The last few years have seen an increase in travel to Europe. Many Americans have long been hoping for the annual return of the pandemic and a return to more relaxed international travel conditions. However, the current global economic downturn has thrown a monkey wrench into the plans, with many new travel restrictions and cautionary measures in place around the world. As if that wasn’t enough to worry American travelers, now there is a new threat: the so-called “iceberg”.
In September, the world will again be confronted by the swine flu. This time, it will be spread by the same travelers who brought it in August – tourists who had their annual travel vaccinations cancelled. The outbreak was first reported in Germany, where some 7 percent of the total cases were related to a lack of vaccination status.
Now, as news from all of Europe indicates the virus has spread to Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and even Belgium, travelers must be extra vigilant. Although some have already been prevented by vaccination, others have not. And even with the recent outbreak in Spain, which was traced back to unguaranteed traveler’s checks, many other countries use the UK’s Heathrow airport as a point of entry for passengers from Europe, and they too must be on high alert. According to the Home Office, all British citizens traveling to any of the seven countries on the European continent will now need a face ID, which must be carried with them at all times, and can be printed out at home.
What’s the big deal? Well, as you may know, the 21st century is one where the world is quickly becoming a much smaller place. Between melting glaciers and shrinking airways, even cities thousands of miles apart can be within reach of each other. As more people leave their countries for employment and other reasons, an influx of strangers can create unsettling circumstances in any town. But with the advent of the europe visa-free travel program, which will be in force from tomorrow, those newcomers can freely move among all of Europe, without having to worry about their passports or their money going astray.
There are three goals in all of this. The first is to discourage illegal travel, which can be a problem right now in parts of Mexico, Greece, and Italy due to the threat of contagious diseases. The second goal is to reduce the amount of people who try to cross into the United Kingdom from Northern Ireland via Europe, a problem that has affected the flow of traffic between July and September, when there was a severe pandemic. Finally, the third goal is to encourage more people to stay in their home countries instead of traveling abroad, a development which is sure to reduce both the number of visitors to Europe and the amount of money flowing out of the country.
While it is true that the United Kingdom and several European countries are experiencing significant problems with pandemics, it is important to note that Europe itself has been experiencing an alarming increase in crime over recent months. There have been multiple terrorist attacks in recent months, many of which have killed western Europeans. Many of the attacks have been claimed by international terrorist organizations, which indicate that more people from outside the continent are now choosing to join in the fight against international terrorists. This means that while there are restrictions on American travelers traveling to Europe, there are no similar restrictions on european travelers entering the United States.
So, whether or not you travel to Europe in order to see a specific attraction, participate in a cultural experience, or fight against international terrorists, it should be fairly easy to get to. The current influx of european tourists, mostly from America and Canada, shows that more people are starting to realize that they can visit Europe while still within their own country. These kinds of visits give both Americans and Europeans a chance to meet, greet, and experience what it’s like to live next door to someone who is from another continent. The experience can provide peace of mind for both travelers, as well as their hosts.
Some American and Canadian travelers have suggested the introduction of a ” visa sticker” system to allow us citizens from the US and Canada to travel visa free to europe. This would allow us to skip the long queues of visa applications, and would greatly reduce our chances of having our applications approved. However, any changes to the visa system would have serious consequences for the traveling public. Traveling between the US and Canada could be extremely difficult, if not impossible, if the Visa requirements were changed. Therefore, the best advice is still to apply for your visa ahead of time, so that you can ensure your visa approval.