ASTA President Calls EU Banning Americans “Short-Sighted”

ASTA CEO Zane Kerby

Last week, the European Union (E.U.) finalized a list of countries who can visit the bloc once it reopens on July 1. Left off that list was the United States due to its inability to curtail the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Following the report of the ban, Zane Kerby, the president and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) issued the following statement:

"A growing number of Americans have visited Europe over the past 20 years. Many European capitals including Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Venice and Madrid are perennial top 10 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. 

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“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." 

In March, U.S. president Donald Trump banned foreign nationals of the Schengen Area (comprising 26 countries in Europe). While the initial announcement said the ban would only last for 30 days, The New York Times reports that the administration has not eased this restriction.

Several E.U. members have reportedly pushed to make the common list dependent on both scientific and economic criteria, as they heavily depend on tourism, particularly from the U.S.

The Times adds that the full list of approved countries includes Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican. China will be included if it also opens its borders to European Union travelers.

Note: Also included in the discussion regarding reopening borders are Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, even though they are not members of the E.U.

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