Europe opens its doors to American tourists sans Covid passports

Published on : Monday, June 28, 2021

From Italy, Greece and Portugal in southern Europe to Germany, Norway, Denmark and Latvia in Northern Europe, the continent is reopen for travel and U.S. tourists who want to visit the region are being welcomed for leisure and other non-essential travel purposes.

On June 18, the European Council added the U.S. to the list of Covid-19 safe countries due to its low infection rates and broadly successful vaccine rollout campaign. Since then, as explained by schengenvisainfo, “one by one the European Union member countries have been removing border restrictions for each other’s citizens and for third-country nationals — including arrivals from the United States.”

After many revisions, the E.U. Council published an updated list of 15 foreign countries from which the 27 E.U. countries can permit restriction-free traveling to the bloc regardless of their Covid-19 vaccination status, clarifying that each government makes its own border decisions (particularly on the issue of requiring a vaccine passport).

“The latest announcement from the EU advising member states to begin welcoming back U.S. travel is the latest piece of encouraging news from global leaders as we all work towards revitalizing the global Travel & Tourism sector,” said Virginia Messina, WTTC Senior Vice President. “Reopening pathways for tourism and business between countries within the EU and the U.S. is a significant step in providing a much-needed boost to the economy and job market across all parties involved.”

“Before you get on a plane, be aware there may be catches,” recommends NPR. “In fact, there could be 27 different combinations of them.”

The recommendation instructs member countries to refrain from imposing testing and quarantine requirements to holders of vaccination passports. If they so choose, they also are free to remove restrictions after the first of a two-dose vaccine or only after both doses have been administered.

Recovery certificates of travellers who had the coronavirus will be acceptable only in cases when they have been tested for Covid-19 within the last 180 days. These travellers should be exempt as well from the requirements of testing and quarantine.

The U.S, along with Albania, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Serbia, Taiwan and the Chinese administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau are the new additions to the E.U. list.

The current complete list includes: Albania, Australia, Chinese regions of Hong Kong and Macao, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Republic of North Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States.

The Council will review the list every two weeks to add more countries that meet the criteria and exclude any in which the Covid-19 situation deteriorates.

The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Portugal are among the latest countries welcoming tourists from the U.S.
Dutch officials opened the country on June 24 to all travellers from the U.S. without requiring testing, vaccination or quarantine. However, all passengers arriving by air must complete a health declaration, which can be done digitally.
Portugal also opened its borders for American travellers starting June 15, requiring them only to present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test result.

Similarly, Germany opened its borders to Americans on June 20 as the country was removed from the red list. Vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers can enter Germany without having to present an ‘essential purpose’ for entering.

The country had already opened to travellers from third countries vaccinated against the virus with one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (E.M.A.) – Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, and Janssen.
Effective June 19, Denmark announced that vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers from the United States may travel to the country for any reason, including tourism.

Travelers from the U.S. who are not fully vaccinated must have a Covid-19 test upon entry.
Before the E.U. recommendation, some other member countries already had individually reopened their borders to travelers from other countries — including the U.S. — in a bid to revive tourism in time for summer.

“Aside from causing a health crisis, the coronavirus pandemic has also created a financial crisis, with world countries losing millions from the travel and tourism sector alone,” VisaGuide adds. “For example, the U.S. suffered a loss of $766 billion in the travel and tourism sector last year, while the U.K. has lost £148 billion, and Germany has lost €161 billion in the same sector within the same period.”

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