Across the world the same question is being asked: When can we travel again? The travel and tourism industry, which has been hardly hit, is eager to welcome visitors. This week in Brussels, the EU Commission presented its proposal for the ‘EU Digital Green Certificate’ which many hope could bring a fresh of breath air both to the travel industry and to the millions of individuals wishing to be able to travel again.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) chief Alexandre de Juniac recently stated that travel will likely return in third quarter of 2021. The beleaguered aviation sector in Europe has also welcomed the EU’s proposal for a Digital Green Certificate.
With spring around the corner, some countries have begun to put on the table the possibility of welcoming tourists. Here is a list with the countries more advanced on the path towards the safe reopening of doors to tourism.
1. United Kingdom
UK prime minister Boris Johnson In February, UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced the country’s roadmap to ease the lockdown. Foreign holidays, he noted, could be envisioned for mid to late May.
Cyprus and Portugal, both favored destinations for British tourists, announced the possibility of opening to tourism. A wave of bookings ensued with the UK’s largest tour operator, TUI, reporting a 500% jump in bookings in recent days.
Greece’s tourism minister Harris Theoharis announced that the country hopes welcome those who have been vaccinated, have antibodies or tested negative for the coronavirus as of 14 May. Heavily reliant on tourism, the country has been at the forefront of the push for the use of the EU’s digital passport.
In February, a new deal was signed among Greece, Cyprus and Israel, allowing vaccinated citizens to travel freely between the three countries.
With the exception of South Africa visitors, the Seychelles will welcome global travelers regardless of their vaccination status, with visitors only required to present a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure.
According to Travel Weekly Asia, there will be no quarantine upon arrival or movement restrictions imposed, but tourists are required to stay in hotels certified as complying with coronavirus measures.
4. Madeira, Portugal
The Portuguese island bet a lot on attracting digital nomads. Madeira has created the world’s first digital Nomad village in Ponta do Sol.
U.S. travelers who have received both doses of a vaccine can enter Georgia. Those who are fully vaccinated do not need to get tested prior to arrival or quarantine when they get there.
According to Travel + Leisure, travelers who have not been vaccinated can visit the country but they must bring a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours, get a follow-up PCR test on the third day after arriving in the country, and complete an application with their contact details and travel history.
Even if Malaysia has created domestic travel bubbles to bolster local tourism, the Recovery Movement Control has been extended to 31 March, prohibiting foreign nationals from entering the country even if they have been vaccinated.
A Reciprocal Green Lane had been signed with Singapore but since the 1st of February it’s been put on hold for three months due to the spike in the number of cases worldwide.
According to Travel Weekly Asia, Thailand has plans to ease restrictions for vaccinated travelers, including shortening or dropping the mandatory quarantine for all arrivals, though no specific date has been set. Currently, travelers from roughly 40 countries, including the US and the UK, are eligible to travel to Thailand visa-free. A 14-day hotel quarantine, however, must be respected.
A new proposal called “Area Hotel Quarantine” might soon allow foreign visitors to leave their hotel rooms and walk around the property after the first three days of their mandatory 14-day period. This is being considered for top destinations such as Krabi, Phuket and Chiang Mai.
According to health authorities in Iceland, the country is welcoming fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. starting March 18 without the need to quarantine or undergo mandatory testing. The country will also welcome travelers who can show proof they were infected with Covid-19 and have since recovered.
On March 14th, authorities in Singapore announced that the country is evaluating safe corridor with Australia. In practice, the travel bubble will allow residents of both countries to travel between without the need for quarantine.
Currently, all travelers must submit a health declaration on arrival and stay for 14 days at dedicated facilities called Stay Home Notice. Those from higher-risk areas will need to take an RT-PCR test within 72 hours before departing for Singapore and be tested at the end of quarantine.
According to the Belize Tourism Board, travelers who can show proof they have received the vaccine will be exempted from any Covid-19 testing requirement. Travelers must book their stay at a “Gold Standard Hotel” and download the country’s health app.
Other travelers need show proof of a negative PCR Covid-19 test taken within 96 hours of travel or a negative rapid test taken within 48 hours of travel.