As we “settle” into the COVID-19 pandemic, you may see couples on vacation popping up on your Instagram feed and are wondering if it’s ok to take that honeymoon or baecation you had to postpone at the top of quarantine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there’s still major health risks to consider. They just released their guidelines for traveling through these uncertain times and ask folks to consider things like the current status of the virus at their travel destination.
Should you choose to help yourself to a trip now—taking the necessary precautions, of course—or later, you'll be simultaneously helping the suffering tourism industry. The most recent data released by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), while staggering, is probably not surprising. Aside from the loss of human life and effect on our daily lives, 75 million jobs in the tourism industry are at risk around the world due to the coronavirus crisis.
The financial losses are expected to reach $2.1 trillion globally, with the Asia-Pacific region hit the hardest, followed by Europe and North America, where seven million jobs will be affected by the pandemic aftermath. So while the health and the safety of you and your loved ones are paramount right now, traveling to support the travel and honeymoon industry is a bonus if you’ve done your coronavirus research and can’t be stopped. Overall the CDC’s stance on travel, however, hasn’t changed: “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.” Consider planning for future travel and visiting some of the hardest hit tourism regions that will need your support:
By the numbers: 80,000 people work in tourism-related jobs in the archipelago, which was already battered by Hurricane Maria two and a half years ago and a 6.4 magnitude earthquake last January. The Puerto Rico Tourism Company has estimated losses of $24 million due to the halt of tourists arrivals, which is why it’ll be more important than ever to support the island and its people.
Where to go: From Old San Juan to the secluded beaches of Vieques where horses run wild, Puerto Rico has all the charm you would expect from a Caribbean island, and as a bonus, is generally less expensive than some of its neighbors. Plus, no passport is necessary to visit a place that exudes pure romance. Travelers considering a Puerto Rico trip should be sure to snorkel in the pristine waters of La Parguera Wall, 20 miles of black coral reef, and enjoy the secluded and romantic oceanfront views from a room at The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort.
By the numbers: Since the beginning of the pandemic, total daily visitors to Hawaii have dropped 87% and 67 hotels across the islands have sadly already shuttered.
Where to go: Once we’re able to travel again, you’re going to want a primo pampering experience, and that’s where ESPACIO comes in. The crown jewel of Waikiki, as a newlywed, you can have an entire floor of this resort to yourself. Praised for its unparalleled 24/7 butler service and amenities like in-room dry saunas and private balconies with ocean-view jacuzzis, it’s our happy place to daydream about right now. For those that stay on property, they also offer romantic dinner options from a location of your choice: A secluded area of the island’s secret beach or next to the rooftop infinity pool.
By the numbers: Spain, the second most visited country in the world after France, welcomes over 83 million tourists every year. Tourism accounts for 16% of the country’s gross domestic product and the expected loss for the economy will reach $60 billion.
Where to go: There’s a reason why movies like Lawrence of Arabia, Knight and Day and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace were shot in Seville. Its beautiful Moorish-influenced architecture shines all around town and has long been a place of pilgrimage for couples celebrating their nuptials. The enchanting Hotel Alfonso XIII will provide a most memorable stay for you and your S.O., with plenty of picture-perfect backdrops to remember your trip by forever, and ever.
New York City
By the numbers: According to the Center for New York City Affairs, two-thirds of tourism-related jobs—half a million in total—will be lost in the city due to the pandemic. Tourism generates over $100 billion in business sales in the area each year, and the epicenter of this crisis is going to need your support when this is all over.
Where to go: They say you can get everything and anything you want in New York City, which is precisely why it makes such a great honeymoon destination. Upon arriving for your romantic urban pursuit, check into The Standard High Line facing the Hudson River and immediately make a list of all the local businesses that you can support as a couple. Whether you turn it into a foodie trip by visiting small restaurants like the flavorsome Korean spot Mokyo or family-run Mexican favorite La Moranda, or support by shopping at boutique clothing shops, local artisans, or taking in all the performing arts the city has the offer, the amount of good you can do with tourism is endless once the city reopens itself for travel.
By the numbers: This beloved honeymoon hotspot, the fifth most visited country in the world, was hit hard in the early stages of the pandemic. Tourism related losses are expected to reach $18 billion, so Italy will need your support.
Where to go: From the North to the South, Italy is where you can find new reasons to fall in love, though you won’t need them. Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, Sicily, Umbria, the Italian Lakes… it’s all prezioso. Our bet is on the Amalfi Coast, in the province of Salerno, for the ultimate Italian lover’s trip. The Il San Pietro di Positano hotel offers both breathtaking views and five-star service which movie stars like George Clooney and Julia Roberts have come to adore. Meanwhile, in Tuscany, you will find the charming Il Poggio resort, a natural starting point for exquisite wine tasting tours, amazing food and strolls around the unique and idyllic villages of the region.
By the numbers: According to Visit Orlando, the travel industry supports 41% of all Central Florida’s workforce or over 463,000 jobs, many of which are already furloughed or reduced since the beginning of the pandemic.
Where to go: The concentration of theme parks in Orlando is unique to the world, and so is the opportunity to support the businesses and people who work for them—both big and small—once they reopen. As a bonus, you and your partner will be treated to a honeymoon full of excitement and entertainment, but also luxurious hotels, spas and restaurants. Our picks include a stay in a lakefront bungalow at Disney's Polynesian in Walt Disney World or lazy days spent at the massive, lagoon-like pool at Loews Sapphire Falls in Universal Orlando Resort, both which meet the needs of newlyweds with convenient proximity to the most thrilling rides and attractions. For grub, a highlight in “the City Beautiful” is the unique Omakase dining experience—which rivals those offered in Japan—at Kabooki Sushi’s two area locations.
By the numbers: Tourism is the largest sector in Fiji’s economy and contributes about 40% of the country’s GDP, according to a rep for Tourism Fiji. And if the pandemic wasn’t already causing enough harm to this South Pacific island, the recent Cyclone Harold caused widespread damage to the Melanesian island.
Where to go: Fiji is regularly lauded as paradise for those travelers seeking sun, fun, friendly culture, cuisine, and sensory pleasure at its finest. It’s also known for some of the poshest and insanely unique accommodations in the world. Take, for example, the thatched-roof villas with wrap-around private swimming pools at the Laucala Island Resort; the Kokomo Private Island Fiji which is only accessible by helicopter and home to an on-site farm that elevates the property’s culinary program; and the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji, with its unparalleled spa and eco-luxury focus.
By the numbers: Tourism is already a major contributor to the country’s GDP, and 10% of each lodge in the popular safari and river region of Livingstone pays 10% of their income to the country’s National Parks; without that revenue, local wildlife is in danger of survival.
Where to go: Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is a major draw here—and you can swim right to its very edge if you stay at the elegant The Royal Livingstone in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a five minute walk to the falls. Couples also come for safaris that dot the Zambezi River, for what promises to be an exhilarating, multi-sensory adventure. Case in point: the Royal Livingstone Express will serve you an exquisite dinner onboard a restored steam locomotive while you and your S.O. ride along the Zambezi River Valley and beyond, where the views and sunsets are out of this world.
By the numbers: The current average hotel occupancy rate in Cancun is 7.8%, roughly a 90% variation from April 2019, the Quintana Roo tourism board tells us.
Where to go: Known for being equal parts party and chill, Cancun has long been a popular destination for couples looking to relax during the day and dance all night. Our pick in 'Cun is always Le Blanc Spa Resort Cancun, an adults-only promise land for those who could spend literally all day at the spa. The resort, which is outfitted in calming white and muted tones, instantly makes you feel relaxed the second you walk in, and that's even before stepping inside the spa itself—where treatments galore, steam and ice rooms, jacuzzis, and heated beds can be found just a short cab ride or walk from all the action at Senor Frog's and Coco Bongo downtown.
Where to go: One way to discover Ireland’s charm is by booking a very original experience with Active Riding Trips, which caters to horseback riding lovers. One of Active Riding’s offerings is the Kinnitty Castle Trail Ride, which includes guided trail riding, most meals and accommodations at the Kinnitty Castle, where you can dine in its sophisticated dining room. If this doesn’t read royal treatment for your post-quarantine romance-filled trip, nothing will.