INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The European Union is set to allow American tourists to visit the continent this summer but that’s only if they can prove that they are fully vaccinated.
Travel industry experts say the announcement signals good things to come for those who have been itching to use those air miles. With travel opening back up as vaccination rates rise, travelers are warned that it will still be a while before things are completely back to normal.
Before the pandemic, Europe was a popular destination for U.S. travelers, especially out of Indianapolis.
“Honeymooners, families trying to make memories and see things that they can’t see here in our country,” says Indianapolis travel agent Suz Haire.
Since Europe closed its borders, the direct flights to Paris from the Indianapolis International Airport were canceled until further notice. Delta did not respond to an inquiry on the direct flights to Paris from Indianapolis might resume.
Haire says that her customers are ready to pack up and board the next flight. “I can tell you that there are already people calling me asking me, ‘When can we go?'”
Reports show that all three COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. are approved by the European Medicines Agency. Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer for Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in West Carson, California, says the acceptable vaccines play into the E.U. welcoming inoculated Americans. “It is a real vote of confidence in how vaccination protects all of us from getting the virus or getting very sick from the virus and from giving the virus to someone else as data is now emerging about that.”
The E.U. has said they will open borders this summer but not given a definitive date.
“Plan ahead a little bit. So if we think we can go in July or August, let’s plan for September or October,” Haire said.
The travel agent recommends clients purchase travel insurance with the constantly changing atmosphere surrounding the travel industry.
“Wave season is right after Christmas, all the way through about April, and, over the last two years, of course, wave season has kind of like collided and crashed with all of the situation with COVID. I would say right now is tsunami season. We are getting hit with title waves of people calling,” Haire said.
When seats on flights start to open back up, expect to pay a pretty penny whether you’re sitting by the aisle or the window.
“I honestly think that things are going to go a little higher than they used to be. Then they will probably even out over the next 12 months after that,” Haire said.
Experts still foresee Americans needing to get tested before re-entering the States when traveling abroad, even if they are fully vaccinated.