Will summer holidays be possible in Switzerland this year?

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 20 Apr, 2021 Updated Tue 20 Apr 2021 10:36 CEST
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A Swiss Air flight arriving from Zurich, whose passengers will be put in quarantine, prepares to land at the airport in Valencia on May 21, 2020. - Spain has restricted arrivals from Europe's Schengen zone and imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine period on all travellers to avoid importing new coronavirus cases. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / STR / AFP)

Many people in Switzerland like to plan their holidays in advance. Whether or not foreign travel is in the cards this summer depends on several factors.

“Uncertainties remain particularly great this year in terms of tourism abroad”,  Stéphane Jayet, the vice-president of the Swiss Travel Federation said in an interview with RTS public broadcaster on Wednesday. 

Jayet was referring to unpredictable epidemiological situation in Switzerland and elsewhere in the next weeks and months. There is also no certainty at this point regarding future entry restrictions in foreign countries, as well as conditions in place in Switzerland for those returning from abroad.

Right now Switzerland has a quarantine requirement for arrivals from dozens of countries and regions. This is likely to discourage people from travelling abroad, especially as the list of high-risk countries is modified every 14 days. This means people who book holidays in a place that is safe now, may find that the country or region is high-risk at the time of travel.

READ MORE: Where can Swiss residents fly to this year? 

Also, most countries in Europe and beyond require travellers to have a negative Covid test, which is also the case in Switzerland. So anyone coming back will have to go through the process of getting tested in a foreign country.

There’s no guarantee that all these requirements with still be in place in the summer, but they may well be.

It is not yet sure what large-scale impact vaccination against coronavirus will have on travel, but some countries are already permitting people who have had both shots to enter without having to quarantine or  show a negative test. Among them are Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Iceland, Poland, Romania, and the Seychelles. It is possible that more countries will join this list.

READ MORE: Reader question: Can I enter Switzerland if I've been vaccinated? 

There are also other encouraging signs of travel rebound. For instance, SWISS airline has scheduled flights to a number of holiday destinations.

So what should you do: wait or book now?

“What I tell clients is to contact travel agencies to make a plan, discuss it, take stock of the situation”, Jayet said, adding that the actual reservation “should be delayed a little."

If you want to book now, perhaps because you found cheap air fares which will likely go up later, make sure you have a good travel insurance policy, which will reimburse your costs if you must cancel your trip.

This site explains in detail what you should look for in a travel insurance and what details are important in claiming refunds. 

Also, most airlines offer free flight cancellations and re-bookings during the pandemic.

READ MORE: Swiss president: People who want to travel ‘will have to be vaccinated’ 

 

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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2021/04/20 10:36

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