Which countries are reopening to international tourists?

As countries emerge from lockdown and begin lifting travel restrictions, many travellers are wondering the same thing: Will we be able to travel this year? And if so, where? 

Since May, countries have begun announcing when – and how – international travel will resume. Some have been in discussions to form travel bubbles, permitting residents from within each “bubble” to move freely between a cluster of neighbouring countries, others have been toying with introducing incentives, such as subsidising portions of travellers expenses to reboot tourism. 

So if you’re a grounded traveller wondering where you’ll be able to travel first, here’s a guide to the destinations planning to reopen this summer without lengthy quarantine rules.  

Already open: Cyprus

Cyprus has now opened to international tourists from selected destinations pre-approved by the country’s Ministry of Health, of which the UAE (and Lebanon) is included. Before travelling to the breezy Mediterranean island, residents must apply for the Cyprus Flight Pass, and provide a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 96 hours prior to departure. Although Emirates isn’t currently flying to Larnaca, it looks as though they’re set to resume from July 17 according to the airline website. 

Already open: Turkey 

Turkey has officially reopened its borders to tourists, several weeks after resuming domestic flights. For the moment, all new arrivals in Turkey are required to wear masks, must undergo a medical examination and are asked for contact and accommodation details when they land. Anyone showing symptoms will be asked to take a test and may be quarantined if positive.

Already open: Zanzibar, Tanzania

As of June 6, all restaurants, bars and hotels have been permitted to reopen in Zanzibar, following the reopening of airports for international travellers across Tanzania.The 14 day mandatory quarantine for visitors entering the country has also been lifted. According to local media reports, Mahmoud Thabit Kombo, Zanzibar’s Minister of Information, Tourism and Heritage said all travelers to Zanzibar should hold medical health insurance, adhere to guidelines outlined by the Zanzibar health authorities and undergo screening when entering the country. Those found with symptoms will be sent to a designated isolation center for further tests.

Already open: Lebanon

Commercial flights in and out of Lebanon‘s Beirut airport from July 1. According to local media reports, travellers will be split into two categories, with the first group, which includes the UAE, coming from countries where Covid-19 tests are regularly conducted. These visitors will need to carry a negative Covid test taken no more than 96 hours prior to departure and one upon arrival. Visitors from countries where tests haven’t been as regularly carried out will be required to take the test upon arrival and then self-isolate for 72 hours. 

Already open: Egypt

From July 1, Egypt will begin welcoming tourists once more as commercial passenger flights gradually resume. Egypt is accepting visitors from most countries, including the UAE, and has even waived tourist visa requirements for those visiting the resort areas like the Red Sea, Sharm El Sheikh and Matrouh until the end of October to encourage tourists to return. 

Already open: Maldives

Tourists from all countries will be able to visit the Maldives visa-free, with no Covid-19 testing on either end of their flight to the destination, stay for as long as they like and won’t be required to self-quarantine either from July 15. The only change tourists who have been to the island previously will notice is that the government is issuing safe tourism resort licences to resorts. To get this accreditation, resorts will have to meet government requirements on cleanliness training, allocate 10 percent of rooms and resort staff for guests in quarantine, train all staff to deal with an outbreak, have a medic on call and have an adequate amount of personal protection equipment in stock. Emirates is resuming flights to the capital of Malé from June 16. 

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Already open: Malta

The Meditteranean island of Malta will reopen for tourism in July in two phases: initially allowing residents from 22 European countries to visit from July 1, followed by travellers from everywhere else on July 15. Visitors won’t be required to self-quarantine upon arrival, but can expect thermal screenings. Arrivals must also fill in a self-declaration form that includes details of their movement for the last 30 days. 

From July 31: Georgia

A popular long weekend destination for travellers from the UAE, Georgia opened local tourism services as of June 15, readying to receive international tourists from July 31. New safety and hygiene measures have been implemented to give travellers peace of mind. Initially, Georgia will welcome tourists to “Green Zones” across the country, which are areas identified as coronavirus-free. Georgia has one of the lowest coronavirus case counts in Europe, having reported just under 1000 cases.

From August: Sri Lanka

A four and a half hour flight from the UAE, Sri Lanka is a popular destination for travellers from the GCC. According to Kimali Fernando, chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism, Sri Lanka is expecting to partially reopen for tourism from August 1. Initially a limited, as of yet undisclosed, number of groups would be permitted to visit and stay at a selection of hotels that have put strict health and safety measures in place. Popular attractions including Yala national park, Arugam Bay and selected beach areas would be among those open for tourists. All tourists will have to carry a COVID-19 free certificate and be tested upon arrival at the airport.

From September: Bali  

While a summer trip might not be possible, Indonesia’s three-phase reopening plan for Bali is likely to see the hedonistic island destination reopen in September, a month earlier than initially announced. A destination that draws tourists in equal measure for its verdant tropical jungles and pristine white sandy beaches, Bali is a hedonistic paradise for those looking to enjoy a slower pace of life as well as the vibrant restaurant and day clubbing scene the island has to offer.

Source: Conde Nast Traveller