A growing number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region are looking to reopen their borders to international travel as rising vaccination levels give their governments more confidence in easing restrictions.
This is a particularly welcome development, since the Asia-Pacific region has been far slower to open up than Europe or North America. Asian countries were initially more successful in combatting the pandemic than those in other regions, but then Europe and North America moved ahead due to their faster vaccination programs.
The Asia-Pacific countries in question are taking different approaches to relaxing border rules and some are moving more aggressively than others. Quarantine periods are being eliminated or drastically reduced.
Other aspects common to most of these initiatives are that pre-departure COVID-19 testing is still required, and travellers must be fully vaccinated. Testing after arrival is also stipulated in most cases.
Among those that have recently made – or are planning – changes to their entry restrictions are Fiji, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Australia is also taking important steps, although initially for outbound travel only. Such moves are allowing airlines to resume or increase flights in these markets, which is an important step towards rebuilding international demand.
Fiji and Thailand are covered in part one of this report, with the others in part two.