Greece, Australia, US & Thailand are on this week's itinerary as Travel Editor Stephen Scoufield takes a journey through the world of travel
LESS TESTING TIMES
The Federal Government requirement for a negative COVID-19 test for travellers returning from overseas ended last Monday, the same day that the first international cruise ship returned to our shores.
On Monday a US judge ruled that the 14-month-old requirement for masks to be worn on planes and public transport was unlawful, and major carriers including American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines and national train line Amtrak immediately stopped making passenger use them. The US Government has said it will appeal against the ruling.
How many countries are there in the world? There are 193 member states in the United Nations — it is generally recognised that “the world” has 195 countries; those 193 plus two non-member observer states, the Holy See and the State of Palestine.
“In the end, it comes down to values... We want the world our children inherit to be defined by the values enshrined in the UN Charter: peace, justice, respect, human rights, tolerance and solidarity.” — Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, which was founded in 1945.
Greece removes all remaining COVID-19 related travel restrictions on May 2, in time for its summer tourist season. In that, it joins 15 other European countries, including Sweden and Cyprus. Greece is expecting high numbers of visitors this year, with officials predicting revenues reaching 80 per cent of 2019 (pre-COVID) levels. And 2019 was a record year for Greece. After May 2, travellers will no longer even be required to provide proof of vaccination to enter the country.
ANYONE FOR TEA?
In Hobart, Tasmania, Faro Bar + Restaurant at Mona likes to revolve its themes, spinning through cuisines and cultures. And autumn is El Culto de Espana. Think “Mona does Spain”. There’s a Spanish menu with Gaudi-inspired edible cellophane, tonnes of tapas and flamenco-fuelled live performance. mona.net.au
In northern Thailand, the Melia Chiang Mai hotel has introduced Spanish afternoon tea. Savoury delights that pay homage to hotel group Melia’s Spanish origins include pinchos style pan-seared spiced tiger prawn skewers and Andalusian sandwiches. It is $42 for two people. Melia Chiang Mai has its own farm, and we told that story recently.
Singapore has joined the Global Destination Sustainability Index, which consolidates its sustainability efforts under the Singapore Green Plan 2030. The push, supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, cements the island city’s position as a sustainability performance improver and change maker. Others on the GDS-Index include Sarawak, Bangkok, Gothenburg, Copenhagen and Glasgow.
The index is used to assess the current social and environmental performance to drive improved performance. STB chief executive Keith Tan says: “Becoming a leading sustainable urban destination requires a long-term commitment from both the government and industry. Singapore’s participation in the GDS-Index focuses our collective efforts and helps us track our progress as a City in Nature, where large experiences come with small footprints.”