The World Travel and Tourism Council (WWTC) has called the latest EU travel recommendations a ”backward step” for the industry.
The news follows as the EU removed the USA from its safe list due to rising cases across the country.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO expressed her frustration.
She said: “Protecting public health must remain the priority. However, the EU’s recommendation to reimpose restrictions on U.S. travelers is a step backward and will only slow down the recovery of the sector.”
“With high vaccination levels in both the U.S. and the EU, we should be looking at opening up travel between these two major economies. We need a common set of rules that recognize global vaccines and remove the need to quarantine for people with a negative COVID result.
The WWTC is the latest organization to criticize the EU recommendations as travel leaders continue to grapple with the updated advice.
U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said: “This is a disappointing development following the boost in visitation by vaccinated travelers that many EU countries experienced this summer.
“Travel is a crucial component of the global economy. It will be necessary for a full recovery from the economic devastation of the pandemic.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General Willie Walsh also expressed his disappointment and emphasized the importance of the vaccine programs.
He said: “While this is a disappointing development for businesses and people who rely on travel, the data from the US and Israel support the value and benefit of vaccination.
What restrictions will be brought in?
The EU recommendation means that the US is no longer on their ”safe to travel” list. However, it’s up to member states to decide the appropriate restrictions for visitors.
Certain countries like Italy, have already tightened their restrictions on visitors arriving from the US. Travelers must present a negative Covid-19 test taken in the prior three days, regardless of their vaccination status. Unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for five days after they arrive and then be tested again, even if their initial test was negative.
Tourists must also fill out a passenger locator form.
Ireland’s Department of Health said it is not planning to make any changes based on the EU Council decision.
“The EU recommendation is non-binding and member states retain control over their own border restrictions,” it said.
In Ireland, fully vaccinated visitors from the U.S. can enter the country without testing or restrictions as long as they have proof of vaccination.
Non-vaccinated visitors must provide proof of a negative PCR test.