Between 1989 and 1991 the world watched as the Iron Curtain was finally drawn and massive parts of Europe and Asia were opened up for travelers. You could have gone to Prague or Moscow before, but there were visa issues, government tourist guides, and all sorts of other hoops that needed jumping. Now you can get on a plane and visit Warsaw on a whim.
Well, that may well be ending very soon. Back in April of 2014, the European Union put the United States on notice for a lack of reciprocation for visa free travel. The US still demands that EU citizens from Poland, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania, and Bulgaria obtain visas to enter regardless of their European Union statuses. The European Union is pushing “for full visa reciprocity” for those member states from the US government since US citizens can travel freely to any of the 28 EU member states.
So to pressure the American government, the European Parliament conducted a show of hands vote that approved adopting “restrictive measures” against US citizens entering the entire EU zone. If the restrictive measures take place the European Commission would have to two years to rescind American’s visa free access to all 28 member states.
Now you might be saying, “this is all talk and bluster” but the wheels of the European Parliament are officially in motion. You may also be saying to yourself “fine we’ll just revoke all of their visa free travel benefits in kind.” And given the current US White House’s thin-skinned diplomacy related to travel, that may well happen. Tit for tat.
It’s important to note that of the 607.7 million tourists (!) who visited Europe in 2015, only 12.6 million were Americans. Conversely the USA sees about 75 million visitors yearly, 14 million of which are from Europe. In the parlance of our times, that’s a huuuge piece of our tourism money pie. And with the number of Chinese tourists set to double by 2020 to 200 million tourists worldwide, Europe can kinda afford to say ‘f*ck you to Trump’ and our tourism industry will be the ones taking the harder hit. Plus all those trips to Warsaw on a whim would have to await a visa approval process and fee.
It would truly be the end of an era.