Beach goers sunbathe and swim on a beach in Portimao, Algarve Region, Portugal.
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Delicious pasta in Florence, a stroll along the Champs-Élysées in Paris or a beautiful sunset on one of the Greek islands – tourism in Europe wants to get back to normal this summer.
EU countries officially agreed on Thursday to welcome foreign travelers who have received one of the coronavirus vaccines approved by European regulators. So far, these include vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Vaccinated persons are allowed to enter the block if they have received the last recommended dose at least 14 days before their arrival in the EU.
Ultimately, each Member State will decide when and to whom to reopen its borders. Therefore, each government from the 27 nations will decide whether to completely lift quarantine measures and / or tests for international visitors.
Children excluded from the vaccination can travel to the block with their family if they did not test negative more than 72 hours before arrival.
While it remains to be seen how each EU nation will welcome foreign travelers, the deal at the EU level is a welcome move for the ailing tourism industry.
“We know consumers want to travel this summer, so we appreciate that European countries could allow vaccinated people to travel without testing,” an easyJet airline spokesman told CNBC via email.
“It is of course important that this is done in a simple manner to ensure that it is easy for passengers,” said the same spokesman.
The EU decision could be particularly important for British tourists who are now outside the EU and represent one of the most important markets for tourism-dependent EU countries. In addition, people in the US, Israel and other highly vaccinated parts of the world should also benefit from the EU’s stance.
So far, the EU has only assessed a country’s coronavirus infection rate to decide whether to allow visitors. But the bloc is now relaxing that rule too, and more citizens from more countries will get the green light.
But Brussels is also aware that the health situation could change due to new variants of the virus.
As a result, the EU countries have also agreed on a new “emergency interruption”. If the epidemiological situation in a country worsens, you can quickly impose travel restrictions on that country.
Travel and Leisure stocks in Europe closed 1.5% on Thursday.
Stephen Furlong, a senior analyst at wealth management firm Davy, told CNBC that the EU’s decision was largely expected by market participants, hence the muted stock response.
“It is still not clear whether the US is opening up to Europe,” he said of one of the major uncertainties for international travel this summer, while predicting that he does not expect “consumers will travel extensively”.