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This Pacific island paradise is finally reopening to international travellers

After more than two years, Vanuatu will start allowing in tourists from July

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Prior to the pandemic, the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu relied a heck of a lot on tourism. Around 40 percent of the islands’ GDP came from the tourist industry, largely relying on income from cruise ships stopping and touring the country’s rich culture and areas of extraordinary natural beauty.  

And yet, thanks to the pandemic, Vanuatu has been shut off from the rest of the world for a whopping 27 months – which is far longer than most other countries across the globe. But Vanuatu won’t remain a hermit nation for long: it’s set to reopen its doors to tourists on July 1.

In other words, one of the most idyllic countries in the south Pacific (and, for that matter, the world) will soon be within reach for international travellers. East of Australia, west of Fiji and south of the Solomons, Vanuatu is an archipelago of 13 principal islands and lots of small ones. They’re only home to about 300,000 people.

When Vanuatu opens up, it won’t need travellers to show proof of vaccination or require them to quarantine. Instead, all arrivals – both vaccinated and unvaccinated – will need to take an antigen test 24 hours before departure and log the results with Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health.

If you fancy visiting Vanuatu from next month, however, you might run into some other problems: namely the lack of flights. Only one airline – Air Vanuatu – serves the country, offering about half a dozen flights per week to Australia and New Zealand.

So where else is left when it comes to countries barring international travellers? Well, plenty of small island nations are still either closed or effectively closed, such as Tonga, Nauru and Tuvalu, while Samoa is set to reopen on August 1. The other notable destination that remains closed is China, which still has very strict entry requirements.  

So if you’re dying to book a trip to any of those countries, we guess you’ll have to wait a little longer. But Vanuatu? Well, now’s the time to get booking!

ICYMI: here’s why this tiny island nation is going all-out to help protect the ocean.

Plus: Airbnb now has an amazing new ‘island’ filter for super secluded stays.

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