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EU Must Allow U.S. Travelers Or Lose Billions, Trade Association Warns

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Europe has long since been a popular destination for North American travelers. Whether it’s galleries and shopping in France, food and fashion in Italy or the beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean, a typical year before the pandemic would see millions make the trip across the Atlantic to fulfil their bucket list dreams.

However, the restrictions imposed on US travelers has seen Europe as a destination lost to many Americans – and, with it, billions of dollars lost in revenue to cities all around Europe. Warned to find a solution or lose even more, here’s a closer look at the situation.

US passport

US Travelers in the EU – Background Information For Travelers

Europe is an extremely popular destination for US travelers, with the pandemic and its restrictions only serving to fuel the appetite to travel to the continent further.

Rome tourists masks

In 2019, almost 15 million from the US made it to Europe, making it the continent that was most visited by American by some distance. Whilst Canada and Mexico may be the most popular international destinations for US travelers, European nations make up the rest of the top 5, with the United Kingdom, Italy and France taking the 3rd, 4th and 5th spots respectively.


Prior to the pandemic, the number of US-based travelers heading to Europe was rising year on year for the past four years. Indications show that once travel is opened back up, it will still be a popular destination; following the news that the Moderna vaccine had a 94.5% efficacy rate in November, the top 10 destinations searched by Americans were all European cities. The cities were London, Paris, Copenhagen, Manchester, Madrid, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dublin, Milan and Munich.


EU Needs To Find A Way To Let US Travelers In – Trade Association

The European Union has been told that it faces the prospect of losing out on billions of dollars in revenue should it not find a way to let US travelers into the continent. That’s the warning the institution has received from the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), a trade association with 1,200 members serving 63 origin markets.

Tom Jenkins, the CEO of ETOA, claimed that potential visitors from the U.S. and Canada were being put off the thought of traveling to Europe because it isn’t clear when they may be able to return, or what conditions they would be able to return under. He claimed that the EU needs a solution to welcoming back non-essential travelers. In a press release, Jenkins said “Europe is viewed as a single destination by long-haul visitors: it is what they think of and is their goal when planning a trip. So there has to be a coordinated response from the Schengen area to define what it takes for business to resume”.

This sentiment was further echoed by the Chairman of the Canadian Tour Operators Association (CATO) Brett Walker. Walker stressed that the next 90 days was essential in determining whether or not there would be the safe return of North American travelers to Europe, and that prolonged uncertainty would see the same decline in spending by North Americans – between 90 and 95% – for 2021, as it was in 2020.

Tourism represents 10% of the GDP in the EU, and is responsible for 26 million jobs on the continent. In 2016, room bookings by Americans made up more than half of all bookings in the EU, showing that US travelers are an essential cog in the tourism wheel in the continent. At present, US travelers are not permitted to visit EU countries, unless for essential purposes.


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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories

Stephen White

Friday 19th of February 2021

Great article, thank you! Like the new look of the site, too.

Kashlee Kucheran

Friday 19th of February 2021

Thank you! We have been working to make it faster to load for our readers :) And more simple/easy to read