04.06.2020
COVID-19. Quarantine loosening and borders opening

Tourists
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to decrease. Many countries in Europe and all over the world start loosening their quarantine restrictions and open the borders for the tourists.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) declared that the EU borders closure had not demonstrated good efficacy in coronavirus spreading control. According to the ECDC “available evidence shows there is no need for further borders closures, which may lead to negative social and economic implications in the EU”.

The aim of this guidance prepared by Global Voyager Assistance is to provide actual information on the resumption of travel destinations.

Europe

Turkey

Turkey
Domestic tourism in the country is opened from May 20. According to Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy Turkey hopes to host international tourists from mid-June.

The country has set out new guidelines for its hotels and resort facilities. They include temperature checks at entrances and at least 12 hours of room ventilation after checkout. Guests will be required to wear facemasks and maintain social distancing.

Meanwhile, restrictions on long haul travel have been lifted, restaurants, cafes, parks and sports facilities are permitted to reopen from June 1 as well as beaches and museums. Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, one of the world's largest markets, is also reopened for the first time in two months on June 1.

Greece

Greece
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that the tourist season in the country begins on June 15 and appealed for "making this summer the epilogue of the COVID-19 crisis".

According to Mitsotakis, international flights to Greek destinations will resume from July 1. The tourists will no longer be expected to take a COVID-19 test or to be placed in quarantine on arrival.

Greece resumed regular ferry traffic between the islands on May 25, while travel restrictions within the country were lifted on May 18, "allowing movement from one prefecture to another," apart from the islands. However, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis has indicated health officials will conduct spot tests when necessary. "Maybe no bars may be open, or no tight crowds, but you can still get a fantastic experience in Greece - provided that the global epidemic is on a downward path."

Cyprus

Cyprus
Cyprus Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos announced hotels in the country will reopen on June 1, while international air travel will restart on June 9. Officials have issued a list of countries to be granted access to Cyprus in two separate stages.

Incoming flights from Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Lithuania will be authorized first. From June 20, Cyprus will also permit incoming flights from Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

The officials plan to monitor the situation and expand this list in the near future. Travelers heading to Cyprus will need to provide a valid certificate proving they've tested negative for COVID-19, while they'll be subject to temperature checks on arrival as well as testing at random during the course of their trip. Travel industry has already put measures in place to protect travelers and residents, such as ensuring hotel staff wear masks and gloves, regularly disinfecting sunbeds and keeping tables at restaurants, bars, cafés, and pubs at least two meters apart.

Local authorities have also earmarked a 100-bed hospital for foreign travelers who test positive, while a 500-room "quarantine hotel" will be available for patients' family and "close contacts."

Asia

Thailand

Thailand
The ban on incoming international commercial flights - excluding repatriation flights - was recently extended until June 30 and Phuket International Airport remains closed. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the total number of tourists in Thailand may drop from 40 to 14-16 million this year.

The country is currently focusing on domestic tourism. In fact, some resorts and hotels have already been given the go ahead to reopen - Hua Hin, located about 200 kilometers south of Bangkok, being one of them. Shopping malls, museums, markets and some tourist attractions have also reopened their doors, with Bangkok's Grand Palace due to reopen on June 4.

"It is still dependent on the outbreak situation, but I think the earliest we may see the return of tourists could be the fourth quarter of this year," Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand stated.

China

China
In China, the country where the pandemic began, the situation is taken under control. Restrictive measures are planned to be removed from July 1 in the most populated regions of China.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) will let domestic and foreign airlines apply for “green channels” for chartered flights to airports in the mainland. The countries given the green light first are Singapore, Japan, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland. At the same time the local authorities of several provinces may expand this list.

CAAS Executive Director Li Jian noted that China will expand its international flights, as the country needs to overcome the economic consequences of the crisis caused by the coronavirus. At the same time precautionary measures must be observed in all public institutions, but tourists coming to China will no longer be placed in quarantine on arrival.

South Korea

South Korea
For a long time South Korea was considered one of the leaders in the coronavirus control. The measures taken in the country allowed to inhibit the spread of the pandemic. No strict quarantine was enforced in South Korea.

However in recent days the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has increased, giving rise to concern. South Korea Minister of Health and Welfare Park Neung Hoo appealed for staying calm but pleaded churchgoers and hospitals employees to avoid unnecessary gatherings aiming to reduce infection risks for senior citizens and others who are medically vulnerable.

According to the latest information, the South Korean authorities are not planning to respond to this outbreak by closing borders, but may reconsider their decision regarding the opening of educational institutions.

Nevertheless, according to Ekaterina Lopukhina, marketing director of the National Tourism Organization of Korea (NOTK), the country is ready to host tourists, almost all restrictions have been lifted, even guided tours are provided. «It’s hard to say when Russian tourists can come to Korea, but the direction of future trips is more or less clear - the country will focus on medical and FIT tourism», - Ekaterina stated.