Not only is stunning Sri Lanka fully open after months of restrictions, but the Japanese government has considerably relaxed the country’s entry rules, dropping the requirement for tourists to travel with a guide. And finally, for the first time in more than two years, the Kingdom of Bhutan has announced it will be welcoming international visitors from 23rd September. Truly, Asia is back in travel business!
Sri Lanka became one of very few Asian countries — including the Maldives — to allow international travelers to enter without being subject to strict quarantines. Arrivals to Sri Lanka can stay at any accommodation of their choice. All unvaccinated international arrivals are subject to COVID-19 testing before and after arriving in Sri Lanka.
Japan opened its borders to international tourist travel in June 2022 for the first time in over 2 years. However, the country remains closed to independent travelers and continues to unilaterally suspend its visa-waiver agreements, which means that all travelers to Japan need to apply for a visa in advance. It remains unknown when independent travelers will be able to enter the country again and when Japan will restore its visa-waiver program, but the government is considering a full reopening for this autumn.
Bhutan will reopen for international tourists from September 23 for the first time since the pandemic began more than two years ago as the tiny Himalayan kingdom looks to revive its economy. They will, however, be charged a Sustainable Development Fee of $200 per tourist per night, up from the $65 charged for three decades. Officials said the new fee would offset tourists’ carbon impact.
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Author: Deb Davad