The Seychelles has finally been removed from the dreaded red list in the latest Government travel update, which saw the category slashed from 54 to just seven countries.
From 4am on Monday, October 11, travellers returning from the archipelago will no longer be subject to a 10-day stay in a quarantine hotel at a cost of up to £2,285 per adult.
For its part, the Indian Ocean country issued a green light to tourists on March 25. All holidaymakers (with the exception of people who have been in Bangladesh, Brazil, India or Pakistan within 14 days prior to travel) are free to visit the island, regardless of their vaccination status.
Now that UK restrictions have been eased, here’s everything you need to know about travel to the Seychelles.
Am I allowed to visit the Seychelles?
Yes, now that the country has been removed from the red list, fully vaccinated travellers can visit without the need to quarantine on return. They will only need to fill in a passenger locator form before departing for the UK and take a Covid test on, or before, day 2 of their return. However, unvaccinated travellers must take a pre-departure test, two further PCR tests on return and quarantine at home for up to 10 days.
For now, the FCDO still advises against all but essential travel to the archipelago, which can make securing insurance more tricky, but this could change in the coming days.
On March 25, the Seychelles opened its borders to visitors irrespective of their vaccination status, except those from Bangladesh, Brazil, India and Pakistan. All visitors must present a negative PCR test, taken within 72 hours prior to departure, and will face a temperature check on arrival. There is no quarantine requirement or restriction on movement for visitors upon entry to the Seychelles, but they must stay in approved accommodation. An application for entry form should also be completed and returned to the Public Health Authority before travel.
Do I need to take a test?
Yes. Anyone permitted to enter the Seychelles is required to have proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before departure. An application for entry form should also be completed and returned to the Public Health Authority before travel.
What is the Covid situation in the Seychelles?
The Seychelles has seen a total 21,626 known cases and 116 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began.
Cases declined after a significant surge in May, although concern remained over levels of the beta variant in the archipelago which is perhaps why it lingered on the red list for so long.
As for restrictions, there are public health measures in place that visitors are expected to adhere to, including the wearing of face coverings and social distancing in public places.
Have holidays continued in the Seychelles throughout the pandemic?
Given its low overall death toll and the fact that many resorts operate on their own islands, the Seychelles has continued to prove popular throughout the pandemic; especially among wealthy travellers and influencers.
The islands garner around 65 per cent of their GDP from tourism which necessitated a resumption of its visitor economy earlier than some countries. Earlier this year, Seychelles president Wavel Ramkalawan told The Telegraph: “We want to reignite tourism as soon as possible. It’s vital to our survival.”
Am I still covered by travel insurance?
As it stands, the FCDO still advises against all but essential travel to the Seychelles – though there is some expectation that this warning could be lifted in the coming days. A handful of insurers do now offer cover for many countries even when the FCDO advises against all but essential travel. These include Staysure (staysure.co.uk), Campbell Irvine (campbellirvinedirect.com) and Battleface (battleface.com).
What is the best time of year to visit the Seychelles?
The country has steady temperatures throughout the year, from lows of 23C to highs of 30C. April and October are largely considered to be the calmest months for weather on the islands, which is dictated by trade winds. In these fairly wind-free months, the sea should be warmer, there should be little rain and visitors may avoid the seaweed that washes up on the beaches during the windier periods. The best period for bird-spotting and hiking in the Seychelles is from April to October. Turtle nesting peaks between October and January, meanwhile.
Private island resorts in the Seychelles make social distancing easier: read our guide to the best private island hotels.