Anyone who has priced travel since the majority of pandemic travel restrictions has been lifted will have noticed travel costs have risen significantly as have canceled flights and travel delays. Hardly a weekend goes by, especially a holiday weekend, where we don’t hear horror stories of canceled and delayed flights as well as tempers that have risen as precipitously as the worldwide temperatures.
Luckily, there are few optical trade events during the summer. A combination of travel layoffs, the great resignation, increased fuel prices, inflation, and the sudden resurgence in travel demands have stretched the resources of every bit of the travel industry. Prices are probably not going anywhere else but up for the foreseeable future and that includes a trip to Europe.
North and South Americans love to visit Europe. While most of our families came west to leave Europe, for a variety of reasons good and bad, we will travel back at the drop of a hat, or price promotion to visit the old countries in the modern age. I don’t know of a single person who doesn’t look forward to going for the first time or the 21st time to enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and ambiance of their storied European destinations.
Travel to Europe will take one extra step and cost a little extra money starting in November of 2023, pushed back from their original date of May of 2023. Europe will no longer be fee-free to travel to. The European Union (EU) has announced it will launch a new travel permit system called European Travel and Authorization System (ETIAS). ETIAS is not really a visa but rather a visa waiver.
The new ETIAS will be mandatory for all visitors traveling to the EU from countries that do not currently require a visa, including the United States. Travelers will have to apply online for ETIAS and need a valid passport, credit/debit card, and email address to apply.
The ETIAS online application will ask about simple biographic information, along with numerous health and security questions. Applications will be cross-checked against international databases like INTERPOL to help screen for better security among those who are allowed to travel. The new ETIAS system will pertain to most of North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, the U.K., and a few other countries. The cost? A whopping €7, or the cost of an American latte and tip.
While the new ETIAS system won’t affect anyone traveling to SILMO this September or even opti, MIDO, or 100% Optical, next spring, it will be in effect by next year’s summer travel season. You can add yourself to the mailing list for ETIAS by clicking here.