As international travel restrictions have started to be relaxed — and nations throughout the world look to tourism to boost their local economy — more and more people are starting to make plans to travel again.
There are 191 countries now open to travelers, where pre-departure COVID-19 testing or quarantine is not required, according to data from travel site Kayak.com.
This represents more than 92 per cent of the 206 Olympic nations. In addition, there are 18 countries open with required COVID-19 testing.
One country, the Federated States of Micronesia, still requires travellers to test and quarantine upon arrival, as of October 15, 2022, as per the site.
Moreover, there are 17 locations that allow only citizens or people in special circumstances to enter.
Other travel sites echo Kayak. World Nomads listed about 40 countries in its September 1, 2022 update, including all of the kayak.com list.
Wego, another travel site (wego.com/international-reopening/), lists 164 countries or territories open for travel — without the need for COVID-19 testing or quarantine.
A continent-by-continent travel guide to coronavirus reopenings by The Points Guy last updated on October 11, 2022 also points to the same countries and territories Kayak listed. However, it is important to note that travel status of individual countries can change any time, depending on local health rules.
One reason for the lifting of most travel restrictions in most countries is the fact that coronavirus is now better understood, and a number of vaccines that provide protection are available, say scientists.
In general, due to a relaxation of COVID regulations, travel to and from the UAE is practically back to pre-pandemic levels.
New phase of pandemic
A Bloomberg report quoted infectious disease epidemiologist David Dowdy of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as saying that the lifting of travel restrictions in these nations is "an admission that we're at a new phase of this pandemic, where things are more stable."
As a result, travelers who formerly worried about contracting an infection have subsequently gained confidence and started making travel plans. Many countries in North America and Asia have removed pandemic restrictions. Up to 25 countries in Europe have removed masking and vaccination rules.
Japan, Bhutan, Canada, the Bahamas, and New Zealand are among the nations that recently relaxed travel curbs.
The report stated that other places, including mainland China, the US, the Philippines, and Indonesia, are still closed to non-immunised travelers. But there's no doubting the fact that airlines are beefing up their pilots roster, cabin and ground crew.
One survey shows that two out of three Americans intend to travel in the upcoming three months.
Amid the travel rebound, there's one drawback: the cost of the airfares. Due to the unexpected travel rebound, air tickets have spiked — though this hasn't deterred passionate travelers from their plans. Intrepid travellers, however, can still find discounted travel offers.
Reuters projects that by 2023, the travel and tourism industries will have recovered to their pre-pandemic levels and will be expanding faster than global GDP growth.
Kayak.com, however, warned that travel status of individual countries can still change "anytime", depending on local health and travel rules.