Monday, July 6, 2020

Travelling without borders: Countries that are open to tourists

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many countries of the world had to impose restrictions on their territories, including the closure of their borders.

Despite the outbreak of coronavirus in some countries, in others they have remained open or are already thinking of how to let tourists in. 

According to a report by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a specialized agency of the United Nations Tourism Organization, as of April 6, travellers are limited in access to 209 destinations, or 96% of all destinations in the world, due to the spread of COVID-19. About 90 countries and regions have completely or partially closed their borders for tourists, and another 44 have restricted entry for tourists from China, South Korea, Iran, and the European Union.

The organization notes that from January 2020 to early April, all countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East imposed travel restrictions. In Europe, the proportion of states that have closed borders is 93%, in the Americas – 92%.

However, coronavirus is not considered a threat in Mexico. For a long time, even quarantine was not introduced here. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador personally called on residents to take to the streets, go to restaurants and shops, which will be useful for the economy.

emir-saldierna-oHWCOXSYdsg-unsplash-1 Travelling without borders: Countries that are open to tourists
Mexico City by Emir Saldierna

But with an increase in the number of cases, the local authorities, to the extent of their authority, nevertheless began to introduce restrictive measures, closing shops and shopping centres, quarantined schools and forbade gatherings of more than 50 people. 

Hong Kong remains open, but with certain restrictions. Foreigners from countries with a low number of incidences of coronavirus are allowed to enter the city, but they must be quarantined for two weeks.

florian-wehde-DpgujuZ92zE-unsplash-1 Travelling without borders: Countries that are open to tourists
Busy intersection in Central Hong Kong by Florian Wehde

Israel is not closed to foreigners, but there you will also be sent for compulsory observation. Earlier, the country imposed temporary restrictions on the arrival of foreigners, especially after about 70 United Airlines passengers who arrived from New York did not fill out quarantine documents and refused to pass a body temperature check.

toa-heftiba-Q5Uf3B8Ej7A-unsplash-1 Travelling without borders: Countries that are open to tourists
The Dead Sea in Israel by Toa Heftiba

Sweden accepts tourists – however, only from Europe. In this case, no one is sent for observation, but if there are signs of the disease, they are asked to self-isolate. The country remains the only one in the EU that has not introduced universal quarantine. Not even schools were closed there. People move freely in the streets, go to cafes and restaurants and work. Authorities have only asked to maintain distance and personal hygiene.

norman-tsui-PoF0kgQm9hE-unsplash-1 Travelling without borders: Countries that are open to tourists
Colourful underground station in Stockholm, Sweden by Norman Tsui

Some countries in Africa remain accessible for visits – for example, Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Tanzania. In Tanzania, only schools and universities are closed for quarantine; otherwise, life is in full swing there.

In anticipation of the summer holidays, the closed borders will influence the tourism industry. Given that tourism is 10% of the world’s GDP, and even more for individual countries, a long border closure can have a devastating effect on the economy of many states. However, let’s not lose hope that more and more countries will be able to welcome travellers from all around the world very soon.

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