Australia has cracked the nod and is on the list of 14 countries whose citizens will be allowed back into the European Union from 1 July.
This comes as the EU countries – plus non-EU member states that are part of the Schengen travel zone – begin to open their badly damaged economies to international business and leisure travel. The non-EU countries in the Schengen zone are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The EU announced its first list on Tuesday 30 June and will update it every two weeks. Depending on how countries around the world are controlling the spread of the pandemic, they will be added to the ‘safe’ lost or, conversely, may be dropped from the list.
List of top 14 and China may be added too
The countries on the first list are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. China may be added to the list, depending on whether it will grant reciprocity and allow UE citizens into China.
The UK is no longer part of the EU, so is not included. Currently, Britain requires all visitors, with the odd exception such as truck drivers travelling to and from mainland Europe, to self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to UK citizens too.
A notable non-inclusion on the list is the US, where the pandemic seems largely out of control. This is bad news for European inbound tourism, given that approximately 15-million Americans normally visit the continent every year.
But how many people will actually travel?
But although Europe’s borders are opening to some foreigners, the question still remains as to how many will be willing to visit? Even though there will surely be good deals on the table as travel companies try to lure back lost travellers.
In many instances, people simply cannot get out of their own countries in order to travel. They may also be unwilling to do so, given the perceived health risks involved.
They may also be wary of harsher travel restrictions suddenly being reimposed in certain European countries.
There is also another simple question: what if your country is on the ‘safe entry’ list now, but is taken off when the list is reviewed again in two weeks’ time? For many people it may all just be too complicated right now…