A look ahead to 2022

Every twist and turn of the COVID saga can leave your head spinning, and while headlines about the omicron variant can be deflating, there’s good news too, with Merck and Pfizer pill treatments coming out that should help reduce COVID to an epidemic nuisance rather than the fierce and novel virus it has been. We’re always here to help answer any questions you may have about the latest travel requirements for your destination. Fortunately, there are new places opening their borders to tourism this month and in 2022 that will allow us to once again explore much of the world. With each protocol change that comes out, it’s abundantly clear that being fully vaccinated will open more doors for travelers.

Just in the last few weeks, places as far-flung as Fiji, India, the Cayman Islands, Madagascar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Cuba, Grenada and Uruguay have begun welcoming foreign visitors. There’s a growing list of countries set to join them in 2022.

New Zealand has announced plans to reopen to fully vaccinated visitors from April 30, though among the protocols is a weeklong quarantine, so be prepared for that if you’re planning to head to that part of the world. Depending on how reopening goes, COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins said, the quarantine requirement could be removed for visitors from certain countries throughout the year, so that’s something to keep an eye on for those longing to be 100% pure New Zealand.

Hong Kong is working on opening around mid-2022, making sure the densely populated metropolis is equipped to keep its citizens safe. “We maybe need half a year or so to develop an adequate vaccination rate, especially among the older people,” Lam Ching-choi, a member of the government’s working group on vaccinations, said in November. “Hopefully by then, we have opened up the border with China and we might have conditions favorable to open up the border to other places.”

Already testing a pilot reopening program on the island of Langkawi, Malaysia plans to fully open to vaccinated visitors in time to ring in the new year. As of mid-November, more than 75% of the country’s residents had been vaccinated, prompting hopes the full reopening could come before the Jan. 1 target. Malaysia has already opened a travel lane with neighboring Singapore so fully vaccinated travelers can pass between the nations without quarantine.

We look forward to many more borders reopening in the year to come, and we’ll keep you updated on announcements as they come. Given the still-high demand for travel in 2022 and forgiving cancellation policies, we still advise that if you have a destination in mind, you get something booked as soon as possible to secure the space. Stefany Di Manno Ceccato, Co-Founder/Dream Travel Designer at DMC Travel Tailor will help guide you through the process and recommend the right travel insurance to protect your investment. There are sure to be more travel changes in 2022, here’s hoping it’s mostly good news.

Big Events Coming in 2022

It’s been far from perfect, but we’ve been able to enjoy a lot more activities in 2021 than we did the year before. And while COVID is going to be part of life for a while, even more events are poised to happen in 2022. There can still be setbacks, such as more variants and cancellations like those of the Munich Christmas markets. That’s why travel insurance is so important. But there’s much to look forward to in the coming year.

The Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany, is scheduled to go from May to October after a two-year postponement. Interestingly enough, the play was started as a way to give thanks after a 17th-century plague receded. The tradition will continue with a hearkening back and a looking forward after another plague has disrupted the flow of life.

After a year delay, the Tokyo Summer Olympics went ahead, and just a few months later, from Feb. 4-20 the Winter Olympics will take place in and around Beijing. Athletes from 80 nations will compete in more than 100 events, with strict COVID protocols and no shortage of political intrigue surrounding the games. Beijing will be the first city to host both Summer and Winter Olympics, having staged the 2008 summer games.

On the heels of last summer’s continental championships, the World Cup is slated for its original dates in November and December in Qatar. The traditional Northern Hemisphere summer dates of soccer’s quadrennial world championship moved to avoid the worst of the desert heat. Temperatures should be in the 70s and 60s Fahrenheit during the tournament, far better than the 100-plus that would have greeted players and fans in July. Some lucky nation will take home a gift to remember from the final, which is slated for a week before Christmas.

Even the small island nation of New Zealand, which has been extremely careful about COVID,  has announced plans for fully vaccinated visitors to come starting April 30, though they will still have to quarantine for a week before being able to explore. More borders should open to travelers as well. Little by little, country by country, event by event, 2022 will usher in more of a return to a global world.

This year, we’re thankful for the grind, but you’d better book soon

We are over the moon to see many of our favorite destinations reopen to tourism this year, and we’re very much looking forward to more countries reopening next year. We’re willing to bet there’s a place or two you’re excited about returning to or visiting for the first time in 2022. The thing is, so is everybody else.

If you’ve tried booking a trip only to find it’s already sold out, you know what we’re talking about. If you haven’t, you wouldn’t believe how quickly things like cruises and group tours are selling out. In a normal year, you could book your summer vacation or festive trip a couple months out and not run into many issues. As you’ve probably guessed, this is not a normal year.

For summer 2022 and even for next year’s holiday season, the time to start planning your travel is now. Space is only going to get tighter, and 2022 is on pace to smash travel records as people go on the last two years’ worth of missed vacations in epic fashion. Revenge travel is real, and demand is sky-high. So, while you’re gathered with family and close friends at the Thanksgiving table, it’s a good idea to discuss the trips you want to take in the coming year. You don’t want to miss out.

With COVID entry protocols, passport renewal logjams and places filling up fast, there are so many more moving parts to going on your dream journey than you remember from the pre-pandemic era. The value that a good travel advisor brings has never been more important. We will do everything in our power to ensure your next trip is as spectacular as you’ve imagined these last couple of years. But you’d be doing us and yourself a favor if you start the process now.

We are so, so thankful to still be here, making dreams come true for our travelers. And we are ever thankful for you. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to spend our days doing what we love, even when it becomes challenging and complicated. There are countless unforgettable moments ahead. The time to start making them a reality is now.

Destination Spotlight: Fiji

Bula! Visitors to Fiji will hear the friendly and boisterous greeting from the locals once more when the South Pacific island nation reopens to fully vaccinated travelers Dec.1. It’s hard to pin down exactly from archaeological evidence, but people have been living in the islands of Fiji for at least 3,000 years, with Austronesians, Melanesians and Polynesians contributing to the culture. British colonization brought indentured laborers from India, many of whom stayed, with almost 40% of Fiji’s inhabitants today claiming Indian ancestry.

More than 300 islands stretch across 600 miles of ocean, though the vast majority of Fiji’s million or so residents live on the larger islands of Viti Levu (home of Nadi International Airport and the capital, Suva) and Vanua Levu. With a great surf and dive scene, rainforests and waterfalls to explore and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever encounter, Fiji is a fantastic destination for couples and families alike.

Fiji’s national parks and marine sanctuaries are a model of sustainable tourism. Resorts work hand-in-hand with park officials and environmental organizations to preserve the unique ecosystems that draw visitors in, making sure each visit showcases the same unspoiled beauty for generations to come. You can hike through lush valleys past native flora and fauna and stop for a dip in a natural pool, just as the visitors of yesteryear did and those to come will.

You can climb giant sand dunes or float down the Sigatoka River on the Coral Coast, riding modified e-bikes along an old sugar cane railway in between. There are waterfall tours, jet ski safaris and an eco-adventure park among the rainforests and lagoons of Pacific Harbour and Beqa Island. Snorkeling with manta rays, in the world’s “soft coral capital” and with tropical fish through seagrass are all possibilities, making it an anytime adventure.

Make your base on land or on a cruise ship. Either way, leave yourself enough time to explore all that the hundreds of islands of Fiji have to offer.

COVID-19 entry protocols

From Dec. 1

  • Provide proof of  your full vaccination with a Fiji-recognized vaccine (Astra-Zeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines)

  • Produce a negativeRT-PCR test taken within 3 days prior to boarding your flight.

  • Present a confirmed booking (at least 3 nights) with a certified CFC  accommodation provider before boarding your flight.

  • Download and activate the care FIJI contact tracing app to use in Fiji. Defer travel if you’re symptomatic or feel unwell.

  • Travellers entering Fiji must have medical travel insurance, with international coverage that covers COVID-19 before travelling.

  • Take a rapid COVID-19 test at your certified CFC accommodation provider 48 hours after your arrival in Fiji.

  • Use only CFC approved tourism operators and experiences in the first 48 hours.

  • Follow Fiji’s COVID-safe protocols (mask, social distancing, check in care FIJI app QR codes.)

  • Please avoid vulnerable communities in“low vaccination” zones.

  • Be prepared to provide proof of vaccination on request.

Where to stay

Laucala Island

Laucala Island offers unspoiled rain forests, mangroves, beaches, and unparalleled levels of luxury living, from 1,500 to 11,000 square meters per residence. With an all-inclusive rate, guests enjoy privacy and seclusion in the 25 traditionally designed villas. Featuring an iridescent kaleidoscope of activities – scuba diving, sailing, fishing, tennis, cycling, golf, yoga, culture nights, tours, and water sports – the resort’s integral philosophy incorporates the island’s resources into guest experiences, with products and ingredients raised and grown on the island for use in the Spa and across the five gourmet restaurants and bars.

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort

Built to resemble a traditional Fijian village, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji is a multi award-winning, inclusive, eco-sensitive boutique resort, and one of the most renowned vacation destinations in the South Pacific. Guests of all ages enjoy recreational, immersive cultural, wellness, and nature activities, with ecological exploration, understated luxury, and traditional Fijian hospitality. Surrounded by a marine sanctuary, this resort boasts world-class snorkeling and diving, a private island for exclusive use by couples and families, two resident marine biologists, and family facilities offering educational kids’ programs.

Six Senses Fiji

Six Senses Fiji is ideal for ocean enthusiasts looking for their own piece of tropical paradise, with world class surfing, snorkeling, and diving just a stone’s throw from the resort. For guests who prefer to keep their feet planted on the ground there are sumptuous spa treatments or wellness journeys to embark on. Foodies can indulge in dishes that create delicious memories, and will tease taste buds to be a little adventurous. And for the little ones? It’s Grow With Six Senses kids club, where children can connect with themselves, others, and the environment. There really is something for everyone in this slice of paradise!

Royal Davui Island Resort

Private … romantic … remote, the adults-only Royal Davui Island Resort occupies its own ten-acre island in Fiji’s Beqa Lagoon and is host to just 32 guests at a time. Each of the 16 vales (homes) that dot the landscape features a large deck and a private plunge pool. Despite its petite size, the resort offers myriad island activities, such as snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and attending a traditional kava ceremony. In the center of Banyan Restaurant is a towering Pacific banyan tree, which shelters guests as they dine on fresh seafood and other Fijian delights.

Destination Spotlight: Israel

Israel has seen many civilizations pass through in its long history. Jerusalem is home to some of the most holy sites for three world religions. Tel Aviv is a vibrant, modern city that also houses UNESCO World Heritage neighborhoods. In short, there’s something for just about any interest in Israel.

A tour of the ancient city of Jerusalem is a journey through time. In the space of a few hundred you can visit a treasure trove of ancient and sacred sites. The Western Wall, the last remnant of the Temple complex, is routinely visited by devout Jews offering prayers. Atop the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock houses some of the earliest Islamic art and the spot where tradition holds the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. Not far away is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christian tradition holds Jesus was buried, and the Garden of Gethsemane, where he spent his last night on Earth in prayer. Below the Temple Mount runs a series of tunnels and archaeological excavations that unearth many aspects of life in scriptural times. Less than an hour outside the city is Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity.

In the country’s desert interior, the Negev contains unique landscapes, including at 1.8 million years, the oldest chunk of the Earth’s surface yet discovered. At the southern end, you’ll come to the resort city of Eilat, Israel’s outlet to the Red Sea. In the north of the desert in the ancient citadel of Masada, where Jewish rebels made a last stand against the Romans. The fortress overlooks the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the Earth’s surface at 1,200 feet below sea level and so salinated that most people float easily in it. At the top end of the sea lies Jericho, perhaps the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, with signs of settlement dating back 11,000 years.

In the north of Israel, Christians can explore Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, sites of Jesus’ upbringing and most of his Biblical ministry. The Mediterranean coast features the Crusader stronghold of Acre and the ancient city and modern cruise port of Haifa. Tel Aviv stands out amongst so much history as a cosmopolitan city, a nightlife capital that’s a hub of LGBTQ culture and home to the most vegans per capita in the world. Tel Aviv has some of the best beaches, urban or otherwise, in the world, and you never have to look far for a party.

King David Hotel Jerusalem

The preferred hotel for world leaders and celebrities, and the official venue for state occasions, the King David Hotel Jerusalem offers unrivaled views of Old and New Jerusalem. The Canaanite art deco rooms are legendary; guest rooms are warm and inviting (the best view is from the renovated rooms on the top two floors facing the Old City). Lovely gardens surround the lawns with adult and children’s swimming pools, a tennis court, and a play area. Dining in the richly appointed La Regence restaurant is a classic experience, as is the complimentary generous Israeli buffet breakfast. Enjoy free Wi-Fi in all rooms and public areas.

Beresheet

The Negev Desert covers nearly half of Israel, but perhaps no stretch is as dazzling as the dozen acres that encircle Beresheet. Built on the rim of Makhtesh Ramon – the world’s largest crater – the hotel masterfully blends into the silent landscape, with a scattering of one- and two-story buildings housing 111 contemporary rooms (be sure to book one with a balcony or with your own pool overlooking the crater). The gourmet restaurant, which serves locally sourced, organic cuisine, appears to be suspended above Makhtesh Ramon. Explore the crater on a safari or cycling tour, or simply appreciate its grandeur from the infinity pool.

The Norman, Tel Aviv

Expect a colorful stay at The Norman, Tel Aviv, set in the heart of the world-famous White City. It’s just seven miles from the airport to the UNESCO World Heritage sites of historic Bauhaus buildings, two of which comprise this inspired, 50-room hotel; look for original elements against an eclectic backdrop of hand-picked textiles, furnishings, and contemporary Israeli art. Check out the buzz in The Library Bar before dining on Japanese tapas. Take in stunning city views from the rooftop infinity-edge pool.

David Citadel

With an exceptional location, uniting ancient Jerusalem and new, the David Citadel gives you unequaled access to the holy city’s unique treasures. The hotel has 385 freshly renovated rooms and suites, with most rooms featuring a terrace with a breathtaking view of the Old City. Dine at the hotel’s famed terrace, where guests enjoy an exclusive Jerusalem outdoor view. The hotel spa offers rejuvenating treatments and a state-of-the-art gym with an outdoor pool heated year-round. The award-winning Executive Lounge is a perfect setting for leisure or business gatherings.

COVID-19 entry protocols

Travellers who have been vaccinated with Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Johnson and Johnson or Sinopharm vaccines within the last six months will be granted entry into Israel.

Additionally, travelers who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months will be allowed to enter Israel with proof of a negative PCR test performed at least 11 days prior to entering Israel. Travelers who have recovered from COVID and have taken at least one dose of a WHO-approved vaccine will also be admitted.