Where to go in winter during the pandemic?
Beach resorts are highly popular in winter. Many people being fed up with snow and frost dream of spending a few weeks in places where the sun shines brightly and the sea splashes cheerfully. Representatives of some professions like to spend winter abroad more than others. For example, IT workers prefer to escape the cold and go somewhere closer to the equator to work remotely in Indonesia or Thailand.
Due to the pandemic, the number of available routes has decreased, but some resorts have announced that they are ready to receive guests.
The current government has taken a decision to restore the tourism sector. As part of this program, the introduction of a special long-term visa for foreigners was proposed. It will allow foreign citizens to stay in the country for up to 270 days. The local press reported the news on September 15, citing the country’s Prime Minister.
The authorized representative of the Government spoke in more detail about the proposal approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. According to the official, the long-term visa will be issued for 3 months with the right to double extension. On the basis of this document, a foreign citizen will be able to spend up to 9 months in Thailand a year.
Requirements for obtaining a visa:
- long stay in the country;
- two-week quarantine;
- proof of accommodation.
There are no age restrictions on the long-term visa. You don’t need to leave the country for visa extension. The proposal is expected to last until the end of September 2021. According to preliminary estimates, it will contribute to the budget an income of 1.2 billion baht per month. This will preserve employment for 2.5 million representatives of the tourism industry in Thailand.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Indonesia has closed its borders for tourists. By order of the government, the governor of Bali has already postponed the opening date several times. It was expected that from December 1 the borders would open. But they are still closed.
The deputy governor of one of the provinces commented on the situation. He said that the borders of the island are likely to be closed on the first day of winter and foreign citizens will be able to get to Bali no earlier than January-February of the coming year.
A delegation from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has recently visited Bali. Representatives of the group inspected the airport and several popular routes, recognizing local safety standards as «excellent, if not the best». According to experts, the resort has perfectly prepared for international arrivals. The local press, citing the UNWTO report, announced the likelihood of opening the island to foreigners on the day of Catholic Christmas, but Bali officials didn’t confirm the information.
Current visa situation in Bali for CIS citizens
Foreigners can get to Bali on an electronic Business Visa. It allows foreign businessmen to stay in the country for 60 days. On expiry of this period, the visa can be extended for 120 days (4X30 days, $90 for each extension).
Here are the documents you will need to apply for a Business Visa:
- letter of invitation from Indonesia;
- copy of the international passport;
- PCR test results;
- health certificate translated into English;
- insurance policy that guarantees full coverage of expenses in case of Covid-19 treatment;
- written proof of readiness to undergo quarantine if signs of illness are detected upon arrival in Bali or while staying there.
A day before the trip you must pass a PCR test for Covid-19.
This visa used to be popular solely among businessmen. But during the pandemic, the host companies of Bali offered foreign travel agents to get Business Visas for their clients who want to combine business and beach holidays.
To cross the Maldivian border, a foreign citizen must present a negative Covid test done no later than four days before the flight. The certificate should be translated into English. Also, the traveller must have a return plane ticket and a confirmed reservation at the hotel. These rules came into force in the second decade of September 2020 and are still valid.
The day before departure, you will need to fill in a health declaration on the website. Your temperature will be measured upon arrival. If a tourist shows symptoms of SARS when crossing the border, they will have to do a PCR test at their own expense.
As part of a medical program organized by the Maldivian Health Authorities, any foreigner can be selected for random Covid-19 testing. Those selected will be taken to the testing site, and then redirected to a transit point. They will stay there until the results are received. The Maldivian authorities promise that the procedure will take no more than 24 hours.
Tourists from the CIS are welcome in Egypt. Upon entry a negative PCR test must be presented. The test must be done no later than three days before the trip. Paper and electronic versions of the certificates are accepted in English or Arabic. The test provided by the country’s airports costs almost $30. Children under 6 don’t need to be tested. Aeroflot Airlines and EgyptAir offer direct flights. Upon entry of the tourist in transit through Minsk, it is not necessary to present any health certificates or to go to the self-isolation.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE remains affordable and quite popular. At the border tourists present a negative test for Covid-19, done 1-4 days before arrival. The testing is also available at Dubai Airport.
If you want to stay in the UAE it is required to have an insurance covering the cost of coronavirus treatment. The printed insurance must be in English (you can translate it). Before the trip you should print out and fill in two more documents:
- Health Declaration Form;
- form certifying the download of the Covid-19 DXB Smart App.
Upon arrival, these papers should be handed over to the Health Department. The app must be installed on the mobile device. You can download it for free from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.