“Country after country is just declaring their highest ever [coronavirus] numbers since the pandemic began,” says Adrian Hyzler, the chief medical officer of Healix International, a company that specializes in international security, medical and travel-assistance services. “Europe is just so preoccupied with trying to suppress this surge.”
However, some experts say Europe’s second wave may not change earlier estimations that U.S. travel may return in spring or summer 2021. Eduardo Santander, executive director of the European Travel Commission, said in an email that while the current situation across Europe is alarming, it is not a surprise.
“The seasonal resurgence of cases in Europe was widely expected and does not change the overall state of play for international tourism,” Santander said in an email.
Experts agree that a vaccine could turn the situation around, but without any details or timetable for its arrival, it is difficult to say when it could aid travel. In addition to hoping for a vaccine, Santander says both the United States and Europe need to figure out other strategic solutions to facilitate the return of travel between both destinations.
“The tourism sector in Europe has been continually advocating that governments both side of the Atlantic work together to develop a standardized protocol for testing and tracing,” he said.
While the future for travel to Europe may be uncertain, Americans are still eager to book international trips for next year. According to SkyScanner data gathered between Sept. 11 and Oct. 11, half of the top 10 searches for 2021 trips were to European cities.
“US travelers are looking to expand their horizons for 2021, returning to the far-flung parts of the world they’ve been missing this year,” Mark Crossey, SkyScanner’s U.S. traveler expert, said in an email. “Europe features heavily in the top ten destinations searched, with favourites that have been hit hard by the pandemic like London, Barcelona, Paris and Rome all high on peoples wish lists.”
A Department of State spokesperson said the United States is working closely with its transatlantic allies to allow for travel and business ties consistent with health guidelines to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. In the meantime, the department advises travelers to keep an eye out for information on any developments regarding European travel restrictions.
“U.S. citizens considering traveling abroad should review the entire Travel Advisory for their transit countries and destination(s) on Travel.State.gov and check with their carrier of choice for any additional travel requirements, such as pre-departure testing,” the spokesperson said in an email. “As always, we will regularly update our destination-specific advice to U.S. travelers as conditions evolve, including any changes to entry restrictions.”