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Winter sun and ski destinations welcome lifting of Covid travel restrictions

The lifting of restrictive travel advisories by the Foreign Office has been welcomed by a number of countries seeking to attract UK holidaymakers this autumn and winter.

Advice against non-essential travel was relaxed for a further 51 countries on Friday, just two days after limits were lifted to 32 other nations and territories.

This came day after transport secretary Grant Shapps announced the red list will be cut from 54 to seven from today (Monday).

Among those welcoming the opening up of travel were Jamaica, Morocco and the Seychelles while Bulgaria and Singapore relaxed entry rules for UK visitors.

In Jamaica, visitors can move about freely to authorised attractions when staying in approved accommodation along Covid-19 secure ‘resilient corridors’ in resort areas.

The resilient corridors run  north along the coastline from Negril to Port Antonio and along the south coast of the island from Negril to Milk River.

Jamaica tourism minister Edmund Bartlett said: “We are delighted that the UK government is no longer advising against all but essential travel to Jamaica and we are very much looking forward to welcoming back our UK visitors safely and seamlessly to our vibrant shores.

“British visitors, who are incredibly important to us, can expect a very warm and friendly Jamaican welcome and now is an amazing time to visit.

“We are celebrating the recent release of the new Bond film No Time To Die, as well as Jamaican music and a strong focus on Jamaica’s outstanding luxury experiences.  We are ready for visitors to return and promise them a holiday of a lifetime.”

He added: “Our absolute priority has been, and will continue to be, the health and safety of our visitors, hospitality workers and community.

“We are thrilled that the UK government has recognised our focus on the ‘Jamaica CARES’ programme that delivers robust tourism Covid-19 health and safety protocols as well as our innovative resilient corridors.”

The Moroccan National Tourism Office (MNTO) moved to promote the north African country as a Covid-safe destination based on the low rates and a vaccination programme that has seen more than 19.2 million people double jabbed out of a target population of 25 million. Currently, Morocco has a daily average of just 668 active cases.

MNTO UK and Ireland director Jamal Kilito said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, we are looking forward to welcoming travellers to Morocco where they can enjoy a truly exceptional tourism experience with peace of mind.

“With secure health and safety measures in place, we are confident that we can rebuild our tourism industry and provide travellers with the warm Moroccan welcome they have always enjoyed and we encourage as many visitors as possible to rediscover this magnificent destination.”

Visitors to Seychelles have to complete a travel authorisation form and show proof of a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to travel to the destination.

Foreign affairs and tourism minister Sylvestre Radegonde said: “Moving off the UK red list is another important milestone in the recovery of the Seychelles tourism industry and it will provide a boost to the destination as well as its airlines and its travel industry partners.

“We are delighted to welcome back our British visitors, the families and honeymooners back to our beautiful islands.

“UK has always been a strong market for Seychelles, ranking third in 2019 with 29,872 visitors, and we are optimistic that with this great news, we will start seeing them again in significant numbers.

“With the health and safety protocols adopted by tourism operators and establishments who have received official Covid-19 safe certification, our visitors are assured of a safe and enjoyable holiday.”

 The Seychelles was one of the first destinations to fully open up to visitors irrespective of vaccination status last March following a rigorous programme which saw most of its population vaccinated. It has now commenced administering booster doses of the PfizerBioNTech vaccine to adults as well as vaccinating adolescents.

The number of Covid-19 cases has dropped significantly in recent weeks with “very few” cases occurring amongst tourists, according to the Seychelles Tourism Board.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria eased restrictions for UK travellers on Sunday, although a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of entry will be required together with proof of vaccination or a certificate of recovery from Covid-19.

Balkan Holidays heralded the measure as “great news” for the winter 2021-22 and summer 2022 seasons, adding: “Now our travel agent partners can sell our holidays with real confidence and our customers can enjoy their first skiing and beach holiday in Bulgaria for two years.”

Singapore will allow quarantine-free travel from a number of nations, including the UK in an easing Covid lockdown restrictions.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said it was time to press on with the “strategy of living with Covid-19”.

He said so-called vaccinated travel lanes with Germany and Brunei had been successful, and would be extended to nine other countries including the UK from October 19.

Travellers must have been fully vaccinated and carry proof to be allowed entry.

Lee said an expansion of the arrangement with countries with stable numbers of Covid cases would “keep us connected to global supply chains and help to preserve Singapore’s hub status”.

India, meanwhile, announced its plans to reopen to overseas tourists on chartered flights from October 15. It has been closed to overseas tourists since March 2020, although business travel had already resumed.

Those traveling to India via scheduled flights will be able to enter on fresh tourist visas from November 15.

“After considering various inputs, the MHA (home ministry) has decided to begin granting fresh Tourist Visas for foreigners coming to India through chartered flights with effect from October 15, 2021,” the country’s home ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

 

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