EU lifts travel restrictions for US travelers

Tamara Hardingham-Gill, CNNUpdated 18th June 2021
The destination board shows canceled flights to America and Israel at Frankfurt Airport on March 12, 2020.
(CNN) — US travelers will finally be allowed to visit Europe again this summer.
The European Union's governing body has recommended that the bloc lift restrictions on non-essential travel from 14 countries, including the US, a move that would allow visitors from these destinations to vacation in Europe far more easily.
In a statement announced on Friday, the European Council said member states should "gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders" for residents of the following countries: Albania, Australia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Republic of North Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, USA and China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity.
The UK was noticeably absent from the list, which is to be reviewed every two weeks.
According to the European Council, the countries were selected based on specifications linked to the "epidemiological situation and overall response to COVID-19, as well as the reliability of the available information and data sources."
The governing body also noted that reciprocity should be considered case by case.
While some countries, such as Greece and Spain, are already permitting fully vaccinated US travelers and/or those who submit a negative PCR test, or meet other special requirements to enter, this recommendation means that Americans could be permitted to travel to 27 EU member states.
However, each member state will have the option to impose additional requirements, such as a mandatory quarantine period, a negative PCR test or proof of vaccination.
The news comes more than a year after non-essential travel from America to the EU was banned.
At present, non-US citizens who've recently visited the EU or the UK are barred from entering America.
US travelers took over 36 million trips to Europe in 2019, but data from the European Travel Commission indicates that this figure fell to 6.6 million last year.
In fact, Europe saw international arrivals drop by 70% in 2020, when compared with 2019 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
(Top image: Travelers at Germany's Frankfurt Airport look at a destination board showing canceled flights to America on March 12, 2020. Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images).