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Facing Unprecedented Demand, US passport processing times have once again been extended.
It's no surprise that a lot of Americans have recently started taking holidays abroad to break free from the pandemic's restrictions. Yet, you can no longer rely on acquiring a new passport in time if you require one for a trip abroad that is only a few months away. Since the beginning of the pandemic forced the Bureau of Consular Affairs to reduce manpower or halt operations at its nationwide passport centres and offices, passport processing has been moving at a crawl. Even without the post-pandemic rise in applications attempting to travel abroad, this alone created a backlog that has been challenging to clear up, and the agency is now in serious trouble.
US CDC to stop requiring Covid testing for travellers from China
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that it intends to stop requiring Covid-19 tests for visitors from China, joining other nations that have already done away with the regulations. The CDC intends to end the testing requirements set in early January on Friday, according to reports published on Tuesday by Reuters and other media sites. In the words of the CDC, the "global health intervention was established with the goal of safeguarding US people and countries as we sought to both assess the scale of the (China Covid) spike and obtain a better understanding of the variants that were circulating," on Wednesday. The CDC declared that it would keep track of cases both in China and elsewhere. This Monday, Japan decided to remove the requirement that all visitors from China undergo a virus test.
Asia Travel is Regaining Popularity
The number of tourists visiting Asian countries is rising. Asian markets are among 82 locations worldwide where tourism is growing, according to a research from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). This is based on parameters including tourism employment, the number of airline flights, and traveller spending. In the WTTC report, the top 25 cities included five Asian cities: Bangkok, Beijing, Seoul, Singapore, and Tokyo. Beijing is leading Asia's largest city destinations, according to the WTTC, and is exhibiting the strongest signs of recovery. Due to a robust rebound in domestic tourism, the sector's contribution to GDP in 2022, at $32.6BN, was only 4% lower than it was in 2019.
US Tourism Industry Calls for Government Action to Increase Foreign Spending and Visitation
In light of a shrinking trade surplus, the U.S. Travel Association is urging the Biden administration to step up initiatives to increase foreign travel to the country. The company notes that the trade surplus decreased to just $4 billion last year from an all-time high of $85.9 billion in 2015, citing new data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. U.S. Tourism is now urging urgent federal action to restart inbound travel and stop the worrying trade surplus trend in response. Taking additional steps to reduce visitor visa interview wait times, which continue to surpass an average of 400 days for first-time applicants in the top 10 visa-required inbound markets, is one of the suggested actions.
Paris Sets the Standard for the Recovering Travel and Tourism
Cities all across the world started to truly recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, and this recovery was particularly obvious in five well-known European cities. Leading cities reported a considerable increase in travel and tourism GDP last year as a result of travel restrictions being gradually loosened and a rise in demand for international travel, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council's most recent Cities Economic Impact study (WTTC). With a $36 billion GDP attributed to travel and tourism, Paris had the most spectacular global recovery, followed by Beijing ($33 billion) and Orlando, Florida ($31 billion). The study, which covered 82 cities globally, found that the overall GDP of all of the cities was $734 billion in 2019.
Tourists Can Now Visit Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu, a famous tourist destination, has been reopened to guests as of Wednesday, February 15, according to officials in Peru. The centuries-old pilgrimage site in the Andes Mountains of South America has been shut down since January 21 as a result of social disturbance brought on by local demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Dina Boluarte and members of Peru's Congress. Due to the shutdown last month, the government had to helicopter more than 400 visitors from Machu Picchu to the adjacent city of Cusco. Authorities have disclosed that a number of significant individuals and organisations have achieved significant agreements to safeguard the safety and security of visitors to the site.
These 6 regions of Mexico have travel advisories in place from the U.S. State Department.
Winter or spring break visitors to Mexico should exercise prudence, or in some cases, think twice before going. For all but two states in Mexico, the U.S. State Department has issued travel warnings. The most serious level 4 "do not travel" recommendation is currently in effect for six states in Mexico. The U.S. Department of State evaluates the level of danger in each of Mexico's 32 states before issuing a specific advise rather than issuing a general travel warning for the whole nation. Based on the level of hazard to American individuals, including government workers, foreign residents, digital nomads, and tourists, alerts are issued.
These 3 Mexican tourist attractions will open this year.
Mexico has recently experienced a resurgence in its tourism industry, and this popularity only continues to rise. Visitors continue to arrive to see all that Mexico has to offer, from cenotes to metropolitan cathedrals. Mexico has been widely extending its tourism attractions in an effort to keep up with demand. Today, there are an ever-growing variety of activities to choose from in this nation with a rich history, incredible antiquity, and beautiful beaches. Mexico probably has what you're looking for, whatever it may be.
The safest place for Americans to travel in Southeast Asia is here.
In Southeast Asia, Chiang Mai has been ranked as the safest place for American tourists, surpassing the much more developed cities of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. It is a large, culturally diverse city in Northern Thailand that is renowned for its immaculately preserved Old City and imperial splendour. Following two years of tight border checks, Thailand is now available to tourists once more, and Americans are flocking back to the nation because of its pristine landscape, idyllic islands, and relaxed environment.
How To Online Renew Your American Passport In Less Than 15 Minutes
Many Americans can now renew their passport online in 15 minutes or less thanks to the implementation of a successful pilot programme last October. With the intention of making it a permanent programme in 2023, the U.S. Department of State started testing the online renewal method in September. The public has access to the online renewal system starting in November 2022, and as of January 2023, it was still functional.