The Seychelles has reopened its borders and dropped quarantine requirements to all travelers who’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Fully-vaccinated visitors are now permitted to enter the 115-island nation without having to quarantine for 10 days provided they present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of travel.
Travelers must also submit an authentic certificate from their national health authority as evidence they’ve received both doses of the vaccine.
Located 1,600 kilometers off the coast of Tanzania, the Seychelles depends on tourism for around 65% of its GDP.
Officials are hopeful the new measures will prove to be a step in the right direction when it comes to reviving tourism on the island nation.
“We hope that this will open up the tourism industry for the locals primarily for the small hotels who are struggling on La Digue, Praslin and also on Mahe. And also provide the kick that our economy desperately needs,” Tourism Minister Sylvestre Radegonde said during a press conference earlier this month.
At present, non-vaccinated visitors from the Seychelles’ category 1 and 2 list, as well as those arriving by private jet, are permitted to enter as long as they self-isolate for 10 days and provide a negative PCR result taken within 72 hours of arrival.
The new entry requirements come as the Seychelles takes steps to become the first nation to vaccinate its entire population.
Approximately 50,000 doses of the vaccines donated by the United Arab Emirates government are currently being rolled out to citizens on a voluntary basis.
In addition, the island nation aims to have vaccinated over 70% of its estimated 98,000 population by mid-March.
If this goal is achieved, restrictions will be further relaxed and those who are permitted to enter the Seychelles will simply be required to present proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.
Sybille Cardon from the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association stresses that officials are pulling out all the stops to ensure that tourists can safely return to the Seychelles as soon as possible.
“For the coming months, nothing is coming in and this is a disaster,” Cardon told the Seychelles News Agency this week.
“If we look at other destinations, they are doing well – they have put in place relevant protocols, have opened their borders, and have done all the necessary.
“It is really important to put in place the right protocols as tourists still want to come and spend a holiday in Seychelles.”
The Seychelles isn’t the first country to announce plans to ditch mandatory quarantine for vaccinated travelers.
Last month, Cyprus announced that incoming visitors who’ve been fully vaccinated will be exempt from quarantine from March 2021.