2nd Jun 2023

EU keeps door open for US tourists

  • EU tourist hotspots recorded a surge in infections over summer (Photo:

Non-essential travel from the US to the EU can continue for now despite a surge in US coronavirus cases and lack of reciprocity, according to the latest European recommendation.

EU countries made the decision in Brussels on Monday (10 August), three EU officials speaking to the Bloomberg and Reuters news agencies said.

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They left the US on an EU 'white list' of some 24 places from which "travel restrictions should be lifted", but which is not binding on member states' national administrations.

The white list also includes Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Western Balkan countries, and Ukraine, but not Russia or the UK.

The positive US recommendation comes as the European summer tourist season enters its full swing.

But it also comes amid a surge in US infections, which recently passed the figure of 270 per 100,000 people, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), an EU agency in Sweden, whose normal benchmark for an acceptable level of infections is 75 per 100,000.

And the EU policy comes even though the US is continuing to ban European tourists due to fears of spreading the Delta-variant of Covid-19, alongside its ban on travellers from Brazil, India, Iran, and South Africa.

"We insist comparable rules be applied to arrivals in both directions," European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had said last week.

"We keep reminding, asking, and encouraging our US friends to follow suit," a spokesperson for Slovenia's EU presidency also said at the time.

Meanwhile, inside Europe, an increasing number of tourist or public venues are requiring visitors to prove that they have been vaccinated before giving access.

Thirteen EU countries, including France, Germany, and Italy, as well as the Vatican, have started or plan to start asking people to show 'green pass' vaccine certificates in various kinds of venues.

The Italian regime, which entered into force last Friday, is among the most severe, with even lesser-known tourist attractions, such as the catacombs of Naples, now off-limits to unvaccinated visitors.

Italy is mostly an 'amber' country in terms of the latest ECDC infections-data, but Sicily and a handful of regions are classified as 'red' (over 200 infections per 100,000).

Popular tourist destinations Cyprus, France, Greece, Portugal, and Spain are mostly red, together with Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, and the Netherlands, but infections remain low in Germany, central and eastern Europe, and in Croatia.


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