As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus lockdown European countries and nations across the globe, including the United States, prepare to ease travel restrictions and once again welcome international visitors to its shores.
The ease of lockdown restrictions will be met with caution, with many countries still heavily restricting how many visitors they will allow and incorporating new travel bubbles to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
When Will Travel Resume?
Travel restrictions and reopenings are changing daily, so take time to research your specific destination.
As travel bans unwind worldwide, many borders will once again reopen. But the ease of travel restrictions will start mostly between neighboring countries and will look more like a travel bubble. Countries like Greece and Spain, but other European countries like Italy, are offering incentives for future international travel.
International Travel Reopenings
Here is a list of countries that have started to reopen and what those travel guidelines will look like for visitors.
On May 25, Greece resumed ferry services between its islands and once again reopened its cafes and restaurants. In an effort to stave off new COVID-19 infections, social distancing and a limit on the number of diners and passengers on ferries will be in place. Initially, Greece was set to resume its tourism season on June 15, but the country decided to ease travel restrictions due to lower COVID-19 infection rates. Greece’s neighboring countries of Spain, Turkey and Italy have not been as lucky with the coronavirus pandemic.
Tourism officials in Cyprus are eager to rebuild tourism and have said they will cover the costs of any traveler who becomes sick with Covid-19 while on holiday there. In a government letter published in June, the Cyprus government said it would pay for accommodation, medicine and food for patients and their families
Cyprus plans to open its doors to tourism in July, although flights to the destination are still at lower levels. Visitors from the UK and Russia – which account for more than half of all holiday-goers in Cyprus – will likely be allowed to travel to the Mediterranean island in July.
On May 27, Dubai in the UAE lifted pandemic lockdown restrictions allowing businesses and people to move freely. Businesses such as gyms and movie theaters will have social distancing in place, along with stringent rules for disinfecting. Dubai’s public parks, beaches, malls and dine-in restaurants are also open with limited capacity.
Hungary and Slovenia
Citizens of Hungary and Slovenia will now be allowed to travel between the borders of these two countries as coronavirus lockdowns ease on international travel restrictions. For now, just the citizens from these two countries can move freely between their borders, but travel restrictions will still be in place for visitors from the United States and other nations.
In an attempt to salvage its tourism season, Austria just opened its hotels and resorts and will require COVID-19 testing for hospitality employees. Additionally, Austria’s museums, bars and restaurants are also open. Austria’s tourism depends heavily on its neighboring country of Germany, and Austrian officials are hopeful that coronavirus testing of its hotel workers will lift fears and draw in visitors. Travel to Austria is now allowed by all of the country’s eight neighbors, except Italy.
Norway and Denmark
Similar to Hungary and Slovenia, Norway and Denmark are allowing travel between the two European countries, including welcoming tourists from Germany and Iceland. However, Sweden will still be locked out of travel to these two countries.
Germany announced this week that it would lift a blanket travel ban to all 27 EU member states plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Britain on June 15. Trade fairs and conventions were expected to resume again in Germany as early as May 30. Social distancing, limited numbers of attendees along with other safety measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus will be in place. Many international flights to Germany will resume in mid-June or soon after.
Pakistan has started to allow only outbound international flights for its citizens. The decision to allow outbound flights is in line with this country’s recent lifting of most lockdowns for citizens.
Albania is currently reopening for tourism and its borders. There are curfew lockdown restrictions in place, and mass transit and mass gatherings such as sporting events and concerts are still not allowed.
Russia is opening its international air service and Russian nationals were expected to be able to also travel freely as of June 1. Sakhalin, Chukotka and Altai are also withdrawing quarantine and lockdown measures in preparation for tourism.
Australians will be able to visit the popular state of New South Wales as of June 1. As businesses in Sydney and in New South Wales prepare to open to regional tourists, however, the public transit is still only at 25 percent capacity. International tourism is not yet open.
South Africa will begin a slow rollout of reopening starting on June 1. Before you get too excited, travel restrictions will still be in place for visitors wanting to visit from other countries. South Africa is being extremely cautious about gradually lifting restrictions as more of a “look and see” based on coronavirus cases.
Starting on June 1 travel will ease for domestic travel within the country including hotels and resorts. The second rollout of easing travel restrictions will come in two weeks as the country keeps a watchful eye on its coronavirus cases.
On June 1 The Netherlands will lift some lockdown rules including the opening of museums, cafes and restaurants. If you plan on visiting a museum, visitors will be required to purchase advanced tickets online. Social distancing rules will apply to diners, and face masks are required for those 13 years or older. For now, borders are still closed to visitors from other countries.
After several months of a coronavirus shutdown, The Vatican Museums will open again on June 1 with heavy restrictions in place for visitors, including temperature checks, face masks and social distancing. Museum tickets will be required to be purchased online to ensure groups are kept to a minimum.
The U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands will reopen on June 1 to leisure travelers and one of the first islands in the Caribbean to welcome back tourists. However, the U.S. Virgin Islands will still be under a state of emergency until July.
To prevent another coronavirus outbreak international travel is taking a cautious step toward lifting its lockdown restrictions through the approach of travel bubbles where open borders are limited to neighboring countries. It’s a step in the right direction and many countries hope to salvage what’s left of its tourism industry.