Tourist hotspot Seychelles is welcoming back US travelers — but only those with the COVID-19 vaccine

  • The Seychelles is allowing visitors with the COVID-19 vaccine to visit the country.
  • Travelers from its list of approved countries, or people flying in via private aircrafts, are also allowed.
  • Tourism-depednent countries around the world are desperately looking for ways to increase travel in 2021.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Seychelles is reopening its borders to visitors who have received the COVID-19 vaccine in an effort to jumpstart tourism this year.

Seychelles' updated travel guidelines were announced shortly after the archipelagic country unveiled its "immunization campaign," which includes vaccinating almost 70% of local adults by mid-March. It's the first country in Africa to roll out a vaccination program and hopes to become the first country in the world to vaccinate the majority of its adult population, according to a news release from January 11.

On the heels of this mass vaccination announcement, Seychelles' updated its travel protocols to now welcome travelers who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. In order to visit, the vaccinated travelers must wait two weeks after receiving the last dose and are required to provide proof of the vaccination from their home country's health authorities.

However, visitors with the vaccine are still required to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours of boarding the flight.

For those who aren't yet vaccinated, visitors flying in from Seychelles' list of permitted category one and two countries — or travelers taking a private jet — will have to show a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before traveling.

If you're a visitor who isn't taking a private jet or coming in from one of the approved countries, you'll have to wait a bit longer until the majority of adults in Seychelles are vaccinated. By then, mid-March as projected, the country will allow all travelers to enter, so long as they've tested negative within 72 hours.

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On November 23, the US issued a Level Two advisory for Seychelles, telling travelers to "exercise increased caution." However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified the Seychelle under its highest Level Four category for COVID-19 and recommends avoiding travel to the country.

Inversely, the US is not mentioned under Seychelles' category one or two lists of approved countries, which means the country is not currently accepting US visitors.

Presently, many countries — officially including the US on Tuesday — are allowing international travelers from select countries to enter so long as they've presented a negative COVID-19 test result. Looking ahead, Seychelles' decision to allow vaccinated travelers could be one of many as talks of "vaccine passports" for global travelers continue around the world. 

Several countries around the world have been looking for innovative ways to safely bring back tourists in 2021 after international travel was put on hold throughout 2020. Bermuda, for example, is asking travelers to present a negative PCR coronavirus test within five days of arriving on the island.

Other countries have taken a different approach by enticing business and work-related travelers. For example, tropical hotspots like Aruba have set up programs intended reel in the "work from anywhere" crowd, while Singapore is currently creating a luxury 'four-star' bubble hotel specifically for business travel.

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