PARIS — France is back in business as a tourist destination after opening its borders Wednesday to foreign visitors from the United States, Britain and elsewhere who are inoculated against the coronavirus with vaccines approved by the European Union’s medicines agency.
France’s acceptance of only the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines means tourism is likely to be slow to pick up from China and other countries that use vaccines not approved by the European Medicines Agency.
Without one of the those four vaccines, non-EU visitors will still need to prove that they have a compelling reason to visit France and quarantine on arrival.
► COVID travel restrictions: Where Americans can go if they’re fully vaccinated
Still, the potential return of vaccinated tourists from the United States, Britain and other countries was hailed as great news by French tourism workers.
France reopened the same day as its neighbor to the west, Spain.
Vaccinated Americans may travel from the U.S. to Spain if they present a QR code from the Spain Travel Health portal and a vaccination certificate proving they were vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival. U.S. children under age 6 don’t need any special requirements to enter the country with their vaccinated parents. However, children age 6 and up will need their own vaccination certificate or negative results from a COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours before arriving in Spain. Alternately, a medical certificate showing recovery from COVID-19 would also be accepted.
Meanwhile, airlines are putting pressure on President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to reopen the United States and United Kingdom to vaccinated international travelers, arguing that it’s safe to do so given falling COVID infection rates. They expressed hope that the two politicians will address the issue at this weekend’s G7 summit in England.
Currently, Americans who want to travel to the U.K. must quarantine. Meanwhile, the U.S. has remained largely off-limits to most foreigners for over a year. Those who do come need a negative COVID test to board flights. On his way out of office, former President Donald Trump rescinded travel bans, only for Biden to reimpose the orders when he came into office in late January.
Airline and airport executives have suggested a reason the restrictions haven’t been lifted is because the U.S. and U.K. governments want to reach even higher vaccination levels. Biden’s goal is to have 70% of adults with one vaccine dose by July 4.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian and American CEO Doug Parker said opening the borders to vaccinated travelers would encourage more people to get vaccinated.
“One of the reasons why we’re having challenges (in the U.S.) getting over this last 20 to 30% done is what are the incentives for people being vaccinated other than just simply their own welfare,” Bastian said. “Well, a great incentive is to be able to travel internationally.”
Contributing: Dawn Gilbertson
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