COVID-19: Which Destinations Are Planning To Ease Travel Restrictions And When?


Faruq Senin •  May 19, 2020

Note: As the situation changes, we'll constantly be updating this article with (hopefully!) more countries that have plans to ease travel restrictions. Do keep a lookout. 

We'd be lying if we said that we're not dreaming about our next trip, even if we can't do it now ☹️ While travelling doesn't seem like it will return to normalcy anytime soon due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several popular tourist destinations have announced plans to ease travel restrictions in the coming months.

Credit: Giphy

Disclaimer: Do note that this article is in no way encouraging you to make travel plans now. We do acknowledge that the situation right now is very uncertain and with this article, we'd just like to shed some light on the easing of travel restrictions around the world.

Popular destinations which have eased movement restrictions and/or have plans to welcome international travellers in the coming months:

1. Bali (Indonesia)

Bali could reopen to tourists by October 2020, as it has been successful in containing the virus outbreak. Compared to the rest of Indonesia, Bali has less than 400 cases. It will be the first destination in Indonesia to implement the country's Cleanliness, Health and Safety (CHS) programme which focuses on healthy habits. The provincial government has also made it mandatory for all tourists arriving in Bali to undergo a COVID-19 swab test.

If things continue to improve, Indonesia's tourism ministry will be ramping up efforts to promote tourism in Bali and other parts of the country like Yogyakarta and Riau Islands from June to October.

P.S. Check out these 12 amazing things to do in Bali!

2. Dubai

Dubai is most likely to start welcoming tourists in July 2020. Its Tourism and Commerce Marketing Department says that it might be gradually opening up the city to international tourists from July to September. As it is, Dubai has already allowed dine-in cafes and restaurants to reopen with lesser staff while shopping malls are open partially. However, mosques and cinemas are still closed.

P.S. This 6D5N itinerary will inspire your next Dubai trip!

3. Turkey

Turkey is planning to gradually resume international flights from June 2020, while domestic travel is expected to resume in end-May. The authorities have also launched a certification programme for hotels and restaurants to show that they have been properly disinfected. They would also need to adhere to social distancing regulations and staff have to adopt other hygiene practices like wearing masks.

P.S. You might not be able to travel now, but you can admire these amazing photos of Turkey!

4. Iceland

Iceland is has set its reopening date for tourists - June 15 2020. When entering Iceland, travellers will be subject to a COVID-19 test or show proof that they have recently tested negative for the virus. Otherwise, they will be quarantined for 14 days. Right now, only travellers with Schengen region passports are allowed to enter Iceland.

P.S. Save up for your future Iceland trip so you can go on this 12D11N Muslim-friendly road trip!

5. Australia & New Zealand

While Australia hasn't confirmed the dates that it'll be opening to tourists, it has plans to open up the country in 3 stages, each with a 4-week transition. But it's up to various states and territories to decide when they will implement the stages. Currently, some physical distancing measures have been eased in several states. It's only in stage 3 that travel will be allowed - starting with interstate travel.

Meanwhile, New Zealand has eased movement restrictions and shops, restaurants and public spaces have reopened but it says it will not be opening its borders for a "long time".

Australia and New Zealand have plans to create a "trans-Tasman" bubble where tourists from both countries can travel to each others' territories but nothing has been finalised yet. If this is successful, they plan to include other Pacific island countries, so it'll probably take more than 3 months before international tourists can visit Australia.

6. Greece

Greece is gearing up for summer and plans to open its borders to international travellers on July 1 2020, with social distancing measures in place. Hotels in cities are expected to open on June 1. All visitors will have to arrive via Athens and take a COVID-19 test with a 12-hour turnaround for results. Greece is also planning to create a "safe corridor" which would allow travellers from countries with a stable COVID-19 response (which might include Singapore) to travel to Greece later in the year.

P.S. Bookmark this 6D5N Athens-Santorini Muslim-friendly itinerary for your future trip to Greece!

7. Italy

Italy is planning to open to all tourists on June 3 2020 and visitors will not have to self-isolate themselves for 14 days upon arrival. However, movements to and from abroad might differ between various states and territories. Currently, non-essential shops and museums have reopened while some hotels plan to reopen in June. As for airports, only 1 airport per region is open.

Popular destinations with limited or no plans to welcome international travellers yet:

  • Switzerland - Border crossings to and from Germany, France and Austria are set to reopen from 15 June. Currently, hotels, shops, markets and restaurants are open.
  • Thailand - All international travellers are not allowed into Thailand and international flights are still suspended till 30 June.
  • Singapore - All short-term visitors (from anywhere in the world) are not allowed to enter or transit through Singapore.
  • Hong Kong - Non-Hong Kong residents are not allowed entry into Hong Kong. Passengers travelling from Mainland China, Taiwan or Macao SAR, and have not been to other countries/regions in the past 14 days can enter Hong Kong.
  • Indonesia - All foreign nationals are not allowed entry into Indonesia, except under special circumstances.
  • Japan - Foreign nationals from these countries are not allowed into Japan.
  • Malaysia - All foreign nationals are not allowed entry into Malaysia. Several domestic routes have resumed.
  • South Korea - All foreign nationals arriving in South Korea will have to be tested for COVID-19. Testing may take up to 24 hours and visitors will have to stay in a separate facility during this time.
  • Taiwan - All foreign nationals are not allowed entry into Taiwan.

With this, we hope you're now more well-informed on the various travel restrictions around the world. As the world starts to open up in the next few months, we can only hope that travel restrictions will also be eased. Even if you can't travel now, you can still keep these destinations in mind!