Just days after Greece began accepting vaccinated American tourists and France indicated it would soon follow suit, the 27-member European Union has set the stage to open the entire bloc to travelers from the U.S.
“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, told The New York Times on Sunday. “This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union.”
No timetable has been set, however, and individual nations will still be permitted to maintain and enforce their own behavioral guidelines. As the U.S. brings the virus under control—with restrictions on gatherings increasingly relaxed—American visitors may find themselves in popular European destinations but unable to access the types of bars and restaurants that are open (albeit in limited capacity) at home. And vaccinated Americans set on interacting with the smart set in Positano and Provence—who are vaccinated at far lower levels—may find a more reserved reception than in years past.
Still, there is no doubt that European summer locales—from Barcelona to the Amalfi Coast, and from Lisbon to Provence—are dying to welcome back the usual throngs of free-spending and big-tipping Americans. (An Orbitz search for a mid-June roundtrip from Miami to Lisbon showed flights as low as $338.81—shockingly low. A roundtrip Miami-Rome in mid-July could be booked for a very reasonable $642.59.)
“My well-traveled clients have been champing at the bit to get back to Europe—their favorite destination,” says Becca Hensley, a luxury travel adviser and planner. “Though some have some hesitancy about flying and other aspects in the pandemic’s wake, they are ready and willing to forge ahead as soon as Europe opens. We’ve been booking trips everywhere from the Amalfi Coast to Paris and beach destinations.”
Greece, which depends on Americans to fill its bars, tavernas and hotels on Mykonos and Santorini, has led the charge to drop the restrictions on American travelers.