Destinations that will be off the tourist map for longest

Lock-down restrictions are beginning to ease across Europe, and with the summer holiday season on the horizon, Britons are dreaming of their next adventure. Greece and Italy are keen to welcome back international visitors this summer, but for other destinations – whether due to high numbers of corona virus cases, or low figures that they wish to maintain – may not see British tourists return until autumn or even into 2021. 

Below, we look at the places that might be crossed off our tourist map for the foreseeable future. 

The US

The United States had recorded 1,593,039 cases of coronavirus as of May 21, the highest number worldwide. Britons were banned from entering the US on March 16. Those who have travelled to the UK, Ireland, the Schengen zone, Iran or China in the previous 14 days are still unable to cross US borders (with some notable exceptions, including US residents). Individual states began to lockdown in March; by the end of that month 32 out of 50 states were in lockdown.

At one point, 90 per cent of the country’s 328.2 million people were living under mandatory quarantine measures. By May 20, all 50 states had eased lockdown measures to some degree, although restrictions varied widely across the country. Plans to restart tourism are in place for June 1 in some parts of certain States. This includes the Florida Keys where tourist businesses, including hotels and campsites, will be able to open at 50 per cent capacity from the start of June, while following strict guidelines. However, the restrictions for British travellers remain in place and foreigners who are granted entry to the US should be prepared to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival.


Mexico has recorded 1,740 deaths from the coronavirus in the past week, the world’s fourth highest. As of May 21, the nation had registered 56,594 confirmed cases of the virus. The Mexican government confirmed a 30 day closure of the land border between the US and Mexico to all but essential traffic on April 20. The closure has now been extended until June 22.

However, on May 18, 300 municipalities across the country without confirmed cases of the virus were allowed to restart economic activity and lift ‘shelter in place’ recommendations. Some local authorities have defied President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s call to lift emergency measures and have warned that there’s a long way to go until the pandemic is over. Mexico ranks poorly for testing rates across Latin America with just 0.4 tests per 1,000 people. Yet from June 1, lockdown will be eased across the country.

Some states, including Quintana Roo – home to Cancun – plan to reopen to outside visitors on June 1. A major tourism campaign is also in the works with the slogan ‘Mexico needs you’. For international tourism to resume, the region’s air hubs in Cancun, Cozumel and Chetumal will need to reopen. Arrivals to Mexico are advised that enhanced screening procedures will be in effect.


The South American nation has recorded the second highest number of deaths worldwide in the past seven days. In the week up until May 20, there were 5,571 confirmed fatalities. On Tuesday, Brazil saw over 1,000 deaths as a result of the virus, a record daily number for the country.

President Jair Bolsonaro has talked down the risks posed by the coronavirus. Yet Brazil is third globally in terms of the total number of confirmed cases – 293,357 as of May 21. The Brazilian government has banned the entry of all foreign visitors by air (with certain exceptions, including passengers in transit, if they do not leave the airport). Land and sea borders are also closed to foreigners, except those who are resident in Brazil, need medical assistance or who are travelling directly to catch a flight back to their home country.


Bali’s beaches are unlikely to welcome British travellers until October, at the earliest Credit: Getty

The Indonesian government has specified that Bali may be able to reopen to tourists by October. As of May 15, Bali had 343 reported coronavirus cases and only four deaths. Throughout Indonesia, 19,189 cases of the virus had been recorded by May 21. Tourism accounts for as much as 80 per cent of Bali’s economy and Indonesia’s tourism ministry has said it will begin a promotional campaign from June. Ni Wayan Giri Adnyani, the country’s tourism secretary, has said she hopes the campaign will help visitor numbers to reach normal levels by 2021. The country’s borders are closed to foreign nationals (with some exceptions) until further notice. There is also a ban on most in-country air travel until June 1.


With 317,554 confirmed cases as of May 21, Russia has the second highest number worldwide. The country boasts one of the lowest Covid-19 mortality rates, but figures released by Moscow authorities suggested that hundreds of deaths as a result of the virus could have gone unreported. In fact, health officials have acknowledged that they include only 40 per cent of deaths of coronavirus-positive people in the official tally.

On May 11, President Putin announced a gradual easing of lockdown measures despite a surge in cases. Individual regions within the country are directing their own approaches. Moscow is keeping its restrictions in place until May 31, for example.

On March 30, temporary restrictions on entry and exit via Russia’s land borders were enforced indefinitely. Anyone who enters Russia is required to remain in quarantine for 14 days and should be prepared to be tested for Covid-19 on arrival. Could New Zealand be off limits for Britons until 2021? Credit: Getty

New Zealand

The country has fared well in the coronavirus outbreak having recorded just 1,503 cases as of May 21. Borders are currently closed to almost all arrivals (aside from limited exceptions and transits through the country’s airports within a 24-hour window for UK travellers). At the end of April, New Zealand said it had stopped community transmission of Covid-19, effectively eliminating the virus. The country has eased many of its lockdown measures, but restrictions on international travel remain in place.

As of April 9, anyone entering the country is required to undergo quarantine or managed isolation in an approved facility for a minimum of 14 days. A so-called ‘travel bubble’ between Australia and New Zealand has reportedly been agreed. A wider bubble with other countries that were quick to respond to the Covid-19 threat has also been discussed. This could see unrestricted travel arrangements between Australia, Singapore, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Israel and the Czech Republic.

However, such arrangements are unlikely to extend to Britain. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned it would be “a long time” until New Zealand’s borders were opened to international travellers.


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