Seychelles to Fully Reopen for Tourism on March 25

Visitors will no longer have to quarantine on arrival, and will soon be free to move around the island country as in pre-pandemic times.

Photo: Kamil Rogalinski/Unsplash

The Indian Ocean nation of the Seychelles is gearing up to relax its border restrictions and welcome tourists from around the world, irrespective of their vaccination status, toward the end of this month. However, a travel ban on travelers from South Africa will remain in place for the time being, due to the more virulent strain of Covid-19 that has emerged there in recent months.

Seychelles’ Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, made the announcement at a press briefing just this morning. From March 25, the sole Covid-related entry requirement will be a negative result through a PCR test conducted within 72 hours of departure; quarantine rules are being dropped (current regulations dictate that incoming travelers must self-isolate at a designated hotel for a week), and no restrictions will be placed on visitor movements upon arrival. Hotel guests will also enjoy unfettered access to communal areas of their lodgings, such as swimming pools, bars, spas, and kids’ clubs.

Of course, visitors to the Seychelles are still expected to abide by local public health measures. Face masks must be worn while out and about, social distancing should continue to be practiced, and tourists are advised to regularly wash or sanitize their hands.

Tourism minister Radegonde said relaxing entry requirements was possible because of the Seychelles’ aggressive inoculation campaign launched in January, when the island nation of about 100,000 became the first African country to roll out Covid-19 vaccines. “The government has done everything in its power to make sure that the population is protected,” he told reporters. “We have now arrived at the point where opening our borders further is the next step to allow for our economic recovery. The measures being announced reflect broadly the recommendation of our tourism partners and have been done in full consultation with and the endorsement of our health authorities.”

Thanks to its small population and the speed of its vaccination drive, the Seychelles will arguably become one of the first jurisdictions in the world to reach herd immunity by the middle of March, when 70 percent of residents will have received their jabs.

Seychelles’ tourism ministry says the new border measures will be continuously reviewed to ensure that the health and safety of visitors and the local population are not compromised. More details will soon become available through the updated travel advisory on tourism.gov.sc.

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