Cautiously opening the door for tourists

Cautiously opening the door for tourists

Cautiously opening the door for tourists

As countries get to grips with vaccinating their populations some of them are beginning to open their doors again, albeit with restrictions, to foreign tourists. So far so good but it is worth remembering that as cooler seasons kick in new covid-19 spikes are possible and that could change things. If you are booking a trip always double check with the nearest embassy or consulate of the place you are planning to visit.

In the meantime here is a rundown of what I have heard about so far.

Visas for tourists travelling on chartered flights will be issued from October 15, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Visas for visitors arriving on other flights will be issued from November 15.

“All due protocols and norms relating to covid-19 as notified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from time to time, shall be adhered to by the foreign tourists,” stated the press release. It’s not very explicit but I think that probably means all visitors must be vaccinated. Whether there will be an option to quarantine is unknown but who would want to spend part of their trip trapped in a hotel room?

Tourists from South Korea, China, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand will be able to visit Bali (main picture) from October 15 according to Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, the country’s minister of maritime affairs and investment.

“Every international arrival passenger must have proof of booking a hotel for quarantine for a minimum of eight days at their own expense,” Said Luhut. Further details were conspicuous by their absence.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has promised that Malaysia will open for interstate travel when 90 percent of its population is fully vaccinated. This is expected to be sometime in December. It has also been suggested that international travel could resume then but nothing official has been said.

Tourists should be fully vaccinated not less than 14 days prior to arrival hold a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure.

Visa on arrival was reinstated at the end of September for nationals of all countries. They need to show a PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure and proof of vaccination with the last shot given at least 14 days before departure. Visitors will also need to take a rapid antigen test on arrival at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport.

Nepal opening the door for tourists
Annapurna 1, Nepal. Photo by Theprotrekker via Wikimedia Commons

The Phuket sandbox has been in operation since July 1 and a number of other islands joined in a similar scheme two weeks later. Current requirements for entry are Proof of full covid-19 vaccination; Certificate of Entry (CoE); US100,000 of Co vid-19 insurance valid for the duration of stay; negative PCR test result issued within 72 hours of departure; Download the Thailand Plus tracking app.

Visitors must stay in their sandbox location at a Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus Certified accommodation for at least seven nights and take a PCR test on arrival and on day 6 or7 before onward travel around the country.

Several more locations including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Cha-am were scheduled to open on October 1 but this was put back first to October 15 and again to November 1 to allow more time for local population to be vaccinated. So far there is no information on the requirements but I would expect them to be much like those of the Phuket sandbox.

The country has said it would reopen the island Phu Quoc for vaccinated visitors from approved countries in November. From December Vietnam will also allow them to visit UNESCO World Heritage sites Halong Bay and Hoi An as well as Dalat and Nha Trang. “We are moving step by step, cautiously but flexibly to adapt to real situations of the pandemic,” said a government statement.

As far as I’m aware these are the only places in Asia allowing or soon to allow leisure travel at present. If you have further information or updates please let me know.

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