As many nations begin to lift travel restrictions, some of the world’s favourite destinations remain closed to tourists until 2021. These are the places you can’t go until some time next year. Olivia Palamountain reports
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, some countries have announced they won’t be allowing foreigners entry until 2021. For travellers planning a trip to any of the places below, it will be imperative to buy flexible tickets with companies that offer full refunds, just in case. Better still – focus on going to countries that are ready to receive outsiders.
There are no guarantees, though, that the countries that are open today will be open in six months’ time. “Holiday roulette” is a game everyone needs to get used to playing.
Bali’s economy is heavily reliant on foreign tourists and has been smashed by the coronavirus pandemic, with hotel occupancy rates dropping by up to 95 per cent.
The island’s recent shift from reopening this year in favour of domestic tourism only is a blow for citizens and visitors alike.
Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, head of Indonesia’s National Economic and Covid-19 Recovery Team, says: “The reopening of tourist destinations to foreign tourists is something positive, but we need to do it at the right time.
“We don’t want that the programme to make Indonesia healthy become compromised by the plan to allow foreign tourists to come and create possible new clusters. Therefore, the committee has decided to review this plan to allow foreign tourists to come.” He added that, “vaccines may only be available next year.”
The news from Indonesia follows an announcement by a Thai official that hinted there would be no lifting on travel restrictions to Thailand until at least February next year.
Deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, is reported in The Telegraph as saying that the situation for reopening to tourists “is not a rosy picture”.
The reopening of Malaysia’s border with Singapore for essential travel began on August 17 but according to the minister responsible for the travel sector, Malaysia may keep its borders closed to international tourists until the second quarter of next year.
Nancy Shukri, the minister of tourism, arts and culture, said the government is now re-drafting a “green” list of countries deemed safe from the virus, as a first step.
Vietnam has recently begun restoring limited international flight connections in Asia — starting with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China – but only for Vietnamese nationals, diplomats, businesspeople, students and other selected passengers.
Local travel agents said tourists are unlikely to be allowed until December, while analysts said Hanoi will be very careful about reopening after the outbreak that hit Danang in July.
Australia seems unlikely to lift restrictions on foreigners entering the country any time soon. At present, Australians cannot travel outside the country without the express permission of the Department of Home Affairs, and Qantas, the country’s national airline, has suspended scheduled international flights until at least the end of October 2020 and withdrawn all flight sales until March 2021.
The New Zealand border is currently closed to almost all travellers. Only a small number of people can travel to New Zealand, such as New Zealand citizens and people with a critical purpose to travel. A request to travel may have to be submitted first.
The New Zealand government immigration portal critical purpose reasons to travel list includes critical health workers and partners and dependent children of NZ work or student visa holders.
Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran has said that Australia and New Zealand are unlikely to form a travel bubble until March 2021.