It’s Officially Official: Europe Will Reopen to Fully Vaccinated Travelers

The new measures could go into effect as early as next week

Italy, Tuscany, San Quirico D'Orcia, Podere Belvedere, Green hills, olive gardens and small vineyard under rays of morning sun
Andrea Comi / Getty Images

If you’ve gotten both doses of your COVID-19 vaccination, it’s time to start booking your tickets to Europe. As we suspected, the European Union has agreed on May 19 to reopen its borders to travelers that are fully vaccinated with a World Health Organization-approved shot, as well as visitors from countries deemed epidemiologically “safe,” a list that should be finalized by Friday, May 21.

The decision was reached by ambassadors from the EU’s 27 member states. It should be a boon to the region’s economy, of which travel and tourism contribute nearly four percent to the GDP and employs nearly 12 million people, according to the European Parliament.

Officials say that the new measures could go into effect as early as next week but are subject to slight changes by member states—for instance, some countries may still require quarantines or negative PCR tests—and, as we reported earlier this month, the bloc can also enforce “emergency brake” measures if an outbreak worsens or new variants arise. (As was the case during the height of the pandemic, essential travel would still be allowed.)

Still, overall, the news is welcome and signals a very welcome return to travel for a region that’s a tourism-reliant seasonal hotspot. Now it’s just up to you: will you be strolling along the Seine or tasting tapas in Madrid this summer?

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  1. Reuters. "EU Agrees to Open Doors to Vaccinated Foreigners." May 19, 2021.