EU recommends new curbs on US travellers
International tourism recovery has received a setback with the European Union removing the US from a safe list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted.
Non-essential travel to the EU from six countries, also including Israel, is subject to temporary travel restriction from August 30.
The move to pause non-essential travel from the US follows a surge in Covid cases in the US with daily average hospital admissions topping a reported 100,000 for the first time since last winter.
“This is without prejudice to the possibility for member states to lift the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travellers,” the EU Council said.
At the same time, it recommended member states should start lifting travel curbs from 21 other countries, including Canada, Qatar and Singapore.
The EU first lifted travel restrictions on American travellers in June, but the US has kept its ban on European non-essential travel in place since March 2020.
However, the recommendation to remove the US from the EU’s safe travel list drew industry criticism.
US Travel Association executive vice president of public affairs and policy Tori Emerson Barnes said: “This is a disappointing development following the boost in inbound visitation by vaccinated travellers that many EU countries experienced this summer.
“It’s a setback despite the uptake in vaccinations – the tool that’s highly effective against the variants – which are on the rise on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Travel is a crucial component of the global economy and will be necessary for a full recovery from the economic devastation of the pandemic.
“We encourage the EU to remain open to vaccinated Americans, and likewise urge the United States to take immediate steps to begin welcoming vaccinated individuals and restoring our travel economy.”
Iata director-general Willie Walsh said: “While this is a disappointing development for businesses and people who rely on travel, the data from the US and Israel support the value and benefit of vaccination.
“As governments rightly urge their populations to be vaccinated, governments need to be confident in the benefits they bring – including the freedom to travel.
“At a minimum, those who are fully vaccinated should be free to move without restriction.”