As the world continues to grapple with the lockdown caused by the coronavirus, countries in Europe and around the world, including the United States, are preparing to ease travel restrictions and welcome international visitors back to shore.
The easing of lockdown restrictions is being approached with caution as many countries continue to severely limit the number of visitors they allow and introduce new travel bubbles to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
WHEN DO THE TRAVELS CONTINUE?
Travel restrictions and reopening times change daily, so take the time to research your destination.
As travel bans are lifted around the world, many borders are reopening. But the easing of travel restrictions starts mostly between neighboring countries and looks more like a travel bubble. Countries such as Greece and Spain, as well as other European countries such as Italy, offer incentives for future international tourism.
REOPENING OF INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
Here is a list of countries that have started to reopen and what these Travel Guidelines will look like for visitors.
On May 25, Greece resumed inter-island ferry service and reopened cafes and restaurants. To prevent new COVID-19 infections, social distancing will be implemented and the number of diners and passengers on the ferries will be limited. The originally planned tourist season will resume on June 15, Greece has decided to ease travel restrictions due to lower COVID-19 infections. Greece’s neighbors Spain, Turkey and Italy have been less fortunate with the coronavirus pandemic.
Cyprus tourism officials are keen to rebuild tourism and have said they will cover any travelers who contract Covid-19 while on holiday there. In a government letter published in June, the government of Cyprus announced that it would pay for accommodation, medicine and food for the patients and their families.
Cyprus plans to open its doors to tourism in July, although flights to the destination are still at a lower level. Visitors from the UK and Russia, who account for more than half of all holidaymakers in Cyprus, can travel to the Mediterranean island in July.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Dubai in the United Arab Emirates lifted pandemic restrictions on May 27, allowing businesses and people to move freely. Businesses such as gyms and movie theaters practice social distancing alongside strict disinfection rules. Dubai’s public parks, beaches, shopping malls and eateries will also be open at limited capacity.
HUNGARY AND SLOVENIA
Citizens of Hungary and Slovenia can now travel between the borders of the two countries as the coronavirus restrictions ease restrictions on international travel. For now, only citizens of the two countries can move freely between the borders, but travel restrictions remain in place for visitors from the United States and other countries.
In an effort to save the tourist season, Austria just opened its hotels and resorts and is testing accommodation workers for the COVID-19 virus. In addition, Austrian museums, bars and restaurants are also open. Tourism in Austria is heavily dependent on neighboring Germany, and Austrian officials hope that testing hotel workers for the coronavirus could ease fears and attract visitors. Travel to Austria is now allowed through all eight of the country’s neighboring countries, with the exception of Italy.
NORWAY AND DENMARK
Like Hungary and Slovenia, Norway and Denmark allow travel between European countries and also welcome tourists from Germany and Iceland. However, Sweden is still prohibited from traveling to these two countries.
Germany announced this week that it will lift a blanket travel ban on June 15 from all 27 EU member states, as well as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Fairs and conferences are expected to continue in Germany as early as May 30. Distance, limited number of participants and other safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Many international flights to Germany resume in mid-June or shortly thereafter.
Pakistan has started allowing only outbound international flights for its citizens. The decision to allow outbound flights is consistent with the lifting of recent closures for most citizens of this country.
Albania is currently reopening tourism and its borders. Curfew restrictions are in place and public transportation and mass gatherings such as sporting events and concerts are still prohibited.
Russia opens international air traffic and Russian citizens should also be able to travel freely from June 1. Sahal, Chukotka and Altai are also lifting quarantine and lockdown measures in preparation for tourism.
Australians can go to the popular state of New South Wales from June 1. However, with businesses in Sydney and New South Wales opening up to regional tourists, public transport is still at only 25% capacity. International travel is not open yet.
South Africa will slowly open from June 1. Before you get too excited, there are still travel restrictions for visitors who want to visit from other countries. South Africa is very cautious about phasing out restrictions on a ‘watch and watch’ basis based on coronavirus cases.
From June 1, travel for domestic tourism in the country, including hotels and resorts, will become easier. The second rollout of the easing of travel restrictions comes in two weeks as the country closely monitors coronavirus cases.
On June 1, the Netherlands will lift a number of lockdown rules, including the opening of museums, cafes and restaurants. If you plan to visit the museum, visitors must purchase tickets online in advance. Diners are subject to social distancing rules and those 13 and older must wear a face mask. For now, the borders are still closed to visitors from other countries.
STATE OF THE VATICAN
After months of coronavirus lockdown, the Vatican Museums will reopen on June 1, with strict restrictions on visitors including temperature checks, masks and social distancing. Museum tickets must be purchased online to keep groups as small as possible.
The U.S. Virgin Islands will reopen to tourists on June 1, becoming one of the first Caribbean islands to welcome tourists back. However, the US Virgin Islands is under a state of emergency until July.
To stave off another coronavirus outbreak, international travel is taking a tentative step toward lifting lockdown restrictions as travel bubbles loom, where open borders are limited to neighboring countries. It is a step in the right direction and many countries are hoping to salvage what is left of their tourism industry.