This tourist season may have been mesmerizing for many Americans who chose European countries in order to spend some holidays after a year in lockdown.

Yet, those who postponed their trip to Europe for the end of summer and beyond may have to wait a little bit longer, in particular, if they haven’t been vaccinated yet as some European countries have started to ban non-essential travel for arrivals from the United States after the latter reported a surge in the number of COVID-19 infections.

Besides being profoundly affected by the Delta variant, the new COVID-19 variant known as Mu has been detected in 49 US States up to this point.

Therefore authorities in some European countries have decided to implement additional preventive measures in order to stop another COVID-19 epidemic wave.

EU Council Has Already Recommended to the Member States to Tighten Entry REstrictions for Americans

All travellers from the United States welcomed the Council of the European Union decision of June 18 when the US was included in the list of countries considered safe based on the rate of COVId-19 infections.

From June 18, travellers from the US were permitted to enter the majority of EU countries, restriction-free, even for non-essential purposes such as tourism.

However, last week, on August 30, the Council removed the United States together with five other countries from the safe list, urging its Member States to impose stricter entry rules for Americans and ban non-essential travel. Soon after the Council made its recommendation public, European countries started to make their position clear regarding the EU advice.

While some of them followed the Council’s advice, some other states clarified that they would not take such a step as the recommendation is not legally binding.

Before travelling to Europe, American travellers must know whether European countries implemented the EU Council recommendation or not.

Which EU Countries Have Applied the EU Recommendation & Which Have Refused to Do So?

Italy became the first country in the European Union that decided to follow the EU advice and tighten the rules for Americans.

On September 1, Bulgaria included the United States in its red list that consists of countries highly affected by the virus. Thus, regardless of their vaccination status, US travellers are banned from entering Bulgaria unless for specific exceptional cases.

Encouraged by the EU advice, authorities in Denmark also prohibited the entry for arrivals from the US as of September 6. However, authorities in Denmark emphasized that US travellers wishing to enter Denmark for essential purposes would be allowed to do so.

In an effort to stop the further spread of the virus, the Swedish government announced stringent entry requirements for Americans. However, authorities in Sweden announced that travellers wishing to enter the Scandinavian country for essential purposes would not be affected by the recent changes.

Regardless of their vaccination status, travellers from the US are also banned from entering Norway. As for the Netherlands, since September 6, Americans are required to present a recent negative result

In the century or more since it was founded, the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin has welcomed everybody from the Queen of England to the King of Pop.

While Michael Jackson created quite a stir during his visit in 2002 – notoriously dangling his son, Prince Michael Jackson II, from a top-floor window – Queen Elizabeth II has also been known to discreetly enjoy the facilities.

Her signed portrait even hangs in the Royal Suite.

Situated directly opposite the Brandenburg Gate at the heart of the German capital, Hotel Adlon was for decades the centre of social life in the city.

Visiting dignitaries would be housed here for months on end, sampling the best the 1920s had to offer, including running hot water, an onsite laundry and dedicated electricity generator.

Sadly almost completely destroyed by a fire at the end of WWII – apparently caused by Red Army soldiers celebrating in the lavish wine cellars – the property was rebuilt and reopened by Kempinski in 1997.

Since then the luxury hotelier has worked to resort the Adlon to its rightful place on the European hospitality scene, offering historic grandeur with a modern flourish.

With this illustrious past in mind, I was interested to see during my stay if the property lived up to its billing – of course, a storied history would be of no value if the hotel was unable to deliver today.

As Michael Sorgenfrey, managing director of the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, tells me over coffee: “We are always in the limelight here; the signing of the Adlon brought Kempinski itself to international recognition in the 1990s.

“Our guests are honest with us – expectations remain very high, even during this troubled time.

“We are always questioning how we can make it more convenient for our visitors, to anticipate their needs, and improve the reputation of the hotel.

“The pressure is always here; Kempinski has flagship properties across Europe, in Munich, Istanbul and Budapest, so we have to keep the standards high.”

Walking down Unter den Linden and in through the front door of the hotel, initial impressions are good.

The huge lobby is the beating heart of the property, a cool, relaxed space with the concierge and reception desks subtly tucked virtually out of sight.

Water burbles from the famous elephant fountain, a present from the Maharaja of Patiala in the 1930s, while magnificent Murano glass chandeliers hang overhead.

On the veranda above, guests breakfast a Bel Etage, a place where fine silver from yesteryear clinks against contemporary crockery and classical music plays.

For a certain strata of Berlin society, you feel, if anything happens, it happens here.

Up in the suites, fresh white roses await, along with sparkling wine, bon bons and fresh fruit – the quintessential welcome to a luxury hotel.

Opening the curtains, the view over the Brandenburg Gate is worth the price of admission alone, with the glass cupola of the Reichstag building glistening in the background.

A note should be made on

With the epidemiological situation in the continent of Europe starting to worsen, many European Union and Schengen Area countries are already tightening their entry restrictions in a bid to control the further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yesterday, Estonia announced that four EU countries had been added to its red list – Norway, Bulgaria, San Marino, and Slovenia. This means that all unvaccinated travellers reaching Estonia from one of these countries or other areas that are already part of the red list must follow a mandatory ten-day quarantine requirement, with the possibility to shorten it.

In contrast, the self-isolation rule does not apply to those who have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved for use by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Denmark has also moved several EU regions to the orange category and has decided to tighten the entry rules for several third countries. Consequently, it has been announced that unvaccinated and unrecovered travellers arriving from Croatia and regions of Austria, Italy, Norway, and Sweden must undergo COVID-19 testing before entry.

Moreover, non-essential travel from the US, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia has been banned as the countries have exceeded the established COVID-19 infection criteria.

Similarly, Czechia has tightened rules for several EU countries. Based on the decision announced by the country’s Ministry of Health, unvaccinated/unrecovered travellers arriving from the Netherlands, Norway, San Marino, Slovenia, and Ireland are now obliged to undergo COVID-19 testing if they used public transport to get there.

Additionally, they are required to complete an Arrival Form, go into self-isolation, and take a second COVID-19 test after the fifth day of quarantine.

Furthermore, in line with the most recent update from the Robert Koch Institute, Germany has published a new list of countries considered as high-risk areas. Through this list, it has been announced that travellers from Albania, Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Japan, the Palestinian territories, Serbia, and Sri Lanka, who are eligible to enter Germany, will not be permitted entry if they do not hold a vaccination certificate or a negative test result.

Following the example of other EU countries, Sweden also reintroduced an entry ban for visitors from the US, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia. Only those reaching Sweden for absolutely necessary reasons will be allowed entry. However, it has been emphasised that the country plans to exempt vaccinated travellers from the entry ban.

Moreover, the Finnish authorities have revealed that since September 6, unvaccinated travellers arriving from Australia, Brunei, and Ukraine are no longer permitted entry to the country since these areas have been registering increased COVID-19 infection rates.

Additionally, in line with the latest recommendation from the Council of the European Union, several EU/Schengen Area countries have decided to apply stricter rules against those arriving from the US. Nonetheless, there are still some countries, such as Ireland, Croatia, and Greece, who refuse to impose restrictions against US travellers.

In contrast to the countries mentioned above, Portugal has decided to ease its restrictions for those arriving from the

The European Union Council is set to narrow down the list of epidemiologically safe third countries removing an additional six more countries from it.

Sources of Reuters within the EU have once again made known the list of countries that will most possibly be removed from the list on Wednesday when the EU Council meets to review the list. The following countries will be affected:

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Japan
  • Serbia

The removal from the list means that the Member States will be advised to reinstate entry restrictions on travellers from these countries, which travellers so far have been eligible to enter most EU and Schengen Area countries completely restriction-free.

The entry restrictions that may soon be imposed on these travellers include testing, double testing, quarantine, and even an entry ban on those unvaccinated.

While the EU’s decision is expected to be finalized by the end of the week, some EU and Schengen countries have already removed some or all of these countries from their “white lists”.

SchengenVisaInfo.com reported on August 23 that Norway removed Albania from its list of third-countries travellers from where could enter under facilitated entry rules.  Whereas on September 3, Finland had reimposed entry restrictions on unvaccinated visitors from Brunei.

On the most recent update of travel restrictions, published on September 5, Albania, Serbia, and Brunei have been removed from the Czech Republic’s green list, which means that non-vaccinated travellers from these three countries will be obliged to fill in an arrival form and take a COVID-19 test before entering Czechia or no later than five days upon arrival.

Since September 6, on the other hand, residents of Albania, Azerbaijan, Japan, and Serbia aged 12 and older are obliged to show proof of vaccination, or test results, upon entry in Germany. It is also mandatory for them to register at einreiseanmeldung.de before reaching Germany and carry proof of registration with them when arriving in the country.

The EU had added Japan to its list of safe countries on June 3. However, the country has recently marked an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, though, by the end of August, half of the Japanese population had already received at least the first COVID-19 dose, according to Statista.

Only within the last 24 hours, data by the World Health Organization shows that Japan has recorded 9,145 new COVID-19 cases, and 33 deaths, whereas the rate for newly reported cases in the last seven days per 100,000 population is 87.91.

It’s easier to rest when you feel safe.

While the vast majority of hotels and vacation rentals are safe, occasionally a story will surface about a guest discovering they’ve been secretly filmed by hidden cameras. Fortunately, a recent viral video shows people how to spot possible recording devices.

The video was uploaded to TikTok by Marcus Hutchins, using the screen name Malwaretech. Since last week, it has garnered more than 15 million views.

The advice is actually quite simple.

LASER STRIKES ON AIRPLANES ROSE FROM 2019 TO 2020

The first step, according to the video, is to check around the room for any devices that have been placed in areas where it could possibly record something. In the video, the example used is a smoke detector placed directly over the bed. An alarm clock could also be pointed at the bed.

The next step involves physically checking the devices for cameras. In the video, several objects in the room have been fitted with tiny spy cameras to show off how small these items can be. At one point, the footage reveals that a hidden camera has been placed in a USB outlet brick.

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Cameras can be detected by simply shining a light on the device. A camera lens will reflect blue, for example, when placed directly under a flashlight. A light can also be used to reveal cameras hidden behind mirrored edges (such as the front of an alarm clock or even a possible double-sided mirror).

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Another way someone staying in a room can find hidden cameras is to look for IR sensors on devices, which may show that a camera with night vision is in the device. Guests can also purchase RF (radio frequency) detecting devices to pick up any signals that devices may be broadcasting. 

Chris Thelen TakeTwo Travel Solutions

Chris Thelen is CEO of newly launched TakeTwo Travel Solutions. He has returned to the UK after a four-year stint as CEO of CTM’s US
business. In 2004 he led the management buyout of Chambers Travel Group,
its European expansion, and in 2015 its sale to Corporate Travel
Management.

Former CTM leaders Chris Thelen and Julie Cope have launched TakeTwo Travel Solutions, a new premium TMC targeting SMEs. Thelen spoke to BTN Europe editor Andy Hoskins about the timing and rationale behind the launch.

BTN Europe: How did the launch of TakeTwo Travel Solutions come about?
Chris Thelen: I left CTM early in July 2020 and was going to retire from this industry and do something different, but I love this industry. I learned so much at CTM – about the scaling of business, about the tech aspect, the planning… the journey has been amazing but also tough as I was balancing a relationship here in London with the North American operation of CTM. The conversation [about launching a TMC] started once Julie [Cope] was let go. I didn’t want to consider setting up a TMC and be in competition with what would have been my former team. Everything seems to have come together at once. It’s a great opportunity and the market’s moving. We saw how it was moving to online TMCs but now it’s moving on again and corporates need hands-on service.

BTNE: Explain the rationale behind launching at this particular point in time.
CT: The industry has consolidated so much and I think there’s still a huge space for a next generation independent TMC. There are fewer independent players now that have a very premium service focus but with technology too. We’ve seen a lot of businesses move as much as they can online but you can’t do that in the pandemic now – you have to bring that expertise back now. With all the consolidation and mergers… when clients come back it could be like dealing with a new company for them. This is the right time to get back in the game, just as corporates are beginning to move and thinking about the post-Covid world. There’s very much a place for TakeTwo on a significant scale providing a transatlantic solution with key partners in other parts of the globe.

BTNE: What’s your target market?
CT: We’re targeting premium SMEs where travel is a crucial component of what they do and need the support. Everyone can have great technology now – there’s so much out there – but you’ve got to have the right structure, strategy and vision and it’s about how you marry it with service and people and relationship. The clients we’ve signed so far can’t wait to get on planes. They need to travel. They can’t do everything virtually. Yes, we’ll have clients that are a cut-down version of what they were pre-Covid but it’s those where there’s more complexity that we’re targeting. But we can do the easy, seamless stuff online too.

CHICAGO (WLS) — The Chicago Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that Vermont has been added to its travel advisory, which now includes the entire country.

Vermont had been the only state not covered by the advisory in the previous update. CDPH announced Tuesday that Connecticut, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia have seen improvements and could soon be taken off the advisory.

The full list of states and territories on the advisory is: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, ConnecticutColorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

The U.S. average daily case rate per 100,000 residents is 38.3, down slightly from 39 a week ago.

Last week, Chicago updated its guidance for unvaccinated travelers going to high-risk areas. Officials recommend getting tested one to three days before leaving on the trip as well as getting tested three to five days after returning.

Unvaccinated travelers are asked to self-quarantine for seven days after returning from travel even if they test negative. Those who do not get tested, it is recommended that unvaccinated travelers self-quarantine for 10 days after travel and avoid those at high-risk for COVID for 14 days after travel.
Any states or territories with fewer than 15 cases per 100,000 residents per day are in the Yellow Tier. Travelers must follow masking rules on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation.

The video in this story is from a previous report

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It’s been less than a week since the European Union removed the U.S. from its ‘safe list’ of countries for nonessential travel, and already some of the most-visited of the bloc’s 27 member states have reacted by clamping down with additional Covid-19 travel restrictions for Americans.

The E.U. recommendation is non-binding, so it’s up to each individual country in the bloc whether to impose additional restrictions. Already, it’s clear that travelers will not find one universal policy throughout the E.U., as a messy patchwork of different rules and regulations is emerging across the continent.

Here are the European countries where it has become more difficult for Americans to travel.

E.U. Countries Where Americans Are Virtually Banned Outright

Sweden: As of September 6, the U.S. is now off Sweden’s list of “safe countries.” This means American tourists are not permitted to enter Sweden for non-essential reasons, regardless of vaccination status. The U.S. had previously been exempted from Sweden’s entry ban for non-E.U. residents. 

Norway: U.S. travelers are not allowed to enter Norway, with the exception of those visiting close family members. Travelers must show a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken 24 hours prior to departure and must also take a test upon entry. (More: U.S. Embassy)

Bulgaria: Two days after the E.U. removed the United States from its “safe travel list,” Bulgaria put the U.S. on its “red zone” list. Individuals arriving from the United States, regardless of their citizenship, are prohibited from entering Bulgaria. American tourists may visit Bulgaria, however, if they arrive from a country on the “green list” or “orange list,” and present either proof of vaccination against Covid-19, a recent negative Covid test result, or proof of recovery from Covid-19. (More: U.S. Embassy)

E.U. Countries Where Americans Now Face Tighter Restrictions

The Netherlands: The Dutch have imposed some of the toughest new restrictions on American travelers. As of September 4, the Netherlands considers the U.S. to be a very high-risk area. Only fully vaccinated Americans may enter the country AND they must comply with a mandatory quarantine requirement. In addition, travelers also must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test or a negative antigen test performed within 24 hours prior to departure for the Netherlands. (More: U.S. EmbassyNetherlands Entry Checklist)

Demark: Unvaccinated Americans are now banned from entering Denmark. Previously, all U.S. travelers could enter the country with only a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery. The entry requirements for vaccinated tourists remains the same.

Italy: All travelers from the U.S., regardless of vaccination status, must now present a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of their arrival in Italy. Unvaccinated travelers must also quarantine for five days after arrival and then get tested again. (More: Italian Health Ministry)

Spain: Since September 6, Spain requires U.S. to show proof of full vaccination and submit health information to the Spain Travel Health portal, which generates

Southwest Airlines, trying to boost fall bookings, is running a characteristically quirky take on buy-one-get-one-free promotions.

Travelers who book a roundtrip ticket or two one-way tickets for travel through Nov. 18 will receive a free companion pass to use in early 2022. The catch: Tickets must be purchased by Thursday, Sept. 9.

Southwest’s companion pass is among the most generous frequent flier perks in the country, but is usually out of reach for most travelers because it requires travelers to take 100 one-way flights in a year or rack up 125,000 qualifying points earned from purchases on Southwest’s credit cards and bookings with its Rapid Reward partners.

►’We’re not out of the woods yet’:Southwest admits struggles will continue as employee gripes grow

►Travel testing:Here’s what travelers should know about at-home COVID-19 tests

The standard companion pass is valid for at least a year but the one Southwest is offering through this promotion will have a much shorter life. Travelers who qualify will be able to bring a companion for free on flights between Jan. 6 and Feb. 28, 2022. Passengers who earn the pass will designate a companion and it may be changed up to three times. The companion’s taxes and fees, which start at $5.60 one way, are extra.

Story continues below.

Three things to know about Southwest’s companion pass promotion:

  1. You must be a member of Southwest’s frequent flyer program, Rapid Rewards, and register for the promotionbefore buying the qualifying ticket(s). Rapid Rewards is free to join.
  2. Tickets must be purchased by Thursday, Sept. 9, for travel through Nov. 18 to be eligible. Travel using frequent flier points is not eligible.
  3. Already have Southwest tickets for travel this fall? They won’t qualify but passengers are free to cancel and rebook, though any fare difference will apply. Southwest doesn’t charge ticket change fees. Travelers who cancel nonrefundable tickets receive travel funds to be used on another flight.

HONG KONG — Travelers arriving in Hong Kong from mainland China will no longer need to quarantine, Hong Kong’s top official confirmed on Aug. 31, easing curbs imposed after outbreaks of the coronavirus on the mainland.

Starting Sept. 1, people who haven’t been to medium- or high-risk areas on the mainland or Macao can enter the city, capped at 2,000 travelers a day, chief executive Carrie Lam said in a news conference. Travelers will still need a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival and must take several tests while in Hong Kong to ensure they’re not infected.

Hong Kong halted quarantine-free travel in early August and imposed a mandatory quarantine period of seven or 14 days, depending on the traveler’s vaccination status. Hong Kong’s “zero-COVID” strategy has seen authorities impose strict border restrictions and ban flights from extremely high-risk countries, in the hope that no local cases would allow it to reopen borders with mainland China.

►International travel:European Union countries tightening COVID-19 restrictions for US tourists

►Travel testing:Here’s what travelers should know about at-home COVID-19 tests

Mainland China remains closed to most travelers

Currently, mainland China has strict border restrictions that allow only Chinese nationals or those with valid residence permits and visas to enter the country, and all travelers are required to quarantine at least 14 days. Since the beginning of the pandemic, most Hong Kongers haven’t been able to freely enter mainland China.

Restrictions eased further Wednesday, with mainland residents able to enter the city without quarantine via the Shenzhen Bay port and the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai Bridge, capped at 1,000 visitors each, Lam said last week. These visitors will also need to test negative before traveling.

The changes, part of a “Come2HK” plan announced Aug. 31, are expected to boost the city’s tourism industry, which took a beating during months of political strife in 2019 and pandemic-related border restrictions. Tourist numbers fell by as much as 99% in 2020 compared to pre-pandemic levels.