It is one thing to force unvaccinated travelers to quarantine or undergo additional Covid testing.
It is another to ban them completely.
A small but growing list of travel destinations is closing its doors to unvaccinated travelers or reopening only to vaccinated travelers. Either way, the unvaccinated are seeing their travel options start to dwindle as tourism-dependent countries prioritize security and streamlined entry requirements over open-door policies for all.
When Anguilla reopened last November, travelers to the small Caribbean island were to test negative for Covid-19 before and after arrival. A wave of new cases then followed in April and Anguilla closed its borders to tourists for a month.
From next week, unvaccinated travelers will not be allowed into Anguilla.
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Now the British Overseas Territory is changing tactics. From July 1, visitors must be vaccinated at least three weeks before arriving. This applies to “all visitors … who are eligible to be vaccinated”, according to the Anguilla Tourist Office website, which says children are exempt from the requirement.
Vaccinated travelers will no longer need to self-quarantine, take a Covid test on arrival, or pay entry fees. Earlier this year, vaccinated travelers were charged $ 300 to enter, while unvaccinated visitors were charged $ 600.
Anguilla is not the only Caribbean island to close its doors to unvaccinated travelers. The dual island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis instituted a similar policy last month.
As of May 29, St. Kitts only accepts travelers who have been vaccinated with American or European vaccines. The new rule was among several initiatives announced by Prime Minister Timothy Harris in response to a cluster of 16 Covid cases detected on the islands last month, according to the St. Kitts Tourism Authority.
A cluster of 16 new Covid cases in May resulted in the closure of Saint Kitts and Nevis to unvaccinated travelers.
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“The previously announced travel requirements for unvaccinated travelers are null and void,” according to a statement announcing policy change.
The islands are subject to a daily 6 p.m. curfew and tourist sites are closed until June 26. A timetable for reopening to unvaccinated tourists has not yet been indicated.
Unvaccinated children traveling with vaccinated parents can also enter, although they must “stay there” for 14 days, rather than the nine days required for vaccinated tourists.
Anguilla and Saint Kitts and Nevis are considered low level 1 Covid destinations by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The two were highlighted by CNBC in March as part of a handful of tourist destinations that have opened their doors while maintaining low rates of Covid infection.
Other places require unvaccinated visitors to show that they are traveling for reasons other than the simple need for a vacation.
When French Polynesia, which includes the islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora, reopened on May 1, it designated Americans as the only nationality that can enter for tourism purposes. The policy also applied to unvaccinated Americans, although the unimmunized were subject to quarantines.
It has since changed. From June 16, vaccinated tourists can enter if they have spent the previous 15 days in the United Kingdom, in most French territories or in the countries of the “green zone” of France, according to the marketing organization for French Polynesia destinations. The “green zone” countries currently include most of Europe, as well as countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States.
The “green” list of the countries of France
Most of Europe, plus Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States
Source: French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, updated June 17
All others, including all unvaccinated travelers, must justify a “compelling reason” related to health, family or work to travel to French Polynesia.
“Tourism is not a compelling reason to travel”, according to Tahiti tourism website.
France’s politics are slightly more relaxed. It allows unvaccinated travelers to “green” countries to enter via a negative Covid test. However, travelers from “orange” countries – that is, all countries that are not on the green or red list, that is to say the majority of the world – must be vaccinated to enter or show. “urgent reasons” for traveling, according to the website of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
The French communities of Saint-Barth and Saint-Martin in the Caribbean reopened this month with a similar policy. Nils DuFau, president of the Saint-Barth tourist office, separately published an announcement that Saint-Barth was open to vaccinated Americans from June 9.
Saint-Barth reopened its borders to vaccinated American travelers on June 9.
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Note: The country lists for France and Spain are similar. However, the UK is currently on Spain’s list, unlike the US and Canada.
Tourism dependent countries, like those in the Caribbean, must balance the economic impact of welcoming tourists with the safety of their citizens, said Tim Hentschel, co-founder and CEO of hotel reservation company HotelPlanner.
“I can only imagine how difficult these conversations must be between an infectious disease expert from one country advising stricter policy and a tourism official who says everyone needs to come in immediately so the economy doesn’t fail. ‘not collapse,’ he said.
Hentschel said that if 13 Caribbean countries are sovereign, French territories such as Martinique and Guadeloupe and Dutch territories such as Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten could end up following state policies.
Hentschel called Asia a “very different story”, mainly because of declining vaccination rates.
Vaccinated travelers from certain countries will not be required to self-quarantine in Phuket, Thailand, starting July 1.
Jordan Siemens | Stone | Getty Images
“As soon as there appears to be progress, a new outbreak and lockdown occurs, like in Singapore, ”he said. “It will take much longer for Asia to return to a semblance of normal travel before the pandemic – maybe another year or more, unfortunately. “
Asian destinations have stopped requiring vaccinations for travel, but the continent is still largely closed to leisure visitors. Much-discussed “Phuket Sandbox” model – that the popular island of Phuket is expected to reopen on July 1 before the rest of Thailand – waives quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers low to medium risk countries.
Unvaccinated travelers can still enter, although they are subject to 14-day isolation periods, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has confirmed to CNBC.
While requiring tourists to get vaccinated makes “perfect sense” in some places, it won’t work everywhere, Hentschel said.
“It is interesting that Mexico has never closed its border to American tourists during the entire pandemic,” he said. “So this is an example where a more open policy made sense for Mexico given its proximity to the United States, the billions in cross-border shipping and trade carried out daily, and their reliance on US dollars from tourism. . “
Editor’s Note: The US land borders with Mexico were closed to non-essential travel in March 2020 and will remain restricted until at least July 21. However, air travel between the two countries has been open throughout the pandemic.