I think the real question should be, “Where can we go from here?” It is a great question. Howbeit, the answer really depends on where you are located presently.
All across the world, we have folks begging for their countries to be opened up, for their economies to be allowed to recover after lockdowns put in place, because of the Corona pandemic. Other folks are itching to travel. Heck, I would love to travel. As far away as possible, maybe to Asia but I’m stuck here for the season.
With the beginning of the month of July, and schools across Europe closing for the holidays, summer has officially begun.
If you’re a globe-trotter, travel addict, a tour and travels agent or one who has their career based on travel – how best we can answer the question above, depends on three things;
Firstly, how seriously your country has been in it’s response to the Corona pandemic.
Secondly: What kind of “air bridges” if any, your country has permitted with other countries.
Thirdly, your willingness to either undergo a nasopharyngeal swab test on arrival or travel with a certificate proving you’ve tested negative 48 to 72 hrs before traveling; or your willingness to be quarantined for the first 14 days you enter a country, as well as your willingness to be quarantined on your return from travel especially when you’ve been to a high risk country.
Sounds like a big fuss? It is! Travel has just gotten alot more complicated than you can ever imagine it would be. Things will not go back to normal anytime soon..so we must essentially get used to the new normal. We must continue to apply hygiene measures like washing our hands thoroughly, applying social distance and wearing face masks.
I will attempt to answer the question in broad sweeps.
*If you are based in the United States, and try to fly into Europe from there, you will find the European continent unwilling to permit you entry into their countries. If you’re an American citizen already living in Europe, you can travel around the continent, so it is not an outright ban on U.S citizens, it’s just a ban on anyone arriving from US shores.
* If you are trying to enter Canada or Mexico from the United States, you may be barred entry. Mexico, alarmed by the spike in infection rates in the United States, has moved to stem the flow of Americans into the country. Mexican states have set up “sanitary filters” along the US-Mexico border to check visitors’ temperatures and turn away anyone whose trip was not deemed essential.
* Within Europe, the EU Council has adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU. Travel restrictions as from 1 July have been lifted at the external borders for residents of the following third countries; Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China, (subject to confirmation of reciprocity.)
*Within Africa, Egypt led the way and opened up the country for tourists on July 1. The 15-member Economic Community of West African States expects to reopen its’ airspace on July 21. Nigeria has said domestic flights resume on July 8, while Senegal international flights begin on July 15. Kenya as well as Rwanda will restart International flights by August 1. Kenya Airways wants to resume international flights. South Africa and Somalia are open for domestic ones, and Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania and Zambia now have commercial flights. Tanzania opened its skies weeks ago, hoping for a tourism boost despite widespread concern that it has not been forthright about the extent of infections, as it hasn’t updated case numbers since April. Southern African countries are desperate to open up to tourists. Most of Africa’s economies are pegged on tourism and air travel, and countries are facing the difficult choice about the reopening of their countries, and are encouraging domestic tourism as much as possible for now.
* Asia has begun to open up slowly, to visitors within the continent. Countries are much more cautious about receiving International visitors once again, and are instead opting to form “air bubbles” with other countries in the region, as they encourage domestic tourism. Thailand intends to relax restrictions for economic and social reasons in three phases; the first phase involving short and long-term arrivals, including people with Thai families, teachers and students. The second phase involves patients traveling to seek treatment in Thailand, and the last phase is for tourists and migrant workers. Travel into Singapore is restricted for short-term visitors who are not resident in Singapore. Since 21 March 2020, all incoming travelers have been required to observe a 14-day quarantine at home, and additionally are tested before the end of their quarantine. Travelers who have spent the last 14 consecutive days in Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, Mainland China, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam will be allowed entry into Singapore in a sort of “travel corridor.” Short term visitors at the moment will not be granted entry into Singapore. Japan has suspended visa exemptions for a number of countries. International travelers headed to Bali will have to undergo the swab test. It is advisable to research the government statements on the country website, to find out specific requirements to that country before you plan to travel.
*In Australasia, there are plans for a trans-Tasman travel bubble, to be rolled out on a state-by-state level between Australia and New Zealand by September. Pacific nations like Fiji are appealing to be part of this bubble as that could rescue their businesses and some of the most tourist-dependent economies in the world.
*Antartica is the only continent that remains untouched by this pandemic, and the people there desire for it to stay that way. There are 29 countries with bases in Antarctica. Because medical facilities are limited, anyone coming to the Antarctica must be quarantined for 14 days.
Are you traveling this summer? Please share where you are at, and where you plan to travel and if you have any travel restrictions or if you will have to do the swab test?
Disclaimer: This article posted on 10th July gives information at the time. Please look out for updates on the specific travel information of countries you intend to travel to by regularly checking the country travel sites.