With several announcements over this past week, the travel industry has received the excellent news that Austria, Switzerland, and Thailand will relax entry rules for fully vaccinated Brits.
After the spread of Omicron, these destinations had all tightened restrictions for the UK as the Omicron levels had become dominant. However, in the past month much has been learned about the variant and many destinations are beginning to open back up again as we adapt to the change.
Austria and Switzerland specifically are both beloved wintertime destinations and the restrictions put in place was a blow for those looking forward to a ski holiday or some festive holiday fun. It is fantastic news to see restrictions relaxing for these destinations in time for the February half-term that is approaching (if you also want to know more about the UK restrictions that may be relaxed in time for half-term, check out our article).
From the 22nd of January (Saturday), Switzerland will no longer require a negative test from any fully vaccinated visitors or recovered arrivals.
Instead, Switzerland will only require proof of vaccination or recovery on arrival. This change could save travellers some money on their holiday, opening Switzerland back up to many more types of travellers. This rule also applies to all children under 16 years of age.
From the 24th of January (Monday), travellers from the UK, Norway, and Denmark will no longer need to quarantine on arrival in Austria.
Austria will relax entry rules to just a negative PCR test taken within 72-hours pre-departure. Alternatively, proof of a booster vaccination administered at least 120 days after the second dose, or proof of recovery within 180 days of departure will also be accepted instead of a PCR test to enter Austria.
There will also be no testing or quarantine requirements for children under the age of 12. Plus, children 12 or over and those born after the 1st of September 2006 can use the ‘Holiday Ninja Pass’ app to enter instead of being fully vaccinated.
Thailand will also remove the quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travellers from the 1st of February. Instead, they have put in place some stricter testing rules, however, fully vaccinated travellers will finally be able to visit Thailand again, which is very exciting news.
The new testing rules for Thailand are as follows:
- Proof of negative PCR test taken within 72 hours pre-departure
- A negative PCR test taken on arrival
- A negative PCR test taken on day-5 in Thailand
- Arrivals must stay in an approved hotel to await the test results, but may still move around if they have the tracking app
With this new testing announcement for Thailand entries, Khun Chiravadee Khunsub, Tourism Authority of Thailand UK & Ireland director, said, “Thailand’s re-opening plans haven’t been as simple as other countries and I’d like to thank the trade for being patient and working with us to keep Thailand on sale since we opened to international travel last year.
“The Sandbox scheme has been a huge success, especially for travellers looking for beach holidays and Test & Go saw a huge spike in bookings and immediate travel plans.
“With Test & Go available from 1st February and the recovery plans we have in place we are confident Thailand will regain market share again, as there is certainly pent up demand.”
As always, we highly recommend all travellers keep an eye on the Foreign Travel Advice page to stay up to date on the travel restrictions for your chosen destination, especially as more destinations are beginning to relax entry rules.
So, if you’re looking forward to booking your next great holiday, don’t wait! Get in touch with a travel business registered with PTS and offering 100% financial protection through trust today. Or, if you’d like assistance choosing one of the lovely PTS members to book with, you can contact PTS directly at 0207 190 9988.
And if you’d like to learn more about your consumer protection with PTS or how the Package Travel Regulations protect your holiday booking, check out our pages and articles.