US Travel Reacts to EU's Plans to Ban American Travelers

The U.S. Travel Association’s (USTA) Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy, Tori Emerson Barnes, reacted this afternoon to reports that the majority of Americans will be excluded from the European Union’s forthcoming list of travelers who are given permission to enter its borders when they reopen again on July 1.

She wrote in a statement: “The E.U.’s announcement is incredibly disappointing, and a step in the wrong direction as we seek to rebuild our global economy.

“In the U.S. alone, travel-related jobs account for more than a third of lost employment due to the fallout of the pandemic. Health is paramount, and the public has a major role to play by embracing best practices, such as wearing masks, but we are at a stage when it should be possible to make progress.

“This is unwelcome news, and will have major negative implications for an economic recovery—particularly if this ban results in cycles of retaliation, as is so often the case.”

The New York Times reported that E.U. officials it spoke with indicated that the U.S. had lobbied hard to get itself put onto the list of “safe” countries, but that the country remains too high-risk in terms of potential COVID-19 transmission.

Even though infection rates and death volumes have dropped in Europe since the U.S. closed itself off to E.U. travelers back in March, America has not eased up on its own restrictions, either.

President and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Zane Kerby, issued a statement in response to the news:

“A growing number of Americans have visited Europe over the past twenty years. Many European capitals including Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Venice, and Madrid are perennial top ten destinations for American travelers. While there may be genuine concerns from local officials regarding the spread of COVID-19, banning all Americans from travel to Europe is a short-sighted decision that could have unintended long term consequences. Our travel advisors report extraordinary pent up demand for travel. The European travel market is vital to the business of travel advisors. With the No Sail Order still in place, this proposed travel ban threatens to push our members’ businesses off a cliff. Punishing American travelers is short-sighted and economically irresponsible.”

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