What the Future Looks Like for International Travel
COVID-19 has brought travel to a standstill, both domestically and internationally. While it has been determined that domestic travel will open up sooner than later, there has been quite a few theories of how international travel will look in the near, and far, future.
Travel is still not recommended as of the writing of this post, but the good news is that some countries are letting travelers know they will be open for tourists at some point, whether sooner or later.
Future Travel in North America
It is not going to be shocking for many people that the US has been the epicenter of this horrendous virus. While many of the states are currently opening, a few of them have a mandatory fourteen-day quarantine for any out of state residents. It is also recommended that all travel within the US is only completed if it is essential. While the US is not banning international travel, they are suggesting that everyone avoids it for the time being.
Canada is currently on lockdown and no one can travel between provinces. Anyone that does travel within the country must complete a fourteen-day quarantine when they arrive at their new destination. The border between the US and Canada will be one of the first international borders to open, but it could be weeks, or even months, before that happens.
Mexico is planning on opening by the beginning of June and will be running a major marketing campaign to attract visitors. While enhanced screening measures will be in place for all tourists, the travel warnings from other countries may prevent people from venturing down to this country.
Future Travel in Central America
The country of Guatemala has not seen as many cases as other countries around the world, but that doesn’t mean that they are taking any chances and letting tourists in. While there is no current ban on tourists, there is a state of emergency in effect and that will most likely prevent anyone from being allowed to enter the country.
Belize has even fewer cases than Guatemala and they will not be accepting tourists until at least June 30th. The locals have returned to their new normalcy, which includes curfews and strict health guidelines. EL Salvador is another Central America country that was not hit too hard by COVID-19. This was one of the first countries in this region to lockdown its borders. This country is still in a lockdown and it is unknown as to when it will end. There are no international flights to this country and when they do resume, it is likely that all visitors will be required to quarantine for thirty days instead of the suggested fourteen days.
Honduras has closed its borders until further notice, which is completely different from the country of Nicaragua. The latter has continued to stay open to locals and tourists. However, some are leery with the numbers being reported there, so it is advised to only visit this area if it is extremely necessary.
Costa Rica may open its borders in the middle of June, but there is a chance that date can be extended into the future. It will be dependent on the numbers in the country, as well as the numbers from where people are traveling from.
Panama took action quickly with the pandemic, banning all travel by the middle of March. While everything is still closed in this country, there is talk that local restrictions will be slowly lifted shortly. They have a long way to go before they allow tourists into the country, so this will be a wait and see approach.
Future Travel in South America
Travel has been restricted in the country of Colombia for months now and while the borders are expected to reopen at the end of May, self-quarantine measures will be in place for those arriving in the country. International travel to Venezuela was banned since the country has limited ICU beds available. While that order was due to expire in the middle of May, that will most likely be extended by another thirty days with very little notice.
Ecuador has seen the most deaths within South America and it is closed to everyone until at least the middle of June. While Peru acted quickly with quarantine requirements, they currently have the second-highest positive cases within this part of the world. While the country is gradually reopening, the borders are closed until the end of May and that date most likely will be extended.
Bolivia has closed its borders until at least the end of May, while Paraguay is starting to open up to the locals. Tourists still cannot enter Paraguay though and that doesn’t look like it will be changing anytime soon.
Some parts of Brazil are business as usual, while others have strict restrictions in place. Tourists cannot enter the country until at least the end of May, and it is uncertain as to whether that date will be extended. Uruguay and Chile are both closed to tourists until further notice, but Argentina has some of the strictest measures in place with international flights being mostly banned until September.
Future Travel in the Caribbean
No one can travel to Turks and Caicos until at least June 1st and cruise ships can’t start arriving until at least June 30th. The Bahamas are closed to visitors until at least the end of May and there are no international flights scheduled to land in Sint Maarten at all in the near future. There are also no start dates for travel for Martinique, Haiti, Dominica, Cuba, Antiqua, and Barbuda.
People can travel to Barbados, but they must do a fourteen-day quarantine when arriving. The Dominican Republic has the same regulations, while Jamaica is not accepting tourists until at least the end of May. Aruba believes international travelers can arrive starting in the beginning of July.
Trinidad and Tobago have eased restrictions on the islands, but they are not planning on welcoming international tourists anytime soon.
Future Travel in Asia
International flights into India have been halted for now and there is no new date yet for them to start. China does not have a timeline of when international travelers can enter the country, although they have allowed some South Koreans to travel there for essential business only.
No international travelers will be allowed to enter Hong Kong or Macau until further notice and there is no start date to consider yet. No travelers are allowed to enter Japan, especially under the new guidelines that have increased restrictions and quarantine measures in the country.
As mentioned above, South Koreans can travel to China for business, but no one is allowed to travel to South Korea. In fact, it doesn’t look like this country will be welcoming tourists, especially ones from the US, anytime soon. Singapore has not loosened its restrictions at their borders and there is no date for reopening.
Unfortunately, Thailand does not expect to be fully open to tourists until 2021. However, there are a few murmurs that wealthier people can start to travel to certain parts of the country in a month or two. Cambodia has closed its borders indefinitely, while Vietnam is starting to slowly open and allowing travel from certain countries.
Indonesia is one of the countries where travel is banned, but the locals are hopeful that they will be reopening the borders by October. It will be some time before travelers can vacation in Malaysia, because opening their borders is the last step for this country and they are in no rush.
Taiwan and the Philippines are both closed to tourists and there is no opening date for either country.
Future Travel in Oceania
Anyone looking to travel to Australia will want to limit their excitement, because authorities are stating that it may not happen until 2021. While an October date is a possibility, people are being told to not be too hopeful.
New Zealand also has a travel ban in place and it is unknown as to when the borders in that country will reopen. The French Polynesian Islands are also off-limits and there is no date yet as to when travelers will be welcome once again. Fiji is the last country in Oceania, and they have not set a date to welcome travelers yet either.
Future Travel in the Middle East
Israel has no date set for travelers as of yet, and neither does the United Arab Emirates. However, the UAE has allowed some flights in from the US, London, and Melbourne.
No tourists are allowed in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. It is unknown when those restrictions will be lifted.
Future Travel in Europe
Italy was one of the hardest hit countries during this pandemic, but it is planning to open its borders to tourists in the beginning of June. Social distancing guidelines will be in place for a long time, so if you plan to travel there, you will want to keep this in mind.
Malta has not released a date for tourists yet, but they want travelers to know that they will open their borders at some point. Greece hopes to be open for travelers by the beginning of July, while France is probably going to extend their travel ban which currently was expiring.
Spain may allow tourists in by the end of the summer, but that is a hopeful timeline that many do not think will be met. Therefore, it is best to plan a fall or winter trip to Spain for now. Portugal is opening for residents, but foreigners will need to wait a little longer for a date of when they can visit.
A few people can travel to Switzerland right now, but it is mostly those who are related to Swiss nationals. Everyone else will need to wait until the announcement is made that travelers can visit once again. Tourists are not part of the current reopening plan in Belgium, but those who are allowed to enter the country must quarantine for fourteen days. Travelers are currently still banned in Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Poland, Albania, and Armenia.
It looks like the travel ban in Bulgaria is going to be extended a little longer, while Hungary is only allowing flights for locals between the UK and some European countries. Ukraine’s lockdown has been extended through the end of May, while Russia is still closed to foreigners. The Czech Republic is allowing travelers from nearby countries, but they must provide a negative COVID-19 test result before being allowed in the country.
The United Kingdom hasn’t shut its borders since this all began, so that is one of the countries that you can visit sooner than later. Of course, this could all change if the UK changes its mind about its borders. Scotland has kept its borders open as well, although they are encouraging people to wait before visiting. There are lockdown restrictions in place in Scotland and you will be required to follow them all if you do visit.
While Ireland will open to visitors by the middle of July, every traveler must quarantine for fourteen days once they get there. The Netherlands has extended their travel ban, even as the country is starting to reopen for the locals. Denmark is planning on opening the country as of June 1st, but that could change as the date gets closer.
Norway has not announced any traveler dates yet, but it is unlikely that it will happen by this summer. Sweden has not shut down during this pandemic, but they are currently not allowing any visitors from anywhere other then European countries. Finland is currently closed to tourists and there is no date in place to open the borders.
Estonia is allowing visitors, but everyone must quarantine for fourteen days after their arrival. Lithuania has the same guidelines for European Union travelers but is not allowing any visitors from other countries. Latvia is welcoming tourists from Estonia and Lithuania, but no other countries.
Slovakia has closed its borders to everyone but those who live in Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Those people must quarantine for fourteen days when they cross the border. Most travelers cannot enter Croatia until at least the middle of June, although the date is most likely going to be later.
Everyone traveling to Slovenia will be subject to health checks upon arrival, while Liechtenstein has no idea when they are letting travelers into their country. Tourists are not welcome in Serbia or Turkey yet and Iceland is planning to open their borders around June 15th.
Future Travel in Africa
It won’t be much longer before flights are resuming to Egypt, although an exact date has not been set yet. There is no opening date in Kenya, as the cases keep rising since the locals are not heeding social distancing guidelines.
There is currently a travel ban for the Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Seychelles. There is not a timeline as of yet for reopening the borders for travelers.
As first glance, the future of international travel looks bleak, but there is still hope. Many countries are being smart with their reopening plans, so they do not take the risk of rising cases for both the locals and the tourists they welcome into their country.
While we may need to wait a little longer before enjoying international travel once again, the short time will be worthwhile. After all, it is better to visit these destinations when everyone is healthy, and we can all enjoy the beauty of each area.