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Travel associations call for Trumpʼs travel ban to be revoked

The European Travel Commission (ETC), the European Tourism Association (ETOA), the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), and the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA) say that the U.S. travel ban will have a detrimental effect on American and European tourism, urging EU and U.S. authorities to review and cancel the travel suspension.

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U.S. President Donald J. Trump announced a 30-day suspension of travel by non-U.S. citizens from Europe’s Schengen Zone to the United States this week, in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Trump said the European Union had "failed to take the same precautions" as the United States had implemented to contain the outbreak.

ETC, ETOA, USTOA and ECTAA say that the ban is not evidence-based, and that it adds 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.

Supporting the official statement from the EU institutions, ETC CEO Eduardo Santander says, "The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any destination and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action. Planes fly from A to B and B to A, 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."

"The President’s statement is puzzling," argues Tom Jenkins, CEO of ETOA. "Having downplayed the significance of the crisis – for which there is some argument – he then stigmatizes an entire continent. This is a global crisis and we need global understanding. As it stands this move disproportionately damages inbound tourism to the United States and punctures confidence in Europe as a destination. Fear is more damaging and spreads faster than a virus."

According to the U.S. Department for Homeland Security (DHS) and the President’s proclamation, the travel ban applies to countries belonging to the Schengen passport-free zone. Non-members of Schengen such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Croatia, San Marino, Monaco, Serbia, Montenegro among others are not covered by the ban, according to a press release by ETC.