World opens up for winter

This winter, travel is a lot less elusive. International borders are increasingly opening up, traveller confidence and vaccination rates are both on a steady rise and the world is learning to live with Covid-19 and its precautionary measures instead of waiting for it to completely go away. We round up some winter holiday ideas for today’s stir-crazy travellers

Aman Le Mélézin is an iconic Alpine retreat in Courchevel 1850, a refined sanctuary inspired by the timeless serenity of the surrounding mountains: open from December 10 until April 10

With the opening up of Saudi Arabia to travellers from the UAE last month, the revival of quarantine-free travel between the popular travel route of the UAE and the UK, and the removal of restrictive quarantine requirements in Abu Dhabi - a winter travel break is a real possibility: to meet family and friends or just explore, unwind and breathe.

Travel is open again between the UAE and Oman from September 1, and with no more hotel quarantine required for those who are fully immunised against the coronavirus. Similarly as Qatar makes its available for quarantine-free travel, intra-regional travel, which is the bulk of the air travel traffic in the Middle East, is expected to be on the rise.

On the island front, there’s always Maldives, which showed the world how to run travel and tourism successfully throughout most of the pandemic, followed by the more cautious and selective Seychelles. Mauritius is also joining the ranks of accessible island paradises with borders finally opening to travellers on October 1, with 88 per cent of the population fully vaccinated, as confirmed by the acting Prime Minister in a recent interview.

In Europe, Spain and Switzerland have been on the forefront of accepting Sinopharm as a legitimate vaccine for summer travel and Europe has been accepted travellers with varying rules and restrictions all throughout summer. The snow covered pistes of Europe - France and Switzerland - are now available to the GCC traveller for the picture-perfect summer. France is welcoming WHO-approved, fully vaccinated travellers without any quarantine restrictions.

Azerbaijan has been open for fully vaccinated/recovered travellers from the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar – for quarantine-free travel over the summer.

While we wait for Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong to open up for tourists, Thailand is increasingly welcoming tourists with its Phuket Sandbox Extension programme and Cambodia plans to open borders in November, making long-haul travel to the Far East also a viable option.