As the pandemic spread across Europe, summer travel was in jeopardy. In May, the EU announced borders would reopen under strict guidance. As we know, the majority only opened for fellow member states or selected ‘safe’ nations.
Across continental Europe, social distancing protocols are now in place to protect residents and tourists, including:
Here is a brief overview of what travel currently looks like across Europe.
As one of the hardest-hit European nations, Italy’s summer tourism suffered greatly. After peaking in March, the situation began to improve following an aggressive lockdown. Borders reopened, and the Sicilian tourist board incentivized tourists by subsidizing flights and hotels. Although, in the past week, the nation is seeing a spike, particularly on Sardinia.
Spain & Portugal
While Spain was second to Italy, neighboring Portugal managed to contain the virus - reporting under 2,000 fatalities. Portugal implemented stricter measures on its Madeira and Azores islands, including the use of face masks in all public spaces over summer. Meanwhile, the ‘Clean & Safe’ seal identifies facilities with advanced hygiene standards. However, Spain is experiencing a worrying resurgence due to an influx of tourists.
After its initial resilience, Germany’s cases are increasing. Summer revelry and returning vacationers are believed to be the root of the spread. Plans are currently rolling out to tighten social distancing measures. We’re still awaiting a decision regarding Germany’s iconic Christmas markets.
A relative newcomer to the EU family, the jewel of the Adriatic set its own terms. Croatia is one of the few European countries that currently welcomes all foreign tourists, US citizens included. Furthermore, no quarantine is enforced - providing travelers present a negative PCR test at customs, taken no later than 48 hours prior.
The UK and Ireland
Despite the UK’s early surge in cases, the island nation kept borders open. At present, travelers can enter the UK, providing they provide an address for the first 14 days of their stay. Quarantine during these two weeks is subject to nationality. Meanwhile, Ireland appears to have shouldered the worst of the virus and welcomes tourists from ‘safe’ countries.
Sweden took a slightly different approach to lockdown than elsewhere in Europe with its ‘voluntary’ lockdown. Domestic tourism has remained in place - with international travelers welcome from select countries. Norway, on the other hand, managed to contain cases and remains on alert. Bars close at midnight, and theaters obey sanitary measures, and events of over 200 participants are banned.
As infection rates soared in the west, Eastern Europe fought back. In particular, the three Baltic States and Georgia saw low transmission rates and fatalities. With a second-wave predicted, Eastern Europe is preparing to tighten up. For example, in Estonia, some regions ended the sale of late-night alcohol in bars to curb COVID-19. There’s talk of rolling this out nationwide. Meanwhile, Ukraine is sealing its borders for the whole of September.
That’s a whistlestop overview of how Europe looks at present, following a cautious summer. You can see the latest European statistics for yourself and feel free to call or email me if you’d like to discuss a specific country.
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