Travellers from GCC can soon enjoy a quarantine-free Swiss holiday

All tourists with EMA and WHO approved vaccinations, including Sinopharm, can travel to Switzerland

  
A general view shows the Swiss Alpine resort of Engelberg, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Switzerland May 8, 2021.

A general view shows the Swiss Alpine resort of Engelberg, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Switzerland May 8, 2021.

Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann
 

All fully-vaccinated travellers from the GCC, including the UAE, can travel to Switzerland quarantine-free, Khaleej Times has learnt.

Furthermore, those who have taken the European Medical Agency (EMA) and WHO emergency use approved vaccinations, including Sinopharm, can now travel to premier European destination.

The Swiss government outlined the return to normalcy after the global pandemic and has proposed that from June 28, fully-vaccinated guests from GCC countries shall be able to enter Switzerland again without having to undergo quarantine or pre-travel testing.

However, the proposal is subject to final ratification by the parliament on June 23. "Interested travellers can request Schengen visas again through the VFS outlets in due course, and Emirati travellers do not need a visa to travel to Switzerland," said Matthias Albrecht, director GCC, Switzerland Tourism.

The Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows a person to travel to any Schengen Area members, which comprise 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. However, ‘re-entry regulations must be adhered to.'

"There are some exceptions to the proposed rules for certain countries, including India and Brazil; however, none from the GCC. All tourists from the UAE can travel to Switzerland, irrespective of their nationality. If people are fully vaccinated, then I think the PCR test is not necessary either,” said Albrecht.

He added, "However, travellers will have to undergo PCR testing and other re-entry regulations to return to their homes in the GCC."

The head of the travel board has said comprehensive protection concepts have been installed to ensure travellers safety. "From the GCC, the desire to travel is increasing almost daily. People are now planning their trips for the summer," he said.

The Swiss government also stated that it is adhering to the opening strategy of the EU, or rather the Schengen area, and will therefore aim to open the country's borders to vaccinated people, from June 28, just in time for the summer holidays.

Maximum protection concepts

"Over the past 12 months, rigorous protection concepts, adopted by the government, have proven extremely efficient and ensured that there was no outbreak hotspot at any tourist destination in Switzerland, even though hotels, restaurants in hotels and ski resorts remained open," he said.

Over 4,000 tourism businesses use the Swiss 'Clean&Safe' label to document the application of comprehensive protection concepts.

"We are delighted and feel quite emotional that we finally can go back to what we do best; to host guests in our magnificent country. With beautiful nature, uncrowded boutique towns and wide-open landscapes, Switzerland is the natural choice for a post-Covid holiday. Now that borders will open, we can't wait to welcome tourists," stated Albrecht.

Countries UAE residents can travel to quarantine - free

Last week, UAE carrier Emirates Airline revealed a list of 19 countries travellers from the UAE could go to without undergoing quarantine.

Travellers will need to provide their vaccination certificates upon arrival physically. They must have received vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or one of the vaccines included in the WHO's Emergency Use Listing. These include the Pfizer BioNTech, Sinopharm and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines.

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