Travel beyond COVID-19. What travel will look like during & after COVID-19. A series of interviews with our top Hospitality and Tourism partners from around the world. Updates, Awareness, Wisdom & Education.  

Interview with Virginia Irurita. Founder & Executive Partner at Made for Spain & Portugal
Spain & Portugal, Europe

To curate, plan and book your next travel experience, contact me directly. info@carlosmelia.com or +1 917 754 5515.

Alfama Lisbon, Portugal

Made for Spain & Portugal

Made for Spain & Portugal is a luxury DMC providing the ultimate travel experience on the Iberian Peninsula and our islands since 1999. Our itineraries service the sophisticated traveler looking to connect in an authentic, creative and transformative way by facilitating insider access to the most exclusive places and extraordinary people, from opening top sites and museums for a private tour while closed to the public, to organizing a dinner with a relative of the royal family, and everything in between, all with a focus on sustainable luxury.

Q&A / Travel beyond COVID-19

Q&A Travel beyond COVID-19. Insight shared from out travel partners around the globe. For follow up questions, kindly contact us directly.

When are you foreseeing your destination opening back for tourists ?
Portugal is currently open to travelers arriving on direct flights from all countries with reciprocal border controls, meaning countries that allow Portuguese citizens to enter. Travelers from the US are still under restriction as the US borders are not open to the EU yet, but this is expected to be lifted in the coming weeks.
Spain is set to fully re-open for tourism on July 1st. Specifics regarding border control, foreign nationals to be granted entrance, and health & safety requirements upon arrival have not yet been made available. This information is expected to be released in the coming days.

What measures have you taken to reopen post COVID-19 ?
Please address sterilization measures, security, mandates on staff and guests testing, transportation etc.
We are working closely with our team on the ground, car companies, the hotels we collaborate with and Spanish and Portuguese governments to ensure that all safety and hygienic protocols are met exactly. We have designated a Covid Officer on our team that oversees each and every measure that is required for each type of service and ensures that all itineraries meet guidelines and outline measures taken. We are also reviewing all partnerships and experiences offered to ensure that high touch service and local immersion is still offered, while being in line with protocol.

How do you plan to enforce these measures and how will you ensure compliance?
Our Covid Officer will be in constant coordination with suppliers and require documentation to confirm compliance..

How will these measures affect the overall regular experience ?
They will make travel slower and more purposeful, and activities will follow. Experiences will be less focused on monuments and more on off the beaten path areas or sites, and the charisma and attitude of guides, hosts and drivers will become more important than ever to bring travelers close to the destination and our people without contact.

Booking & Payment Flexibility Terms and Conditions during and after COVID-19 time.
This experience has led us to revise our Terms & Conditions, and for 2021 we will offer adapted payment periods and a more collaborative process.

Will you be offering any special promotions, packages and/or value adds?
We are currently working on itineraries that include some of the more hidden corners of Spain and Portugal, and small, spectacular hotels to showcase the opportunity to explore a whole new side of our countries, while avoiding crowds.

How will you plan to maintain a level social distancing ?
Our guides and hosts will use whisperers for touring and experiences, chauffered vehicles will require an empty seat between each passenger, and crowded spaces will be avoided. We will also be including the opportunity to visit monuments out of the regular open ours so to visit in private.

Tell us about the current quarantine and restrictions within your destination ?
Portugal is no longer in quarantine, and is open as usual, with reduced capacity in all sites and masks and social distancing required on public transport. Spain is in the last phases of quarantine and will be open as normal, also with reduced capacity – and masks and social distancing required in all public spaces. All EU borders will reopen to other European travelers from July 1st.

Please add any additional information you believe would be helpful to raise travelers trust levels in order to visit ?
Portugal had a very low incidence of Covid and has been one of the leaders in implementing protocol and reopening effectively and safety, while Spain was hit hard but strict government action and a cautious reopening has led to great success without a spike in cases, with the Spanish people very well-trained in the requirements to avoid such a spike. We are both very safe countries, very aware of the measures to be taken, and ready and waiting to welcome travelers back. Our southern European cultures raise us to be hosts, and we cannot wait to host travelers again, making them feel closet o our culture and people, even at a safe distance.

Now on a lighter and positive note,

Have you taken advantage of this quiet months, to curate new experiences or discover new locations/destinations? If YES Which ?
Yes, we’ve been focusing a lot on outdoor and nature activities, like seeing the Iberian lynxes in Andalucía and rural Portugal, or alternative forms of experiences we already offered – like taking on the Camino de Santiago by sailboat instead of on foot!

What is your favorite experience at your destination that you wish to share with my clients/readers?
I love stargazing in the Alentejo, Portugal. It is a beautiful area not so touched by tourism. Their population/villages are distant one to the other so ther is no light contamination. If you go in the countryside at night it is amazing how much light there is and when you look at the sky is packed with stars. You feel/see the Milky Way.. it is fascinating. I love going by one of the many prehistorical places there like the cromeleques and do a guided tour of the stars with our fabulous guide… unique and breathtaking!

My Spain & Portugal Experiences

I have called Spain my home from many years, having lived in both Madrid and Palma de Mallorca ( Spain Blog Posts / Instagram Feed MadridBarcelonaPalma de MallorcaGalicia / Instagram Stories MallorcaBarcelona & Galicia ), and traveled extensively across the country and to neighbor Portugal ( Portugal Blog Posts / Instagram Feed / Instagram Stories ).

My last trip took me from Madrid to Santiago de Compostela and down along Portugal from Amarante to Porto, Douro Valley, Lisbon and the Algarve. Enjoy the Journey. !!!

Helpful Resources

Some useful resources you might want to keep in mind, for your upcoming travels during and after COVID-19.

IATA Travel Center  
www.iatatravelcentre.com

US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs  
www.travel.state.gov

CDC Center for Disease Control & Prevention
www.cdc.gov

World Health Organization
www.who.int

Homeland Security
www.dhs.gov

Global COVID-19 Flights & Travel Restrictions
app.developer.here.com

World Travel & Tourism Council
www.wttc.org/COVID-19/

World Travel Restrictions UN World Food Programme
www.unwfp.maps.arcgis.com

Observatory on Border Crossings Status due to COVID-19
www.wiki.unece.org

Health travel advice for all Countries
www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

EU Reopen
reopen.europa.eu

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About Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator

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