It has been 15 months since Europe closed its borders to the United States, after the country suffered some of the worst impacts of COVID-19 in the Global North.
However, at the end of last week it was announced that the EU had recommended that Europe reopen travel to US citizens as it is now one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.
The announcement listed 14 countries where residents could travel to and around the block this summer, a list that will be reviewed every two weeks. Albania, Australia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Republic of North Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United States and China are all shown, subject to conditions. The EU has yet to take a decision on the UK.
While countries like Greece and Spain have been open to fully vaccinated U.S. travelers since the start of the year, the United States will hopefully now have access to all 27 member states.
How dependent is the EU on US tourism?
Europe is the number one tourist destination for the United States. Last year, the U.S. tourism drought cost the industry billions of dollars.
Those who rely the most on the American traveler are France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Globally, Europe is the number one tourist destination, with industry contributing 10% of the EU’s GDP and creating 26 million jobs.
To put this into perspective for the United States, Americans alone accounted for nearly 18 million of the 538 million travel arrivals in 2017. More than half of hotel stays in Europe were occupied. by Americans in 2016. This increase continued until COVID struck. .
Why is Europe so popular with American tourists?
Historically speaking, the modern United States remains relatively young compared to the ancient roots of many European countries. On behalf of Spain, Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492, putting contemporary culture just 500 years old.
The history of America is far removed from the history and culture of Europe, with its diverse tapestry of empires and eras. The mainland is often seen as that romantic take on quiet cobblestone streets, great food, small towns, and iconic landmarks.
More generally, Europe is an extremely diverse part of the world. While America – such a huge land mass – has oceans and beaches, mountains and canyons, desert lands and plains, Europe has different languages and complex variations of culture and beliefs.
No wonder the continent is – well, such a wonder to the United States.
From now on, it is up to each country to decide on its approach to welcoming visitors.
From mandatory quarantine periods to negative tests and proof of vaccination, as always, the restrictions are changing all the time.
Learn more about what’s going on in Europe right now here.