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The European Union Is Reopening Its Borders to Tourists from Down Under

Australians and New Zealanders still can't leave the country, though — but you can add Europe to your holiday list when local travel restrictions are lifted.
By Sarah Ward
July 01, 2020
By Sarah Ward
July 01, 2020

First, Greece announced that it would restart its tourism industry by allowing residents from a selection of other countries — including Australia and New Zealand — to visit. Now, the entire European Union is set to follow suit. If dreaming about a far-flung getaway has been getting you through COVID-19 lockdowns over the past three months, that means you're one step closer to making overseas holiday plans.

As announced on Tuesday, June 30, European time, the Council of the EU has adopted a recommendation to start slowly easing travel restrictions — specifically, to reopen its borders to non-essential travel into Europe. In the first stage, the Council supports reopening to tourists from 14 nations, spanning not only folks from Australia and New Zealand, but those from Algeria, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. It also recommends including a 15th country, China, but only subject to China also agreeing to a reciprocal arrangement to let EU residents visit, too.

The Council's decision — and its selection of countries — is based on three criteria, focusing on the epidemiological situation in each nation. They include new COVID-19 case numbers either close to or below the EU average, as seen over the 14 days up until June 15, and measured per 100,000 inhabitants; a stable or decreasing trend of new cases compared to the prior 14 days; and the country's overall response to the pandemic, such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting.

The EU's list will be reviewed and potentially updated every two weeks. New places may possibly added, and existing countries on the list could be removed if their COVID-19 situation worsens.

Nice, France.

A recommendation from the Council to allow tourists from the aforementioned nations is only the first step, however. All 27 member states of the EU — Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden — must implement the recommendation individually, so don't go packing your bags just yet.

Of course, Australians and New Zealanders still can't leave their respective countries anyway — but you can add Europe to your holiday list when local travel restrictions are lifted. In Australia, a travel ban is still in place, with Aussies unable to depart the nation unless they seek an exemption from Home Affairs. Indeed, the government doesn't expect international travel to and from Australia to resume until next year, and Qantas doesn't anticipate putting on overseas flights until at least mid-2021 either. And in New Zealand, the government still currently advises that all New Zealanders do not travel overseas at present.

For further details about the European Union's eased tourism recommendation, visit the Council of the EU's website.

Published on July 01, 2020 by Sarah Ward
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