As the possibility of travel comes ever closer, destinations are increasingly nailing their colours to the mast and declaring dates from which they will reopen for international tourists.
Some of these dates are even earlier than the UK government’s own roadmap out of lockdown, which states that (in England) foreign holidays might be possible after 17 May.
Until that point, all international leisure travel is likely to remain illegal. Added to this, all international visitors into England must quarantine at home for 10 days (or in a hotel if the destination is on the government’s “red list”) until further notice. All international arrivals in Scotland need to go into hotel quarantine.
But we take a look at what concrete dates have been announced so far.
25 March: The Seychelles
Although Brits aren’t allowed to go abroad by this point, the Seychelles has announced that unvaccinated travellers worldwide (barring South African visitors) will be able to enter the country without the need to quarantine.
At present, only visitors who have proof of two doses of an approved jab enjoy this privilege, but from 25 March it extends to everyone, provided they present a negative Covid test, taken within 72 hours of travel, upon arrival.
4 April: Wales
The Easter weekend is currently the target date for reopening of tourism businesses in Wales.
12 April: Center Parcs, campsites and cottages
From 12 April, if all goes according to plan, self-contained accommodation can reopen for single household or social bubble use.
This means cottages, holiday homes and self-contained apartments should all be possible to stay in, alongside glamping options and campsites where no indoor facilities are shared between multiple households.
Even Center Parcs has announced a reopening date of 12 April for all five sites. Restrictions will be in place however, with a limit of one household per lodge, restaurants only available for delivery service, and the continued closure of hotels and apartments on site.
Most outdoor activities will be able to go ahead, according to the brand, but it remains uncertain whether the “Subtropical Swimming Paradise” waterparks will be able to open.
1 May: Cyprus
From 1 April visitors from the UK may be admitted to Cyprus if they take a test in advance (though British rules mean a holiday is still not possible until 17 May at the earliest).
And now the country has announced that, from 1 May, vaccinated British travellers can visit quarantine-free, and with no need to even present a negative test.
The deputy tourism minister of Cyprus, Savvas Perdios, told the island’s news agency: “We have informed the British government that as of 1 May we shall facilitate the arrival in Cyprus of those British nationals who have been inoculated with vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, so that they can come here without needing a negative test and without needing to quarantine.”
Both the Oxford AstraZeneca and the Pfizer vaccines have been approved by the EU’s medicines regulator. It is likely that completing the course of two jabs will be necessary, with a wait of at least one week from the second dose to ensure full protection.
14 May: Greece
Greece will open to tourists from 14 May, the Greek Tourism Minister has said – as long as they provide proof of full vaccination, Covid-19 antibodies, or a negative test to enter.
Speaking at the International Tourism Fair ITB Berlin on 9 March, Haris Theocharis said that the country was “more than optimistic” and “ready” to receive visitors.
“We aim to open tourism by 14 May, with specific rules and updated protocols. Until then, we will gradually lift the restrictions if conditions allow,” he said, adding that those working in the Greek tourism industry would be prioritised for vaccination after the vulnerable.
17 May: England-wide
This is the key date from which foreign holidays might become possible once more, plus it’s also the date from which the wider travel industry in England – such as hotels, B&Bs and all accommodation types with shared facilities – can reopen.
Travel to wider destinations which have remained open to British visitors with PCR test requirements – such as Dubai and the Maldives – should also be possible now.
After much debate, the European Union has committed to developing its own version of a vaccine passport to facilitate smoother travel.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, confirmed plans for the scheme, tweeting: “We'll present this month a legislative proposal for a Digital Green Pass. The aim is to provide: Proof that a person has been vaccinated; Results of tests for those who couldn’t get a vaccine yet; Info on Covid-19 recovery.
“It will respect data protection, security and privacy.”
The pass could be introduced by the summer, the German Chancellor previously stated. Angela Merkel said it would likely take up to three months to create the technical basis for such documents – suggesting that the project could potentially be implemented by June.
1 July: Thailand (hopefully)
The Southeast Asian nation, which is highly dependent on tourism, has signalled that it is thinking about axing the two-week quarantine requirement for travellers that have been vaccinated this summer.
On 5 March, the tourism minister announced that Thailand will open five provinces for international tourists: the island of Phuket; Surat Thani (which includes the islands of Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao); capital Bangkok; Chiang Mai; and Chonburi, but it’s uncertain when exactly this will take effect.