It was only a matter of time, but Thailand has become the latest country to shutter its doors to all short term visitors. This comes as nations around the world close to non residents in an aim to curb all non essential travel and prevent further outbreak. With the addition of Thailand, Asia is now virtually closed.
China, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Vietnam. There’s the list of Asian countries you cannot visit right now as a short term visitor, which leaves very few you can. As of May 18th, exceptions have been made via a travel corridor between Korea and China, but the hoops required to travel are many.
After being the center of pandemonium, Asia is now widely regarded as one of the safer regions of the world, and countries are doing their best to keep it that way, with bans on short term visitors.
Each country has unique exceptions, such as entry for essential health workers or those holding passports from specific countries. In addition, permanent residents and citizens are exempt from the measures, though it’s worth checking the official IATA resource for confirmation on each destination.
Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan have also banned transit passengers, effectively shutting down long haul international traffic for initial periods circa 30 days, though they could drag on much longer. Hong Kong plans to reevaluate the policy after 14 days, Singapore has refused to specify a potential end time and Taiwan’s guidance is currently set to expire April 7th, unless extended.
As Europe and the United States battle through rising cases, it’s impossible to predict how long these measures will stay in place, but at the moment, extensions look more likely than recalls. Airlines and hotels around the world are calling for bailouts to temper financial woes.
With an unforeseeable end date, it’s impossible to know just when, how and where the world will get back to travel, as recoveries following September 11th 2001, and the financial collapse of 2008 continue to lose relativity.
In a positive note, many of the world’s greatest natural wonders are recovering from a slowdown in visitor traffic, from the canals of Venice, to Machu Picchu and the Great Barrier Reef. It’s not all doom and gloom, but for your passport stamp collection, it will be for a while.