2020 (and late 2019) News for travelers around the world. Share
In complement to our directory of travel-related web sites, our feature articles, and our online travel guides, we point out here good and bad news which are of interest for travelers in various parts of the world. This includes also information about some practical changes (e.g. as for entry requirements) and various changes in the air travel market. News and other useful information are added whenever appropriate. Read this page as often as necessary.
March 2020 - World: Travel restrictions due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Since mid-March, the United States has banned access to its territory to citizens of 28 European countries (those in the Schengen area, the United Kingdom and Ireland) for a period of 30 days.
On the other hand, according to press reports, the borders at the entrance to the Schengen area have been closed to foreigners since Tuesday 17 March 2020 for a period of 30 days.
On the other hand, the authorities of most developed countries (both health authorities and governments) issue permanently travel advice to their own citizens who want to travel abroad. As for governments, travel advices are usually issued by the Ministry of foreign affairs (or similar). These advices are mostly sorted by destination country. They deal with any relevant issue, including safety and health. As for health authorities, information includes current diseases and travel issues.
In their web sites, information is updated nearly permanently and is the most reliable one (elsewhere, you find countless fake news). So, you can always know whether it is safe to travel to your destination or not. However, do not expect these sites will issue forecast since nobody can seriously do so.
If your own country does not issue such travel advice (or if you don't trust those from your own country), you may have a look at those of other countries.
You find them here:
Travel advices from Ministries of foreign affairs.
Travel advices of Health authorities.
CDC (a United States government public health agency) helps you learn more about Coronavirus here.
March 2020 - United Kingdom: Flybe ceases operations.
On March 5, the low-cost British airline Flybe ceased operations. Flybe, renamed Virgin Connect in February 2019, served more than fifteen destinations in the United Kingdom and thirty ones in the rest of Europe on a regular or seasonal basis. In the UK, Flybe operated more than half of the domestic flights outside London. The airline operated 80% of flights from / to Belfast airport and therefore offered Northern Ireland easy access to many destinations. Flybe's financial difficulties were aggravated by the slowdown in activities following the Coronavirus epidemic.
After Flybmi and Thomas Cook Airlines, Flybe is the third British airline to go bankrupt in less than 13 months.
January 2020 - South Africa: South African Airways plunges into the financial crisis.
The second largest airline in Africa, South African Airways is in great difficulty. The airline, which has not recorded any profits since 2011, was placed under judicial protection against its creditors last month. It has now cancelled over 30 flights (mainly domestic flights) and has announced the sale of ten new aircrafts and the dismissal of almost 20% of its workers.
Nine intercontinental routes provide half of South African Airways' revenues; but only one of them, the one to Washington, would be profitable. The twenty or so African routes are for the most part profitable and account for 30% of the airline's turnover. The balance comes from domestic flights.
January 2020 - Guinea: electronic visa is set up.
While Guinea has implemented an electronic visa system in French and English for different types of visas (mainly tourist visa, transit visa and long-stay visa) since two months, Guinea's embassies abroad want to continue to issue paper visas. The Embassy of Guinea in France has put online its own platform for Guinean visa applications by French nationals.
January 2020 - Malawi: implementation of an e-visa system.
Malawi introduced also an electronic visa system two months ago. This system applies to both the single or multiple entry visa and the transit visa. It is available to citizens of all countries (including those in Europe and North America) who need a visa to enter Malawi. The fee is to be paid in US dollar by credit or debit card. The official website for applying for the Malawi e-visa is only in English.
December 2019 - World: airlines that ceased operations in 2019
In 2019, more than 20 large or smaller airlines ceased operations. Most of them had gone bankrupt. Here is a non-exhaustive list:
In Europe : Germania (Germany), Thomas Cook (UK), Flybmi (UK), WOW (Iceland), Aigle Azur (France), XL Airways (France), Adria (Slovenia), Astra Airlines (Greece). In the Americas : California Pacific (US), Via Airlines (US), Insel Air (Curaçao), Fly Jamaica Airways (Jamaica), Aerolíneas de Antioquía (Colombia), Peruvian Airlines (Peru), TAM Bolivia. In Asia : Asian Express Airline (Tajikistan), Air Philip (South Korea), Jet Airways (India), Wisdom Airways (Thailand), New Gen Airways (Thailand), Taron Avia (Armenia).
December 2019 - Japan: Attending the 2020 Olympic Games without visa.
Citizens of 68 countries are exempted from visa if they do not stay in Japan more than 90 days. They must however be holder of a passport that is valid at least 6 months after their arrival in Japan. Are included in this list of visa-exempted countries: among others, all countries of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Israel as well as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile. Citizens of some countries (Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, ...) can even stay in Japan for up to 6 months without a visa, while those of a few countries (Thailand, ...) are only admitted without a visa for 15 days.
In all other cases (longer stay, gainful employment in Japan or citizen of a country not exempt from visa, e.g. China and Russia), a visa to Japan is required to attend the 2020 Olympics Games. Japan is preparing to implement an electronic visa system. But, currently, this system is not available and the conditions to use it when it will be ready are not known. All the sites that currently (December 2019) are shown in search engine results (Google and others) on keywords such as "eVisa Japan" are therefore not official. As long as the official website of the Japanese eVisa is not available, people who need a visa have no choice but to submit their application to the Japanese Embassy in their country.
2019 travel news
2018 travel news
2017 travel news
2016 travel news.
2015 travel news.