US President Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday to ban inbound travel for 30 days from 26 EU countries due to the coronavirus pandemic has triggered the angered response of the global travel and tourism industry, which is warning that the rash decision will have a dangerous economic impact on the US and on many other countries.
The European Travel Commission (ETC), the European Tourism Association (ETOA), United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) and the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA) joined the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in stressing that the US ban is not “evidenced-based”, and is instead “adding more confusion to a beleaguered industry that will likely add more losses to its already-damaged business with long term consequences for the future recovery of jobs and economic growth”.
According to the WTTC, an estimated 850,000 visitors from Europe, excluding the UK and Ireland, were set to travel to the US in the next 30 days spending an estimated 3.4 billion dollars.
Two US carriers, Delta and United, will be mostly hit by the ban.
“Coronavirus is already in the United States and sadly patients are already passing away as a result… Rather than an outright ban, the priority should be on public health within the country and mitigating the potential harm to individuals, that will be impacted by this ban,” said Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO.
“The virus is already a pandemic and is spreading within communities domestically. The best approach is to conduct thorough testing and put in place isolation measures which are highly effective, as has been seen in other countries,” she added.
Referring to the US decision, ETC CEO Eduardo Santander said the coronavirus was not limited to any destination, requiring “cooperation rather than unilateral action”.
“The European tourism sector disapproves this unilateral travel ban without any consultation which will equally affect travel and tourism businesses and citizens at both sides of the Atlantic,” he said.
According to the US Department for Homeland Security (DHS) and the President’s proclamation, the ban applies to the countries belonging to the 26-member Schengen passport-free zone. These are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.