GENEVA — The list of global markets that are open to vaccinated travellers without quarantine or testing requirements continues to grow, says IATA, with Canada adding itself to the list come April 1.
According to an IATA survey of travel restrictions for the world’s top 50 air travel markets, which comprised 88% of international demand in 2019, vaccinated travellers are seeing growing access to destinations:
- 25 markets representing 38% of 2019 international demand are open to vaccinated travellers without quarantine measures or testing requirements, up from 18 markets (28% of 2019 international demand) in mid-February.
- 38 markets representing 65% of 2019 international demand are open to vaccinated travellers with no quarantine requirements, up from 28 markets (50% of 2019 international demand) in mid-February.
Just yesterday, Canada’s federal government announced that effective April 1, 2022, it will be eliminating its pre-arrival COVID-19 testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Canada.
Repeated surveys of passengers by IATA during the pandemic has shown that testing and especially quarantine are major barriers to travel.
The regional variations in the degree of openness among the markets are stark. Asia Pacivic, which has 16 markets in the top 50, only have 6 markets open to vaccinated travellers with no quarantine requirements, whereas Europe, which has 20 markets in the top 50, have 18 markets currently open.
Travel in Asia remains heavily compromised by COVID-19 restrictions. While North American and European international traffic rebounded to -42% of their 2019 peaks last year, traffic in Asia Pacific remained at -88%. Even in this region, however, there has been some progress, with India and Malaysia among the countries recently announcing relaxation of restrictions.
The easing of measures reflects the growing consensus that travel restrictions such as border closures and quarantine do little to control the spread of COVID-19. A recent report by OXERA and Edge Health, looking at the spread of the Omicron variant in Europe, concluded that travel restrictions may only delay the peak of a wave by a few days.