As many European countries started easing some of precautionary measures introduced due to COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans wonder whether the EU borders will open for international tourists.
The WHO declared that the peak of COVID-19’s first wave has passed in many European countries. As of May 6, the world has 3,782,099 cases, 261,756 deaths, and 1,276,265 people recovered. The United States became the country with the highest number of cases. Spain, Italy, UK, France and Germany are among the most affected countries in Europe.
Regarding the lifting of measures, some European countries are still skeptical whether it was a right decision or not, as it could lead Europe to a second wave of the Coronavirus.
The European Union’s ban on nonessential travel from countries outside European Union is set to expire May 15. But one E.U. official said the ban was highly likely to be extended for another month at least. On top of that, some countries are considering mandatory quarantines for international arrivals.
The French President Emanuel Macron has warned that the external borders of the Schengen Area and the Schengen Associated States may remain shut until September, as a measure against another wave of Coronavirus infections. Macron raised the possibility of prohibiting entry for US citizens and other non-EU nationals for a longer period of time.
Most European countries are advising their citizens to avoid nonessential travel and few are allowing the entry of non-EU nationals. Thierry Breton, a member of the European Commission who handles tourism policy, told French radio that it is likely that certain areas of the European Union would be open to tourists and others not. He said borders could turn on and off between E.U. countries depending on the outbreak.
The EU Commission estimated that travel industry is expected to drop in booking of package tours of up to 70 percent. A total of 10 percent of GDP of EU is generated by the tourism. EU leaders warn that "the travel industry could collapse if special measures were not implemented soon."
As summer season approaches, many countries are trying to figure out how to revive the travel industry without complicating the epidemiological situation in the region. European Tourism Ministers expressed the need for common rules and protocols. They are also considering COVID-19 passports to allow Europeans to travel this summer. EU member states are understandably cautious about a return to travel and expect to implement many safety measures to make sure everyone is safe.
If you cannot avoid traveling, check the latest with the World Health Organization (WHO), with the ECDC, and with the public health agency of the destination you plan to visit. There you’ll find the latest case numbers, the restrictions and quarantine requirements in place, and how overwhelmed the country’s health care system is.