As the world slowly recovers from pandemic post the availability of vaccination, a lot of countries, especially the ones in Europe have reopened their doors for the tourists flying from other countries for the first time since March 2020. While it may sound like happy days are returning, travellers from India are still struggling to find entry to these nations, especially for tourism activities.
India was managing the coronavirus crisis very well before the second wave took the nation by storm. A mutant of COVID-19 called Delta Variant which originated from India forced many countries to reconsider their travel policies and India was among the few nations from which tourists were not allowed to fly in.
We look at the current entry rules in some popular European tourist destinations, which are allowing tourists from other countries but not India.
If you’re vaccinated, come to France. But only if you got one of the four EU-approved vaccines: Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. France’s borders officially reopened recently and the vaccinated visitors from outside Europe and a few green countries will still be asked for a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours, or a negative antigen test of no more than 48 hours.
Unvaccinated children will be allowed in with vaccinated adults, but will have to show a negative test from age 11. Tourists are banned from 16 countries wrestling with virus surges and worrisome variants that are on a red list that includes India, South Africa and Brazil. Non-vaccinated visitors from orange list countries including the U.S. and Britain can’t come for tourism either, only for specific, imperative reasons.
While Italy has allowed Americans, the country with most cases and also the second-biggest group of foreign tourists to Italy, they need to self-isolate upon arrival for 10 days unless they arrive on so-called COVID-tested flights. That means passengers are tested before and after the flight and must fill out documents about their whereabouts to facilitate contact tracing if required.
COVID-tested flights from various countries have been operating since May from Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. Italy also started allowing tourists from Britain and Israel last month, meaning they no longer need an essential reason to visit and don’t have to self-isolate, providing they present proof of a negative COVID test taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival. The same rules apply to travelers from EU countries and those on COVID-tested flights from the U.S., Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
Tourism-reliant Greece started opening to visitors from China, US, Britain and 20 other countries are also allowed to visit for nonessential travel. All must provide a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test and fill in a passenger locator form on their plans in Greece. This directive expires on June 14, but could be extended.
Athens long pressed for a common EU approach, but didn’t wait for one to materialize. On June 1, Greece, Germany and five other bloc members introduced a COVID certificate system for travelers, weeks ahead of the July 1 rollout of the program across the 27-nation bloc.
Spain kicked off its summer tourism season by welcoming vaccinated visitors from most countries, as well as European visitors who can prove they are not infected. Most other non-Europeans need an official vaccine certificate by a U.S. health authority, in English. Spain accepts those who were inoculated with the four EU-approved vaccines as well two Chinese vaccines authorized by the World Health Organization as long as visitors are fully vaccinated at least two weeks before the trip.
Arrivals from Brazil, South Africa and India are banned at the moment because of high infection rates there, and non-vaccinated Americans and many other non-EU nationalities cannot come to Spain for tourism for now. But there are exemptions for countries considered at low risk, such as citizens from Britain, who can arrive without any health documents at all. EU citizens need to provide proof of vaccination, a certificate showing they recently recovered from COVID-19, or a negative antigen or PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival.
Britain has a traffic-light system for assessing countries by risk, and the U.S. along with most European nations is on the amber list, meaning everyone arriving has to self-isolate at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days. U.K. airlines and airport operators are pushing for a travel corridor with many nations to allow tourism to resume.
Meanwhile, anyone traveling between Britain and continental Europe, be warned: In addition to the isolation requirement for those arriving or returning to U.K. shores, rising concern about the delta variant of the virus has prompted some other countries to introduce special restrictions for those arriving from Britain.
The 27-nation EU has no unified COVID tourism or border policy, but has been working for months on a joint digital travel certificate for those vaccinated, freshly tested, or recently recovered from the virus. The free certificates, which will contain a QR code with advanced security features, will allow people to move between European countries without having to quarantine or undergo extra coronavirus tests upon arrival.
Several EU countries have already begun using the system, including Spain, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Poland. The rest are expected to start using it July 1. It’s mainly meant for EU citizens but others can obtain the certificate too if they can convince authorities in an EU country they’re entering that they qualify for one.