As the nation reels from a mass shooting and renewed concerns over terrorist threats, it appears the U.S. is returning its focus overseas — some other countries are no longer shunning American visitors. The country has also seen a sizable increase in bookings for holiday and spring breaks.
In recent years, even as Washington focused on the Arab Spring and posed for the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument Memorial, other countries added language warnings to their travel advisories. The U.S. was one of few countries not to address the growing trend of expanding tensions between Russia and Ukraine and China and Vietnam.
Those warnings are no longer in effect, and Americans are filling the museums and cafes that normally are empty while staying at the many new hotels that have opened or are being built in important tourism destinations.
The European Union, which generally does not have visa requirements for visitors to its member states, updated its travel warning on Thursday. The advisory states that tourists should be aware of ongoing tensions in Ukraine.
“A security risk may exist in the region, including in Crimea,” it reads. The advisory does note, however, that all travel advice will be updated when there is new information. The changing economic and political situations in Ukraine have been complicated by ongoing geopolitical and military tensions between Russia and the U.S. The Asian travel watchdog Journal of Travel and Tourism Research issued a statement on Friday that found the world is feeling less apprehensive about traveling to the U.S. The Journal reported:
Surveys conducted in the U.S. and Europe in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, and spring break, showed increasingly rare reports of Americans refusing to travel or using extreme caution overseas. In one survey, a majority of Americans were less likely to approve of annual vacations by European groups. Another survey, conducted by the Association of American Tour Operators, found that the U.S. remains a top foreign destination. But, rather than receiving numbers in the single digits, U.S. travelers are interested in even longer stays and bigger share of earnings.
The airlines and tour operators have also helped, by offering refunds to those who were stranded because of travel issues caused by the shooting.
According to the National Weather Service, tourist traffic is expected to hit record levels this year. In April and May, U.S. planes flew 30 million passengers overseas, up from 27 million over the same period last year, according to the agency.
June usually sees a jump in passengers, typically because kids are out of school and Americans are making last-minute plans for summer vacations.
Washington has nothing to fear now.