We’ve been dreaming of putting our feet up under a beach umbrella but with COVID-19 raging across the globe, manifesting these dreams may take longer than we hoped. In India, regulations around flying domestically and internationally keep changing as we hit new challenges surrounding rising cases. But if you’re looking to plan a potential trip, we’ve compiled a list of tourist destinations that are now accepting foreign travelers and are relatively safe to travel to. All tourists are required to test negative for COVID, travel with health insurance that covers COVID and maintain mandated guidelines. You may have to wear a mask at the beach, but filtered ocean air will always be a step up from a view of your bedroom wall.
The Maldives is open for tourists of all nationalities. To encourage travel, the government is offering a free 30 day visa. All travelers are required to wear masks during travel, fill out a health declaration form and go through thermal screening checks. Travelers with symptoms may be tested for COVID-19. The luxury travel destination is known for its blue waters, white sand beaches and romantic seclusion. Travelers can choose to stay in any of the luxury resorts, but if you were looking to take a page from Madonna’s book and stay in a gritty guesthouse, you’re out of luck. Budget hotels will not reopen anytime soon.
Greece is one of the few places that seems untouched by the pandemic. Resorts, restaurants and beaches are open. There are still people out on the streets and infection rates are low. Another tourism-led economy, the country is also open to tourists and deemed one of the safest places for potential travelers. Expect to fill out a detailed form 48 hours before you enter the country, a Corona-virus test if the govt. algorithm, deems you to be a risk and a 14-day quarantine period in case you test positive. If all goes well, you’ll be free to check in to your hotel, and soak up the wonder of the island with the locals. Rules are quite lax with the expectation that both locals and foreigners will abide by social distancing guidelines and wear a mask in public. They’ve also cut taxes to make travel to and within the country, cheaper.
Cambodia is open to travelers but it may be more expensive to travel to the country. While infection rates are low and resorts are open, the government asks for proof of health insurance and a $3000 dollar COVID-19 deposit as insurance to cover any related costs that one might incur in case of a positive test. Travelers who test COVID negative, will be reimbursed. Tourist spots in the country are however open for visitors.
Nepal will open its borders to tourists from August 17th onwards. They have not released specific guidelines on health and safety measures yet, but for Indians, Nepal makes for a cost-effective travel destination. With flights being uncertain, one could even opt to get to Nepal by road for a safer trip.
Nestled in the Caribbean, Jamaica is officially open to visitors, with resorts and businesses opening gradually. All visitors are required to wear face masks, social distance and undergo a test on arrival. A small inconvenience, if that’s all that keeps you from the beach.
Dubai is now open to international travelers. Tourists are required to take a COVID test within four days of departure or be tested at the airport and all travelers are required to download the Dubai COVID-19 DXB contact tracing app. Public beaches, parks and hotels are open under strict guidelines. A mask is required in public spaces and if social distancing guidelines are violated, hefty fines will be imposed.
Travelling during the pandemic has forced governments, businesses and travelers to think about the impact of outsiders on the local economy and culture. To maintain our fragile ecosystem, it’s important to stay home if you’re sick or suspect getting sick. As we move forward, pick resorts and destinations that are focused on sustainability and empowering local communities so your visit gives back more than it takes, as you unwind in paradise.