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Uzbekistan Is Luring Tourists Back By Offering Them USD$3,000 If They Catch COVID There

I’m not sure how many times I can write ‘it’s a weird time for travel’, but I guess as many as I want until it stops being a weird time for travel. With the pull of the good old staycay or domestic travel on the up, most people are avoiding international jaunts.

In response, many countries are pulling out all the stops to attract international travellers back to their borders. Like a year-long remote work visa in Barbados, or plans from a few countries to subsidise your holiday.

The latest country to jump on this trend is Uzbekistan, who have now promised to pay travellers USD$3,000 ($4370) if they contract coronavirus while on holiday there — yes, this is the full amount it costs to treat the virus in their country.

 

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“We want to reassure tourists they can come to Uzbekistan,” Sophie Ibbotson, Uzbekistan’s tourism ambassador to the UK, said in a statement.

“The government is so confident that the new safety and hygiene measures being implemented across the tourism sector will protect tourists from COVID-19 that the president is prepared to put money where his mouth is”.

“If you get COVID-19 on holiday in Uzbekistan, we will compensate you”.

They do happen to have the numbers to back these statements up. Although the country has more than 33 million citizens, they only reported 88 COVID-related deaths (at time of writing) thanks to their fast lockdown approach.

The “Safe Travel Guaranteed” campaign launched last week in an effort to entice tourists back into the country. Considering that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation reported Uzbekistan as the world’s fourth fastest-growing tourism market in 2019, it’s no surprise they’d be feeling the loss of visitors.

 

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Like with anything at the moment, there are certain requirements that need to be met for this coronavirus compensation. For example, if you catch it, you’ll need to be able to show you were travelling with a local tour guide, who was certified in safety and hygiene guidelines.

You’ll also have to be from a country considered low-risk like China, Israel, Japan and South Korea. Others, like Europe and the UK, must spend 14 days in isolation on arrival.

Of course, in Australia, Qantas have already said they won’t be flying internationally until at least mid-2021, so this is all in theory for us at the moment.

(Lead Image: Unsplash / Yumi Kim)