South Caucasus travel: COVID-19 update
South Caucasus, comprised of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, are one of the worlds highly developing tourism destination. With coronavirus outbreak more and more travelers, who were planning to visit this region, are now in search of information about current situation with COVID-19.
We have put together an information update. Governments of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are taking relevant measures to prevent coronavirus spread in the region. But it is always a good idea to monitor the situation.
Last updated: July 22, 2020
Starting from August Georgia will allow citizens of Germany, France, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania enter the country without any pre-conditions. Citizens/permanent residents of the five countries above can fly in to Georgia with any reason for their visit. They must be traveling from one of the mentioned countries only.
Also, for instance, French citizens/permanent residents can fly in from Latvia to Georgia. Or any other combination that includes the countries indicated.
Citizens of other EU member states that list Georgia as a ‘green’ country (currently – Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Sweden, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Croatia), and also of those countries that introduced some restrictions, are allowed to fly in to Georgia too. But these travelers are to stay in a 14-day quarantine period. The quarantine is paid for by traveler.
If citizens/permanent residents of Germany, France, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania fly in from an EU state currently having conditional entry to Georgia (Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Sweden, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Croatia), or from countries citizens of which haven’t been allowed to fly in, or if their 2-week travel history includes countries other than the five listed above – in this case they will also be obliged to stay a 14-day quarantine period at their own expense.
Visitors traveling on business coming from all countries of the world will be allowed without pre-conditions. Providing such travelers complete electronic form and that their visit is coordinated with relevant / inviting agencies or institutions.
Travelers from Germany, France, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will be requested to fill in an electronic form indicating their past 2-week travel history (if any); as well as address of intended stay in Georgia, contact and other details.
In the Georgian airport of arrival a free PCR test will be taken, upon receiving traveler’s consent. Also, thermal screening will be performed, and if a visitors’ temperature will be higher than 37 degrees, this traveler will be taken to a local clinic for further observation.
Business travelers are also to have a PCR test for COVID-19 at their own expense every 72 hours. Alternatively they would need to stay a mandatory 2-week quarantine, at own expense too. This, however, does not apply to the citizens/residents of Germany, France, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
PCR test results are available within 24 hours via email. Until then, self-isolation is recommended. In case of positive results, a telephone communication will be carried out by NCDC, and infected persons will be transported to a relevant medical facility.
General travel recommendations
- Consult WHO
Consult WHO website, for the most up-to-date information regarding enhanced screening procedures.
- Check Travel Alerts
Review your Department for Foreign Affairs for the latest updates on Travel Alerts.
- Consult Airlines
Check with the airlines regarding any flight cancellations and/or restrictions on flying.
- Observe Personal Hygiene
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
Georgia first to resume tourism in South Caucasus
Georgia Railway has announced that domestic train travel will be resumed on June 15, 2020. Read about available train destinations and health safety regulations on trains in Georgia here.
Georgian government has announced that the country will open its borders for international travelers from August 1, 2020. This way Georgia will become one of the first countries in the World to officially resume tourism.
Georgian PM, Giorgi Gakharia, was quoted saying: “We will achieve this by creating safe corridors on our borders with neighboring countries (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey and Russia)”. He also added that within the next two months major works will be held to ensure health safety measures are taken by tourism sector in the country.
See the list of international flights that are already scheduled to run between Georgian major airport and are available for booking (as of May 25, 2020).
Georgian Airways on May 22 started sending out emails to their passengers announcing that they resume flights to their major destinations starting from July 1, 2020. Flights will initially connect 10 international cities with Tbilisi, Georgian capital. Read more
As of May 15, 2020, there are currently 20 international airlines who expressed their readiness in relaunching direct flights to Georgia. Negotiations are underway on establishing so-called “safety corridors” – hygienic standards and protocols that would allow tourists to travel safely without risking their own health, and that of local people. Read more
As of March 18, 2020 Georgia has banned ALL international travelers to enter the country until the situation stabilizes.
Georgian authorities have suspended all air connection with China, Iran and Italy. All major airports (in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi) are equipped with medical testing teams, working 24/7. Same applies to land border checkpoints with Armenia and Azerbaijan. Travelers are being monitored and, if there is any suspicion, either refused entrance to Georgia, or transferred to quarantine.
As of March 10 – all flights from Israel to Georgia has also been suspended. International travelers arriving to Georgia that have visited Iran, Italy, China, France, Germany, Austria, Spain or South Korea during two weeks before arriving here will also be quarantined. Alternatively they would need to provide a medical confirmation (PCR certificate of coronavirus issued by the relevant laboratory of the country of departure) stating that they don’t have COVID-19.
A government decree of March 2 introduced an action plan to prevent the possible spread of the new coronavirus in Georgia and the emergency response plan for new infections.
In particular, escort of cargo vehicles that cross the territory of Georgia as a transit country and travel from countries with a high degree of risk of the spread of coronavirus to the corresponding point at the border will be established. Such a vehicle will have to undergo complete disinfection.
The Sea Transport Agency of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia has also implemented a number of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus among seafarers, traveling passengers, employees of the department and students of marine educational institutions in Georgia.
Georgian government has launched a new dedicated website with regular updates on coronavirus situation in the country and World. The website also provides recommendations by World Health Organization.
Armenian government has also made decisions to close land borders with Iran for two weeks, starting on February 23. It has limited, but not completely cancelled, flights between two countries. Armenian MFA also made a decisions to temporarily suspend its visa-free regime with China.
Currently some other destination flights has also been suspended, to Tel-Aviv in Israel, in particular.
Citizens of Armenia receive messages on mobile phones from the Ministry of Health urging them to contact doctors after traveling abroad or if symptoms of virus appear.
Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan quoted: “Armenia has all the necessary technical and professional resources for an accurate coronavirus diagnosis.”
Hotline of the Ministry of Health of Armenia 010 52 88 72; 8003
Government officials say they monitor the situation. People crossing other land, sea and air borders of Azerbaijan are undergoing special tests. Their temperature is being taken with portable thermometers and first aid teams are being sent to border posts to be ready around the clock.
To ensure the health and safety of the population and Azerbaijan visitors, on February 29 a decision was made to temporarily close the border with Iran in a restrictive regime. In addition, all necessary measures are being taken to check people who arrived in Azerbaijan from countries where coronavirus was found. Specialized hospitals and laboratories are provided with appropriate equipment and medicines for the diagnosis and treatment. For this purpose, professional doctors have been sent to all hospitals in the regions.
The report of the operational headquarters also noted that, together with the World Health Organization (WHO), all necessary measures are being taken and intensive work is being done to prevent the spread of coronavirus and increase the effectiveness of relevant preventive measures.
In addition, as a result of negotiations with China, Germany and other countries, relevant agreements were reached on the delivery to Azerbaijan of the necessary equipment, medicines and specialists.
Azerbaijan has taken all necessary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country, the sanitary-epidemiological situation is under strict control, the report said.
Ministry of Public Health of Azerbaijan HOTLINE: 9103 (0)
We also recognize the increased uncertainty that COVID-19 may be causing in your own trip planning. To help you book with confidence, we are offering an exceptional cancellation policy: Until the situation has stabilized, we provide you with the option of a 100% refund on all new bookings made after March 25, 2020, for cancellations made more than 14 days prior to a tour.
This offer applies to ALL of our small group tour deals in 2020 and 2021 booked and confirmed within this period.
We would appreciate your support
Georgia tours from home
Our thoughts are with all those affected with COVID-19, be it directly or indirectly. In particular, we’re working closely with our guides and local partners throughout the country to minimize the disruption to their livelihoods. And our free video GEORGIA TOURS FROM HOME initiative is aimed at exactly that. To help them sustain themselves during this period. We would highly appreciate your support in our efforts to help us stay afloat during this challenging time. Thank you!
Feel free to drop us a line if you have any South Caucasus travel related questions and/or concerns. Our team will be glad to respond in a timely manner.