The European Union is reversing its yearlong stance on American tourists and this summer will welcome vaccinated U.S. passport holders, The New York Times reported.
“[This] is going to lead to a flurry of new bookings this week...because folks feel a much greater sense of confidence that they will be able to take that trip to Paris or Barcelona this summer,” Scott Keyes, founder and chief flight expert at Scott’s Cheap Flights, told Yahoo Money.
Read more: Top 4 travel destinations for summer 2021
The details and timeline remain unclear on when vaccinated Americans will be allowed to visit the 27-nation bloc and what vaccine documentation will be required of tourists, but the decision comes after the successful vaccine rollout in the U.S., according to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, in a statement to The New York Times.
Already United Airlines reported searches to Europe are up 19%, according to a CNN report. That's despite the State Department's move to reclassify the world’s countries using CDC guidance last week, designating 153 out of 209 countries as Level 4: Do Not Travel, its highest and most severe travel advisory level.
Since the pandemic defaulted all American travel to stateside, the EU’s reopening is “going to go a long way in spreading out where people are taking summer vacations,” Keyes said. Crowds at certain U.S. vacation hotspots like national parks and beaches — which were inundated with visitors last summer — may thin and return to pre-pandemic volume.
“As more countries start to open their borders again, especially for Americans who have been vaccinated, I think you're going to see more and more people start to spread out rather than feeling more funneled and confined to the lower 48 [domestic] destinations,” he said.
Perennially popular European capitals like Athens, Paris, and Rome are primed to see Americans this summer, per Keyes. After a year of social distancing measures, U.S. tourists are daydreaming about that “treat yourself” spot.
“People are going to be wanting to make up for lost time,” he said, and not settle for destinations “midway down their bucket list.”