After almost four months of lockdown we all need a bit of good news.
For us travellers, the pandemic has been particularly hard. I can’t remember a time when I felt this cooped up and depressed. I’m certain many of you will be feeling the same way.
But, thankfully, there is light at the end of the tunnel. At long last, countries are starting to relax their lockdown restrictions. And, as the number of Coronavirus cases drops, the prospect of both domestic and international travel looms ever closer.
In fact, when emerges could well be some of the best travel opportunities we’ve seen in a long time. In some cases, there are several countries that will pay you to visit them after lockdown. Yep, you heard me right.
But before you get two excited and start unfurling the map, note, we’re not quite there yet.
And, it’s not every country. Just four so far have announced some sort of scheme. But, I expect that more will follow in an attempt to lure eager tourists to their borders.
Mark my words: this could be one of the best opportunities for travellers in our lifetime. But where are these deals? And how can we take advantage of them?
Well, in this article I’ll show you four of the countries and regions which will pay you to visit after lockdown ends. Starting with Sicily, read on to find out what they’re planning.
First on the list of countries that will pay you to visit is the stunning Mediterranean island of Sicily. The island announced its intentions to subsidise holiday makers way back in May.
Under the scheme dubbed “Empty for Full” by the Sicilian Government, tourists travelling to the island can be paid vouchers in advance of their trip.
These vouchers can be redeemed for discounts on flights, free entry to various attractions and even a free night on the island. The catch? You need to stay on the island for a minimum of three nights.
The Sicilian government may also pay for 50% of your flights to the island if you visit in 2020.
Sicily is planning to invest up to €40 million into the scheme according to Business Insider Italia. There will be over 400,000 of the vouchers up for grabs.
I had planned on visiting Sicily in early April, but unfortunately, I had to cancel my trip. I was devastated. But, with this new scheme coming into force soon, Sicily is certainly back on the table.
There are a tonne of incredible photo opportunities in Sicily and I would love to add the island to my Photography Location Guides.
It remains to be seen, however, when the island will open its borders to tourists. Nobody knows for sure. But, if you’re interested in travelling to Sicily I would keep an eye on this gem.
Bulgaria has also recently announced plans for luring eager tourists to its white, sandy beaches and stunning mountain vistas.
The country had seen a historic rise in popularity in the months leading up to the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s a great spot for budget conscious travellers wanting to enjoy the countries great value attractions.
It doesn’t look as though Bulgaria will offer tourists free travel or hotel stays. You can expect free access to popular beaches (including free sun loungers etc.) and other attractions, however.
Bulgaria is already a popular destination for budget travellers and these small changes should help to make an already affordable destination even more attractive.
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The city of Cancún in Mexico is the latest to offer travellers substantial discounts in an effort to encourage them to visit the region.
The scheme, which was due to go live sometime in June, is a collaboration between over 200 local businesses. It aims to offer tourists discounts and freebies on a wide range of activities.
Under the scheme, you can expect to be gifted two free hotel stays for every two nights you book (essentially BOGOF). Travelling with kids? Well, they can stay free provided two adults have paid for two nights.
Furthermore, tourists can get two days free car hire for every two days they book.
It’s even rumoured that the scheme will stretch to offering discounts on other popular tourist attractions such as theme parks, golf and even restaurants.
The resorts of Tulum, Puerto Morelos and the island of Isla Mujeres are expected to take part as well.
Something I am personally excited about is Japan. The country is planning on investing over $12.5 billion (£10.2 billion) into its tourism rejuvenation plans which could be launched as early as July this year.
The scheme will look to subsidise a portion of travellers expense around the country, though right now it’s not 100% clear how that will work.
Unfortunately, the initial investment is aimed at domestic tourism only. However, the rumor mill has been turning, and international tourists are said to be offered a similar scheme later this year.
I’ve been dying to visit Japan for years, so I will be keeping a close eye on this one. It’s hard to believe that such a well established tourist destination may be one of the countries that will pay you to visit…but I’m hoping it is.
With the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and a sever reduction in international and domestic tourism this year, Japan is one of the worst affected destinations in all of this.
But, it is expecting a massive spike in visits once the scheme(s) launches.
How can you take advantage of these offers?
It’s the question on everyone’s lips (including mine).
Unfortunately, with many countries will in lockdown and Coronavirus still working its way throughout the global population, many of these schemes are in the planning phase only. That means you can’t do anything right now this minute.
However, my advice would be to monitor closely the tourism boards for each region/country/city to ensure that, when the schemes do go live, you can exploit them to the fullest.