UPDATED: May 18, 2021 13:59 IST
With India recording 2,81,386 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s tally to 2,49,65,463, travelling may be the last thing on our minds right now. However, many nations around the world have started to reopen borders partially or completely for international tourists. Travelling may never be the same, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but countries are welcoming tourists in the hope of seeing a similar boom as earlier. With strict restrictions in place and urging people to follow Covid-19 protocols at all times, countries are allowing travellers to enter their borders. However, India is still on the banned list in many countries given the current crisis.
So, here is a list of all the nations that are ready to welcome tourists.
The Maldives reopened its borders to all travellers from all countries on July 15, 2020. The primary exception to this was the capital city of Malé, which is off-limits to visitors. However, from May 13, 2021, Maldives banned tourists from South Asia. This rule applies to all visa holders from India, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as well as people who have transited these countries in the past 14 days. The island nation is open to visitors from all other destinations, as long as they have proof of a negative Covid test. Travellers from the UK are currently subject to a 10-day quarantine.
Thailand is currently partially open for select tourists. The country is asking all travellers to quarantine for 14 days, regardless of country residence or vaccination status, in a government-approved quarantine facility or an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility. Additionally, the country cancelled certificates of entry (CEO) issued to non-Thai nationals from India from May 1. The same will be applied next month also.
Seychelles will now allow only fully vaccinated visitors from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh two weeks after they get their second jab along with a negative report from an RT-PCT test report, in the wake of the worsening Covid situation. Apart from that, residents from all countries, except South Africa, can travel to Seychelles if they have a negative Covid-19 PCR test done within 72 hours of departure and valid travel and health insurance to cover potential Covid-19 related costs.
Greece officially opened its borders to tourists last Friday (May 14). The country opened up its beaches and museums to tourists along with implementing its own vaccine and testing requirements for visitors. Greece is allowing tourists from countries in the EU, the US, the UK and Israel if they can prove they have been fully vaccinated or provide a negative Covid-19 test.
Iceland’s government recently announced that it is opening its borders to travellers outside the Schengen zone who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid-19. The rules apply to vaccinated tourists from EEA/EFTA (European Economic Area/European Free Trade Association) and citizens of Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican (where the 14-day infection rate is below 700 per 100,000), who can visit Iceland without having to quarantine or take a test for Covid-19. The country is accepting certificates of vaccination with a vaccine authorised by the European Medicines Agency only.
Austrian authorities announced their plan to reopen and ease their imposed Covid-19 preventive measures starting from May 19 in an effort to help the country recover from the devastating situation caused by the pandemic. The country is only allowing EU/Schengen nationals and tourists from Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the Vatican to cross its borders. Additionally, entry from Germany was allowed by the country without quarantine. The prerequisite is that travellers can credibly demonstrate that they have only stayed in Germany in the past 10 days.
The UK resumed international travel from May 17 under a system in which it divides countries into red, green or amber categories. Currently, only a UK resident who is travelling from destinations on the “red list,” which includes India, South Africa, Namibia, the United Arab Emirates, and more can enter the borders. They must quarantine in a hotel on arrival and take two Covid-19 tests. If someone is travelling from the green list nation, you must take a Covid-19 test on or before Day 2 after you arrive in the UK. If you are coming from a country that is on the amber list, then you must quarantine in the place you’re staying and take two Covid-19 tests.
Italy recently decided to reopen its borders for international tourists from nations that have reached a high level of vaccination percentages. The announcement was made by Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Currently, travellers coming to Italy from most of Europe must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 molecular or antigen test taken within 48 hours prior to arrival in Italy. They must quarantine for five days and then take a second Covid-19 antigen test. Travellers from outside of Europe who are currently allowed to enter Italy, including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Rwanda and Thailand also have to follow the same steps. However, they will have to quarantine for 10 days instead of 5. Additionally, no restrictions apply to tourists from Vatican City and San Marino.
Croatia is only allowing travellers from EU/Schengen countries if they are in possession of a negative Covid-19 test result upon arrival. They should also carry a vaccination certificate showing the final dose taken more than 14 days ago. If one doesn’t have a negative Covid-19 test report, they should get one at the airport and go into quarantine until the results arrive. Travellers from outside the EU/Schengen area not allowed except for specific circumstances.
Turkey announced recently that it will ease its virus restrictions from Monday as new cases of Covid-19 decline following a three-week lockdown. Most travel restrictions will be lifted but night-time and weekend curfews will remain in place. The country also removed the requirement for tourists from 14 countries, including the UK, to provide a negative virus test to enter.
Malta is currently allowing tourists from its amber and green lists to enter its borders. Though there are no countries under the green list yet, citizens from countries marked amber can visit Malta. They will have to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to boarding flights to Malta and will be subject to random swab tests upon arrival. If they do not present a test, a swab test on arrival or a 14-day quarantine period is mandatory for them.
These rules are being revised by countries according to the current guidelines and the situation around the world. It is advised to check the regulations before planning to travel. Moreover, till the pandemic is not far behind us and the travel restrictions aren’t lifted, the only option we have right now is to stay safe and stay home. Remember to mask up.