Last week, the island country Seychelles began welcoming travelers from everywhere in the world, but with one big catch. The archipelago is only swinging open its front door for travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That means both shots, in the arm, good-to-go vaccinated—plus an additional two-week waiting period after the booster shot to ensure there’s been enough time for it to be effective.
To sniff out any potential scammers who claim to be vaccinated when they haven’t been, Seychelles requires proof of puncture. “They must provide an authentic certificate of vaccination,” states the Official Seychelles Tourism Destination website. And that’s not all. Vaccinated travelers hoping to soak up a little African island sun “must also have a negative PCR test taken less than 72 hours prior to travel” to be let in.
Visitors entering via the vaccination route will be granted immediate freedom to move about the country at will. Not vaccinated and have no idea when you’ll get the jab? Seychelles is allowing travelers from several countries to enter. However, you’ll have to go through their quarantine protocols such as staying only in approved accommodations such as hotels and super yachts, follow-up PCR tests after arrival, take only approved and licensed transportation, and participate only in government-certified activities by approved tourism providers. Right now, the only way to get around visiting Seychelles if you haven’t been vaccinated and your country is not on the approved travel list is to arrive by private jet.
The destination is also thinking ahead about how they’ll handle tourism in the coming months. Starting around mid-March when Seychelles expects the majority of their own citizens to be vaccinated, the country will open its borders to travelers from any country whether or not they’ve been vaccinated. Just a head’s up, though, they will still require that negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure.
It’s worth mentioning that although infection numbers are low, Seychelles has seen a recent increase in cases—jumping from an all-time total of 256 cases on Dec. 31, 2020, to 1,069 by Jan. 25, 2021. The CDC has Seychelles listed under a Level 4: Very High Levels of COVID-19 advisory and strongly discourages any travel to the destination. Travelers from the islands are also currently, though temporarily, banned from entering the U.K. over fears of the variant found in South Africa.
Still, the news comes as a beam of light at the end of an especially dark tunnel for travel. The capriciousness of worldwide borders and ever-changing entry requirements coupled with the question of just how safe travel is during a pandemic really has taken the shine off travel. Seeing glimmers of hope from the not-to-distant fully-vaccinated future is a surefire way to get back some of the gleam.
To find out which countries are on Seychelles' approved travel list as well as other COVID-19-related travel information, visit the islands’ official tourism website.
Index Mundi. "Coronavirus cases in Seychelles as of Tuesday, January 26, 2021." Retrieved January 27, 2021.