The United States and Europe are both huge economies with large populations. So why is it such a surprise when someone from one continent travels to another? According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, travel and tourism account for over 5% of the world’s gross domestic product. In 2015, international travel spending was $7.6 billion in the United States and $1.9 trillion worldwide. The good news is that even though Europeans and Americans continue to travel to each other, we’re seeing some big changes.
American citizens are traveling to Europe without any hindrance. For the most part, they are creating a positive image for the US, using their skills to help business, but now there are signs that Europe may be altering its policies to give the US traveler a more difficult time.
In recent years, Europe has become a lot more receptive towards travelers from the US. Some countries have started to accept US credit and debit cards on their establishments and services, and some even offer more flexibility on regulations for US passport holders. This EU-wide reversal on regulations towards US travelers has also extended to the likes of Spain and Luxembourg.
Following the withdrawal of the United States from the European Union’s “safe” list of countries earlier this week, several of the bloc’s member countries have altered their rules on admitting American visitors.
Back in June, when mass COVID-19 vaccines had reduced case rates nationally and before the Delta variant started to drastically change America’s epidemiological environment for the worse, the European Union’s regulatory body designated the United States as a safe travel market.
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While the European Commission’s list reflects the bloc’s preferred position, it is non-binding, meaning that each of the EU’s 27 member states is allowed to establish its own regulations for travel immunization, testing, and quarantine procedures.
Bulgaria has categorized the United States as a’red zone’ nation, making all Americans barred for entrance unless they meet certain criteria. Foreign nations are presently classified as green, orange, or red by the Balkan country, according on their risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Italy increased its restrictions on American travelers shortly after the E.U.’s ruling, demanding evidence of complete immunization or recovery from a proven COVID-19 infection within the previous 180 days. Additionally, passengers aged six and above must show a negative molecular or antigen test within 72 hours of arrival. Travel & Leisure stated that unvaccinated newcomers must undertake an obligatory quarantine period. Italy’s strategy is expected to last until at least October 25. It’s also worth noting that entering some public places in Italy, such as ancient sites, theaters, museums, and indoor dining and drinking establishments, needs a ‘Green Pass.’
Germany designated the United States a “high-risk” nation in mid-August, even before the European Union removed the country from its safe travel list, and started demanding that American visitors be completely vaccinated or show evidence of previous recovery from COVID-19 infection. Unvaccinated guests may still enter, but they must quarantine for the entire 10 days or submit a negative test result after the fifth day to decrease their isolation time. This rule will be in force until September 30 at the earliest.
Despite the Commission’s revised suggestion, several E.U. members have not tightened their rules on admitting American visitors. For example, Portugal, whose tourism contributes for 15% of the country’s GDP, continues to accept American tourists who can provide evidence of a PCR or NAAT test conducted within 72 hours of boarding their trip, or an antigen test taken within 48 hours of boarding their flight. Children under the age of 12 are excluded from testing, however everyone must submit a passenger location card four days before arriving in Portugal.
The European Union has long sought to limit the number of Americans traveling to Europe. The EU is especially watchful of Americans in the wake of the election, when leaders sought to limit visitors from countries with significant Muslim populations. Europeans complain that the U.S. does not fulfill its obligations to share travel information with the EU—as it does with all other countries in the world—so the EU’s efforts to limit Americans in Europe are justified.. Read more about eu travel restrictions and let us know what you think.
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