European Travel Ban if left in effect could cost California more than 1% of its GDP

With states facing billions of dollars in losses due to the lack of European tourists this year, WalletHub released its report on the States Hurt the Most by the European Travel Ban.

In order to determine the states hurt the most by the European travel ban, WalletHub calculated the potential monetary losses based on the number of inbound tourists to each state alongside their total spending, and compared the result to each state’s gross domestic product (GDP).

California could potentially lose 1.01% of its GDP this year due to the lack of European tourists.

Relief could be on the way.

The European Union is set to lift travel restrictions for U.S. residents as soon as this week, in the latest step toward a return to normal despite concerns over the spread of potentially dangerous coronavirus variants, according to Bloomberg.

Portugal, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, proposed adding the U.S., Albania, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Macau, the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, and Taiwan to a so-called “white list” of countries from which non-essential travel to the bloc is allowed, according to a diplomat familiar with the matter. Assuming no objections, EU government envoys in Brussels will approve the expanded white list on Wednesday, the diplomat said, asking not to be named, in line with policy.

Expert Commentary:

Do travel bans at a country level make sense? Why or why not?

“Travel bans contravene the longstanding WHO precedent outlined in the International Health Regulations (IHR) adopted in 2005. Under the IHR (2005), travel bans at a country level are discouraged due to their potential to contribute to ‘unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.’ The argument against travel bans is largely based on concerns about unintended consequences of these policies: First, that they might discourage countries from honestly reporting on emerging outbreaks for fear of economic harms; Second, that economic harms can also have devastating health impacts including shortages of basic goods.”
— Ashley M Fox, Ph.D., MA – Associate Professor, University at Albany
Why are the country travel bans not based on current Covid-19 rates?

“Ways of measuring positivity, death, or recovery are done inconsistently between areas. If rates are measured in one area in one manner, yet another area has a different criterion for what is considered a ‘death by Covid,’ how can these numbers be valid or reliable when deciding to ban people from that region?”
— Angela Durko – Instructional Associate Professor, Texas A&M University

“The short answer is likely that country travel bans are based more on politics than evidence, including the continuation of travel restrictions against Iran, but of particular recent concern is the emergence of different variants. Current travel restrictions appear to reflect the goal of slowing the global transmission of more transmissible and virulent COVID-19 variants.”
— Ashley M Fox, Ph.D., MA – Associate Professor, University at Albany

Which would be more effective: travel bans or more robust Covid-19 testing?

“Bans may have a short-term impact, (again, that research is few and far between right now) but the long-term economic, industry, and consumer impacts may outweigh the short-sighted benefits. Testing is only a snapshot of the individual’s health at that specific moment…We must reflect on changes based on past global outbreaks (SARS, Ebola, MERS) to demand our industries and residents hold themselves to high cleanliness standards and individuals responsible for their own health.”
— Angela Durko – Instructional Associate Professor, Texas A&M University
“As we face challenges in managing COVID-19 over time, it is best to adopt more robust testing programs. We should learn from the past year and recognize that proactive investments in overall public health programming, including testing, are essential. Vaccine education, acceptance, and accessibility are among the highest priorities. Accessible and reliable testing systems can help in achieving these overall goals. These efforts can benefit the population as a whole and as a consequence can benefit those who travel as well.”
— L. Christopher Plein, Ph.D. – Professor of Public Administration, West Virginia University

To view the full report and your state’s rank, click here.



Image Sources

  • Travel restrictions: Pixabay