It’s been said over and over again, but the reality is: the future of travel as we know is now forever changed.
As many U.S. states have begun phase I of reopening amidst the global coronavirus pandemic, countries across the globe are also strategizing to figure out what’s next for their economies — with tourism being one of the biggest sectors.
But the question is, who will be welcoming the U.S. back with open arms? As COVID-19 nears 370,000 deaths globally, the US alone accounts for 1.75 million of those cases and 103,000 deaths, making us the worst affected country in the world, both in terms of the number of cases and the number of deaths.
And despite the amount of cases, many of us (not all) are still itching for our next getaway after nearly three months of quarantining and self-isolation. So if you’re ready to jump on a plane this summer — protective gear, Lysol wipes and all — thankfully there are several countries plotting to welcome U.S. travelers (with new health guidelines and restrictions in place, of course).
U.S. Virgin Islands - June 1
Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte declared that the U.S. Virgin Islands will reopen its doors to leisure travelers on Monday, June 1. Though the territory is still finalizing public health and tourism protocols for the return of visitors, U.S. travelers will be glad to know that they can add the island of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John to their summer travel list, should you choose to.
St. Lucia - June 4
The first Caribbean country to announce plans for reopening, St. Lucia will open its doors to international travelers on June 4. Visitors will have to present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival, and should expect temperature checks at the airport, hotels, and in restaurants, as well as mask and social-distancing requirements.
Antigua and Barbuda - June 4
The American Airlines flight from Miami scheduled for June 4 (the first international passenger flight to the country in 10 weeks) marks the Caribbean country's return to tourism. The government plans to implement new health measures, such as having visitors present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival. There's also the possibility that visitors may have to stay on their resorts' premises.
Iceland - June 15
Iceland has proposed to start allowing visitors this summer and the plan is simple: The country plans to test all arrivals for COVID-19, thereby allowing travelers who test negative to bypass quarantine. Anyone testing positive, however, will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
Jamaica - June 15
The island is now readying what officials are calling an “extensive” set of operational protocols for health and safety. Travelers will also need to complete a travel authorization application so that officials can conduct a COVID-19 health risk assessment prior to arrival. Then once you’ve arrived, international tourists will have to go through health screenings, including temperature checks and symptoms observation. COVID-19 tests will only be administered voluntarily to visitors with elevated temperatures or showing other symptoms. High risk travelers (who require a test) will be asked to self-quarantine at their hotel until the results are available.
Bahamas - July 1
They will be accepting tourists from all countries as long as they fill out an online electronic health declaration form. An automated response will be provided upon completion, and it is essential that travellers present proof of confirmation upon arrival in their destination. Once landing at the airport in the Bahamas, all travelers will undergo temperature screenings. Travelers should then expect to follow The Bahamas’ “Healthy Traveler Campaign” that encourages both visitors and residents to continue practicing social distancing measures, regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizers, and the use of face masks.
Aruba - July 10
Aruba announced that it will welcome back visitors sometime between June 15 and July 1 (though this is subject to change if need be). Visitors should be aware that the island has a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, requiring all nonessential businesses to close by 9 p.m., so of course, be advised that there will be several restrictions in place when you travel.
Turks and Caicos - July 22
Flight service to Providenciales International Airport from the United States, Canada, and Europe will resume again on July 22. American, JetBlue, and United will start flights from Miami, Charlotte, and New York/Newark on July 22, with more airlift resuming in the following days. Details on testing, screening or quarantine procedures will be available in the coming weeks.