March 2023 E-Publication Recap

Ovation’s weekly consumer e-newsletter, the Knowledgeable Traveler, retains readers up to date on journey trade information and traits.

Following is a recap of March’s high 5 (most clicked by Ovation purchasers) e-newsletter tales.


The US Division of State has introduced that passport processing occasions proceed to be delayed amid ‘unprecedented demand,’ stories Journey Market Report. In response to the State Division, routine purposes are actually taking between 10 and 13 weeks, whereas expedited purposes are actually taking between seven and 9 weeks. These timelines don’t embrace mailing occasions, which can take as much as two weeks for purposes to be mailed, and one other two weeks for them to be mailed again, presumably extending all the software course of to 17 weeks, or greater than 4 months, from the time of mailing. The principle cause for the longer processing time is the upper demand for passports; 2023 is on monitor to set the file for the best demand 12 months ever for passports. The State Division has been working to cut back processing occasions in numerous methods together with “aggressively recruiting and hiring,” providing extra time to its present workers, and opening satellite tv for pc workplaces to assist course of the big variety of purposes coming in. Moreover, the division encourages all vacationers to verify their passport expiration date earlier than making any plans for worldwide journey, and to take motion to resume their passport effectively prematurely this 12 months. “We’re dedicated to transparency and can proceed to supply common updates about passport processing occasions, and to encourage Individuals to use for his or her passport effectively prematurely of any deliberate worldwide journey to keep away from last-minute points,” the State Division mentioned in its newest replace.


China has reopened its borders to overseas vacationers for the primary time for the reason that onset of the COVID-19 pandemic by permitting all classes of visas to be issued, stories Journey Market Report. As of March 15, vacationers can now apply for Chinese language journey visas and overseas workplaces can course of mentioned purposes. China has additionally said that it’s going to honor legitimate visas issued previous to the nation’s shutdown in March 2020. Moreover, China has reopened visa-free entry to some elements of the nation, together with in Hainan Island and for cruise ship vacationers crusing into Shanghai. People touring to China should nonetheless bear a COVID-19 check inside 48 hours earlier than their departure and full customs well being declaration types upon arrival.


Amtrak has introduced that it’s partnering with the Southern Rail Fee (SRC) to use for federal funds to review a brand new service between New York Metropolis, Atlanta, and Dallas/Fort Value by extending a piece of the favored Amtrak Crescent prepare from Meridian, Mississippi, to Texas. Amtrak has been exploring this concept for greater than 20 years, however final 12 months’s Congressional passage of the Infrastructure Funding and Jobs Act now creates new alternatives to review attainable expanded long-distance Amtrak service. “This has the potential to be the primary new Amtrak service of its type in additional than 25 years and it might are available in an space that has lengthy been underserved by passenger rail,” mentioned SRC Chairman Knox Ross. “Now that we’ve got a manner ahead for brand spanking new state-sponsored hall service between New Orleans and Cellular, the I-20 route has been recognized by the SRC as its subsequent precedence.” If the research produces a ample enterprise case for a direct connection between the Northeast Hall and fast-growing areas within the South and West, Amtrak would accomplice with the SRC and others to hunt federal capital and working assist to provoke the service.


Greater than 1,400 safety guards at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) will strike for 10 days over the Easter break, forcing British Airways to cancel roughly 32 flights a day to and from LHR in the course of the vacation interval, stories BBC. The strike, which is predicted to final from Friday, March 31, to Easter Sunday, April 9, consists of safety guards who work on the airport’s Terminal 5, which is used completely by British Airways, in addition to these accountable for checking all cargo that enters the airport. British Airways has been instructed by the airport to cut back its schedule on these days by 5 p.c and has stopped promoting tickets. The airline has begun to supply a variety of choices to affected vacationers. “We have apologized to prospects whose journey plans have been affected and have supplied them a variety of choices, together with rebooking onto a brand new flight with us or one other airline, or requesting a full refund,” the airline mentioned in an announcement. LHR mentioned it was deploying 1,000 further workers, along with its administration staff, who will probably be within the terminals offering help to vacationers over the Easter break. It mentioned it might take “a bit of longer than standard to get by safety,” and suggested vacationers to assist guarantee a clean departure by checking their flight standing earlier than travelling to the airport, and by having their liquids and electronics prepared for safety.


The European Union (EU) has formally delayed the launch of the European Journey Info and Authorization System (ETIAS) till at the least 2024, stories Journey Market Report. ETIAS has been delayed a number of occasions over the previous few years, most not too long ago in August 2022. The earlier postponement pushed the launch date from Might 2023 to November 2023. An up to date launch date has but to be decided, however the EU has confirmed that it’s going to not take impact in November 2023 as deliberate. “It’s anticipated that the ETIAS will probably be operational in 2024,” mentioned the EU in its newest replace. The ETIAS, which has been within the works since 2016, would require all non-Europeans, together with these within the US, UK, and Canada, to acquire an digital journey allow forward of arrival to any of the 26 European international locations that make up the Schengen space. This requirement applies to all vacationers who don’t want a visa previous to journey.