When the European Union (EU) announced it would be removing the United States from its “Safe Travel List” earlier this month, questions remained about just how much that would impact travel to Europe.
According to a new survey from the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), the impact has been unmistakable.
The survey found that almost three out of every four active USTOA members had guests postpone their travel to a later date following the EU announcement. The survey also found that two out of every three active members had guests cancel their 2021 European travel shortly after the announcement was made.
The survey also found that tour operators have been forced to make changes because of the demand drop following the EU’s announcement—while 45% reported no changes, 47% said that they were canceling departures, 42% said they are running downsized groups due to the cancellations, and 37% said they are operation few departures by consolidating or canceling.
According to USTOA president and CEO, the biggest impact stemming from the EU’s announcement was confusion from travelers who were unsure they’d be able to travel into Europe following the EU’s announcement.
“What we have heard from our tour operator members is that the EU policy change – and the resulting news coverage – immediately raised confusion among travelers, along with hesitation and doubts about their ability to proceed with European vacation plans this year. In fact, vaccinated Americans, for the most part, can move forward with their travel plans to Europe and many of our members have been operating travel programs and tours successfully in Europe for months,” he said.
Travel advisors speaking to TMR mentioned the same thing earlier this month—that the announcement has caused confusion among travelers who were scheduled to travel to Europe this year.
While the news did cause some members of the EU to change their inbound travel rules for Americans, many countries are still allowing tourists to enter, a lot without quarantine, if they follow a set of new rules and protocols.
The Netherlands, for example, recently backtracked on its quarantine requirement for all travelers regardless of vaccination status, and Austria recently adopted similar rules.