Increasing momentum toward re-opening of borders and relaxing travel restrictions


IATA has welcomed the increasing momentum toward re-opening of borders and relaxation of travel restrictions, as many parts of the world decide to classify COVID-19 as endemic.

An IATA survey of travel restrictions for the world’s top 50 air travel markets - comprising 88% of international demand in 2019 as measured by revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) - revealed the growing access available to vaccinated travelers:

  • 25 markets representing 38% of 2019 international demand are open to vaccinated travelers 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 travelers with no quarantine requirements - up from 28 markets (50% of 2019 international demand) in mid-February.

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.

Travel in Asia remains heavily compromised by COVID restrictions. While North American and European international traffic rebounded to 42% of their 2019 peaks last year, traffic in Asia Pacific remained at 12%. Even in this region, however, there has been some progress, with India and Malaysia among the growing number of countries to recently announce a 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.

“The world is largely open for travel. As population immunity grows, more governments are managing COVID-19 through surveillance, as they do for other endemic viruses. That is great news for a growing number of destinations that will receive a much-needed economic boost from the upcoming Easter and Northern Summer travel seasons. Asia is the outlier. Hopefully recent relaxations including Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Philippines are paving the way towards restoring the freedom to travel that is more broadly enjoyed in other parts of the world,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

© Travel News Asia

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Sanity can't return soon enough! Move on and open up!

2 ( +8 / -6 )

It will be thanks to vaccines, those who became vaccinated and public health measures if the world is opening up.

Thanks to all respective governments and all those who followed scientific advice.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

On top of some successful vaccines, it looks like the Covid strain is becoming less toxic, if more transmissible. We are all sick and tired of living with Covid, so let us hope it is not too soon to start opening things up.

It has been claimed that almost all of the strains of Influenza A which circulate today are descended from the Spanish Flu virus of 1918-1920. Hopefully the new strains of Covid will be less toxic, as well. We may be able to safely move from living with a virus that caused the deadly pandemic, to living with strains of the virus that are simply endemic.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hopefully Japan opens its borders before August as booked my first ever holiday abroad to Tokyo!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Same here, Peter. Going over in August to see my partner for the first time since she went back to Japan. Good luck with your trip!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ClippetyClopToday  11:51 pm JST

They are already allowed in. There are 195 countries in the world, the criteria for them to enter Japan / return to their own countries are quite varied.

Talking about Japan.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Saying "Japan needs to shut down" and then immediately saying it's not open is... interesting. If it's not open, how can it shut down? Also, why?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jon MatleToday  04:16 am JST

Saying "Japan needs to shut down" and then immediately saying it's not open is... interesting. If it's not open, how can it shut down? Also, why?


Institute a state of emergency, as Japan has done several times. Then, maintain the restrictions on tourists entering the country.

Pretty much the way it has been the past two years in Japan.

Finally, why not?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan is dragging its feet and being much too slow with reopening the borders to tourists.

Everyone that wants to travel will purchase tickets to a country that's not Japan.

Japan hurry up and open the borders to tourists !

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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