Germany Extends Non-EU Travel Warning – What Does It Mean For Passengers?

Germany has extended its current travel warning to all non-EU countries until August 31st. This means the government recommends only essential travel to all but a handful of European countries. What impact will this have on flight bookings? Let’s find out.

Lufthansa A321
The new advisory extends all countries minus the EU and 5 European countries. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

Tourism to suffer

Germany’s decision will have a ripple effect on the entire tourism industry. Countries such as Turkey and Egypt rely heavily on German tourism, especially in the summer months. However, leisure travelers are also most likely to heed the government’s travel advisories and choose to change their destinations.

Turkish Airlines
The travel warning means that non-EU countries can expect few German tourists this summer. Photo: Simple Flying

German travelers who had plans to visit any non-European countries will have to decide to either cancel their trip or possibly be subject to quarantine upon arrival in Germany. It should be noted this advisory is for German citizens and their travel abroad. This advisory does not extend to foreigners entering Germany, which will be announced later.

Borders reopening slowly

While Germany’s travel warning is stark, Europe is currently in the process of reopening its internal borders. A number of European countries are set to reopen their borders to European citizens on June 15th. Germany too will reopen its border with all EU countries, the UK, and Switzerland, eliminating the need for special travel permissions.

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A number of European countries are reopening their borders to travel within the EU. Photo: Getty Images

However, these border reopenings remain limited to Europe. There is currently an EU-wide ban on foreigners entering, which is set to expire at the end of June. However, Germany’s travel advisory might be a sign that it could be a while before travelers are able to access Europe again.

Countries are resisting calls to open their borders and lift travel warnings to foreign countries due to the high risk of imported cases. The rate of COVID-19 infections has dropped sharply in Europe, allowing for a limited reopening. However, globally the total number of cases is on the rise, especially in the US, Asia, and South America.

Airlines to suffer

Germany’s latest travel warning will have an impact on flag carrier Lufthansa. The airline will likely see a drop in non-European flight bookings and low flight loads through the profitable summer months. While essential travel will continue, this could hamper the airline’s plans to ramp up its long-haul network. The decision could also slow Lufthansa’s financial recovery, only weeks after it managed to secure a massive government bailout.

The decision could impact Lufthansa’s short-term recovery. Photo: Getty Images

However, the impact will not only be felt by Lufthansa and European carriers but by a number of others. If other European countries follow Germany’s decision to warn against non-EU travel, most major airlines will see their bottom line impacted by the lack of non-essential travel.

The German government has said that the current travel warning will be reassessed routinely and could be updated soon. We could also see more countries dropped from the warning, opening up travel to those countries. The country will also announce whether foreigners can arrive in the coming weeks, another critical policy. For now, German travelers should stick to making travel plans to Europe alone.