nation during the upcoming warm-weather seasons.

Florence, Italy, dome, Duomo
View over the rooftops of Florence, Italy. (photo courtesy of Collette)

“After more than two years of restrictions, the ease of Italy’s travel restrictions has been long-awaited. The country is also expected to end its COVID-19 state of emergency on March 31, so we expect flights to Italy to be considerably higher than pre-pandemic levels starting on April 1,” Dittakavi said.

If you’re considering taking a trip to Italy at this time, note that the nation’s various regional governments have the right to impose their own restrictions on travelers from certain foreign countries, so be sure to check for policy updates in the region of your particular destination.

Dittakavi also added, “The use of the ‘green pass’ health certificate, currently required to stay in hotels and use all public transportation, is also expected to be scaled back on April 1, as well as the requirement to present proof of vaccination at many venues, museums, restaurants, and attractions.”

Next Vacay also reviewed average monthly flight search volumes recorded over the past year to identify which Italian destinations specifically were most sought-after by Americans. Here are the top 10:

Rank Destination Increase in Demand Over Past Year
1 Amalfi 350 percent
2 Florence 310 percent
3 Milan 309 percent
4 Lake Como 243 percent
5 Positano 200 percent
6 Palermo 191 percent
7 Rome 175 percent
8 Venice 173 percent
9 Naples 164 percent
10 Cinque Terre 143 percent

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Flight attendant tip: Advice from cabin crew on why passengers can’t enter the cockpit | Travel News | Travel

“Then we knock on the cockpit door, smile for the cameras and maybe they’ll let you in.”

Sandra added: “It’s the same when we leave the cockpit, we have to make sure everything is clear.

“Then we check the camera, check with the crew and when everything is good, we leave.”

The video had over 200,000 likes on TikTok and some people were shocked to find out how much security the cockpit had.

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Travel Leaders Urging White House To End Testing Requirement To Enter U.S.

Several major players in the travel industry are calling for the U.S. to eliminate testing requirements for incoming, vaccinated travelers. Groups like Airlines for America, the U.S. Travel Association, and the American Society of Travel Advisors have all pushed back on the restrictions, citing both the economy and decreases in travel.

On February 1, Zane Kerby, president and CEO of the ASTA, wrote a letter (PDF) addressing Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s COVID-19 recovery team coordinator. Urging Zients to modify CDC guidelines regarding entrance into the U.S., Kerby addressed several challenges these restrictions have had on travel. 

“While we understand the rationale behind the inbound testing order, it continues to present a number of practical challenges to our members and their clients,” wrote Kerby. “These challenges range from uncertainty as to the availability of timely testing in-destination to avoid disruption to their return trip to the financial and psychological burdens associated with being prevented from returning home due to a positive (or false positive) test result, to a general chilling effect on international travel bookings.”

Just a day after Kerby’s letter to the White House, several travel and economic organizations formed an industry-wide coalition also addressing Mr. Zients. 

“On behalf of the many sectors of the travel and aviation industries, we urgently request that the Administration remove the requirement for pre-departure testing for vaccinated passengers traveling to the United States,” states the letter (PDF). “Doing so is justified by the pervasiveness of COVID cases in all 50 states, increased immunity, and higher vaccination rates as well as new treatments.”

Included in the coalition are organizations like the U.S. Travel Association, a Washington D.C.-based organization that promotes and protects the freedom of travel, and even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

Furthermore, the coalition called for the White House to consider the actions of other nations, specifically the UK.

“The UK concluded that the cost to both passengers and airlines of the testing mandate could no longer be justified as there was no evidence the regime protected the population from COVID,” says the letter, calling for a reconsideration of U.S. policies and practices. 

While the health and safety of travelers worldwide is the concern of all parties involved, there is a bit of a gray area formed between the ethics of health and safety practices and the success of the travel industry. 

The CDC’s most recent amendment to restrictions for incoming travelers to the U.S. came late last year. “Air travelers aged two and older, regardless of nationality or vaccination status, are required to show documentation of a negative viral test result taken within one day of the flight’s departure to the United States before boarding,” the order reads.

After the spread of the omicron COVID-19 variant to the U.S., the CDC reacted swiftly with its requirements. They also recommended avoiding international travel until fully vaccinated as it poses an increased health risk. 

With international air travel decreasing at 38 percent since 2019, according to Reuters, travel industry leaders are going straight to the source for changes. The White House, however, has not responded.

“Travel’s like water,” Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, told Travel Weekly. “If you put a barrier in place, it will find another direction to go and people won’t travel. If you remove that barrier, it flows and flows very quickly.”

For all of our COVID-19 news, check out our travel news category.

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Travel groups want to scrap testing requirement to enter US

The travel industry is lobbying Washington for changes it thinks will get more people on airplanes and staying in hotels

DALLAS — Airline and tourism groups are pushing to eliminate the government requirement that international travelers provide a negative test for COVID-19 before boarding a U.S.-bound plane.

They believe the testing rule is discouraging people from booking international trips. They point to the United Kingdom, which eliminated a similar rule last month.

Airlines for America, which represents the nation’s biggest carriers, and 28 other airline, travel and business groups wrote Wednesday to the White House coronavirus policy adviser urging the Biden administration to end the testing requirement.

The groups argued that the testing requirement is no longer needed because of the high number of COVID-19 cases already in every state, higher vaccinations rates and new treatments for the virus.

“Removing the requirement will greatly support the recovery of travel and aviation in the United States and globally without increasing the spread of COVID-19 and its variants,” they wrote.

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

At the same time, one of the major tourism-industry groups said it is seeking tax breaks for conventions and trade shows, which it believes will help revive business travel.

Domestic leisure travel in the U.S. has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, but business and international travel have not fully rebounded. From early 2020 through last December, spending in the U.S. on travel has dropped by a cumulative $730 billion, and many jobs in the sector have not come back, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

Last month, the United Kingdom dropped a requirement for vaccinated travelers to pass a COVID-19 test before boarding a flight to the country. Travel groups are asking the Biden administration to similarly ease current U.S. rules, saying it would boost international flying.

Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of the travel association, said people are reluctant to book international trips if there is a chance that the could get stranded and unable to return home if they test positive for the virus.

The testing rule does not apply to flights within the U.S.

Government figures suggest that surges in COVID-19 caused by new variants of the virus have played a bigger role than testing requirements in discouraging travel.

From a low point in April 2020, the number of people traveling to, from or within the United States compared with 2019 rose every month until last August and September, when the delta variant hit.

The recovery resumed briefly, then stalled in December and went backward in January, as the omicron variant pushed U.S. COVID-19 cases to new records.

Airlines for America said its member airlines carried 38% fewer international passengers in late January than in the same period of 2019. Travel between the U.S. and China — which has its own tight restrictions on international travel — remains just 2% of pre-pandemic levels.

Separately, leaders of the U.S. Travel Association said that they are talking to members of Congress about tax changes they say would boost business travel.

The group is calling for a tax credit equal to 50% of costs that organizers and sponsors incur for conventions and trade shows. A bill containing the idea has foundered since it was introduced in the House nearly a year ago.

Since the pandemic started, many large conferences have been canceled, moved online, or offer both online and in-person options. Barnes, the travel association official, said event organizers and small businesses need incentives to resume in-person events and business meetings.

The group also wants to restore a break that was eliminated in the tax-cut law that former President Donald Trump and Congress, then led by Republicans, approved in 2017. That law eliminated the 50% deduction for business expenses that are considered entertainment.


David Koenig can be reached at

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