The increase in domestic travel, staycation, and road trips indicates that the Middle East is slowly but steadily recovering from the devastating Coronavirus pandemic. UAE has opened up for domestic travel and so is Saudi Arabia. Kuwait has opened international travel to selected destinations.
With stricter guidelines and precautionary measures in place, the Middle East is ready to travel again. For eg: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has installed self-sanitization gates at Mecca Grand Mosque, but has limited gatherings. Similarly, a total of 146 hotel and key tourism and retail establishments have successfully enrolled in the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi’s (DCT Abu Dhabi) Go Safe certification initiative.
Airlines are also taking the required steps to facilitate safe flying. For eg: In a bid to boost travel confidence, Emirates will cover its passengers for COVID-19 related medical expenses and quarantine costs.
Travel Update – Country Wise
Here’s an overview on which countries have opened and the ones that have not:
Kuwait will be lifting the nationwide curfew on August 30. Commercial flights to and fro from Kuwait have started. Only Kuwaiti citizens and their relatives are allowed to enter the country.
UAE is partially open with commercial flights resuming. Tourists are allowed to visit Dubai but must present a negative COVID-19 test, health certificate, and health insurance that covers COVID-19 before entering the country.
Bahrain is closed off to tourists. Only Bahrain nationals and residents, nationals of Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are allowed to enter the country. All incoming travelers will undergo a compulsory COVID-19 PCR test.
Saudi Arabia is closed to tourists. Only Saudi nationals are allowed to enter the country and must undergo a 14-day quarantine period. Curfew has been lifted across the country.
Oman has lifted its ban on domestic travel and reduced the curfew timings. All tourists traveling to Oman and citizens traveling outside Oman must have health insurance that covers COVID-19.
Egypt has opened its door to tourists. The southern resort towns of Red Sea, Sharm El Sheikh, and Matrouh are open to tourists without travel visas. Airports have opened and testing is not mandatory but a health declaration certificate with a negative COVID-19 test result is necessary.
Qatar has reopened to tourists. All travelers are required to undergo a COVID-19 test at the airport and sign a health declaration form.
Turkey has opened its doors to tourists. All travelers are subjected to temperature checks at the airport and must adhere to social distancing rules.
Lebanon has reopened to tourists. Tourists are required to have a medical report with a negative PCR test issued no less than 96 hours before arrival. Please note: Lebanon is in a State of Emergency till September 18 due to the Beirut explosion on August 4.
Jordan has closed its borders and stopped international flights till August 31, 2020. Domestic flights have reopened at a limited capacity. Travelers must adhere to all social distancing rules set in place.
The Present & the Future – Travel
With local facilities opening, it is expected that domestic travel will continue to increase. People looking for a short weekend break or a family holiday after weeks or months in lockdown will take advantage of going on road trips or just book a staycation in their own city.
With restrictions on international flights still in place, domestic travel will be the first port of call. Travel will slowly but surely go places, it’ just a matter of time before the show begins. Yes, changes would be there but the world of travel will continue to evolve with changes that will benefit and safeguard our health.