Jay, I'm not sure I'm being optimistic, rather more opportunistic. I hope the pandemic situation improves and travel can restart, but I'll be surprised if there's any sense of normalcy until mid-2022. For those that are planning travel, booking refundable accommodations is a viable, no-risk option.
That said, we are quite aware of the circumstances in the USA. I have family scattered all over the US, so we get many different viewpoints. We also visited the US in late Feb and mid-June to see family. All our US and Canadian friends here get feedback from relatives & friends in NA. Thus, it's a constant topic of discussion. Like the US, the opinions are split - and passionate! We also - using our Slingbox - can watch live USA television, but we've found the story differs greatly depending on which channel you watch.
Many situations in the US are quite similar to what's happening here in NL. We have anti-mask, anti-COVID demonstrations quite often. This one happened about two blocks from our apartment in a town square we frequent often. The Dutch are quite independent and the federal government is struggling to deal with the recent upsurge in COVID numbers. Just last night, they met in an emergency session and deferred to local governments to implement their own restrictions (Sound familiar?)
Other examples: Amsterdam and Rotterdam implemented mask policies. Those lasted less than two weeks, dissolving due to apathy and a lack of accountability by local regulatory officials. There's been a huge surge in COVID cases in Delft and Leiden, two major college towns. It appears the largest growth by age group in this country is the 18-25 year-olds. So many of the same challenges the USA is facing.
Conversely, we speak to friends and business partners in Spain and Italy and their restrictions have been more rigid. Our lockdown was about 78 days - and many functions are still not open due to these restrictions. Their lockdowns were longer and FAR MORE restrictive. We used Skype, WhatsApp, etc. to talk to friends quite often to try and keep their spirits up.
So yes, it's the same... but different (if that makes sense). Europeans are also COVID-exhausted. The EU has tried to maintain a common, consistent message in rules, restrictions, etc. but we're already seeing that start to split - primarily due to health, social and economic pressures in each country. (Do a search for "Frugal Four - Europe" and you'll see some of the financial concerns).
A couple of weeks ago, I was in Copenhagen having coffee with a Danish friend and asked what her thoughts were on the differences between the US and European approaches. She was very candid, saying, "We think first of our fellow man - a collective, what's best for the group approach to a problem. It seems to us that Americans take a more independent, more singular outlook." For some Americans, they might call her viewpoint socialism. Her thoughts probably are founded in her Nordic Law of Jante philosophy, which references, "You're no better than me."
Europe very much needs Tourist Revenue. Another summer without tourists; I can't even imagine it (and don't want to!). So far, they've put people before profit (a slogan bantered around by some groups here) but economic pressures are mounting. Thus, if there's a way to safely bring folks into their countries, they'll make it happen. But not without precautions, and probably not without rules and restrictions.
If Europe "is open" for the summer of 2021, I do think it will be crowded - be it North American, South American, Asian, Australia, and certainly European travelers. I think everyone is suffering from a little cabin fever. Let's hope the next few months bring some positive steps to finding a way to improve the opportunity to travel.