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What is the future of tourism in Europe? (June 15) 2:47
(CNN) - In downtown Buffalo, New York, crossing the border into Ontario, Canada used to be as easy as driving a mile on the Bridge of Peace over the Niagara River. But now that is a prohibited route.
In the coronavirus era, New York residents and out-of-state hikers are not allowed to cross the border for leisure travel.
American citizens have been vetoed by the northern neighbor and a host of nations around the world. The latest travel news affecting Americans: The European Union is considering blocking travelers from areas with severe covid-19 outbreaks after it opens its borders on July 1.Heavy fines in New York for not complying with quarantine 1:13
Given that the United States has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than anywhere else in the world, with numbers increasing daily in some states, American travelers are unlikely to be allowed to enter soon.
"The chances of the United States are close to zero," an EU diplomat told CNN. "With their contagion rates ... even they can't believe that possibility."
Although possible travel bubbles are being discussed around the world (Fiji is the last in talks to join one with Australia and New Zealand), the United States has not yet formed or joined a bubble.
Where does this new world order leave American citizens who like to travel?
Do you feel nostalgic for the days before covid-19, when an American passport promised access to much of the world? Are you eager to know how they will be perceived, and received, by foreign countries when the restrictions are finally eased?
The future of travel for Americans, and whether they will be welcomed as tourists again, remains unclear. In many ways, it will remain debatable as long as travel to certain regions is prohibited.
Many destinations, including Japan and Vietnam, as well as the EU, have indicated that they would be open to travel channels with China.
At a time when many Americans avoid air travel and instead take the road, they will not be able to go to Canada. In fact, the travel restrictions for US passport holders right now far outweigh the travel possibilities.
And for many people, this is as it should be.
Colleen Friesen, who lives in a small tourist town in British Columbia, hopes that the border between the United States and Canada will remain closed.
"Most Canadians are against allowing Americans to enter the country because of the rampant infection rate in the United States. Although some states appear to be handling the pandemic, when we see news from Oklahoma allowing an indoor rally, we simply shake our heads collectively, ”Friesen told CNN Travel by email.Spain reopens its borders to European countries 3:29
Stacey McKenna, who lives in Colorado, is not ready to think about international travel of any kind right now, although she maintains that it is partly because the places on her radar "are extremely vulnerable economically and geographically," and she would not be willing to risk it. to expose anyone.
"I think if I found a place that I think traveling internationally (or even by plane) would be appropriate, then I would start wondering if it would be welcome."
For New York-based travel writer Juliet Izon, who canceled a summer vacation in Italy months ago when there was still a ray of hope that things could resume, to see how the United States compares to other countries is discouraging and depressing.
Izon believes he will make his trip to Italy one day, but says: "I would not be surprised if in certain countries they do not allow Americans to enter for a while or impose a really strict quarantine in the coming years," adding that the handling of States United of the covid-19 is probably "another black spot against us."
The other? The situation of American politics.
Friesen, who says he appreciates that his country's politicians have given way to the scientific and medical community, fears the way the virus in the United States "has become politicized."
But a diplomat from the European Union, who spoke to CNN earlier this week on condition of anonymity, calls the decision to travel between the United States and the EU a very sensitive issue and insists that "it is only about health."
"Sure, you can see not being on the list as something political, when one country is allowed and another is not, but this is a misrepresentation of what we are doing. We are looking to open our borders, this is a positive step ”.
Despite this statement and the EU diplomat's insistence that "we want people to come", the much-changed travel landscape worries some people.
"Instead of thinking about the near future of travel, I've been reflecting on how all of this will affect xenophobia in general," says McKenna.
A holistic experience
Dennis Geronimus, president and associate professor of art history at New York University, has historically combined business and leisure travel, often to Italy. He is not personally concerned with how he will be received when he travels internationally again, and he is someone who will likely be able to set foot on certain foreign soil much sooner than other Americans.
This is largely due to the nature of your trip. Geronimus is generally hosted by international colleagues and admits that it is "different from going on vacation somewhere without knowing anyone and then immersing yourself in the culture and going to see the sites and also seeing other foreigners."
There are steps Geronimus could take now to possibly grant prohibited access to U.S. leisure travelers, although he would still be subject to quarantine.
In any case, although he would like to see Rafael's exhibition in Rome and collaborate with colleagues in Italy, he is not planning a trip to the region any time soon.
It may be considered essential, but Geronimus does not see it as essential enough. Instead, the teacher would prefer to focus on the steps necessary to resume face-to-face classes at his university this fall.
Also, McKenna, whose background is in medical anthropology and public health, is thinking of other more important things: “I will be honest. I haven't even gotten to the question of whether I think I would feel welcome as an American ”given that international travel is not appropriate at this time.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says: “We have been working with countries around the world, including our friends in Europe and in the EU, to determine how we can safely reopen international travel. It is important to the United States that Europeans have the ability to travel to the United States again. ”
It's not about Americans, per se, says New Zealander Elen Turner, though it's hard to ignore the restrictions that affect them along with the number of deaths and confirmed cases of covid-19.
"I think once the borders are reopened properly, New Zealanders will be as welcoming to Americans as they will be to any other traveler," says Turner.
But Friesen, who is concerned about managing the pandemic in the United States, says: "Given the rejection of the pandemic protocols we've seen in the United States, we just don't believe that Americans will do the right thing."
With the stories of Americans who refuse to wear masks, even on an airplane in at least one case, and who do not practice social distancing, Friesen's skepticism may be justifiable.
However, for many people CNN Travel spoke to, the health and safety of others, and doing the right thing, is paramount.
Chicago-based photographer and writer Joshua Mellin says, "I think traveling internationally for pleasure right now demonstrates a complete lack of interest, you deserve any look you get."
Mellin adds: "Personally, I think we are all citizens of the world, but there is still a reality in which you do not have the right to access a foreign country, but you are granted a permit."
When it comes to allowing foreigners to enter, Turner would feel comfortable following the New Zealand government's guidelines. At this time, New Zealand citizens returning to the country must be quarantined for two weeks upon arrival, and no one else can enter.
If quarantine were to apply to all New Zealand visitors in the future, what would happen then?
"If that were to extend to all newcomers, I think New Zealanders would agree with that because, overall, our government has handled the pandemic well and there is a high degree of confidence in them," says Turner.
He adds, however, that he does not think this will happen, does not believe that New Zealand will be open to foreigners until quarantine is no longer necessary.
However, the idea of a pre-vacation quarantine is under scrutiny.
Last month, when the concept was gathering steam, Alison Hickey, president of Kensington Tours, told CNN Travel that "we would not recommend traveling to a destination that has implemented a 14-day self-quarantine requirement."
'We are reopening'
While forced quarantines will deter many travelers, other regions without existing quarantines could attract them.
From Mexico and the Caribbean to Turkey, tourist destinations around the world are reopening and encouraging visitors to get going.What Lufthansa asks if you want to take one of their flights 2:35
Whether it's hotel promotions or flexible cancellation policies, the sweet chant "we're opening" could be a boost after what has been a very dark period in the tourism sector.
But just because Maldives, a luxury destination, is ready to receive all visitors without restrictions (there are no visa requirements or additional fees either), how many US citizens would be ready to go?
For many of the American travelers CNN Travel spoke with for this story, being welcome or feeling welcome in another country is beside the point.
The danger of exposure and of being exposed lurks. And then there is the fear of being trapped somewhere far away.
Originally from upstate New York, Elizabeth Lavis found herself struggling to get out of Vietnam in March amid the outbreak and sudden travel restrictions. That test and what happened to the coronavirus have made Lavis reluctant to leave home in the near future.
California resident Melanie Haiken expresses her desire to help struggling economies as a tourist and is already thinking about her future trips, which include places not so close to home: “As for international travel, I would be ready to travel again. in August, but I would like to go to places that are eager for visitors. I have an eye on Guatemala and Costa Rica, Turkey and Jordan, Scotland, Estonia and some other places that seem like likely candidates based on both security and how much their economies depend on tourism. ”
Turkey, it seems, is a likely candidate. On June 19, Turkish Airlines relaunched two routes from North America to Istanbul with two others (Miami and Los Angeles) to follow on June 22 and 24, respectively. In late July, three other US airports will operate flights to Turkey.
Any ban on traveling to the EU could turn things around, but until June 23, when CNN spoke to Caryn B. Davis, who lives in Connecticut, about her upcoming trip to the Azores in Portugal, the travel journalist said she still He plans to go, hopefully in the next six weeks.
Pompeo expressed the importance of the economy in travel between the US and the EU and said: “It is important that the United States offers Europeans the possibility of traveling back to the United States. It is important, very important that Europeans fully reconnect with the American economy as well. ”
But until security concerns can be adequately addressed, Mellin doesn't believe that anyone, a US citizen or not, should go anywhere.
"There is a responsibility to show respect for other people and places as a traveler who starts at home and is inherently broken by visiting another country during a global pandemic."
But in fact, international travel could resume sooner rather than later in some places currently off-limits. "I am sure that in the coming weeks we will solve it not only between the United States and the EU, but also between the United States and other parts of the world," Pompeo said.
As will be?
"I think that in any case, when we travel, my hope is without a doubt that we carry that feeling of, I think, empathy wherever we go ...", said Geronimus.
James Frater, Michael Conte and Luke McGee contributed to this report.