While the coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S. at increasingly alarming rates, there are some countries beginning to welcome tourists back for visits. However, according to this article from Travel and Leisure, "Due to an uptick in coronavirus cases and varying levels of restrictions throughout the nation, many countries have blocked Americans from visiting." As most of us know, the EU opened back up to many countries but Americans were not on that list. 

Which begs the question as to whether the American passport has dropped in esteem around the world?

According to this article ("American Passports Are Worthless Now") posted on Medium, Americans now have access to exactly only two dozen countries; five more if they want to endure a 14-day quarantine on the end. Most of these are small Caribbean islands. The author points out that, "Americans have gone from world power to getting the side-eye from Ecuador in a matter of months." And it isn't because other countries don't want Americans, it is that they can't trust that those coming from the U.S. are not infected.

There are some very interesting points of view to be considered here, including:

  • The point of a passport is that a sovereign power vouches for its bearer, but America can’t vouch for the health of its citizens at all.
  • America’s public health regime is far less trustworthy than Liberia’s (which is actually quite good).
  • Americans are hard to trust: not wearing masks, not abiding by social distancing practices, many refuse testing, break quarantine and generally act in a way possibly detrimental to others.

The Points Guy explains that they include two additional U.S. territories (Puerto Rico and the USVI) on their list of destinations — in part, because there are so few places that are open to Americans and, unfortunately, most of Asia, all of Europe and all of Oceania remain off limits. While domestic travel within the U.S. is only expected to be down 15% compared to last July through September according to AAA, international travel is not necessarily just up to Americans. Until the virus is controlled better in the U.S., the power of the passport is rendered null.

Looking around the world, the Australian government is telling its citizens that they should forget about overseas travel until at least next year. In India, there is focus on creating "travel bubbles" (like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania did or like New Zealand and Australia have done), where there are agreements and processes put in place to support travel between given countries. It was just announced that Air France will operate 28 flights between Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to Paris from July 18 to August 1, and United Airlines will operate 18 flights between Delhi and Mumbai to Newark until July 31. See other "travel bubbles" here.

Despite the rising infection rates in some parts of the world, companies are still considering a return to travel. As for how companies are handling travel, the Global Business Travel Association recently polled companies and learned that 56% of them have revised their travel policy in light of COVID-19 and 70% characterize the policy changes as being "somewhat" or "a lot." Poll-takers were more positive around domestic travel as they expect domestic and essential business travel are likely to resume first. As for their perspective on international travel, 16% expect international travel to resume in the next 2-3 months, 40% expect international travel to resume in the next 6-8 months and 25% are unsure as to when international travel will resume.  

For more info on international travel out of the U.S. try: International Summer Travel Outlook 2020.