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?

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 member if you want to secure discounts on tours in 2021 and beyond, or buy it as a Christmas present for a friend or relative, and all tours are only a €50 deposit only.

Which countries are open to group and independent travel?

Africa Travel – Coronavirus travel updates

  • Burkina Faso – Is Burkina Faso open to tourism? 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, home to pan-Africanism and Africa’s Che Guevara.
  • 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? Now 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 and all that is needed is a negative COVID-19 test taken no earlier than 72 hours before arrival. Get in touch to arrange an independent tour.
  • 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. YPT can procure visas and arrange bespoke itineraries at short notice.
  • 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. However, for expats based in China domestic tourism has returned to almost normal. In fact China has recently tightened borders further as well as issued some local lock-downs. When things improve we will again be offering trips for expats in China.
  • Nepal – Is Nepal open to tourism? Nepal recently reopened its borders to tourists. YPT can organise Himalayan treks and Maoist Civil War adventures in this truly beautiful country. Negative COVID test within 48 hours is required on arrival.

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 tests on arrival, however you will need a COVID test to leave the country, which we can organise for you on the last day of your tour.
  • Kyrgyzstan – Is Kyrgyzstan open for tourism? All foreign nationals arriving at Osh International Airport or Manas International Airport may have a negative PCR test valid within 72 hours before your arrival or may 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? It is possible for some people to travel to Tajikistan for tourism now, depending on which country you are from and where you’ve recently been. However, there is a 14 day quarantine program in place for most people.
  • 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 mid-January 2020 there are some severe restrictions, including prohibition on travel between provinces and restaurants being allowed to serve only take-away customers. Tourist travellers will be given a PCR test on arrival in Cuba and are required to self-isolate until a negative result is received – typically around 48 hours, though it can be longer, especially for weekend arrivals. Additionally, all travellers to Cuba will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result certificate from their country of origin, taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Cuba.

Eastern Europe Travel – Coronavirus travel updates

  • Croatia – Can you travel to Croatia during coronavirus? If you are an EU citizen, then yes! The Balkan country of Croatia reopened on the 9th of May 2020. Travellers from within the EU and EEA (except the UK) are allowed in.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Iraqi Kurdistan – Unlike Southern Iraq, Kurdistan is visa-free for most nationalities, has not been affected badly by COVID 19, as well as being politically stable. If you have not been here yet, it is a must-see destination both as an unrecognised country and a highly fascinating part of the Middle East.

Which countries are expected to open for tourism soon?

Eastern European countries expected to open soon

  • 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.
  • Bulgaria – Although currently under a mild lockdown, the situation in Bulgaria is going to be reviewed in late January. We aim to resume private and small group tours to Bulgaria on the 1st of February 2021 when hopefully the current restrictions on museums and restaurants are lifted.
  • 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. However, it’s expected that the country will open soon with the introduction of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Romania – Romania is enforcing a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all new arrivals into the country. Commercial flights are extremely limited. We aim to resume tours to Romania as soon as the country is open.

What future tours need to be booked in advance?

Antarctica

  • 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. 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

  • 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 by summer 2021.

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. Places are now very limited, so we advise booking now.

Popular travel destinations coronavirus travel updates

Central Asia

  • Turkmenistan –Is Turkmenistan open to tourism? No it is not! 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 for 2020. As of 2021 the situation remains unchanged.

Middle East

  • Syria – Is Syria open to tourism? Syria is still closed for all tourism, and although there have been various dates floated around for this to end, there is no real indication of when Syria will reopen for tourism.

Western Asia

  • 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 spring of 2021 at the earliest.

Global Covid-19 Travel Updates

Africa Travel updates

  • Angola –Is Angola open to tourism? No! Totally restricted to tourists. Only Angolans are allowed to enter the country. Although flights to and from Angola have restarted again.
  • 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.

Central America travel updates

  • 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.
  • 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.

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? Yes and no. Cambodia is not currently open to tourists via the e-visa and visa on arrival program were suspended indefinitely in March 2020. If you would like to travel to Cambodia at the moment, you need to currently hold a valid visa or visit a Cambodian embassy in your country where it is possible to have business, work or family reunion visa issued if you have the correct supporting documents. Prior to travelling to Cambodia, you will need to take a COVID-19 test no longer than 72 hours before departure, proving you are negative for the virus. Upon arrival in Cambodia, you will need to hand over a $2000 deposit payable in cash or via credit card. Another COVID-19 test will be administered on arrival, and you will need to quarantine in a hotel until the results come back negative, which can take up to 72 hours. Provided the results come back negative, you are free to travel onward to your accommodation, where you are expected to complete a 14 day isolation period. YPT can arrange independent tours, as well offer other relevant assistance if you are able to make your way to the country.
  • East Timor – Is East Timor/Timor-Leste open to tourism? No it is not. Alll touirsm is currently banned, with only Timorese, or those with family
  • Philippines – Is the Philippines open to tourism? The Philippines is currently only allowing returning nationals and spouses of nationals to enter the country. The Philippines have announced that they will not open until the second half of 2021.
  • 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 lick here. This is no news as to when Thailand will be fully open again. Although much like other countries travel corridors have been suggested.
  • 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. Optimistically we can hope for the second half of 2021, or at best a travel corridor being open with other ASEAN nations.

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.

  • 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 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.
  • 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 therefore not open for tourism.
  • 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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