- Title: Indian travellers flock to Serbia for 'quarantine tourism'
- Date: 2nd August 2021
- Summary: BELGRADE, SERBIA (JULY 30, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF BELGRADE AIRPORT ARRIVALS HALL WITH TRAVELLERS WAITING TRAVELLER WITH LUGGAGE ON TROLLEY VARIOUS OF GROUP OF PASSENGERS FROM INDIA WAITING LUGGAGE ON TROLLEY TRAVELLERS WAITING WOMAN WITH FACE MASK ON / QUEUE FOR COVID TEST PASSENGER REGISTRATION FOR COVID TEST MEDICAL WORKER SWABBING PASSENGER TRAVELLERS FROM INDIA WAITING AT AIRPORT (SOUNDBITE) (English) PASSENGER WHO ARRIVED IN SERBIA, SURISH (SURNAME NOT GIVEN), SAYING: "I'm working in Saudi Arabia as a mechanical inspector. So this trip is planned by my company. They provided the ticket, so...(motions with arm)." PASSENGERS WALKING WITH LUGGAGE PEOPLE WALKING DOWN STREET VARIOUS OF TRAVELLER FROM INDIA TAREK MODY SPEAKING TO RECEPTIONIST (SOUNDBITE) (English) TRAVELLER FROM INDIA, TAREK MODY, SAYING: "Actually, I am travelling to Canada from here, so we had to stay here (in quarantine) for seven days and then we will travel to Canada tomorrow morning." ANOTHER TRAVELLER, MAGDOSHA (SURNAME NOT GIVEN): "Quarantine." MODY: "Yeah, it was a quarantine." (SOUNDBITE) (English) TRAVELLER FROM INDIA, MAGDOSHA (SURNAME NOT GIVEN), SAYING: "We actually just had a couple of routes - one was Serbian, one was Mexico. And the Mexico thing was a little bit expensive before, that's why we chose Serbia. But then, a week before we were supposed to depart from India, they changed the quarantine rules here. So, we are to quarantine here for seven days. But I guess that Serbia is good, so it's not a bad idea you know." BELGRADE, SERBIA (JULY 31, 2021) (REUTERS) GROUP OF INDIAN TRAVELLERS WALKING DOWN STREET EXTERIOR OF HOTEL ROYAL INN IN CITY CENTRE REPORTER TALKING TO MANAGER OF MARK GROUP HOTELS, ILIJA SMILJANIC (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) MANAGER OF MARK GROUP HOTELS, ILIJA SMILJANIC, SAYING: "I would not call this 'quarantine tourism', it was not really designed like that, but in the end, it comes to that. Right now, in the city, we've reached a moment when extra beds are sought out and there are many hotels which are completely full. Currently, there is not a single hotel (in Belgrade) that does not have at least a certain number of Indian guests." BELGRADE, SERBIA (AUGUST 1, 2021) (REUTERS) INDIAN FAMILY SITTING ON CAFE TERRACE INDIAN NATIONALS WALKING DOWN STREET INDIAN TRAVELLERS EATING ON TERRACE BELGRADE, SERBIA (JULY 31, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) INDIAN NATIONAL, JAGDISH (FULL NAME NOT GIVEN), SAYING: "I waited for some time to see if things will open up, but things were not changing. So then, we decided to go ahead, and, you know, take another route where for the U.S. you should be out of India for 14 days. So, we chose Serbia because it is, you know, we don't need a visa, because we are coming from India and it is a visa-free country for Indians and it is also a beautiful city to explore and you know, we have a lot of good places to see around. So, that was the main reason we selected Serbia to visit." MAN LOOKING AT PHONE ON RESTAURANT TERRACE (SOUNDBITE) (English) INDIAN NATIONAL, NISHA (FULL NAME NOT GIVEN), SAYING: "So, I am married to a man who is living in the USA so I want to go to the USA. So I tried to choose quarantine-free travel so that I can go and see him. It's been two years, like we're staying apart, so we are going to get time to spend time with each other constantly. So, I came here on the fourth of July. So, on the fourth of July, I had a flight on the 19th, because of (unintelligible) issues and the rules that kept on changing, so I stayed here for 15 more days. So, technically, I'm going to complete my 32 days in Serbia, and then I'm going to go and join my husband there. But the best part is that I met so many friends here, (unintelligible) and of course Jagdish, and so I had a very good time here, yeah!" VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING DOWN STREETS
- Embargoed: 16th August 2021 14:03
- Keywords: India Indians arriving to Serbia for quarantine Serbia United States coronavirus restrictions covid-19 mandatory quarantine quarantine tourism
- Location: BELGRADE, SERBIA
- City: BELGRADE, SERBIA
- Country: Serbia
- Topics: Europe,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001EOL86KN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: 'Quarantine tourism' is flourishing in Serbia as thousands of Indian travellers use the Balkan country for a two-week stopover before continuing their journeys west, to countries with strict quarantine rules on arrival.
India has registered more coronavirus cases than any other country except the United States, and its citizens are barred from entering many countries unless they spend two weeks elsewhere en route.
Serbia has become a popular stopover destination for Indians because it offers them visa-free entry if they have been vaccinated and test negative for the virus.
They are also required to spend at least the first seven days of their stay in Serbia in isolation, depending on conditions set by their destination countries, and take another coronavirus test at the end of their quarantine.
Indian national Tarek Mody said he stayed in Serbia's capital en route to Canada while mechanical inspector Surish said the trip to Belgrade was organised by his employer.
Another traveller from the Indian city of Visakhapatnam, Jagdish, who declined to give his full name, needed to spend 14 days away from India before he could enter the United States.
He said he decided to choose Serbia as he did not need a visa and was interested in exploring the city.
Serbian hotel owners said thousands of Indians came to Belgrade in July, filling up hotels.
Manager of Mark Group hotels Ilija Smiljanic said people were searching for extra beds and that all Belgrade hotels were housing some Indian guests.
Serbia, a country receiving about 2.5% of its gross domestic product from tourism, suffered a loss of more than 1 billion euros ($1.19 billion) in revenues last year because of COVID-19 restrictions.
But in June, Serbia recorded a 48.4% annual increase in tourist arrivals, and the number of overnight stays increased by 39.3%, according to the Serbian Statistics Office.
Since last December, the Balkan country has vaccinated almost a third of its 6.7 million population and reported more than 722,000 coronavirus cases with 7,118 deaths.
(Production: Fedja Grulovic, Karolina Bohacova)
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