Airlines have begun resuming flights to Seychelles as the island opens up thanks to vaccinations. Flag carrier Air Seychelles will resume its route to Dubai later this month, while Qatar Airways will boost its capacity. All travelers holding a negative COVID-19 test taken in the last 72 hours can now enter the island.
Seychelles has officially reopened its borders to all tourists once again, only requiring proof of a negative test before arrival. In January, the country had only reopened its borders to vaccinated travelers, one of the few countries to do so.
Airlines have moved quickly to respond to this border reopening. Air Seychelles, which had largely been grounded apart from cargo and repatriation flights, will restart its first scheduled route to Dubai World Central Airport on March 28th. The flight will operate once a week only to begin with, according to Seychelles News Agency, but this could increase soon.
Qatar Airways has also jumped at the chance to ramp up flights to the popular tourist destination. The Doha-based carrier will increase capacity in the summer and currently operate three flights a week to the capital, Mahè, according to Breaking Travel News.
Currently, flights from Doha to Mahè operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (2:00 AM – 8:15 AM local times). The outbound flight departs on the same days at 7:00 PM and arrives in Doha at 11:00 PM.
Considering Seychelles is a leisure route, Qatar offers great timing for tourists looking to check in to their hotels and hoping to maximize their time in the country.
Seychelles’ fast vaccine rollout has allowed it to open its border again, aided by its population size. With only 100,000 residents, the island has given the first shot of the vaccine to 59.6% of the population and both shots to 25.6%, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker.
This means the island will quickly extend vaccinations to nearly every eligible resident, allowing its heavily tourist-reliant economy to reopen.
The decision not to reopen its border has impacted Seychelles in the last year, and it is looking to come back soon. In a statement about Qatar’s new schedule, Seychelles Tourism Board Chief Executive Sherin Francis said,
“We are happy that Seychelles is back online with clear entry criteria and simple travel measures…We depend a lot on our airline partners to complement our efforts in restarting this industry, one which is very important for Seychelles given its contribution to the economy.”
Several other airlines have also restarted flights to Seychelles in the last few months, most of which are major hub airlines. Data from RadarBox.com shows that Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Emirates also resumed flights. In addition to this, Etihad is scheduled to begin services to the country at the end of the month. Some airlines have also launched deals on flights to Seychelles, including British Airways.
Now that Seychelles is open expect many more airlines to return to the island quickly.
Will you fly to Seychelles now that it has opened its border? Let us know in the comments!