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Embarking on Magellan and Elcano’s first journey around the world



On December 10, 1520, an expedition led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and Spanish navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano crossed what is now the Straits of Magellan, bringing it to the brink of the unexplored vastness of the Pacific Ocean. Five centuries later, Google has brought its entire technological arsenal to bear to celebrate the fifth centenary of what was the first journey around the world.

In collaboration with the Spanish Culture Ministry and the Spanish National Commission of the First Trip Around the World, Google Arts & Culture has launched a digital platform that examines the details of the three-year voyage, which lasted from 1519 to 1522, and its impact on Europe’s understanding of the enormity of the planet, using a thousand images, 73 digital features and the support of 12 cultural institutions.

Dubbed “The First Round-the-World Trip,” the initiative invites online users from all over the world to immerse themselves in the minutiae of the journey and accompany the protagonists on their route with reference to historical documents and maps as well as visiting a replica of the Victoria – the only ship to make it back. It also introduces us to the communities we would find at the explorers’ various destinations if we were making the same journey today.

“The exhibition is divided into three sections that try to explain not only the naval adventure but also the before and after – its consequences, which are evident today,” says a Google Arts & Culture spokesman. The first section, called Expedition, tells us about the preparations for the trip, giving detailed descriptions of the five ships, their crews, their protagonists and the historical context in which the journey took shape. The Exploration section shows the maps and instruments used by the explorers, and the flora and fauna they encountered along the way. Finally, the Transformation section analyzes the legacy of the voyage, which, in the words of the organizers, left “a spherical world connected by oceans, cultural and social exchanges and trade.”

Seville and Sanlúcar de Barrameda in the 16th century

The illustrator Arturo Redondo has provided two interactive maps that allow users to explore the two points of departure, Seville and Sanlúcar de Barrameda, in 1519.

On August 10, 1519, the expedition led by Portuguese explorer Magellan and Basque explorer Elcano left the port of Seville. Its goal was to seek a new westward route toward the Moluccas or Spice Islands in Indonesia. The expedition involved five ships – the Trinidad, the San Antonio, the Victoria, the Concepción and the Santiago – and a collective crew of 245 sailors, including Castilians, Portuguese, Greeks, French, Italians, Belgians, English and Germans. The only ship to return to Seville in 1522 was the Victoria, captained by Elcano. It came back with 35 men on board after a 1,084-day voyage covering 46,270 nautical miles – about 85,700 kilometers, which is more than twice the Earth’s circumference. The ship’s reappearance at its port of departure was empirical proof that the oceans were interconnected and that the Earth was round. “We have discovered and rounded all the roundness of the world,” Elcano wrote to King Charles V of Spain from Sanlúcar de Barrameda on his return.

A virtual walk through a replica of the Victoria

The replica of the Victoria is 26 meters long and six meters wide. It can be visited digitally, with a 360º view, thanks to Google’s Street View technology. The tour includes its sails (six, with a total area of 286 square meters), the hold, the deck and main mast and the forecastle.

The route

Users can trace the voyage on a detailed map: the journey along the African coast; the arrival on November 29, 1519, in Brazil with a stopover in Santa Lucía Bay in what is now Río de Janeiro; and the journey through the Tierra del Fuego, which was named after the bonfires lit by the native Indians. On November 28, 1520, the ships TrinidadConcepción and Victoria found their way to the South Sea via what is now known as the Straits of Magellan, which are 565 kilometers long. It took 38 days to cross and took them from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

After 100 days crossing the biggest ocean on the planet, they arrived at the Mariana Islands east of the Philippines and south of Japan; on April 27, 1521, Magellan died in battle, in Cebu in the Philippines; on November 8, 1521, two years and three months after leaving Spain, the expedition arrived in the Moluccas Islands in Indonesia. On January 25, 1522, Elcano set out for home on the last surviving ship from Timor on a direct journey westward across the Indian Ocean. In the spring of that year, he rounded the Cape of Good Hope. Afterwards, he would reach Cape Verde and the Canary Islands. And, on September 8, he docked in Seville.

Mapping the New World

The Google Arts & Culture collection has managed to reproduce high quality cartographic maps that show the transformation of Europe’s vision of the planet after Elcano and Magellan’s expedition. For example, Juan Vespucio’s 1526 map already incorporates the Straits of Magellan, although he calls it Sant Anton.


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tourism– Gradually more and more tourist destinations in Asia announced opening their borders to international visitors. Various restrictions however are still in effect.


Since the beginning of the pandemic, the continent had strictly sealed itself off and announced that it would reopen its borders to international tourism on Christmas 2021. The date has now been postponed until early 2022. Only fully vaccinated vacationers will be allowed to enter the country. What will be possible again from December 1, however, are the popular “working holidays,” in which travelers combine work in Australia with a vacation. For this purpose, one needs a “Working Holiday Maker Visa” (subclass 417) or a “Work and Holiday Visa” (subclass 462), must be fully vaccinated, register online and present a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours.


The vacation island of Bali, Indonesia, reopened to international tourism in October. The quarantine after arrival has been reduced from five to three days for fully vaccinated travelers. In addition, proof of health insurance is required. So far, vacationers are only allowed to travel to Bali and the Riau Islands; all other regions of the Southeast Asian country are not yet open to international tourism.


Cambodia plans to gradually ramp up tourism again since November. Fully vaccinated travelers will be spared quarantine, but they must present a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours old, complete a rapid test immediately upon arrival, and provide proof of health insurance. After that, they are allowed to travel throughout the country. Those who cannot provide proof of vaccination must take a PCR test upon arrival and enter a 14-day quarantine.


As of October 15, India has reopened to vacationers from abroad. The tourist visas will be reissued with immediate effect, but initially only for travelers on charter flights. From November 15, this regulation was extended to all other flights. According to initial information, a negative PCR test will be presented upon entry. Travelers will also have to register on the Air Suvidha online portal before starting their journey and upload the negative PCR test here as well. Upon entry, passengers from Europe must take another PCR test at the airport for a fee (currently costs around 6 euros) and download the app Aarogya Setu.


By January 1 at the latest, Malaysia plans to launch a pilot project that will allow fully vaccinated tourists from abroad to travel to the island of Langkawi. A list of countries from which quarantine-free entry is allowed upon presentation of a certificate of vaccination, a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours, and proof of health insurance is to be presented soon. A minimum stay on Langkawi of three days is required.


Since October 1, fully vaccinated vacationers can enter Mauritius quarantine-free. All they have to do is present a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours and take another one upon arrival at the airport. On the fifth day of stay, an antigen test must be taken at the hotel or a self-test available at a pharmacy. Unvaccinated persons over the age of 18 must undergo a 14-day quarantine. Bars and clubs in the island nation are currently closed, no events are taking place, and proof of vaccination is required to enter restaurants.


Those who are fully vaccinated will again be issued visas upon arrival at Kathmandu Airport. Additionally, one needs a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours, confirmation of lodging, and registration, which must be carried out in the printed form. Unvaccinated people have to apply for their visas at the responsible representative authority of Nepal. In addition to the test and registration, they must undergo a ten-day hotel quarantine.


The Southeast Asian island nation plans to reopen its borders to international tourism soon – but only to fully vaccinated vacationers from “green” countries with high vaccination rates and low infection rates. There are currently 43 countries and territories on the list, including China, Taiwan, Japan, Pakistan, Rwanda, and the Falkland Islands. European countries are not included yet. The Philippines, known for magnificent landscapes, volcanoes and dream beaches, has closed its borders to international vacationers since March 2020.

Sri Lanka

The island nation in the Indian Ocean will join the tourist destinations in Asia that allow tourists to enter the country who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus for at least two weeks and present a negative PCR test that is not more than 72 hours old. Those who had a corona infection within the last three months prior to entry will only need a negative antigen test that is a maximum of 48 hours old as a recovered person. Upon arrival, foreign visitors are then allowed to move freely. Individuals who are not fully immunized against Covid-19 must register online, need a negative PCR test at the time of entry, and must take another one upon arrival. Afterwards, they are only allowed to move around the so-called “Safe & Secure Certified Level 1 Hotels” or visit selected sights. On the twelfth day of the stay, another test must be performed. If the test is negative, visitors are allowed to move freely around the country from the 14th day onwards.


Fully vaccinated travelers from all over the world have been able to book vacations with special travel programs in the Thai vacation paradise of Phuket or Ko Samui for some time. After a week, they can also travel to other regions of Thailand. Since November, Thailand is open for fully vaccinated air travelers from 63 countries with low Corona risk. So far, only ten countries were on the list. Travelers must present a negative PCR test upon entry and complete another one upon arrival. Once the result is available, they can travel without quarantine to 17 places open to tourism so far, including Phuket Island, the capital of Bangkok and Chiang Mai in the north of the country. Before entering the country, one must apply online for the “Thailand Passport”. The opening of nightclubs, pubs and karaoke bars, originally scheduled for early December, has been postponed until at least mid-January. Alcohol may currently only be served in restaurants in the capital Bangkok, the provinces of Krabi and Phangnga, and on the resort island of Phuket.


Depending on the vaccination rate in the country, Vietnam wants to open up to international tourism again. To this end, a four-step plan has been presented, the first step of which is to open selected destinations to vacationers arriving on charter flights towards the end of the year. These include the island of Phu Quoc and the coastal cities of Da Nang and Khanh Hoa. For this purpose, a list of countries will be presented whose fully vaccinated nationals will be allowed to enter. A limited number of scheduled flights are to be allowed again from January 2022. As things stand, however, travelers must expect to be quarantined upon arrival. There are no plans to allow entry for convalescents or unvaccinated travelers.

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tourism- Travel and hotel stays will become more expensive worldwide over the next two years. This is one of the conclusions of the seventh annual Global Business Travel Forecast, released by CWT and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). The report sees rising demand, capacity constraints and travelers’ sustainability demand, as well as higher labor and energy costs, as the main reasons for rising prices, including the hotel prices.

The upturn in business travel is in full swing, says Michelle McKinney Frymire, CEO of CWT. This comes after a 31% drop in airfares for business travel, for example. Experts expect airfares to rise 3.3% in 2022 and 3.4% in 2023, according to the report.

The increase in global hotel prices is expected to be even stronger, with a price increase of 13% in 2022 and a further 10% in 2023. Nevertheless, it will still take some time in many markets before the 2019 level is reached again.

CWT Meetings & Events expects the majority of immediate meeting bookings to be small and regional in nature. Virtual and hybrid meetings played a critical role in 2021. The size of live meetings decreased in 2021 from an average of 42 attendees per meeting in 2019 and 2020 to an average of 24 attendees.

Many companies currently appear to be opting for smaller regional meetings rather than events that involve travel. However, as restrictions are lifted and pent-up demand leads to more people traveling to meetings, this is expected to change in 2022, the report said. Demand for meetings and events, it predicts, will increase 53% in the first half of 2022 compared to 2021

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tourism– Although travel demand in Europe has revived since last summer after the chaos of the pandemic, there is still “a long way to go” to achieve similar activity levels to those prior to the pandemic. This is the main conclusion of the report of the third quarter of 2021 on ‘Trends and prospects for European tourism’ issued by the European Travel Commission (ETC), which warns that the travel volumes of 2019 will not be achieved until 2024.

Europe currently has the best travel numbers in the world thanks to having the highest vaccination rate of all continents, but this is not enough as long-distance travel have not yet recovered.

The ETC points out that European destinations already enjoyed a better-than-expected summer season thanks to the success of vaccination programmes. In addition, the creation of the European Union’s digital COVID certificate has been crucial for ensuring safe travel in Europe within the EU and helped to simplify cross-border mobility.

As a result, intra-EU travel recorded an increase and is expected to account for 85% of European international arrivals in 2021, 8% more than in 2019.

The recovery has differed between destinations. The countries that reopened their borders earlier to vaccinated travelers were the most favored in terms of travel.

As the first country to reopen to non-COVID tourists was Greece, it recorded the strongest rebound in overnight stays, although it ended up falling 19% in August when compared to 2019 and foreign arrivals were very weak (-66.6%).

Spain ended the summer with a 77% drop in international overnight stays compared to 2019, while international arrivals plummeted by 88.7%.

The situation in the Czech Republic was worse (-94%), the country experienced the steepest drop due to the strict anti-COVID measures put in place by the authorities throughout the year.

No Long-haul Travelers

Although travel in Europe has gained terrain in 2021, there is still a long way to go as international tourist arrivals to Europe were still down 77% mid-year compared to 2019.

For the ETC, the slower vaccination rate in Eastern Europe and in some large, long distance source markets could delay the recovery.

The report also notes a notable absence of long-haul travelers. Arrivals from the US to Europe remained 90% below their 2019 levels on a third of European destinations.

The absence of Chinese tourists was also “painfully” felt across Europe with all countries recording drops of more than 90% compared to 2019.

Thus, the report forecasts that international tourist arrivals to Europe will be 60% less than in 2019 by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, many threats to travel remain: ever-changing restrictions, outbreaks, confusion over the color-coded EU travel system that is applied differently in European destinations and the adoption of different systems for accepting vaccinations.

The president of the ETC, Luís Araújo, has pointed out the importance of vaccination to recover international mobility, but calls for more measures.

“As the winter months approach, it is imperative that Europe strives to further restore freedom of movement by implementing more consistent approaches to travel within and outside the EU,” he emphasized.

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