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Spoiler… 4 of them are in the Caribbean.
International travel has been hit hard by the Covid pandemic. While travelers could roam the world freely before the virus emerged, the past two years have seen a succession of travel bans, complex entry requirements and strict testing regimes that have all but suspended tourism. Fortunately, now that covid is under control, countries are finally reopening.
While some economies may not have been severely affected by the crisis, given that not all countries’ incomes are primarily based on travel, others felt the pinch particularly hard. These states, where tourism accounts for a large part of their GDP, were among the first to reopen and accept visitors – even before the introduction of vaccines.
Based on a study conducted by Bouncewe rounded top 5 countries most dependent on international tourism, and who are now eager to welcome tourists again after Covid:
5. The Bahamas
The Bahamas ranks fifth on the list of places most dependent on tourism, according to a recent study by travel experts on the Bounce app. According to experts, it is only beaten by two other destinations in terms of tourism employmentwith more than 26% of the country’s workforce in this sector.
In addition to that, tourism accounts for around 19% of the archipelago’s GDP, proving that the influx of tourist dollars is vital for the Bahamas. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that these paradise islands have recently relaxed entry requirements, making it much easier for Americans and other foreigners to visit after the Omicron variant is gone.
With the revised rules, all tourists are welcome regardless of their vaccinationto meet a simple requirement:
- Present a negative Covid test result (PCR or Rapid Antigen) issued up to 72 hours before arrival.
A French-speaking archipelago off the coast of East Africa, the Seychelles are a surprising destination where beaches with clear waters rub against a backdrop of African nature. As in the Bahamas, this small country owes a large part of its GDP to the money of touristswhich accounts for nearly 26% of their economy.
It is also open to tourism, and unlike the first entry on this list, vaccinated foreigners can travel to the Seychelles without undergoing a Covid test before departure. Non-vaccinated are also welcome, provided they present either a recent recovery certificate, or a negative PCR test carried out within 72 hours of departure, or a Rapid Antigen test issued within 24 hours.
Once inside the country, tourists can enjoy more freedoms, such as:
- No testing after arrival
- No state-ordered quarantines
- No Covid screening when visiting tourist sites
Tourism contributes nearly 30% of local employment rates, Aruba is one of the Caribbean countries most dedicated to the development of tourism. Indeed, the sector’s contribution to its GDP is capped at 27.64%, barely higher than that of the Seychelles. Nevertheless, Aruba decided to go further and recently removed all entry requirements.
Recognizing the need for a tourism boost, the Dutch outpost removed all health-related travel protocols, returning to a pre-2020 state of normalcy much sooner than other Caribbean hotspots that would follow only weeks later. As of March 2022, Aruba’s pristine beaches and traditional colonial-era towns are once again open to avid explorers.
- No compulsory vaccination passport
- No pre-departure tests, regardless of Covid vaccination
- No testing after arrival
- No mandatory quarantine
- All nationalities are welcome
2. British Virgin Islands
Second on the list of countries most eager to welcome visitors again, the British Virgin Islands is heavily dependent on the dollar. With nearly 33% of GDP being linked to traveler spendingand a tourism-based economy, the Caribbean archipelago has remained open for visits throughout the crisis, but with strict protocols.
Some groups are pushing for a wider reopening, especially now that demand for international travel has increased, but the administration of the British Virgin Islands has remained conservative when it comes to handling the pandemic. They may recognize that tourism is important, but certain entry requirements Stay in place.
Essentially, all arrivals must show a negative PCR or Rapid Antigen test, including:
- A vaccination certificate to be exempt from testing after arrival
- Travel insurance covering Covid infection and possible treatment costs
Unvaccinated travelers are exempt from further testing and quarantinewhile the unvaccinated remain subject to undergo a rapid antigen test after arrival at a cost of $50. Those who test positive must then quarantine for a full week; those who don’t are free to enjoy their beach time as soon as they leave the airport.
The British Virgin Islands are proof that, even though they are now looking to increase their income after Covid was controlled in the vast majority of the western world, this does not necessarily mean a complete lifting of restrictions. Luckily for unvaccinated sun worshipers, these 5 other Caribbean nations have reopened.
At the top of the rankings, the Maldives has a tourism contribution to its GDP of nearly 39%, with the Bounce study finding that tourists bring over US$1 billion to the country each year. It’s far, very far, most excited nation now that Covid is becoming less of a global emergency.
Earlier this year, the Maldives became the 15th country to drop all Covid restrictions, meaning holidaymakers are welcome again under 2019 entry rules. Along with Aruba, this island nation is one of two destinations from this list where Covid is effectively treated as an endemic disease: there is absolutely no medical documentation required when we travel.
From March 14the conditions below apply to all travellers, regardless of their country of departure or their vaccination status:
- No vaccination certificates
- No test before departure
- No testing after arrival
- No quarantine
- No compulsory health insurance
To learn more about which countries have already reopened and which still have entry rules in place, be sure to follow all the latest updates from Travel Off Path.
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Disclaimer: Current Travel Rules and Restrictions may change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm entry of your nationality and/or any changes to travel conditions before travelling. Travel Off Path does not approve travel against government advice