For a year now, tourism actors have seen their activity strongly reduced due to the worldwide pandemic of the COVID-19. Between the closure of borders, the new sanitary rules to be implemented and the governmental directives of each country, is it possible to envisage a resumption of international tourism in the next few months? And with which evolutions?
Re-opening of countries constantly delayed
Since the appearance of COVID-19, most countries around the world have closed their borders. For some destinations, the date for lifting the restrictions remains unclear. For others, a sanitary calendar is taking shape.
This is the case of India, which suspended the issue of all electronic visas since March 2020, and which postpones its reopening every month.
The same is true for the United States, which has still not lifted the ban on travelers from Europe to Uncle Sam’s territory, despite the outgoing president’s announcement on opening the borders on January 26.
Australia and New Zealand, could well remain closed for almost another year to open only in early 2022. These two territories remain very cautious, and do not wish to advance on a date, but one thing is sure, we will not go surfing on the Australian waves, nor eat a burger in Auckland in the next months.
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Africa remains the most open continent for travelers during this global crisis. The majority of its countries are open with relatively flexible reception conditions.
Latin American countries that are closed postpone their opening very regularly, so no fixed date can be given. However, some countries like Brazil and Bolivia are open to travelers.
We would like to remind you that the measures applied to certain countries are likely to change depending on the evolution of the pandemic
Towards a digitalization of administrative procedures
The current health crisis has led tourism stakeholders to adopt new methods for issuing visas.
Technology is being used to improve the flow of passengers through airports, thereby improving reception conditions and enhancing security in the health context. The e-Visa also allows a better control of foreign nationals.
At a time when human contacts are to be limited, the electronic visa is one of the safest solutions for a resumption of tourism.
Therefore, some countries have launched their electronic visa in 2021:
From June 21, 2021 it will be possible to apply for an e-Visa for Mongolia, the parliament opted on December 31, 2020 for the dematerialization of travel formalities. The conditions of validity of this e-Visa are still to be defined.
Kenya has made its e-Visa mandatory from January 1, 2021. The visa is valid for three months and 30 days on the territory, with the possibility of renewing it twice on the spot.
On the same line, Pakistan requires international travelers wishing to visit the territory to go through the website of the Pakistani authorities to obtain an e-Visa.
The Russian government has decided to unify its e-Visa for the whole country as of January 1, 2021. Valid for 60 days, it will allow the 112 eligible nationalities to stay 16 days in the country, once the restrictions are lifted.
Generalization of the vaccine for travel
What if vaccination was the key to a resumption of international tourism? This is the question on everyone’s lips. Could the vaccine be one of the conditions for being able to travel freely again to certain countries?
Romania has recently communicated on this subject by indicating that the nationals having benefited from the two doses of vaccine against COVID-19 will be exempted from the obligatory fourteen on arrival on the territory. The same is true for the Seychelles and Lebanon. The trend is to expand this type of protocol.
Sri Lanka, which tends to reopen its borders to international tourists made a statement on its dedicated website “Currently, no exceptions will be made for vaccinations performed; all safety protocols must be followed independently”.
In addition to destinations, some tourism providers, such as cruise lines, are wondering how to manage vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers. Mandatory vaccination for cruise travel is not yet a reality, but the subject is on the table.
At this time, it is not yet possible to say which countries will impose or recommend the vaccine to travelers. The news circulating on the internet and social networks should be taken with a lot of hindsight. We invite our readers to consult the official websites to find answers to their questions, only the instructions of the country’s authorities should be taken into consideration.