The question of whether it is safe to travel to Cologne due to Corona is a complicated one. At the time of writing (01.07.2020) the Germany government is in the process of relaxing travel restrictions, particularly for countries within the European Union. Lockdown measures are being gradually relaxed but there is always the risk of a localized outbreak leading to a local lockdown, as we have seen in the Gütersloh area of North Rhine Westphalia.
The issue of when tourists will be a common sight again is even more complex. In a tentative way, things have started again with open-air tours being allowed as long as hygiene measures and social distancing are in place. Art of Touring have even been asked to provide tours for the first few Rhine cruise ships. These are run by a large German provider catering mainly for the domestic market.
For guests from the English-speaking world, things are taking more time. Australia and New Zealand are being justifiably cautious about opening up again to international travel. And the UK government has also taken its time in relaxing quarantine measures for visitors returning from Germany (though from July 10th, the rules will be relaxed). The prospects for the quick return of US visitors is looking the most pessimistic, as flare-ups take hold in individual states meaning that European governments are cautious about re-opening to tourists. At present U.S. citizens are being denied entry to Germany unless they are already EU residents or are covered by a small number of narrow exceptions. Finally, there are increasing calls for more certainty from airlines, who will be an essential part of the recovery. This means we are keeping a careful eye on announcements from British Airways and others as to how they see the reopening taking place.
But all this uncertainty does not mean that we are not doing anything here at Art of Touring. Here is a message from our founder, Nadia.
How Art of Touring is responding to Corona
We have been coming up with new ideas for things to do after movement restrictions are over. Alongside this, our Instagram feed has been reinvigorated with new posts and inspiration for future visitors.
We also recognize that we may have to change the way we do things. We want to tackle issues of hygiene and safety, for example exploring alternative audio systems which will enable each guide to use their own microphone rather than having to borrow microphones that have already been used by others. Social distancing within the context of a tour is also difficult but we can overcome this to some extent by making sure our audio technology is top-notch so people can hear the guide without having to get too close to each other.
While this has been a painful period for everyone, we have to be thankful that our entire team is still healthy, well and motivated to hit the ground running just as soon as it is practical and safe to travel to Cologne once again.
“We are getting inspired for new things to do and to show people as soon as this is possible. We hope to welcome you soon again in Cologne”