Americans are back in Europe as Covid-19 restrictions ease

The European Union has agreed to open the door to American tourists for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, giving a boost to the continent’s crucial tourism industry and Americans’ summer travel options.

The EU on Wednesday added the United States to the list of countries from which tourists can enter, diplomats said. After the measure was approved at an EU meeting in Brussels on Friday, Americans will be free to visit the 27-nation bloc for the first time since March 2020. The EU said last month that it intended to open up to Americans but had not done so. set a date on which it would become official.

Some EU countries heavily dependent on tourism, including Italy and Greece, have already opened up to Americans. Mediterranean countries would struggle to absorb another summer with few foreign tourists after costly closures last year. Italy, Greece and France all suffered a drop in gross domestic product of more than 8% in 2020. The Spanish economy shrank by 11%.

With the United States now on the list, most restrictions will be removed across the region, although countries may add their own entry requirements. Most countries should require tourists to present either proof of vaccination, a negative Covid-19 test, or a document showing that they have recovered from the disease.

Japan, Australia, Israel and several other countries are already on the EU list. Countries added this week along with the United States include Serbia and Lebanon.

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