Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could soon turn their vaccination paperwork into a golden ticket for international getaways.
Domestic travel has begun to rebound in recent weeks, but international travel demand still remains soft. Many countries continue to impose restrictions on who is allowed to cross their borders amid the coronavirus pandemic, limiting entry to their own citizens or people performing essential business.
As of early April, internet searches for domestic flights were higher than they were at the same time in 2019, according to data from the travel app Hopper. But searches for international flights still lag behind pre-pandemic levels. Currently only about a third of searches on Hopper for flights this summer are to international locations, with the remaining two-thirds being dedicated to trips within the U.S.
“This is typically much closer to a 50/50 split in normal years,” said Adit Damodaran, an economist at Hopper.
But some countries, in an effort to re-ignite travel demand, have ushered in easier access for people who can show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Iceland has taken this to the extreme — tourists are only allowed to visit the island country famous for its hot springs and volcanoes if they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or can show documentation that they previously had the illness and have since recovered.
Iceland had originally planned to put the new travel rules in effect on March 26, but the country’s government subsequently delayed the policy until April 6.
Many other countries, such as Ecuador and Nepal, have opted for a different approach to vaccinated travelers. Rather than requiring they be vaccinated, people who are inoculated can instead bypass requirements that they be tested for COVID-19 in advance of their trip. So border patrols…