Ready to travel? Be flexible if you want to go to Europe

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DC-area travel agents expect demand to increase this summer if the European Union follows through on its plans to welcome American travelers who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. “I talk to people all day and they all can’t wait to go,” said Guido Adelfio, owner of Bethesda Travel Center.

Travel agents in the DC area expect demand to increase this summer if the European Union follows through on its plans to welcome American travelers who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

EU officials said on Monday they were completing their plans to allow Americans to return this summer, depending on the development of the outbreak on both sides of the Atlantic. Travel to the 27-nation bloc has been restricted for over a year.

“I talk to people all day and they all can’t wait to go,” said Guido Adelfio, owner of the Bethesda Travel Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

But the veteran travel agent said travelers should remain flexible as so much is uncertain at this point.

“We don’t necessarily know which flights are coming back, or which flights are there and then they take them out … museums that are open, they might close, or restaurants can be at half capacity,” Adelfio said. .

Since the EU has yet to officially change its restrictions on COVID-19, travel experts predict that the typical three to five month period people use to book travel to Europe could be reduced this year. at three to five weeks.

“A word of advice for those planning to travel to Europe – it is more important than ever to speak to a travel agent as they would be very familiar with the various regulations,” said Troy Petenbrink, a Washington-based travel writer.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen told the New York Times on Sunday that American tourists fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could resume their visits to Europe this summer. She didn’t mention a date.

“A lot of these countries depend on tourism, they need the money, so it’s no surprise,” Petenbrink said.

Adelfio said Europe would particularly invite travelers who dislike crowds.

“Guess what? Nothing is crowded now, so this is the year to come,” he said.

While major cities in Europe are common destinations for overseas travelers, there may be new interest in the vast European countryside.

“Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, ​​Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence – these are all great places to travel. But now we think that with COVID people are going to be more inclined to go to the countryside, ”Adelfio said.

“We are big fans of Umbria. We love the Bordeaux region in France. Visiting Normandy is a life changing experience. Tuscany, Sicily, parts of Spain, the Greek Islands, Croatia – these are all fantastic places that you can visit, ”he said.

Much of the European tourism industry welcomes Americans.

“They are going to be very happy to roll out the red carpet. Once things start again, you just won’t believe the reaction we’re going to have, ”Adelfio said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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