In Europe, Austria is absolutely one of the countries driving the conversation around the reopening of borders, and tourism along with it.
Vienna plans to reopen hotels to guests by the end of May, but even before that date, opportunities now exist to visit as normal, nearly. On Monday, May 4th, 2020 Vienna will launched optional testing facilities on arrival, which allow guests who test negatives for covid-19 to skip the 14 day mandatory quarantine.
According to Reuters, Austria is following in the footsteps of Emirates, allowing on site testing for coronavirus before entering the country, or on departure for those who need proof of current health. Presently, flights from five countries, including Qatar are still operating to Vienna and that number is expected to rise in coming months.
Incoming passengers bound for Austria are currently subject to 14 day quarantine, but any which opt to take the €190 test and return a negative (non active covid-19) result, or present a health certificate from their home country issued within the last 4 days will be allowed to skip quarantine.
The test takes up to 3 hours to return a result, but sure beats 14 days of lockdown.
Should you book a flight? Probably not right now. Austria, and particularly Vienna Airport which has launched the initiative are being careful not to encourage unnecessary travel, stating business and urgent travel are the key concerns for the near future.
The testing simply allows essential visits and key commerce to take place, without invalidating the realistic possibility of a trip, via the 14 day quarantine. Nonetheless, it’s an extremely positive sign for countries being willing to find reasonable solutions which mitigate health concerns but allow businesses to reopen.
Austria is one of six European countries looking for practical solutions to preserve at least a part of the multi billion dollar summer tourism season, and it’s important to remember why. Tourism is more than planes, trains, hotels and automobiles – it’s coffee shops, restaurants, museums, guides and retailers, and when you start to add up the effects, at some point a return will be vital.
If you do make it to Vienna, here’s how to have an incredible 48 hours.