After the second wave of COVID-19, many countries have banned travel to and from India and several other travel restrictions for international travellers. Luckily a few have kept their doors open for Indian travellers.
"There was some hope with countries like the Maldives, Dubai, Seychelles and Nepal opening up for Indian tourists briefly. But now we are badly hit again. Flights aren't operating, and countries aren't even issuing e-visas," says Rajiv Mehra, President of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO).
Some of the popular holiday destinations such as Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States are among those who have put restrictions on travel from India.
One of the few countries that are allowing tourist visas for Indians includes Russia. Currently, few flights are operating. People arriving in Russia will have to go through health checkups and self-isolate themselves until their RT-PCR test is negative. They can get themselves tested within three days of arrival. A negative RT-PCR test is also required to board the flight. The test has to be taken within 72 hours of boarding, and the report needs to be in English or Russian. In addition to that, travellers are also required to register through the Public Services Portal of the Russian Federation before arrival. They will also have to fill in a Health Declaration Form that needs to be presented during check-in.
Egypt is also open for tourism, but people arriving from countries with a variant of concern (like India's B.1.617.2 variant) will have to take a rapid DNA test on arrival. In case they are found positive, they can either return or stay under 14 days quarantine. An RT-PCR test done 72 hours before boarding is required, along with a completed health declaration form that must be presented during boarding and upon arrival. In addition to that, health insurance is also necessary, and should cover COVID-19 medical costs and accommodation costs in case of quarantine. Details of the same are required to be uploaded with the health declaration form.
Currently, South Africa has not imposed any travel restrictions on Indian travellers. But both flight and port entries are limited as of now. As usual, a negative RT-PCR test 72 hours before arrival is required for all travellers, including travellers in transit. If somebody is without a proper verifiable test, they will be required to quarantine for ten days at a government-appointed facility.
Health check-ups and screening will also be done. Anybody with COVID-19 symptoms will be quarantined till negative RT-PCR results are received. A completed travel health questionnaire has to be filled 48 hours before travel, and the same will be asked for on departure and arrival. Currently, South Africa is under Level 1 curfew, which may not be preferable for tourism.
Turkey is open for tourism for Indian travellers, but a 14-day quarantine is required upon arrival. Travellers will have to take an RT-PCR test on the 14th day of the quarantine, and only when the results are negative will they be allowed to leave the quarantine facility. The usual negative RT-PCR test taken within 72-hours before boarding is also required.