When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information.
Coronavirus has us all frozen in place and dreaming of when we can start booking again. We’ve been doing a lot of stories at The Points Guy about our dream trips and when we can realistically book those trips.
Canada remains in lockdown and the border between the United States and Canada is closed. Canada is allowing some province-to-province travel, but the summer tourism season in places like Ontario remains in serious jeopardy.
President Trump has said Canada would be one of the first countries to open to American visitors: “It will be one of the early borders to be released.” But the border will remain shut until at least 21 June.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced during a news conference on 19 May the border between the U.S. and Canada will remain closed until at least the third week of June. The border has been closed since 21 March. Additional 30-day extensions are not out of the question.
Like many other nations, Canada requires all visitors to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival. It’s unclear when that might be lifted.
Some Mexican states, including Quintana Roo — home to the tourist mecca of Cancun — had planned on reopening on 1 June. The country’s president said tourism is among several critical industries that could begin reopening by 17 May. But we’ve learned the planned reopening of the state of Quintana Roo which includes Cancun have delayed reopening to between 8-10 June.
A rebound in tourism will depend on the reopening of the region’s air hubs in Cancun, Cozumel and Chetumal, and tourists are advised that enhanced screening and cleaning procedures are in effect.
The Washington Post reports that hotel occupancy rates in Cancun fell to as low as 2.8% at the height of the crisis. The country is planning a major campaign to get tourists to come back with a tag line of “Mexico needs you”.
The United States has become the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak. Some states are slowly reopening but most are still not welcoming tourists. In fact, Maine and Hawaii both have strict 14-day quarantine requirements in place for all out-of-state visitors.
The CDC still has a strong warning against any nonessential travel within the United States. The CDC website advises, “It is possible that some state and local governments may put in place travel restrictions, stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantines upon arrival, or even state border closures while you are travelling”.
The U.S. State Department also advises against any international travel, suggesting United States citizens either remain in place or return home. It’s at “Level 4,” the department’s highest warning. But it is a recommendation, not a requirement.
Additionally, the U.S. has strict restrictions on arriving visitors including a ban on tourist visitors from all of Canada, Mexico, Europe and much of Asia.
As of 20 May, all U.S. states are in some phase of reopening.. sometimes quickly, sometimes very slowly.
Belize was one of the last countries in Central America to report a positive coronavirus case, according to the Miami Herald. At the time of writing, there have been 18 cases reported.
Belize’s borders will remain closed to all visitors until at least 30 June, but this could extend longer. Some restrictions for residents will be loosened sooner. For instance, all transport for essential workers and essential purposes has resumed. However, curfews on public activity remain in effect. Additionally, some businesses have begun to reopen, like restaurants (delivery and take-out only), banks and pharmacies. But they will only be permitted to operate during certain hours and under strict new health guidelines.
Costa Rica began easing some coronavirus measures on 1 May, allowing theatres, cinemas, hair salons, gyms and athletic centres to reopen under reduced hours and strict sanitary guidelines. This move came after the country’s active infections declined for 11 consecutive days.
A ban on foreign tourists is currently set to expire on 15 June, but it could be extended as a precaution.
“We have had relative and fragile success, but we cannot let our guard down”, said President Carlos Alvarado.
Health experts attribute Costa Rica’s success to the country’s move on 9 March to suspend mass gatherings and urge employees to work from home. Costa Rica also has a strong universal health-care system and authorities have done extensive contact tracing to identify those infected.
El Salvador has fewer than 400 reported cases. The country took early steps to curb the pandemic and in fact, El Salvador was one of the first Central American countries to go into lockdown before any cases of coronavirus were reported. Though travel here is not specifically forbidden for U.S. citizens, no international flights are currently permitted in or out of the country, and visitors would be subject to the same strict isolation and movement guidelines as locals.
As a further precaution, the country also required Salvadorans arriving from other countries to quarantine for 30 days.
Guatemala has had less than 1,000 cases of coronavirus but the country remains closed to tourists. An outright ban on travel to Guatemala by foreigners expired at the end of March, but a state of emergency remains in effect through the beginning of May at least and tourists are likely to be refused entry.
Fifteen percent of the cases in the country have been found in people deported from the United States, and Guatemala only agreed to accept future flights of deportees if the U.S. helps test every one of them.
Honduras has been among the countries most impacted by COVID-19 in Central America with nearly 1,500 cases and 99 deaths caused by the coronavirus.
The government announced on 15 March that all borders would be closed until further notice. According to the U.S. Embassy in Honduras, a curfew was mandated until 3 May, but there has been no update on whether or not that has been extended.
Nicaragua never really shut down. There are still football matches, food festivals and beauty pageants taking place. There were never any stay-at-home or social-distancing orders here — moves that have drawn criticism from groups like Human Rights Watch. There have also been questions about how many cases Nicaragua actually has. According to NPR, President Daniel Ortega says there have only been three active cases and one death.
Nicaragua’s borders remain open and local sources have reported that the government is discouraging Nicaraguans, — including health workers, airport staff, and policemen — from wearing masks.
Because Panama is a major maritime and air hub, it sits in a vulnerable position for Covid-19 outbreaks. The first case was recorded on 9 March and on 22 March all international and domestic travel was banned and is still prohibited.
During a 6 May press briefing, the Ministry of Health announced that it’s working with other ministries on plans for a gradual lifting of restrictions. This includes limiting liquor sales, requiring masks and gloves in public, and keeping social distance. Additionally, hardware stores will be allowed to reopen for online orders and shipping, but customers will not be permitted inside.
Argentina has one of the world’s strictest travel bans, restricting all international commercial flights until 1 September 2020. U.S. expatriates in Argentina should be prepared to stay abroad for an indefinite amount of time, according to the local U.S. embassy. According to Johns Hopkins University, Argentina has nearly 9,000 confirmed infections, and 403 deaths.
The country not only banned international flights, but also internal flights.
Argentina is reportedly on the verge of defaulting over debts it cannot pay.
Bolivia is currently off-limits to tourists. The government announced a total quarantine of the country through 10 May. All borders are closed and international and domestic flights are suspended aside from humanitarian and repatriation flights at least through 31 May.
There have been over 1,000 cases and at least 55 deaths.
Brazil has the most coronavirus cases in South America with over 128,000. A travel ban on foreigners was extended through 28 May in late April though there are some exceptions.
The government has not officially imposed any quarantine restrictions and President Jair Bolsonaro denies the need for them, insisting that only the elderly and other high-risk populations should stay home.
It wasn’t until 5 May that São Luís, the capital of Maranhão state, become the first major city in the country to implement a partial lockdown. Gov. Flávio Dino said that this will last for at least 10 days, but it could be extended.
Under this partial lockdown, residents of the Maranhão state are required to stay inside unless going out for essential tasks like buying groceries. Residents are also not allowed to go outside for exercise. All schools, public transit and parks have been closed, according to AP.
As of late May, the U.S. has announced a ban on travel by foreign nationals who have been to Brazil in the past 14 days. This adds to bans already in place for the United Kingdom, Europe and China.
The Chilean government closed its borders to foreigners on 18 March and residents re-entering the country have to quarantine for two weeks. The country is also closed to cruise ships. It has more than 28,000 cases and much of the country is under mandatory quarantine.
LATAM has resumed flights between Santiago and the U.S., but mostly for humanitarian and repatriation flights.
President Ivan Duque closed Colombian borders to foreign travellers in mid-March and borders will now not reopen until 31 August. No international passenger flights being allowed until at least the end of August. It’s a huge setback for Avianca as the airline is effectively grounded aside from cargo flights and has already declared bankruptcy in U.S. courts.
It’s one of the world’s toughest travel bans. Colombians returning home have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The nation is under countrywide quarantine until at least 25 May, and travel between regions is also highly restricted.
Ecuador is under a state of emergency until at least 15 June. The country has been among the hardest-hit in South America, with more than 1,700 deaths, many centred in Guayaquil. U.S. citizens in Ecuador have been encouraged to leave amidst this crisis, and travel to the country is being discouraged.
Paraguay has been under strict quarantine, and more than half of its 550 cases are thought to have come from neighbouring Brazil which shares a loosely patrolled 400-kilometre border.
The country is easing its lockdown beginning in May, but tourism remains forbidden.
The country’s health minister Julio Mazzoleni said, “The borders will remain closed, classes will be done remotely and nonessential offices will continue to favour remote work. Mass public events will remain suspended”.
Peru was the first in the region to implement quarantine measures, but despite its early precautions, the country now has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in South America with more than 50,000.
On 3 May, the Peruvian government announced its gradual reopening plans, which will happen in four stages. According to the U.S. Embassy in Peru, the first stage has just begun, allowing restaurants to reopen for pickup and delivery. Additionally, hotels will be allowed to open with decreased capacity and tourist transportation services will be allowed.
Foreigners are barred from visiting Uruguay until further notice, and the country’s borders with Brazil and Argentina are also closed. There are no regularly scheduled commercial passenger flights, but some flights to Brazil are being allowed to fly foreigners out of Uruguay.
This South American country has been one of the world’s most at-risk nations amid the coronavirus pandemic, and has fewer than 200 intensive care beds available, according to President Duque in neighbouring Colombia. The U.S. has limited ability to support its citizens who are in Venezuela, and all international travel has been halted in and out of the country through 12 May.
Almost every nation in the Caribbean has closed its airports for the time being, with various additional restrictions detailed below.
Antigua and Barbuda
International flights have been suspended since late March.
Good news from Aruba, which says it will reopen its borders to travellers as early as 15 June. It’s believed international visitors can come back as soon as 1 July, though it’s unclear exactly which countries’ citizens are allowed.
According to the Caribbean Journal, the Aruba Tourism Authority said, “For travellers who already have a trip booked and are concerned restrictions may impact your travel dates, please contact your hotels and airlines directly for an update on their rescheduling policies. We will welcome guests back to our sunny shores as soon as it is safe to do so”.
This comes after the Aruba Airport Authority said it had begun preparing to reopen. Aruba has recorded only three deaths from coronavirus.
The Bahamas are under emergency orders through 30 May. No international visitors are allowed to enter or disembark on Bahamian soil for any reason, including transit. The nation’s airports are closed to all incoming passenger flights, although airlines are permitted to fly empty aircraft into the Bahamas to retrieve international visitors.
A mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government facility has been instituted for all visitors entering the country between 4 May and 17 May. Passenger flights are not allowed between the hours of 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. Airline crews may spend one night in Barbados, but they must be quarantined at the hotel until departure. Alternatively, crew may remain onboard the aircraft.
Cuba suspended international travel for tourists until further notice, beginning 2 April.
All commercial air and sea access to the nation of Dominica is suspended until further notice. Strict curfews are still being observed as well, as of 7 May.
The country’s borders are closed by land, sea and air until 17 May, and all incoming travellers must be quarantined for two weeks.
All international flights have been halted until further notice.
All airports and seaports have been closed for inbound international passengers through 31 May.
All international flights have been halted until further notice, and tourism businesses such as hotels are also limited to serving guests who have been stranded. All spas, pools and other amenities are closed.
On 18 May, the government of Saint Lucia is announcing a phased approach to reopening the island’s tourism sector in a responsible manner beginning 4 June 2020.
Good news for Americans as Phase One of the reopening includes welcoming international flights at Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) from the United States only.
Visitors will be required to present certified proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of boarding their flights to UVF. Once they arrive, they will undergo health checks and temperatures will be taken. Masks and social distancing will be required for the duration of the stay.
The country shut its borders back on 23 March. It has only had 18 people confirmed ill, and no one has died.
Phase Two begins 1 August 2020, with details to be revealed in the next few weeks.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has 17 reported cases of coronavirus. They never shut their airports or borders, but visitors are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine and self-report any symptom of Covid-19.
A search for flights in June came up with zero availability, but after 1 July, flights are again available from various airports including Miami International Airport (MIA).
There are no commercial flights scheduled into Sint Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport as of April, and there is no scheduled restart date as of now. Repatriation flights are allowed to land empty in order to retrieve international tourists returning home.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago issued a stay at home order in late March, and banned tourists. The country has gotten high marks for keeping COVID-19 cases to a minimum. In fact, it’s been ranked No. 1 in the world for meeting reopening requirements from Oxford University.
The two islands began easing restrictions on 12 May, but so far that doesn’t include welcoming tourists.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said in May that the borders will remain closed until the government is confident the virus is contained.
The government also is giving hotels some $50 million to remodel and prepare for when tourists are welcomed back.
They also launched a “Dreaming of Tobago” campaign on social media.
Turks and Caicos
All international flights have been suspended until 1 June, and cruise ships have been banned through 30 June. Providenciales International Airport (PLS) is closed to international passenger travel, along with all other airports in the country, although there are exceptions for emergencies, medical evacuations and cargo flights.
Further, an evening curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. was in effect until 25 May, although this guideline was relaxed somewhat on 4 May. Going to the beach, grocery stores, hardware store, pharmacies and other open-air businesses is currently permitted, although restaurants are only open for takeout. Clinics and pharmacies were the only businesses permitted to remain open on Sundays through 25 May. Resorts and hotels have different opening dates; the government suggests reaching out to your specific property for information.
U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands which includes St. Thomas and St. Croix is under a state of emergency until July 11, but it is welcoming back tourists as of June 1 with restrictions.
Although the U.S. Virgin Islands are part of United States territory, the islands have been limiting incoming travel even for domestic travelers. The only passengers allowed to enter the USVI had been residents, medical personnel, business travelers and property owners. Furthermore, local government had implemented rigorous “safer at home” protocols, resulting in closed restaurants and similar non-essential businesses. Local beaches are also closed.
But now, the government says they will reopen the islands for tourism by June 1, when hotel reservations will begin to be honored and restaurants will reopen.
There will be no quarantine required for healthy visitors and people will be free to leave their hotel or resort and explore.
Beginning in June, the government will allow flights, and hotel reservations will begin to be honored. Restaurants will also reopen though they will be restricted to 50% capacity.
Masks will be mandatory when going into businesses and attractions, beaches will also be open but social distancing is required. Large gatherings remain prohibited. Hotels, guesthouses, villas, timeshares and Airbnb accommodations are all accepting bookings. COVID-19 guidelines are in place for retail businesses and attractions; taxi vans, safari and limo services.
Cambodia is beginning to open back up to visitors. On 20 May, it was reported Cambodia will reopen its borders to tourists from six countries including the United States. People from America, France, Iran, Italy, Germany, and Spain are allowed to enter Cambodia. However, there are severe restrictions. All visitors will need a test proving they are COVID-19 free within three days of their arrival in Cambodia. They will also need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Tourists will also need to prove they have $50,000 worth of health insurance coverage.
The Health Ministry said arriving tourists would be taken to a government centre for quarantine and testing, but details remain sketchy. In a statement, Health Minister Mam Bunheng said, “All passengers, both Cambodian and foreign, who are travelling to Cambodia, are admitted to waiting centres for the COVID-19 tests and that they are waiting for results from the Pasteur laboratory.”
Tourists from the U.S., Italy, Germany, Spain and France had been forbidden within the country’s borders beginning 14 March.
The country only had 122 confirmed cases. No one has died.
China is where the outbreak started late last year, but the Chinese government says it has passed the peak of the outbreak.
China suspended entry for nearly all foreigners and slashed the volume of international passenger flights to and from the country in March and strict anti-travel measures remain in place.
People who are proven healthy can generally move around within their own cities now, but they are being closely tracked via their cellphones and temperature checks in public are common.
China is allowing South Koreans to travel to some Chinese cities on business, but strict measures are in place to make sure outbreaks don’t spread. The Wall Street Journal reports China has reportedly discussed reopening travel with some 14 countries. The plans might involve creating so-called “green lanes” that would fast-track some business travellers.
Tourists from outside the country are still not welcome and there is no timeline on when that might change.
As of 1 June 2020, Hong Kong Airport will once again welcome transit passengers for the first time since 25 March. There is no fixed timeline for tourism at this time, but there are considerations for a “travel bubble” with low-risk nations.
Current regulations state that all non-Hong Kong residents arriving by plane will be denied entry, including into the airport facilities, until further notice. All non-Hong Kong residents coming from mainland China, Macau and Taiwan will be subject to a 14-day compulsory quarantine after entering Hong Kong, but entry will be denied if the non-Hong Kong resident has travelled to any overseas countries or regions in the 14 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong.
There are talks underway to allow some travel without quarantine between Hong Kong, Macau and parts of China, but nothing is firm yet.
India announced back in March that it was no longer allowing foreigners into the country. A suspension of international flights has been lifted, but only for humanitarian or essential travel.
The U.S. embassy said it has ended repatriation flights from India as of 5 May after bringing home more than 5,000 Americans.
India had begun to ease its internal lockdown, but there’s no word on when outsiders might again be welcome.
A shelter in place order for the country was extended until 18 May.
There have been at least 1,100 deaths from COVID-19, but the real death toll is thought to be higher.
The death toll in the world’s fourth-most-populous nation is now approaching 1,000. Travel has been banned, but the government is trying to fully reopen the economy by early August.
On 15 May, the tourism ministry discussed plans to potentially reopen to tourists as soon as October. However, these plans are not confirmed. For now, no foreigners are allowed into the country, including Bali.
Japan is under a state of emergency through 6 May and is actually stepping up border controls and banning visitors from 70 nations — or anyone who has visited those nations in the past 14 days.
Japan had avoided stay-at-home orders and had seemed to avoid an outbreak like those of its Asian neighbours, but that has changed and it has now had to dramatically expand quarantine efforts.
Japan was supposed to host the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in July, but that date has now been pushed back to summer of 2021, and may even be further delayed.
Coronavirus is under control in the former Portuguese colony, but travel is limited from anywhere except mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. There are discussions of creating a so-called ‘travel bubble’ between Macau and Hong Kong that would enable easy transit, but it’s not official policy at this time.
Malaysia banned tourists in the middle of March along with a nationwide shutdown. Most businesses were allowed to reopen in early May. Malaysia is still advising tourists to avoid coming. In fact, on 10 May, the prime minister extended the restrictions through at least 9 June. Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has eased some restrictions on internal travel.
Malaysian health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said reopening the borders is the last thing the country will do as it slowly eases restrictions.
One of our readers – Brodi – said, “All foreigners (except spouses of Malaysians) are still barred from entering the country, even if they hold a residency visa. Only Malaysians are allowed to enter and are subject to the 14-day quarantine in a government facility (typically a local hotel) at the traveller’s expense”.
Philippines President Duterte recently extended a lockdown on Manila and other high-risk areas until the middle of May. A ban on international travellers went into effect on 22 March. There are more than 10,000 confirmed cases, a majority of them in Manila.
The Bureau of Immigration stated on 11 May that no foreigners are allowed into the country. Spokeswoman Dana Sandoval said, “Only Filipinos, their foreign spouse and children, accredited foreign government and international organization officials, and foreign airline crew shall remain eligible to enter the Philippines”.
Singapore was an early leader in the fight against coronavirus — implementing screening of foreign visitors and some of the first quarantines. Contact tracing kept numbers and deaths low. It was also one of the first countries to ease its lockdown after that widespread testing and tracing led to a decline in cases. But a resurgence in cases has now forced it to reimpose severe restrictions.
Singapore’s borders are now completely closed to visitors and it is not allowing transit passengers either. There is no end date to the restrictions.
Just seven weeks ago, the United States and South Korea had the same number of cases, but as of early May, South Korea had fewer than 300 deaths compared to more than 70,000 in the U.S.
South Korea remains closed to those travelling for “nonessential” reasons, and it doesn’t look like Americans will be welcomed as tourists anytime soon.
South Korea and China have agreed to allow some business travel between the two countries.
This island nation has had one of the world’s most successful responses to the coronavirus outbreaks. However, one aspect of successful containment involves greatly limiting the number of incoming travellers from other countries. To that end, Taiwan has banned international travellers as of 19 March, including all transit passengers passing through the nation en route to other destinations.
Thailand shut down its borders in late March. A state of emergency and a nationwide curfew is in effect at least through 31 May. Some Americans and other visitors who are stuck in Thailand are hoping borders will reopen by the end of July.
Phuket, the popular tourist destination, has been a coronavirus hotspot, as has the megacity of Bangkok. Those two destinations are likely to be the last to reopen.
Analysts don’t expect a rebound in tourism to Thailand until 2021.
Bangkok Airways resumed flying domestically on 15 May.
There is some reporting that suggests the country may reopen to wealthy visitors willing to spend substantial amounts of time and money in Thailand. We’ll investigate.
Vietnam is in the process of slowly reopening, but foreigners are not welcome and there is no timeline on when that could change. Some tourist attractions have reopened but American citizens were being advised in March and April to leave the country on one of the few flights out. Foreigners were banned as of 22 March.
There is some good news to report. Domestic tourism within Vietnam is now open again, and Vietnam is in talks with several other countries to created so-called “travel bubbles’ allowing citizens of trusted neighbours to visit. China and South Korea would likely be the first. Vietnam has had less than 300 cases and zero deaths from coronavirus.
Early lockdowns have been credited with keeping coronavirus relatively contained “down under”, but Australia remains closed to foreign visitors. The country has had fewer than 100 deaths.
Foreigners are banned except for a few emergency exemptions that must be cleared in advance, and arriving citizens and non-citizens are subject to a 14-day quarantine.
Australian leaders have suggested foreign travel for Australians might not even be possible until 2021.
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham told ABC Australia’s morning show, “I wouldn’t put any guarantees that you could undertake that overseas trip in December”, but the government has since softened its tone.
In fact, the governments of Australia and New Zealand are discussing a so-called “travel bubble” that may allow tourism only between the two nations (and possibly Fiji), but nothing firm has been decided just yet.
Meanwhile, Australian leaders have said October is probably the earliest they would again allow international travel.
Tahiti and the other islands of French Polynesia are off-limits to tourists for now. The islands instituted mandatory 14-day quarantines for all foreigners back in March, but have now forbidden foreigners and also pulled the plug on inter-island flying. I had a trip planned in March that I ended up cancelling at the last minute — thankfully — as the quarantine was instituted the day before I was set to arrive and then we got reports foreigners were being asked to leave. I’ve rebooked the trip for late September, but it’s unclear if visitors will be welcome even then.
The islands are in a slow reopening for their own residents, but visitors are still not allowed. Inter-island travel is still not allowed, but outer island residents stranded in Tahiti will get clearance to return home if they test negative for the virus. There have been fewer than 60 confirmed cases so far.
Fiji has recorded only 15 cases so far, thanks in part to a strict lockdown as of 15 March. The country is essentially closed to tourism with no signs of easing the lockdown anytime soon.
Fiji Airways grounded 95% of its flights and at least 279 hotels have closed.
Fiji is apparently in talks with Australia and New Zealand about entering into their so-called “travel bubble” that would allow citizens of the three countries to travel freely, but nothing has been finalized.
New Zealand has been praised for its early and tough restrictions that kept cases of coronavirus low in the country. The country has only had 20 deaths. It restricted travel from Wuhan, China, by 3 February.
A complete ban on foreigners is now in effect and the border is effectively closed to foreign tourists. From the government website: “The New Zealand border is currently closed to almost all travellers to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The travel ban applies to all arrivals into New Zealand whether it is by air or sea”.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said of a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, “Both our countries’ strong record on fighting the virus has placed us in the enviable position of being able to plan the next stage in our economic rebuild and to include trans-Tasman travel and engagement in our strategy”.
Israel has had more than 16,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, and more than 250 deaths, but is already easing restrictions imposed to fight the spread of Covid-19 disease. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had quarantined himself after an aide got sick, but has since emerged unaffected. In a televised speech in mid-April he said, “We start opening up both the personal sphere and the economic sphere”.
Restaurants and bars are reopening between now and mid-June, depending on location. Some parks will reopen soon, and beaches are open for exercise only. International tourists are not allowed, but domestic tourism is now ok for Israeli citizens.
On 18 March, the government announced that foreigners, including U.S. citizens, would not be allowed to enter Israel. There are no current plans to ease that restriction. Some Israeli citizens returning from overseas are being allowed to return and self-quarantine.
Luxury hotel company Dan hotels just announced it was reopening all of its hotels in the next few weeks for summer bookings including the King David Jerusalem.
Jordan has had more than 500 cases of coronavirus. It is in the middle of relaxing strict lockdown measures. On 17 March and until further notice, the government suspended all inbound and outbound flights and closed land and sea borders to passenger traffic. Tourism remains off-limits.
Jordan had reopened its border with Saudi Arabia, but a small cluster of cases that resulted has them now considering a quarantine of arriving truck drivers.
Kuwait enacted a curfew from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. through 30 May to stop the spread of COVID-19. The country has had more than 7,000 cases and more than 45 deaths.
Qatar’s death toll is 12; it has more than 20,000 cases. Qatar banned inbound flights on 18 March except for cargo and transit flights. Tourists are not welcome.
Gatherings of more than five people were banned in early May as the kingdom struggles to get coronavirus under control. There have been more than 35,000 cases. Tourism is forbidden.
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is beginning to ease some strict lockdown measures, but is still not welcoming tourists and a curfew remains in effect. There are some flights between the U.K. and Abu Dhabi, and on Wednesday 13 May, Dubai-based Emirates said it was resuming service to nine international destinations including London, Chicago and Melbourne among other destinations.
Also, the UAE, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, now enforces mandatory 14-day quarantines and the use of tracking apps and electronic monitoring bracelets for anyone returning from outside the kingdoms. There is no word yet on when tourists will be welcomed back.
Albania suspended all commercial flights into and out of the nation back in March with the exception of Air Albania for humanitarian flights and trips to Istanbul. Land and air borders are closed to tourists and to most others.
Small shops in Austria were allowed to reopen on 14 April and all trade is allowed as of 1 May. Restaurants were allowed to open beginning in mid-May and hotels on 29 May. As of late May, the Austrian government now requires proof of clean health in the form of a negative molecular-biological SARS-CoV2 test, which applies to the small number of third-party nationals who are allowed to enter Austria right now. The test must be written in German or English and dated within four days of the travel departure date.
There had been reports that no travel would be allowed until there is a vaccine, but the government has backed away from that suggestion.
The Austrian government says it intends to “cautiously” reopen the country’s tourism sector for foreigners this summer, but details are sketchy and the only folks likely to be allowed to visit at first would be from nearby countries with low infection rates. The Washington Post reports that it is unknown when true international tourism will resume.
On 13 May, three border crossings between Austria and Germany reopened, but tourism remains off-limits. And the ban for Americans entering the country remains in effect.
European Union citizens and residents will be allowed into Austria, but must be able to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within four days of arrival and will be subject to a mandatory quarantine. Some land borders are reopened to neighbouring EU countries only.
Belgium forbade all international travel early in the pandemic, according to the United States Embassy in Belgium. Any travellers who are permitted entry (there are strict restrictions) must self-quarantine for 14 days. The country started easing its strict lockdown on 4 May and will continue to open parts of the country in a phased way, but tourism is not among the phases.
Bulgaria banned foreigners early in April and the ban remains in effect until at least 13 May. That includes fellow members of the European Union. Locals are allowed to return but must quarantine for 14 days. The country has had dozens of deaths, but fewer than 2,000 reported cases.
In early May, the government held celebrations for its Armed Forces Day with military demonstrations and a remote military parade.
Croatia is in the middle of a slow reopening. The tourism minister says the country will slowly again start welcoming tourism, but that doesn’t yet include many international tourists. Only Croatian citizens are allowed into the country, aside for some essential workers. Citizens of Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro are allowed to cross the border, but most people who are staying are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
Some Europeans are being allowed into the country, but Americans will not be welcomed until at least 15 June and it’s likely to be later.
The Czech Republic’s foreign minister says Czech citizens may be able to visit nearby Schengen-area countries like Austria as soon as July. He said:
“We wanted to open Slovakia or Austria for tourists, for instance, as of July, and possibly other destinations as of August. If the situation remains positive, it may be even faster. However, in the case of the most afflicted countries, such as Italy, France and the USA, it is too early to speak about when it may be possible to travel there.
“I believe that as of July, we could return to the normal functioning of the Schengen Area. The situation will be naturally different in the countries where the epidemic will not develop well and where the infection slowdown is not so strong as in our region.”
The Czech Republic is allowing visitors from nearby nations, but they need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result at the border.
The borders to Denmark are closed to foreign visitors until 1 June at the earliest.
Denmark became one of the first European nations to announce a slow easing of restrictions. Schools reopened as of 15 April, and some businesses have also reopened. Border controls are remaining in place for now, and leaders say if the country sees a climb in infections, they will reimpose restrictions.
Estonia’s borders are still open and it is still allowing tourists but recommending visitors put off trips for now. The government says, “Out of consideration for the health of international visitors as well as residents of Estonia, we recommend postponing your trips”.
Like other European nations, Estonia is asking visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Border-entry health checks are mandatory and visitors must fill out a form testifying to their good health.
Estonia is allowing neighbours from Lithuania and Latvia to travel freely across its borders beginning 15 May.
Finland is not accepting tourists and has strict border controls in place. It will slowly allow travel to countries in Europe’s Schengen border-free zone as of 14 May, but that doesn’t include tourists. It’s unclear when tourism will be allowed to resume. Finland has had fewer than 300 deaths.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin at a recent news conference said, “Because we have succeeded well in containing the spread of the epidemic in Finland for the time being, it is possible to move from widespread restrictions towards the principles of a hybrid strategy of testing, tracing, isolating and treating”.
Some good news from France which has been especially hard hit by coronavirus: President Emmanuel Macron said the strict lockdown will begin coming to an end after 11 May and travel from one part of France to another will be allowed again.
The country will slowly reopen with shops, schools and some markets allowed to resume business. France will still require face masks on public transportation and work-from-home orders will remain in effect for at least several more weeks.
Passengers arriving in France from non-Schengen member states are not allowed to enter the country. It’s unclear how long that ban will last.
The European Union’s ban on most foreigners was set to expire 15 May.
Germany has had many fewer deaths than its European neighbours like Italy and Spain. Still, it has had more than 169,000 cases and there have been than 7,000 deaths.
Most events are cancelled, including one of the key events in the German tourism calendar — Oktoberfest. That’s in October, which tells you how long the Germans feel the shutdowns will last.
Right now, tourism to and within Germany is forbidden. Chancellor Angela Merkel has resisted calls to widely reopen Germany’s borders to the rest of Europe. But on 13 May three border checkpoints on the Austrian and German border were reopened allowing some cross-border traffic.
Right now, entry to Germany for tourism remains strictly prohibited.
Greece is a rare bright spot for foreign tourists. Greece is planning a full return for tourists by 1 July, and CNN reports the tourist season will open on 15 June with flights to Athen’s Elefherios Venizelos Airport (ATH). All other international flights to Greece will open up by 1 July.
The country locked everything down 23 March and it’s believed to have prevented a severe COVID-19 outbreak. As of 11 May, Greece had only 151 deaths.
Greece started easing lockdown measures on 4 May in a three-part process due to be complete by 1 June. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the country had contained the virus’s first wave.
He told CNN he wanted the country reopened fully to tourists by 1 July.
Greek Health Minister Haris Theoharis says foreign tourists can come to Greece without coronavirus tests required. There will also be no mandatory 14-day quarantine. Only citizens of countries with small numbers of cases nearby will be approved at first. It’s unclear when the rest of the world will be able to travel freely.
Hungary has also banned foreigners. Hungarians returning home have to undergo a medical examination. A humanitarian corridor is open for foreigners travelling across Hungary into neighbouring countries. Freight operators are also exempted.
Interestingly, Hungarian-based Wizz Air has resumed some flights within Europe and the U.K., but it looks like those are for essential workers and Hungarian citizens only.
Iceland has had less severe lockdowns than most other countries, but a ban on most foreign tourists is currently in place until 15 May.
Great news on 12 May, however. TPG’s Melanie Lieberman reports “Iceland will welcome international travellers back “no later than 15 June”, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said during a Tuesday press conference”.
Overseas visitors will be welcomed back, but according to Bloomberg will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test and be declared negative to avoid a 14-day quarantine.
The country has only had 1,800 cases and 10 deaths, but tourism remains off the table for now.
Ireland is in the middle of a five phase reopening. Hotels, museums and galleries are set to reopen 20 July, but pubs won’t reopen until 10 August.
Hotels and hostels can open as soon as 20 July but with limited occupancy.
Still, arriving foreigners with the exception of people from Northern Ireland must self-isolate for 14-days.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar warned, “We have not yet won this fight,” and said the country would quickly go back to tighter restrictions if the virus rebounds.
Italy has been among the hardest-hit countries with more than 30,000 deaths and more than 200,000 people have been sickened. It has been under lockdown the longest of any nation.
As of mid-May, Italy has announced it will reopen to tourists on 3 June with no restrictions such as quarantine upon arrival, however, some regions may implement their own restrictions. Only those from the E.U. the U.K. and Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican are allowed. Americans are not yet welcome.
On 18 May, museums, libraries, shops and restaurants will be allowed to reopen under social distancing rules. Additionally, Italians will be allowed to travel regionally prior to reopening up to the world.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is insisting that social-distancing rules will be in place for months. He also said church services remain banned, angering many in the heavily Roman Catholic country.
Rome-Ciampino Airport (CIA) and the Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola (FLR) in Florence have both reopened but only for flyers from the Schengen area.
Like its neighbours, Latvia is reopening partially and will allow citizens of Estonia and Lithuania to come and go freely across its borders.
Like Switzerland, Liechtenstein is not allowing any foreigners, aside from EU citizens with family or work in the country, to enter. There is no timeline on when tourism might resume.
Like the rest of Europe, Lithuania is not allowing most foreigners into the country. They are in the middle of a phased reopening, but it’s unlikely U.S. tourists will be allowed in anytime soon. Lithuania has among the lowest death rates in Europe with fewer than 50, but it’s not taking any chances. Beginning 11 May, European Union (EU) citizens will be allowed to come to Lithuania for work, business or educational purposes, but they will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. Interestingly, citizens of neighbouring Baltic countries will no longer face restrictions on entry — a so-called “Baltic bubble”.
Luxembourg has had 101 deaths from coronavirus and has begun to allow cross-border trips with some of its neighbours. However, that is for essential services and cross-border workers only. Germany still has its border with Luxembourg closed. Some stores have reopened, but schools won’t be fully open until the end of May.
Tourism remains forbidden.
Malta began reopening on 1 May. Coronavirus cases have been on the decline and the country’s Prime Minister Robert Abela said at a news conference, “I am pleased we have managed to weather the storm without having succumbed to pressure to order a total lockdown. The government is now starting a three-week program to reopen most commercial activity”.
Malta is small island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean and has only reported 450 cases. Still, there’s no indication the nation is open to foreign tourists, and the nation’s tourism department doesn’t recommend immediate near-term bookings. As you can see in the video below the county has an advertising campaign with the tagline, “Dream Malta now, visit later”.
As of 11 May, The Netherlands has had more than 42,000 cases of coronavirus. The country is in the process of a slow reopening, but that still doesn’t include tourists.
The U.S. embassy writes, “The Dutch government is strictly enforcing the EU travel restrictions banning all nonessential travel from outside the EU. The ban went into effect on March 19, 2020 and has been extended through May 15, 2020.” That ban is likely to be extended.
Norway imposed a strict lockdown early in the pandemic.
In late February, Norway began testing all arriving international passengers. By 12 March, most of the country was already closed down.
Norway has been able to limit the spread and has a reported 8,100 cases and 219 deaths. It began reopening in mid-April. The country is on track to open all businesses, schools and restaurants this summer. Large gatherings remain banned.
It is still not welcoming many tourists, and it is unlikely international tourists will be allowed this summer.
Some hotels have already partially reopened. They include the luxury hotel The Britannia in Trondheim.
Poland began reopening after a brief lockdown in April. They are in the middle of a four-stage reopening, but borders will remain closed for now. There are a few humanitarian/repatriation flights to the U.S. happening, but no tourism.
There have been more than 15,000 cases and more than 750 deaths.
Portugal has started relaxing its lockdown within the country, but international visitors are still not welcome. It had a strict six-week lockdown that helped limit cases. The country has had more than 27,000 cases and over 1,000 deaths, but those numbers are far fewer than in neighbouring Spain.
On 15 May, Portugal announced that it would reopen beaches on 6 June. Social distancing will be encouraged, but not enforced by the police. Instead, Prime Minister Antonio Costa is trusting that the public will be conscious and is encouraging residents to download a specially designed app that will tell them if a beach of their choice is full or not.
Prime Minister António Costa told Rádio Observador, “As we relax the measures, the risk of contamination increases. Politicians have to take care not to let their wishes override scientific know-how”.
As of 15 May, all arrivals into Romania are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Arrivals can also go into institutionalized quarantine, in state-run centres. For the most part Romania is not welcoming citizens of the U.S. or the U.K. as of right now.
Restaurants in Romania with outdoor seating can reopen 1 June and those with only indoor seating can reopen on 15 June. Hotels will also open again for tourists in June.
Romania is in talks to allow tourists from Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia. Citizens of those countries would not be mandated to quarantine but the deal is not yet done.
Romania reports it has had more than 17,000 coronavirus cases with a death toll of more than 1,100.
Reuters is reporting that a new surge in COVID-19 cases means Russia now has more cases than Italy and Britain. Moscow is the biggest hot spot. Only Spain and the U.S. have more cases.
Vladimir Putin was set to announce a slow easing of restrictions to get the economy moving by 1 June, but it is unclear if that includes travel.
Right now, Russians need a permit to travel, and foreigners are not welcome.
Serbia declared a state of emergency on 15 March and it forbids foreigners except for diplomats and legal residents from entering the country.
Epidemiologist Predrag Kon, a member of Serbia’s crisis staff, said on 11 May that some foreigners will be allowed in: “Those who come to Serbia will have to have a [negative result on a] PCR test not older than 72 hours; if they do not have it, they will have to go into self-isolation if it is our citizen, or isolation with health supervision for a foreign citizen.”
In other words? Tourists are generally not welcome.
Air Serbia had completely shut down air traffic, but now says it will resume regular service on 1 June.
Slovakia shut its borders early and it has a correspondingly low infection rate. It has just reopened the border to neighbours from Austria, Hungary, and Czech Republic but others are not welcome at this time. All 3 Slovak international airports closed on 12 March. All new arrivals into the country are required to quarantine for 14 days. Slovakia has not discussed opening up to outsiders except allowing some residents of nearby countries to come in with recent proof they are uninfected.
Slovenia has just reopened its borders and lifted restrictions on visitors, but there will be health checks for all arrivals. There is also a mandator quarantine for arrivals, although the details are not yet clear. Slovenia had an early lockdown that led to fairly low cases of coronavirus even though Italy is a neighbour.
Spain has had more than 27,000 deaths and is among the hardest-hit countries in the world. A strict lockdown began to ease in early May but a resurgence in the number of new cases has the government reconsidering the timeline for reopening.
However, on 23 May Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that Spain would welcome back foreign tourists starting in July.
“I am announcing to you that from the month of July, entry for foreign tourists into Spain will resume in secure conditions”, Sanchez told a press conference. As of the time of publication, foreign entry will waive the current 14-day quarantine requirement, but Americans likely will not be able to visit in this first phase of reopening.
Sweden has become well-known during the coronavirus crisis for not shutting down, instead hoping the population would develop “herd immunity” without hurting the economy or killing too many people. Unfortunately, Sweden has the highest number of deaths and cases in Scandinavia, though those numbers are lower than other countries in Europe so far.
Still, there is currently a full entry ban into the EU in place for non-Europeans, including Americans. That ban expired on 15 May.
Switzerland banned foreigners on 26 March except for those with a work or residence permit. Only citizens of Liechtenstein were exempted. As of 11 May, some Europeans will be allowed into Switzerland but restrictions are still strict. Those entry permissions are generally only for workers or family members of Swiss nationals.
The country has been hard hit by COVID-19 with 30,000 cases and 1,500 deaths. Tourism remains forbidden.
Turkey suspended international flights to and from the country on 28 March. The country said in early May it would begin to reopen some tourist sites, but there is no timetable for allowing international visitors. Turkey has had more than 138,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths.
The United Kingdom has been especially hard-hit by coronavirus with more than 28,000 deaths. Prime Minister Boris Johnson famously got and survived COVID-19.
But the U.K. has kept an open-border policy. About 15,000 passengers arrive at U.K. airports each day.
As of 8 June, the U.K. will implement a strict policy that requires arriving travellers to self-isolate for 14 days. There are some exemptions, such as arrivals from the Common Travel Area, including Ireland, and those conducting medical business. The government said it would revisit the isolation requirement every three weeks.
Several airports in the U.K. are now requiring travellers to wear face masks and gloves.
Heathrow Airport in London (LHR) is set to test new screening methods soon including ultraviolet sanitation, facial recognition thermal screenings and contactless security.
Scotland announced a “Dream Now, Travel Later,” campaign in April so don’t expect them to throw out the welcome mat anytime soon, but a phased reopening of the country has been announced. Still like the U.K. as a whole, outright bans on entry have not been put into place, at least not yet.
Scotland is part of the U.K., and is mostly following the lead of London.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the number of COVID-19 deaths is falling, but normal won’t return anytime soon. Lockdown restrictions will only gradually be lifted, and any welcoming of tourists may be for residents of the United Kingdom only at first.
Ukraine is in the middle of a gradual reopening of the country, but that doesn’t include foreign visitors. The country is allowing citizens to come home via repatriation flights, but a lockdown was extended through late May.
After being shut down for nearly two months, Egypt has started to reopen. It’s starting by opening its hotels to domestic tourists under the strict condition that they cannot operate at more than 25% capacity until the end of May and can increase to 50% capacity on 1 June. Reuters also reported that hotels must implement new health measures, there must be a clinic with a resident doctor to regularly screen temperatures and disinfectant equipment must be installed, among other precautionary measures.
International flights will remain suspended, but Tourism Minister Khaled al Anani told Arab Media that domestic air traffic would resume between certain cities in the near future, and that there have been discussions with certain countries about eventually resuming international flights to Egypt. He also added that every other seat on domestic flights would be left empty.
It’s been estimated that Egypt has and will continue to lose 1 billion tourism dollars for each month that it’s closed. Although Egypt’s coronavirus cases have continued to gradually rise, with the highest daily increase being reported on 5 May at 388, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has said the country will start returning to normal life gradually after Ramadan is over.
The Kenyan government allowed restaurants to reopen on 4 May under strict measures aimed at maintaining social distancing. However, not every city is following suit. For instance, Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo halted the reopening of eateries in Mombasa, stating, “Forget the suggestion of reopening the restaurants here in Mombasa. It will not happen until the time we will be satisfied that the number of the infections has been flattened. So those restaurants will remain closed because you have refused to adhere to small guidelines, because what is lacking is discipline”.
Coronavirus-related deaths in Kenya have been relatively few at 24, but recently cases have begun to rise with the easing of restrictions. “Defeating coronavirus is not a sprint. This is not an issue that we will be able to dispense with in the short term. And therefore, we must always be ready and prepared to enforce our containment measures and to learn to live in a new normal”, said Dr Mercy Mwangangi, a health minister in Kenya.
This aspirational vacation destination has been heavily affected by coronavirus shutdowns. Travellers are not permitted within the country at this time. Maldives suspended all visas on arrival until further notice back on 27 March.
There are reports that the country will reopen on 1 July, though there are some strict requirements for visitors, such as a minimum stay of 14 nights.
This island nation remains off-limits to tourists. The country went into lockdown early (March 20) and there’s been a national curfew imposed since 24 March. There is a total ban on travellers and no sign of that being eased anytime soon.
Related: Planning a dream trip to Mauritius
Morocco will remain on lockdown until at least 20 May. However, it’s been reported by local media that lockdown orders have not been uniformly followed, with many neighbours gathering for prayer during the holy month of Ramadan.
To help fight coronavirus, Morocco has rapidly expanded its fleet of drones for surveillance, public service announcements and sanitization.
Namibia entered its second phase of reopening on 5 May, allowing domestic travel to resume. Many businesses will also be allowed to reopen under new health measures, including shopping malls, retail stores, restaurants, hairdressers and barbers.
This phase is expected to last until 1 June, when the government will reassess and potentially enter a third phase. Until then, foreign visitors will continue to be banned and masks will be required in public places.
The Seychelles is going to extremes to protect itself from coronavirus. TPG cruise reporter Gene Sloan writes about the small island nation off the coast of Africa banning cruise ships until 2022.
Sloan writes, “The Seychelles has fared well so far during the global outbreak of the new coronavirus, with an initial wave of just 11 cases and no deaths. The country moved fast to ban cruise ship arrivals and shut its international airport after the first cases were discovered in mid-March. The airport remains closed with a reopening date currently set for June 1.”
Beginning in June, foreigners will again be permitted to vacation in the Seychelles, but the government’s tourism ministry is only looking for “high-end” visitors for now, according to Seychelles Nation.
“Only visitors traveling on private jets and chartered flights, and who will be heading off directly to remote island resorts, will be allowed in,” the outlet reported.
Visitors will not be allowed to leave their island resorts during their stay this month.
Commercial flights will begin again in July, but the government said it expects visitor numbers to be limited for a while even once they resume.
Tourists will be required to be tested for COVID-19 48 hours before they arrive, and will have to present proof of their lodging arrangements before being granted entry.
South Africa began to ease restrictions on 1 May after five weeks of one of the world’s strictest lockdowns that included a nightly curfew, limited exercise hours and a total ban on alcohol and tobacco sales. The eased restrictions will allow for more exercise time (three hours in the morning) and restaurants will be allowed to reopen, but only for delivery. Social distancing rules and masks in public will remain mandatory.
Tanzania hasn’t been very forthcoming on how they’re handling the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to a lot of criticism. At the start of the pandemic, President John Magufuli declined to close churches, saying that the virus “cannot survive in the body of Christ — it will burn”. It was also reported that he said that updates from the country’s health ministry on coronavirus cases and deaths were “causing panic”.
Tanzania’s reported coronavirus cases are comparatively low, but experts say the toll is probably much higher.
Uganda extended its lockdown another two weeks. However, the country has also eased some of its lockdown restrictions, allowing some businesses like hardware shops, restaurants and wholesale stores to reopen.
Previously, the government imposed strict restrictions that included the closure of all but absolutely essential businesses, dusk-to-dawn curfews, and bans on both private and public vehicles.
President Yoweri Museveni declared the infection “tamed,” but schools and international borders will remain closed until further notice, according to Reuters.
Additional reporting by Katherine Fan and Liz Hund.
Featured photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.