The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of people all over the world and shut down many businesses. The tourism industry is among the worst hit, as with flights grounded and borders closed, many popular tourist destinations around the globe are struggling big-time. International travel has dropped to almost zero, countless countries are reporting massive drops in domestic travel and borders to remain closed internationally. While overseas trips may not be a possibility in the immediate future, there is light at the end of the tunnel, with many countries reporting significant reductions in cases and deaths, and several countries to cautiously reopen their borders.
There are several countries and travel destinations taking responsibility to restart tourism and to encourage people to pick them for their first post-lockdown holiday. They are trying to entice travelers with incredible deals, including paying for flights and accommodation, covering the cost of attractions, and even opening up some incredible competitions. It may sound too good to be true, but many countries` economy relies heavily on tourism - something that they've been seriously lacking.
We combined a list of 7 countries offering to pay to visit them post COVID-19. To boost their tourism sectors, these countries came up with various schemes for travelers and offer various benefits so you can mull over traveling there again post lockdown. To know more about the offers, check the list below and start dreaming of your next budget-friendly holiday.
The coronavirus pandemic hit Italy hard, and the tourism industry took a major hit as visitors had to stay away. However, the southern Italian island of Sicily, which is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, is planning a comeback trying to lure visitors to the island. Sicily made headlines around the globe announcing that they would be taking a novel approach to travel post COVID-19 period, by offering to pay some of incoming foreign tourists costs.
The plan is part of a €50 million scheme by the Italian government intended to boost incoming visitor numbers, and for a country whose economy depends on tourism, it may well be worth it.
The scheme includes a plan to cover up some of the tourist's flight and accommodation costs. As per the offer, for every 3 nights’ stay at a hotel, visitors will not have to pay for 1 night. Not only that, but they will also be paid the plane ticket fare up to 50 % of the cost.
The region is reportedly also considering removing entry fees from museums and archeological sites. Sicily is one of the most beautiful places in the world that’s paying post COVID-19 for you to visit them on a holiday. You can get these benefits through vouchers on the Sicily`s website.
Following in the footsteps of countries like Italy, Mexico is set to launch its offers aimed at boosting tourism post COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Hotel Association of Cancun (AHCP), the popular holiday spot Cancun in Mexico has exciting holiday offers for visitors.
Tourists wishing to visit Cancun in Mexico post pandemic can get 1 out of 2 offers:
- “Come to Cancun 2X1” offering to pay for 2 nights and getting 1 free night’s stay
- “Come to Cancun X2” offering 2 free nights of accommodation for every 2 paid nights, and some discount on the plane ticket when traveling with a companion (friend).
A competition on social media is also reportedly underway which will allow entrants the chance to earn a lifetime travel certificate. With these offers, you can gorge on delicious tacos, sunbathe at the beach and have a gala time in Mexico with your stay being taken care of.
Bulgaria is one of the most gorgeous destinations to consider for post COVID-19 travel. Although Bulgaria won’t technically be paying for tourists to visit, it offers visitors freebies by making a lot of tourist hotspots free of charge.
Wouldn’t you want to sit out on a gorgeous beach, sipping a refreshing cocktail while you feel the warm salty breeze? Well, to sweeten the deal, Bulgarian beaches (Bulgaria’ s Sunny Beach and others), as well as many of their amenities like umbrellas, sunbeds, tables and sun lounges will become free when they reopen for business as a way to help visitors save money, and incentivize people to return.
Of all the exciting travel deals and beautiful destinations on this list, this is the one you won’t want to be eligible for. Because while the Mediterranean island of Cyprus is covering costs for visitors who test positive for COVID-19.
Cyprus has just reopened its borders to tourism and in a bid to attract foreign travelers has declared that if the visitor contracts COVID-19 during their stay in the country, the government will cover food, travel, and stay of the visitor and their families for the entire duration. They will live and be treated in a separate hotel, and only need to buy a return ticket home.
Confused? The idea is to give travelers financial assurances should they come down with any symptoms when visiting. This news came in after Cyprus officially declared itself COVID-19 free with zero infected cases. The island has one of the lowest coronavirus ratios per capita anywhere in Europe, and it relies heavily on tourism to support its economy. The country is opening up to tourists from various countries in stages.
Egypt announced the new measures reflecting the government’s relaxing attitude towards gradual reopening and a “co-existence with the virus”. Egypt resumed accepting tourists from July 1 and intends to cancel the visa fee till the end of October.
“In terms of the decisions we’ve taken in the last couple of days: we decided on exempting foreign tourists from tourist visas until October 31. Thus, no citizen from an Arab or foreign country would pay for a tourist visa, in the touristic governorates, until October 31. We re-started touristic activities at the beginning of May. Then we decided to resume at 50 percent capacity from June 1. We are hoping that, on July 1, we resume tourism activities in three governorates.”
The news was delivered by Khaled El Enani, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, who stated that the Ministry of Interior issued a new decision to remove the visa fees for all citizens visiting Egypt in only the three governorates. It will allow each guest to save us $ 25. More than 260 hotels have received a certificate of hygienic safety, which confirms compliance with antiviral measures.
As a part of a plan aimed at boosting post COVID-19 tourism, Japan revealed that they would be offering significant discounts and vouchers for travel. The Japanese government could pay half the fare of a person’s plane ticket in a bid to get travelers to return, and are also considering other incentives and could subsidize other travel expenses.
Naturally, when news of this plan broke, it immediately went viral. Although the scheme has been widely reported by global media outlets as applying to foreign tourists, it has since been clarified by the head of Japan’s Tourism Agency, who tweeted that the campaign will only apply to domestic travel. Yet the US$12.5 billion “Go to Campaign” deserves a place on this list because it includes a significant travel subsidy for domestic travelers, that looks set to begin rolling out late July or early August.
7. THE UK
The UK is another sneaky addition to this list: although the UK set to offer financial incentives and subsidies for travelers, they’re only looking to do so for British citizens.
The CEO of Visit Britain Patricia Yates told The Sun that financial incentives are being considered to encourage UK residents to enjoy tourism opportunities at home. She revealed that for every country restarting the domestic market is crucial. Considering it as an interesting suggestion, she mentioned that the UK is looking at what other destinations are doing (as Italy has gone with this idea). She opened up on considering a marketing campaign where money could be provided straight away to visitors to incentivize them to spend the holiday in the UK.
What to expect next?
There is a way to go before international tourism resumes, and although steps are being taken towards making the travel a reality, the normal is a little way off. In addition to these countries, there might be other countries planning to attract tourists by different incentives. As the situation in the world is unstable, before traveling be sure to check the relevance of all kinds of possible restrictions in these countries.