FILE - In this Wednesday, July 1, 2020 file photo, Marcel Schmetz raises the US flag next to a WWII American Sherman tank at his Remember Museum 39-45 in Thimister-Clermont, Belgium. Tourists from the United States who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could be able to travel across the European Union this summer, officials from the 27-nation bloc said on Monday, April 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 1, 2020 file photo, Marcel Schmetz raises the US flag next to a WWII American Sherman tank at his Remember Museum 39-45 in Thimister-Clermont, Belgium. Tourists from the United States who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could be able to travel across the European Union this summer, officials from the 27-nation bloc said on Monday, April 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

EU finalizing plans to allow U.S. tourists back this summer

The commission didn’t say when exactly tourists will be allowed back inside the bloc

The European Union is finalizing plans to allow tourists from the United States to travel to the 27-nation bloc this summer, officials said Monday.

More than a year after the EU restricted travel to the region to a bare minimum in a bid to contain the pandemic, the European Commission said it would make a recommendation to member states to allow American travellers back.

The commission didn’t say when exactly tourists will be allowed back inside the bloc, and if a reciprocal approach will apply to European tourists willing to travel to the U.S.

European Commission spokesman Adalbert Jahnz told reporters that the EU’s executive body is hoping to restore nonessential “trans-Atlantic travel as soon as it is safe to do so.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if only full vaccination would be accepted for entry, or whether a negative PCR test or proof of recent recovery from COVID-19 could be presented as well.

“These are among the questions we’ll still need to figure out,” Jahnz said. “The proposal is not yet made. For now, we have nothing more to go by than what the (European Commission) president said.”

On Sunday, The New York Times published an interview with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, reporting that fully vaccinated Americans would be able to visit EU countries this summer since all coronavirus vaccines currently used in the U.S. have also been approved by the EU’s drug regulator. But the report didn’t mention whether she was asked about whether Americans could also provide a negative PCR test or evidence of recovering from COVID-19.

“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” von der Leyen said in the interview. “This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union. Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by EMA.”

Jahnz insisted that the return of American tourists to EU nations will be conditioned on the epidemiological situation in both the U.S. and within the bloc.

The European Union is putting the finishing touches to a system of certificates that would allow EU residents to travel freely across the region by the summer as long as they have been vaccinated, tested negative for COVID-19 or recovered from the disease. Under the plan discussed with their U.S. counterparts, American tourists could be included in the program.

With more than 15 million Americans estimated to travel to Europe annually before the crisis, the recommendation from the commission is manna from heaven for the heavily hit European tourism sector. But EU member states will have the final say on whether to implement the guidelines.

The commission said other third countries have made similar requests, but didn’t name them. Asked whether negotiations with the United Kingdom were ongoing, European Commission spokesman Christian Wigand said “no contact to this end” has been made.

Travel to the EU is currently extremely limited except for a handful of countries with low infection rates including Australia and New Zealand. But Greece, which is heavily reliant on tourism, has already lifted quarantine restrictions for the U.S., Britain, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia, Israel, and non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland that are part of a European travel pact. Travellers from those countries will no longer be subject to a seven-day quarantine requirement if they hold a vaccination certificate or negative PCR test.

“Uniliteral approaches, from our perspective should be avoided,” Jahnz said. “The objective is to continue to have a co-ordinated approach on the European level.”

READ MORE: Tourism spending in Canada dropped by almost 50 per cent in 2020

___

Samuel Petrequin, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusEuropean UnionTourismUSAvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Creston Town Hall. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Ellen Tzakis resigns from Creston Town Council

Council is preparing to hold a by-election later this year

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

School District 8 employees Shannon Tetz, Cheryl Rendek, and Janet Wall officially began their retirement with a COVID-friendly send-off outside of Prince Charles Secondary School. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
School District 8 employees Shannon Tetz, Cheryl Rendek, and Janet Wall officially began their retirement with a COVID-friendly send-off outside of Prince Charles Secondary School. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Three women retire from School District 8 with COVID-friendly celebration

Shannon Tetz, Cheryl Rendek, and Janet Wall shared 87 years of service collectively

The Salmo Public Library’s director Taylor Caron with her award. Photo: Submitted
Salmo Public Library director wins provincial award

Taylor Caron has been recognized by her peers for innovation and advocacy

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. Indigenous leaders are calling for an investigation into the conduct of Mounties on Vancouver Island after two police shootings of members of a small First Nations community in three months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Indigenous leaders call for clarity, investigation into RCMP after B.C. shooting

The RCMP declined to comment on the requests by Indigenous leaders

Colleen Price, Vancouver Island University’s bachelor of science in nursing program chairperson, says she is impressed with how students have persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Next generation of B.C. nurses already showing resilience

University program head says learning had to be adjusted amidst pandemic

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old B.C. bike rider already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

Most Read