Oceania is full of wish-list, dreamy destinations such as the Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, French Polynesia, Australia, and New Zealand. Unfortunately, now is not the time to check them off your must-see list as all Oceanic countries are closed to tourists.
While French Polynesia had been open to US tourists until recently, it just announced that starting on February 3, it will be closing its borders to all travelers due to an increase of COVID-19 cases around the world.
According to the local tourism board, “Faced with the resurgence of COVID-19 cases around the world and in order to preserve French Polynesia which has for its part, shown significant improvement for several consecutive weeks, the authorities have decided to temporarily suspend travel to The Islands of Tahiti including for tourists from all origins until further notice.”
Any tourist currently in French Polynesia and planning to return home this week will be allowed to continue their trip. Others need to make arrangements to leave as soon as possible. French Polynesia is expected to remain closed to all tourists for a minimum period of two months.
New Zealand also recently dashed visitors’ hopes, announcing that the country’s borders would remain closed to international travelers until its citizens were widely vaccinated. “For travel to restart,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week, “we need one of two things: we either need the confidence that being vaccinated means you don’t pass COVID-19 on to others — and we don’t know that yet — or we need enough of our population to be vaccinated and protected that people can safely re-enter New Zealand. Both possibilities will take some time.”
A version of this article was previously published on November 4, 2020, and was updated on February 3, 2021, with more information.