Young Pioneer Tours

COVID-19 / Coronavirus Travel Update – Which countries are open for tourism?

Coronavirus travel update. Welcome to the YPT COVID-19 / Coronavirus travel updates page. With this page we aim to give up to date travel advise on which countries are open to tourism during the current pandemic.

As you might imagine one of the most frequent questions we are getting asked right now is which countries have open borders and where can I travel to during coronavirus?

While the COVID-19 pandemic still refuses to die down in many parts of the world, there are an increasing number of countries that are now open, or opening to tourism.

Group tours are particularly hard during this period, although we are managing to run some. Many countries though are open to independent tours, which of course we can arrange.

With this page we aim to answer the following questions;

Which countries are open for group tours?

Which countries are open for independent tours?

Which countries are open to tourism?

Which countries are open to travel?

What are the travel requirements to enter various countries?

Which countries are allowing in people who have been vaccinated?

Will there be a travel passport?

Please note this page will be continuously updated with border closures and openings, but we also recommend doing your own independent research, as well as checking with your own government regulations on travel.

In the meantime, you can still sign up for our YPT membership if you want to secure discounts on tours in 2021 and beyond, and all tours are only a €50 deposit.

Which countries are open to group and independent travel?

Which countries can I travel to now? We have compiled the following list of countries that are currently open to tourism and that YPT can arrange independent travel to. We have listed the requirements for each country. If you are interested in traveling to any of these destinations please contact us.

Africa Travel – Coronavirus travel update

  • Burkina Faso – Is Burkina Faso open to tourism? Yes it is. A negative COVID-19 test taken no earlier than 72 hours before landing is necessary. Land borders remain closed to tourism. Now is a great time to visit this West African nation.
  • Mali – Is Mali open to tourism? Mali is open to tourism and independent travel. We can organise independent tours starting now. Unfortunately, due to the threat of violence in Dogon Country, it is completely closed off to tourism.
  • Mauritania – Is Mauritania open to tourism? Mauritania is fully open to travel. A negative COVID test within 72 hours of arrival has to be presented and YPT can arrange independent travel to suit your needs.. Check out our 5 Reasons to Visit Mauritania.
  • Somaliland – Is Somaliland open to tourism? The unrecognised country of Somaliland is now fully open to tourism. Visitors need a negative COVID-19 test taken no earlier than 72 hours before arrival. We are currently arranging independent tours to Somaliland.
  • South Sudan – Is South Sudan open to tourists? South Sudan is currently open to tourism. If you hadn’t heard, this is the newest country in the world and is now safe to visit. We are currently arranging independent tours to South Sudan inclusive of visa.
  • Sudan – Is Sudan open to tourism? Sudan is currently open to tourism YPT can organise independent travel to Sudan and also Bir Tawil – the only truly unclaimed piece of land in the world, which we wrote a book on.

Asia Travel – Coronavirus travel updates

  • China – Is China open to tourism? No it is not. China are currently not issuing any tourist visas. China have launched a “travel passport” for Chinese citizens to travel abroad. They have also announced that people who have received a Chinese vaccine can “apply for visas as normal“. Though this is only for business, and family reunification visas. It is expected that they will also recognize other vaccines in the future. This policy will not affect travel to North Korea.
  • Nepal – Is Nepal open to tourism? Nepal recently reopened its borders to tourists. YPT can organize Himalayan treks and Maoist Civil War adventures in this truly beautiful country. Negative COVID test within 48 hours is required on arrival.
  • Sri Lanka – Is Sri Lanka open to tourism? Yes it is, somewhat. At the moment there are a list of approved hotels and tourist sites, travellers must stay in an approved hotel and can only visit approved sites. Negative COVID test is required on arrival and another test will be given on arrival to allow travel to approved sites. After 14 days in the country and no positive test you are then free to travel around and stay where you like. Travellers who have been vaccinated only have 7 days quarantine. We can arrange independent tours to Sri Lanka.

Central Asia – Coronavirus travel updates

  • Afghanistan – Is Afghanistan open for tourism? Afghanistan is open for business “as usual”, or as close to it as is possible. Afghanistan requires no quarantine or COVID test on arrival, however you will need a COVID test to leave the country. We can arrange independent tours of Afghanistan as well as the COVID test to leave the country.
  • Kyrgyzstan – Is Kyrgyzstan open for tourism? Yes it is. All foreign nationals arriving at Osh International Airport or Manas International Airport must have a negative PCR test valid within 72 hours before your arrival or can opt for a PCR test at the airport. Land borders are not yet open for Kyrgyzstan.
  • Pakistan – Is Pakistan open for tourism? It is now possible to visit Pakistan, however most people will need to produce a negative PCR test on arrival. There are a few countries exempt from the test requirements. However, anyone who arrives with symptoms will then need to take a test and if found positive will have to quarantine for 14 days.
  • Tajikistan – Is Tajikistan open for tourism? Tajikistan is now allowing tourists to enter the country, but only through Dushanbe International Airport. Tourists wanting to visit Tajikistan can once again use their relatively simple E-Visa process online. In order to travel to Tajikistan, you’ll need either a negative PCR test that is less than 72 hours old or a vaccination certificate that is more than 1 month old. Land borders remain closed until the government deems it safe to reopen. Almost all arrivals will need to come through Istanbul or Dubai.
  • Uzbekistan – Is Uzbekistan open for tourism? Anyone can now visit Uzbekistan, but with some restrictions. Depending on where you’re coming from you may need to have a negative PCR test before arriving. If you test positive on arrival you’ll need to self-fund a 14 day quarantine for $3200USD. Click here for more details.

The Caribbean – Coronavirus travel updates

  • Cuba – Cuba is open for tourism for travellers from any country. However, as of February 2021 there are some severe restrictions, including prohibition on travel between provinces. In Havana there is a 9pm curfew and restaurants are only allowed to serve take-away customers. Tourist travellers must take a test in their home country within 72 hours of arrival. They will be given another PCR test on arrival in Cuba and are required to quarantine in a hotel. Once the airport test result is received they can use the hotel pool, bar etc, but must await yet another PCR test before leaving the hotel, making a total quarantine period of about 1 week.

Eastern Europe Travel – Coronavirus travel updates

  • Albania – Is Albania open for travel during COVID-19? Albania is open for travel, it’s one of the few European countries operating with minimal restrictions. Commercial airlines are operating from Tirana. Public transport and taxis are operating as normal. There is the addition of a 22:00 curfew each evening. We are currently running a range of private tours to Albania.
  • Armenia – Is Albania open to tourism? Yes it is. Foreign travellers are now allowed to enter Armenia but will need a negative COVID test within 72 hours of entry. Alternatively you can get a test on arrival and isolate until you get the results.
  • The Baltics – Can you travel to Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia during coronavirus? Again, you can if you’re from the EU or some select other countries around the world. All three countries are open to citizens from EU, Schengen-area nations, and a few select other countries. However, tourists coming from countries with high transmission rates, such as the UK, will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. We are currently running private tours to the Baltics, for a sample itinerary you can check out our Soviet Baltics itinerary.
  • Belarus – Can you travel to Belarus during COVID? Belarus is one of the few countries where COVID-19 restrictions are almost non-existent. Do keep in mind that whilst passing through immigration not to present yourself as a journalist as they are turning away anyone who will potentially report on the political events regarding their recent election. Visa-free entry still stands for most nationalities. Some might say this is the perfect time to visit. You can visit the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Belarus. Read more on Belarus.
  • Bulgaria – Although currently under a mild lockdown, Bulgaria is open to travellers holding a negative PCR certificate taken within 72 hours of arrival. We are currently running private tours to Bulgaria, but restaurants and bars are closed until the 1st of March. Takeaway services are offered instead.
  • Croatia – Can you travel to Croatia during coronavirus? If you are an EU citizen, then yes you may. The Balkan country of Croatia reopened on the 9th of May 2020. Travelers from within the EU and EEA (except the UK) are allowed in.
  • Moldova – Is Moldova open for travel during COVID-19? For citizens of certain countries, Moldova is open for travel during Coronavirus. Foreigners coming from ‘red zone’ countries face restrictions on entering Moldova. However, for foreigners coming from countries with less than 50 cases of coronavirus infection per 100,000 people, the country is open for travel. The separatist territory of Transnistria, however, is not open.
  • Poland – Is Poland open for travel during COVID-19? Poland is open to travellers from EU countries and the Schengen area provided the country is not suffering from a high amount of Coronavirus cases such as the UK. Additionally, visitors from Canada, Georgia, Japan, and South Korea are also allowed to visit Poland. We currently run regular private tours to Poland, for a sample itinerary check out our tour.
  • Ukraine – Is Ukraine open for travel during COVID-19? Partially. Ukraine is open to travel but currently enforcing entry measures at borders. Upon arrival, all foreign nationals will be required to provide proof of valid health insurance that covers COVID-19 observation and treatment for the duration of their stay. Whether you have to self-isolate on arrival depends on whether your journey involved travel from or through “red” or “green” zone countries. The final decision on a person’s eligibility to enter Ukraine rests with the Ukrainian State Border Service. The entry requirement policies of foreign governments are imposed and enforced at their discretion. For independent tours to the country, check out our private tours to Ukraine.

Middle East Travel – Coronavirus travel updates

  • Iraq – Is Iraq open to tourism? Iraq is now open to tourism and visa rules have just been relaxed, making this the easiest time to visit Iraq for a long period of time. A negative covid test must be provided on arrival from no earlier than 72 hours before.
  • Iraqi Kurdistan – Is Iraqi Kurdistan open to tourism? Iraqi Kurdistan is open to travel during coronavirus. Kurdistan is visa-free for most nationalities, has not been affected badly by COVID 19, as well as being politically stable.

Countries allowing tourists with a Covid-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus travel update. Which countries are allowing tourists who have had the coronavirus vaccine to enter? As the rollout of the vaccine has moved much than expected in many countries, this is a situation in constant flux. It now looks more than likely that we will see a number of so called “travel passports” being launched.

  • Cyprus – Will Cyprus allow tourists who have been vaccinated against coronavirus? Not yet, but this is expected to change soon. The country were the first to announce the new measures back in December. It is planned to be in place by March. We can arrange independent tours to North and South Cyprus.
  • The EU – The EU have just announced a very exciting Digital Green Pass. This is planned to become a de-facto travel passport. This is due to the rapid immunization occurring throughout the European Union. It is therefore very much expected that the EU will be its own travel corridor. To read more about the proposed EU Digital Pass for travel/Travel Passport click here.
  • Greenland – Will Greenland allow tourists who have been vaccinated? Despite being part of Denmark tourism to Greenland largely flows from and follows Iceland. Iceland have now announced that they will allow people into the country who have received the Covid-19 vaccine. It is very much hoped this will result in cruises to Greenland resuming soon.
  • Iceland – Will Iceland allow tourists who have been vaccinated against coronavirus? Yes! As of last week Iceland have announced they will allow in visitors who have been vaccinated against coronavirus. This is extremely exciting news, not just for travel to Iceland, but also with regards cruises to Greenland.
  • Israel – Will Israel allow vaccinated people to travel there? Is Israel open to tourism? As of now it is not, but due to the speed of vaccinations in the country they are expected to be one of the first countries to fully open up.
  • Romania – Will Romania allow tourists who have been vaccinated against coronavirus? Romania was one of the first countries to announce they would let in people who received the vaccine. We can arrange independent tours to Romania. As an EU country Romania will be taking part in the EU Travel Pass.
  • Seychelles – Will Seychelles allow tourists who have been vaccinated against coronavirus? Yes, they will. Tourism counts for 65% of the economy of the Seychelles, and tourists who have been vaccinated will be allowed into the country.
  • The United Kingdom – Will the UK open to vaccinated people? Nothing has yet been firmly announced, but with the fast rates that the country is vaccinating it is likely to be one of the first to open. Sadly we are not planning any British tours. Not yet anyway.

Which countries are expected to open for tourism soon?

Coronavirus travel update. Eastern European countries expected to open soon

  • Russia – Russia is currently closed to foreign visitors with limited flights operating into and out of the country. Currently, the country is only open to Russian citizens or foreigners with special permission to enter the country. Russia have been relatively quick with vaccinating their citizens, so it is hoped will open for tourism in the near future.
  • Transnistria – Due to the current restrictions on one of our most popular European tours, we are still awaiting the ease of restrictions before resuming tours to Transnistria. Although the country recently eyed up reopening in late December, the appearance of a mutant Covid-19 strain in the UK dashed those plans. However, it is a positive indication that the breakaway state will soon be open.

What future tours need to be booked in advance?

Antarctica coronavirus travel updates

Can I take a cruise during coronavirus? All cruise lines have essentially ceased operations. SAGA a company who specialize in the over 50’s demographic have recently announced that they would only allow customers who had been vaccinated. It is our option that this is likely to become an industry standard. As of now there is no indication if this will be the rule for Antarctica, or Svalbard cruises. As there is no central governing body for Antarctica, it will likely fall on the cruise industry to mandate.

  • Antarctica – Can I travel to Antarctica during coronavirus? Antarctica is currently not open for tourists and its fate is largely linked to that of the wider cruise ship industry. It should also be noted that Antarctica cruises are also directly affected by the travel situation in Argentina. We have arranged our group tour far enough in advance that hopefully COVID-19 will be a thing of the past. We are taking bookings for our Antarctica Expedition in December 2021. This is the cheapest trip to Antarctica, ever.

Asia

  • Bhutan – Is Bhutan open to tourism? Bhutan is closed to all tourists. The dynamics of travel to Bhutan mean it is likely to be one of the last countries to open to tourism.
  • Myanmar (Burma) – Is Burma open to tourists? No it is not. All commercial flights are suspended until 31 May at the earliest. With regards to the recent coup and violence in the country it is unlikely to open soon.
  • North Korea – North Korea remains closed to tourists. Our North Korea 2021 and 2022 tour program is available for bookings. You may read more about our North Korean travel updates. We are confidently looking at tourism resuming in North Korea at the end of 2021. All booked tours to North Korea can be swapped should the situation dictate it. The recent Chinese visa restrictions are not anticipated to affect travel to North Korea
  • South Korea – Is South Korea open to tourism? South Korea is completely closed to all but returning residents and nationals. Those who do return are required to undergo quarantine. It is still possible to transit the country, although again various regulations are in place. With the rapid rate of vaccinations it is hoped this will change in future.

Nordic

  • Svalbard – Is Svalbard open to tourism? Svalbard is currently not open for tourism, but on the same theme, our Svalbard cruise which was postponed this year is planned to run in 2021. It is expected that a Covid-19 vaccine will be a prerequisite for those wishing to take cruises. We still have a few places left on these tours.

Popular travel destinations coronavirus travel updates

Central Asia Covid-19 travel updates

  • Turkmenistan – Is Turkmenistan open to tourism? It is currently closed. Like North Korea, this is one of the few countries least afraid to shut its borders to the outside world. All Turkmenistan Airlines flights have been cancelled. As of 2021 the situation remains unchanged.

Middle East Covid-19 travel updates

  • Syria – Is Syria open to tourism? Although the COVID situation in Syria is relatively stable, the country isn’t taking any risks to reopen their border as of yet for tourism. At this point we are still planning tours for later this year. Please get in touch with us for more information.

Western Asia Covid-19 travel updates

  • Iran – Is Iran Open to tourism? Whereas Iran would like to welcome tourists back, the country is in its 3rd wave of COVID-19 and has suffered worse than most, we don’t expect tours to open until the summer of 2021 at the earliest.

Global Covid-19 Travel Updates

Africa Travel updates

  • Angola – Is Angola open to tourism? No. It is totally restricted to tourists. Only Angolans are allowed to enter the country. Although flights to and from Angola have restarted again.
  • Eritrea – Is Eritrea open to tourism? No. Eritrea’s borders do not currently permit tourists to enter by air or land. It is hoped that this will change in the near future.
  • Sao Tome – Is Sao Tome open to tourism? Yes. Flights have resumed to Sao Tome. Tourists must prepare a negative PCR test within 72 hours before departing on their flight to Sao Tome. We can arrange independent tours to Sao Time and Principe.

America’s travel updates

  • Argentina – Is Argentina open to tourism? Argentina is closed to international travel from most nations. There are some exceptions with regards to citizens of bordering countries entering into the port of Buenos Aires. When ARgentina opens will directly affect travel to Antarctica.
  • Belize – Is Belize open to tourism? Belize airport opened to international travellers on October 1st, but with understanding they stay in certain hotels. Land borders remain closed, as does renting our private island.
  • Colombia – Is Colombia open to tourism? Visitors to Colombia must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival. Should they not have these they will be required to take a test and wait for a result and.or undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine.
  • French Guiana – Is French Guiana open to tourism? No it is not. Entry to the French territory is currently restricted to essential travel, negative tests and quarantine.
  • Guyana – Is Guyana open to tourism? Guyana is essentially open to travel, but with limited flights going into the country. Visitors are required to show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. People with tests older than 72 hours will be required to take a new test at their own expense. For more information click here.
  • Mexico – Is Mexico open to tourism? Yes it is. Mexico is open to tourists of all nationalities arriving by air. The US – Mexico border remains closed to tourism. Not all areas of the country are open though. Currently no negative test is required. Although if you come from a high-risk country you may be screened and quarantined.
  • Suriname – Is Suriname open to tourism? Suriname is completely closed to tourism. This includes land, air and sea borders. There are still limited flights between Suriname, The Netherlands, and the USA.
  • Venezuela – Is Venezuela open to tourism? Venezuela is not open to tourism. This includes both land borders and international flights. The country is also not currently issuing tourist visas. Although there have been anecdotal stories of those with existing visas being allowed into the country. Returning Venezuelans are also subject to testing and quarantine.

Central Asia travel updates

  • Kazakhstan Although there are some exceptions for people on work or residency visas, it is still not possible to visit Kazakhstan as a tourist. Click here for more details.
  • Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan is still closed to tourists from all countries.

Southeast Asia travel updates

  • Cambodia – Is Cambodia open to tourism? Cambodia is not currently open to tourists via the e-visa and visa on arrival program. All arrivals need to have a visa, government approved health insurance, and undergo quarantine, as well as pay a refundable $2000 deposit. Whilst rules remain strict and quarantine is still in place, tentative plans to open by Q4 have since been announced.
  • East Timor – Is East Timor/Timor-Leste open to tourism? No it is not. All tourism is currently banned, with only Timorese, or those with family connections allowed to enter the country.
  • Laos – Is Laos open to tourism? Despite being one the last countries to close and having a relatively low infection rate, Laos remains closed to tourism. There is hope of a travel bubble with Cambodia, and, or Vietnam being opened.
  • Philippines – Is the Philippines open to tourism? The Philippines is currently only allowing returning nationals, OFW’s, spouses of nationals and parents of Filipino nationals to enter the country (after getting a visa. You can read more about the policy here. The current tentative plan is to open in July 2021. With current rates of vaccinations and an increase in infections it is unlikely that this date will be met.
  • Thailand – Is Thailand open to tourism? Technically Thailand is “open to the world”. In actual fact things are a bit more complicated. A negative COVID test is required, a 14 day quarantine and bookings in sanctioned hotels. To read a specific update on Thai restrictions click here.
  • Vietnam – Is Vietnam open to tourism? Vietnam is completely closed to tourism. In fact Vietnam have taken some of the toughest measures in the region regarding Covid-19. There has recently been talk of Vietnam opening to a limited degree in May, although this has yet to be confirmed by any sources.

Oceania

In 2019 there was a severe outbreak of measles in the Pacific. This lead to many nations insisting on a proof of measles vaccination before entering their countries. Therefore the Pacific Islands are likely to be some of the last to open to tourism during coronavirus, or at a minimum insists on proof of vaccination.

  • Fiji – Is Fiji open to tourism? Fiji which acts as a gateway for travel to much of the Pacific Islands is currently closed to tourism.
  • Kiribati – Is Kiribati open to travel? Kiribati is currently fully closed to tourism. Again as one of the least visited countries on earth it is unlikely to open soon.
  • Nauru – Is Nauru open to tourism? After North Korea, Nauru was one of the first countries to lockdown. There has been a travel corridor opened with Australia, but for all intents Nauru is closed to tourism.
  • Papua New Guinea – Is Papua New Guinea open to tourism? Foreign tourists remain banned from entering the country. Authorities require arrivals to receive a negative PCR test within seven days of travel. No travellers can enter the country via land and sea border crossings. The self-governing Bougainville government requires passengers to seek approval from the Bougainville State of Emergency Controller before travel and obtain a quarantine medical clearance certificate 48-72 hours before departure.
  • Tonga – Is Tonga open to tourism? No it is not. Tonga is completely closed to inbound travel to all but returning nationals. There are now some outbound flights for foreign nationals stuck in Tonga.
  • Tuvalu – Is Tuvalu open to tourism? No it is not. Tuvalu only has flights to Fiji and Kiribati, both of which are closed to tourism. Tuvalu is expected toopen to tourism when Fiji does.
  • Vanuatu – Is Vanuatu open for tourism? All international flights in and out of Vanuatu have been suspended. The country is currently under a state of emergency.
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