Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Tourism

Qatar Drops Pre-Arrival Covid Test Requirement Right in Time for World Cup

1 month ago

Qatar will be dropping its requirement of a pre-arrival negative polymerase chain reaction test from November 1, just in time for the FIFA World Cup that kicks off from November 20.

Qatari citizens and residents coming into the country will also not be required to undergo a rapid antigen or polymerase chain reaction test within 24 hours of arrival.

Visitors entering Qatar from November 1 onwards would also not be required to pre-register on the Ehteraz health application. Registration on the Ehteraz app would only be needed to enter healthcare facilities.

The Ministry of Public Health made the announcement on Wednesday, in light of the continuing decline in the number of Covid-19 cases throughout the world and in Qatar. 

Last month, the government had said in a statement that Covid vaccination would not be mandatory football fans coming in to the country for the World Cup.

From this month onwards, masks are also not mandatory while travelling on public transport in Qatar and it was announced that masks would be optional at the eight World Cup stadiums.

However, all visitors would need a Hayya Card to enter Qatar from November 1. The Hayya Card is a mandatory document given to anyone attending the World Cup that serves as an entry permit to the Qatar and also provides stadium access along with the match tickets.

Coronavirus

Qatar Requires World Cup Visitors to Produce Negative Covid Test Upon Arrival

2 months ago

Fans attending soccer’s World Cup in Qatar this November and December must show proof of a negative Covid test upon arriving in the country, event organizers said on Thursday.

All visitors above the age of six must produce a negative result from a PCR test taken within 48 hours before departure or a rapid antigen test taken in the 24 hours prior to their arrival, the event’s organizing committee said in a statement. Travelers older than 18 will also be required to download Qatar’s government-run contact tracing app Ehteraz. A green Etheraz status, which shows the user does not have a confirmed Covid case, is necessary for entering any closed indoor spaces available to the public.

However, fans traveling to Qatar for the World Cup aren’t required to be vaccinated. In addition, Qatar does not mandate travelers take a Covid test prior to departing the country. Roughly 1.5 million fans are expected to travel to the Gulf State for the tournament, which starts on Nov. 20.

Doha
Visitors to Qatar must produce a negative Covid test upon arrival in the country (Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

Tourism

Taiwan to End Quarantine for Inbound Arrivals From October 13

2 months ago

In the latest round of easing travel restrictions, tourists coming in to Taiwan will not be asked to undergo mandatory Covid-19 quarantine from October 13, the ministry of health and welfare announced on Thursday.

From October 13, inbound arrivals to Taiwan would require to self-monitor for seven days instead of undergoing mandatory quarantine.

While the government has scrapped the requirement for polymerase chain reaction tests for inbound travelers, passengers aged two and above would receive four rapid test kits on arrival and are advised to test on the day of arrival or the next day.

Travelers seeking to step out during the seven-day self-monitoring period would be required to take a rapid antigen test.

While opening borders to travelers from all countries, the government has also raised the weekly limit for international visitors from 60,000 to 150,000, and announced the resumption of group tours.

On September 12, Taiwan restored visa-free entry for visitors from 54 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and diplomatic allies. From Thursday onwards, 11 more countries were included in the visa exemption list, which includes Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Following last week’s announcement of the Mainland Affairs Council, entry requirements for select categories of Chinese, Hong Kong, and Macau nationals have also been relaxed from Thursday onwards.

Even as many Asian destinations have scrapped most of the Covid-19 related entry restrictions, Taiwan had resorted to a strong zero-Covid policy for more than two years, where arrivals were still required to undergo a mandatory three-day quarantine at home or at a hotel, followed by four days of self-monitoring.

Taiwan had also banned inbound and outbound tour groups for more than two years.

Tourism

South Korea to Lift Pre-Arrival Testing for Inbound Travelers This Week

3 months ago

South Korea will be lifting its requirement for a pre-arrival Covid test to enter the country from Saturday, according to local media reports.

The scrapping of pre-arrival tests would be for all arrivals into South Korea, regardless of their vaccination status or the country of departure. However, incoming travelers would still need to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) within 24 hours of their arrival into the country.

Currently, all inbound travelers to South Korea are required to submit the results of a polymerase chain reaction test taken within two days of traveling to the country or a rapid test taken within 24 hours. After arriving into the country, travelers are required to undergo a polymerase chain reaction test within 24 hours.

On Monday, South Korea’s advisory committee on infectious diseases, under the office of the prime minister, had advised the government to lift the mandatory pre-travel polymerase chain reaction test for inbound travelers.

“All inbound travelers, whether nationals or foreigners, arriving aboard a plane or ship will not need to hand in a negative polymerase chain reaction test starting midnight of September 3,” second vice health minister, Lee Ki-il, was quoted saying in a virus response meeting.

Japan and South Korea are some of the few countries that still ask for a pre-arrival Covid test from incoming travelers. Last week, Japan announced it would waive pre-departure Covid-19 tests for vaccinated travelers from September 7.

On Wednesday, South Korea reported around 104,000 new Covid cases, which brings the country’s total tally up to more than 23 million.

Tourism

Japan Mulls Scrapping Pre-Arrival Test for Inbound Travelers

4 months ago

Japan is finally considering to end the pre-arrival Covid tests for vaccinated travelers coming from foreign countries, according to local media.

Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, also hinted at eased border controls in a virtual news conference on Monday. The decision to ease restricstions would depend on the daily Covid count being reported in the country.

Inbound arrivals to Japan are currently required to submit proof of a negative Covid test result conducted within 72 hours of departure. Rapid antigen tests are not accepted.

Japan, which has one of the strictest entry rules or inbound arrivals, has been easing restrictions in a phased manner. In June, the country doubled the daily cap for arrivals at border crossings to 20,000 in June and allowed foreign tourists on escorted package tours to enter from June 10.

However, only around 1,500 foreign tourists entered Japan in the month up to July 10 since the country re-opened on June 10, noted Japan’s Immigration Services Agency. An earlier Skift story had also observed that Japan welcomed more refugees from Ukraine than foreign tourists since reopening.

In 2019, before the pandemic struck, Japan hosted 32 million foreign visitors, who spent $38 billion.

The rise in the daily number of cases from July onwards has put the easing of restrictions on hold. However, with the scrapping of pre-arrival tests, the government may also consider raising the number of people allowed every day to enter the country, according to Nikkei Asia.

The Japanese tourism sector has been urging the government to scrap entry restrictions to help boost the sector.

Filters

Tags

testing

Clear Filters