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These popular tourist destinations are still closed to travellers

Even as most places reopen to travel, plenty still have strict border restrictions

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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After two long years, most countries are getting over the worst of the pandemic. Border restrictions are being lifted, popular destinations are opening up to leisure travellers, and it seems the tourism industry is finally getting back on its feet.

But this isn’t the case everywhere. Some countries remain stubbornly closed to casual international visitors. Most notable is China. Foreign nationals are still totally barred from the country if travelling for leisure, but other kinds of travel are also very, very limited – even business. It’s also difficult for Chinese citizens to travel abroad, as they face two weeks of quarantine on their return.

Two of China’s Special Administrative Regions, Macau and Hong Kong, are in a similar position. Macau is currently not allowing any international tourists in, and while Hong Kong is a little more relaxed, all leisure travellers face a strict seven-day quarantine. Needless to say, any holiday where you’re spending an entire week quarantining probably doesn’t feel like much of a holiday at all. 

And then there’s Japan. The country isn’t totally closed off to international arrivals – it recently opened up to citizens, students, business travellers, family members and more – but remains closed to holidaymakers. The government hasn’t laid out a plan for when it might reopen to the majority of leisure travellers.

Taiwan, meanwhile, is also still closed to casual visitors. While business travellers, Taiwan residents, foreign relatives and work/student visa holders can visit, the vast majority of international tourists cannot.

Also currently largely off-limits for international tourists is a group of Pacific island nations. While the likes of Fiji and Tahiti have opened up, plenty haven’t. The Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu all remain closed to holidaymakers.

While Myanmar is unlikely to be at the top of most bucket lists at the moment, tourist visa applications remain suspended. The country is known for its gorgeous Buddhist temples, pristine beaches and jaw-dropping natural beauty, but has been rather politically unstable since a coup in 2020. Visas are currently only open available to business travellers.

Of course, plenty of other countries still have extensive lists barring visitors from certain ‘high-risk’ places. So wherever you’re looking to go, be sure to check all entry requirements before booking.

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