As vaccination programs around the world quicken, many countries are desperate to kick start their hospitality industries and are opening their borders to travelers fully inoculated against COVID-19. Following a year of lockdowns and curfews, the majority of people appear keen to grab a holiday in destinations that perhaps were never on their bucket lists pre-pandemic. Here are the top five holiday destinations vaccinated tourists can enjoy over the upcoming Eid al-Fitr.
With a flight of under six hours from the UAE, Croatia is easily accessible and the greenness, and the popularity of island hopping makes it a must for sailing enthusiasts.
The country’s tourism sector contributed heavily into its economy, pre-COVID, and by opening its borders to vaccinated tourists, Croatia is aiming to market its hospitality industry across the globe.
Many activities are now available to pursue following the lifting of parts of the social distancing guidelines. Cycling, diving, kayaking, zip lining and bungee jumping are a few available, but safety precautions remain.
Croatia has 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites and has eight national parks that tourists can visit.
The Seychelles began welcoming vaccinated tourists from around the world into the country in January. Comprising 115 islands it is known for its beautiful sandy beaches, blue waters and exotic wildlife and sea life.
Winds from the southeast makes sure the weather is dry, and an average temperature of 27°C brings some respite from the Middle East’s summer heat.
Masks must be worn during boat rides, and places where social distancing is mandatory, but there are no requirements when doing water activities.
Ahmed Fathallah who is the regional manager from the Seychelles’ Middle East tourist office said that the industry is one of the most important non-government sectors of the Seychelles’ economy.
“About 15 percent of the formal workforce is directly employed in tourism, and employment in construction, banking, transportation, and other activities is closely tied to the tourist industry,” he said. “In 2020, Seychelles’ revenues from tourism fell 61 percent because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which cut tourist arrivals by 70 percent.”
Fathallah said that several hotels are running promotions for the Eid season, including The Four Seasons, and the tourism board is conducting some marketing activities to help generate awareness about Seychelles being a quarantine-free destination.
Visitors can enjoy beautiful walks around the different beaches and view tropical sunsets. Tourists can also visit different natural sanctuaries, including the Ste Anne Marine National Park, where snorkeling and scuba diving allows the adventurous visit a unique ecosystem.
Slovenia has opened its borders to vaccinated visitors coming from any country around the world.
Known for a plethora of historical sites dating back to the tenth century and beautiful caves and lakes, Slovenia has a niche attraction that was a draw from visitors across the globe pre-pandemic and is likely to grow in popularity as restrictions ease.
Bee tourism has become a novel way to enjoy the scenic beauty of the country, and with World Bee Day on May 20th, now could be the perfect time to book a holiday.
With a flight time of over 12 hours from the UAE to Iceland, it isn’t a short journey, but if you’re vaccinated, and adventurous enough, this Scandinavian gem is worth visiting.
Having opened its borders to those around the world that are inoculated, Iceland offers a unique landscape, with 30 active volcanoes. In fact, a spectacular eruption happened in the Geldingadalur valley last month.
Masks must be worn anywhere where a two-meter distance cannot be maintained, but visitors can enjoy swimming in the hot Blue Lagoon in Grindavík during a cold day. Whale watching and Quad Trekking are also popular.
You might be lucky enough to see the Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights.
February saw Georgia open it borders to vaccinated travelers from any country worldwide.
Known to have one of the oldest cities in Europe – Kutaisi – Georgia also has the 6000-room cave city Vardzia to visit.
Although summer is beginning, Georgia is also known for its ski slopes which are currently still open.
Tourists can also visit three different UNESCO heritage sites dating back centuries.
The COVID-19 guidelines in the country state that masks must be worn indoors, and places where social distancing is required.