Seychelles and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) established a new travel corridor for vaccinated travellers between the two countries as part of bilateral cooperation and recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Signed late last week, the agreement acknowledges mutual recognition of vaccination certificates issued by health authorities in the two countries.
To benefit from the quarantine-free travel corridor, citizens and residents from Seychelles and UAE will need to show documentation that they have received the last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This needs to be in accordance with the approved applications or certificates issued by health authorities. Travellers are also required to present a negative PCR test, taken 72 hours prior to arrival.
Travellers must also abide by other precautionary measures adopted at each destination to ensure safe and secure travel for all. For Seychelles, this means practicing social distancing and wearing face masks in public places.
The Seychelles’ Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, said on Friday that “this is a start and I hope that we can extend this kind of agreement to other countries.”
“For both countries, once a person is vaccinated, they can visit the other country without any difficulty of going into quarantine,” he added.
Seychelles reopened its borders to commercial flights on March 25 to relaunch its tourism industry, the top contributor to the island nation’s economy. Since then, UAE – a secondary tourism market for the 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean – is currently the third-most contributing market to the island nation’s visitor arrivals.
Radegonde also outlined that Seychelles’ ability to relax entry procedures can be credited to the intense vaccination programme that the country started in January.
“The vaccination campaign has been quite successful. The government has done everything in its power to make sure that the population is protected. We have now arrived at the point where opening our borders further is the next step to allow for our economic recovery,” said the minister.
An article from the Emirates News Agency stated that “this step affirms the keenness of the leadership of both countries to facilitate the movement of individuals, promote tourism between the two countries, and achieve the desired goals of vaccination campaigns, which reached advanced rates in the percentage of vaccine recipients. This will ensure the health and safety of the community and prevent the spread of the virus.”
According to the latest update from the local health ministry, a total of 69,708 people out of the target population of 70,000 have received the first dose of either Sinopharm or Covishield, amounting to 99.6 percent of the goal, while 61,360 people have received both doses.