Which international destinations are reopening to tourists?

  • 2 weeks   ago
Which international destinations are reopening to tourists?
Although most governments are still advising against "nonessential" international travel, a host of popular destinations are beginning to ease their Covid-19 lockdown measures and border restrictions and are moving toward welcoming tourists back.
Back in May, the European Union unveiled an action plan to reopen its internal borders in time for summer, while countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have formed "travel bubbles," lifting restrictions for each other's citizens.
Some Caribbean islands are already beginning to open their doors to foreign visitors again, while destinations such as Mexico and Thailand are planning to reopen region by region in the coming weeks.
If you're one of many travelers eagerly awaiting news on where you can travel to this year, here's a guide to the top destinations making plans to reopen, as well as some of those that are keeping their borders firmly closed for now.

Aruba will slowly reopen to tourists between June 15 and July 10.
Visitors from nearby Caribbean islands Curacao and Bonaire will be permitted to enter first, followed by travelers from Canada and Europe on July 1.
Tourists from the United States will be allowed to visit from July 10.
While it was previously suggested travelers would not be required to to take a Covid-19 test on arrival or prior to traveling, it seems this is no longer the case.
Like many other destinations, Aruba is giving visitors the option to either provide a negative test result taken no more than 72 hours before their visit, or receive a test on arrival.
However, the cost of the test, which must be paid for in advance, is the responsibility of the traveler.
The island has also introduced mandatory insurance coverage, the Aruba Visitors Insurance, which will cover any expenses if visitors test positive for the virus during their trip.
Nonessential businesses including shopping malls, cinemas, beauty salons and outdoor restaurants were allowed to reopen on May 25, while the island country's 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew was completely lifted earlier this month.
Restaurants with indoor seating have now been allowed to reopen, although diners must leave before 10 p.m., along with spas, and saunas.
In addition, the department of Public Health has introduced the "Aruba Health & Happiness Code," a mandatory cleaning and hygiene certification program for all businesses related to tourism in the country.

Bali has also been successful in containing its coronavirus outbreak, with less than 350 confirmed cases and, at the time of writing, a total of four deaths.
The Indonesian island now hopes to welcome tourists back by October, provided its infection rates stay low.
According to a statement from Ni Wayan Giri Adnyani, secretary of the ministry, Yogyakarta, situated on the island of Java, is likely to reopen first, along with the Riau islands province.
Bali's economy is hugely dependent on tourism and visitor numbers have been rising in recent years, with around 6.3 million people visiting in 2019.
"The coronavirus has collapsed the Balinese economy ... it's been a steep drop since [mid-March] when social-distancing measures were put in place,"
Mangku Nyoman Kandia, a Bali tour guide, told ABC News in April. "No tourist, no money."
All foreign nationals, except for diplomats, permanent residents and humanitarian workers, are currently banned from Indonesia, and anyone entering the island must undergo a swab test and provide a letter stating they are free of Covid-19.
It's unclear what the entry requirements will be if restrictions are lifted later this year, or whether Bali will accept travelers from regions badly affected by the pandemic.
However, tourism officials have been calling for a "travel bubble" to be implemented between Bali and Australia.
Cyprus is so keen to get its tourism industry back on track, officials are offering to cover the costs of any travelers who test positive for Covid-19 while on vacation in the Mediterranean island nation.
According to a letter shared with CNN, the Cypriot government will pay for lodging, as well as food, drink and medication for tourists who are taken ill with coronavirus during their visit.
The detailed plan was set out in a five-page letter issued to governments, airlines and tour operators on May 26.
Officials have also earmarked a 100-bed hospital for foreign travelers who test positive, while a 500-room "quarantine hotel" will be available to patients' family and "close contacts."
"The traveler will only need to bear the cost of their airport transfer and repatriation flight, in collaboration with their agent and/or airline," states the letter.
The country's hotels began to reopen on June 1, while international air travel restarted on June 9.
Once the destination reopens, visitors from only chosen countries will be allowed to enter.
Officials have issued a list of countries to be granted access to Cyprus in two separate stages.
Incoming flights from Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Lithuania will be authorized first.
From June 20, Cyprus will also permit incoming flights from Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.
The UK and the US, both listed among the nations with the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 deaths, are noticeably absent.
However, the list is to be expanded to include further countries in the coming months.
Travelers heading to Cyprus will need to provide a valid certificate proving they've tested negative for Covid-19, while they'll be subject to temperature checks on arrival as well as testing at random during the course of their trip.
The destination has already put measures in place to protect travelers and residents, such as ensuring hotel staff wear masks and gloves, regularly disinfecting sunbeds and keeping tables at restaurants, bars, cafés,and pubs at least two meters (6.5 feet) apart.

Tourism brings in around $1 billion in revenue for Egypt each month, so the impact of the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic has been significant.
The government suspended passenger flights back in March, while all hotels, restaurants and cafes were closed and a night curfew imposed.
These measures are currently being relaxed, with hotels that meet certain requirements, such as having a clinic with a resident doctor on site, being granted permission to reopen for domestic visitors at a reduced capacity.
But a curfew remains in place between 8p.m. and 5 a.m -- although this is due to be lifted on June 27 -- and the government has made wearing masks mandatory in public places and public transport.
Although international flights are yet to begin operating again -- bar a select few routes -- the cabinet has indicated scheduled international flights will be allowed to enter from July 1, while foreign tourists will be permitted at the resorts least affected by Covid-19.
"We have to prepare," cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said during a televised interview last month.
"A number of global carriers have expressed willingness to resume flights to Egypt in July, and as a result we are considering a gradual resumption of international flights beginning towards the end of this month and in the first half of July."
France was the most visited country in the world before the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, like the rest of the EU, restrictions are currently in place on all nonessential travel from outside the Schengen Zone (a grouping of 26 countries which normally have open borders).
Travelers who do enter the country, with the exception of EU citizens or arrivals from the UK, will be subject to a compulsory 14-day quarantine until at least July 24.
Although the government is slowly lifting lockdown measures, with car journeys of up to 100 kilometers now allowed and beaches beginning to reopen, officials have made it clear the country is in no hurry to ease border restrictions for international travelers.
"Since the start of the crisis, the closure of the borders is the rule, and the authorization to cross a border is the exception.
"We have to keep this protection in place, this will not change soon," French Interior Minister Christophe Castane said during a televised news conference earlier this month.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe recently announced a $19.4 billion stimulus package to boost its ailing tourism sector.
"What is good for tourism is often good for France, what strikes tourism strikes France," he said during a news conference.
The country's hotels, bars, restaurants and cafés were granted permission to reopen on June 2.
Meanwhile Paris was downgraded from a "red zone" to a "green zone" in mid-June and the city has now reopened.
It was announced on May 29 that the country's most visited museum, the Louvre, will reopen July 6.
"Tourism is facing what is probably its worst challenge in modern history," added Philippe. "Because this is one of the crown jewels of the French economy, rescuing it is a national priority."
He went on to state that residents can take holidays within France during July and August.
The country's hotels will be reliant on domestic tourism once they do reopen, as all signs suggest international travelers will not be able to enter for the foreseeable future.
"When the lockdown measures soften, French tourists are likely to want to stay close to home in the short term," a spokesperson for French hotel chain Accor told CNN Travel earlier this month.
"It will be the moment for them to rediscover their own country and we will be there to welcome them."
Georgia was experiencing a tourism boom before the coronavirus pandemic, with five million travelers visiting in 2019, a 7% increase on the previous year.
But the country was forced to close its winter resorts and place a ban on all foreign visitors back in March because of the crisis.
Eager to revive its tourism sector, the country's government says it plans to reopen to international travelers on July 1.
Officials have brought in a three-stage "anti-crisis" plan, which includes a marketing campaign designed to promote Georgia as a "safe destination."
The next stage will allow for domestic travel in special "safe" tourism zones, while the final stage involves reopening borders and resuming some flights.
"We are transitioning to the third stage [of Covid-19 response], which means post-crisis management of the economy and devising plans [on] how to kickstart different sectors," Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said at a recent council meeting focused on fighting Covid-19.
"[The] tourism sector will be first to which emergency relief measures will apply."

Although nonessential travel to Germany is prohibited at present, the land of poets and thinkers lifted restrictions for EU countries on June 15.
Officials are also considering allowing entry to visitors from Turkey, the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, although a final decision is yet to be made.
The proposal was listed in a paper called "Criteria for the Enabling of intra-European Tourism," which suggested the current travel warnings would be replaced by individual travel advice relating to each country.
"The revitalization of tourism is important both for travelers and the German travel industry, as well as for the economic stability of the respective target countries," it reads.
The Austria/Germany land border is also reopening -- travel between Austria and Germany is possible as of June 15 -- and restrictions around the country are being relaxed.
Bars, restaurants and museums have reopened, while some hotels have begun to resume business.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has opted to extend social distancing rules until June 29.
Tourism accounts for almost 20% of Greece's gross domestic product, as well as one in five jobs, so it's perhaps no surprise the Mediterranean nation is angling to reopen to tourists as soon as it possibly can.
The European country, which managed to keep its coronavirus case numbers low by implementing a strict lockdown early on, has already begun to allow some travelers back in.
"The tourism period begins on June 15, when seasonal hotels can reopen," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on May 20.
"Let us make this summer the epilogue of the [Covid-19] crisis," he added.
Mitsotakis went on to state that direct international flights to Greek destinations will slowly resume from July 1, and tourists from 29 designated countries will no longer be expected to take a Covid-19 test or go into quarantine on arrival.
However, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis has indicated health officials will conduct spot tests when necessary.
"The tourism experience this summer may be slightly different from what you've had in previous years," Mitsotakis told CNN earlier this month.
"Maybe no bars may be open, or no tight crowds, but you can still get a fantastic experience in Greece -- provided that the global epidemic is on a downward path."
The 29 countries are Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia,
Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland.
Greece resumed regular ferry services to its islands on May 25, while travel restrictions within the country were lifted on May 18, "allowing movement from one prefecture to another," apart from the islands.
Bars and restaurants have also been allowed to take up business again, while city hotels were scheduled to reopen on June 1, followed by seasonal hotels in July.
All international passengers had previously been required to take a Covid-19 test upon arrival or go into quarantine for 14 days.
Mitsotakis had suggested tourists would be required to undergo testing before their visit as a further precaution in the future.
But it seems this is only the case for travelers from countries that aren't on the list, which is based on a document from the European Union Aviation
Safety Agency of airports worldwide "located in affected areas with high risk of transmission of the Covid-19 infection."
Iceland reopened it borders to tourists on June 15 after recording just under 2,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases.
The move came weeks after the Nordic country banned all foreign nationals, except for nationals of the EU and associated European countries.
Up until recently, everyone arriving from outside the country was required to go into quarantine for 14 days.
However, travelers now have the option to either submit to a Covid-19 test on arrival, provide proof of a recently taken test with a negative result, or agree to a two-week quarantine.
Although the tests are currently free, a $112 charge will be implemented from July 1.
Visitors will also be encouraged to download the app Rakning C-19, designed to help trace the origin of transmissions and available in seven languages -- Icelandic, English, Polish, German, French, Spanish and Italian.
"When travelers return to Iceland we want to have all mechanisms in place to safeguard them and the progress made in controlling the pandemic,"
Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation said in an official statement last month.
"Iceland's strategy of large-scale testing, tracing and isolating have proven effective so far.
"We want to build on that experience of creating a safe place for those who want a change of scenery after what has been a tough spring for all of us."

Source: CNN