ECTAA is calling upon the European Commission to set-up an official working group with the travel industry on COVID-19 issues.
The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association (ECTAA) is calling for the introduction of proportionate and evidence-based measures to protect the health of travellers and tourism sector employees in order to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Considering the global scale of the issue, the unpredictable expansion of the COVID 19-virus and the volume of intra-European travel, ECTAA calls on authorities at all levels to cooperate with each other as well as with the tourism industry to minimize the damages on travel and tourism as much as possible,” the association said in an announcement on Monday.
As underlined by ECTAA, the tourism sector has always been committed to putting the health and safety of its customers and employees first.
“However, the unexpected cancellation on Friday, February 28, of the 2020 edition of ITB, the world’s largest tourism trade fair just days before its opening, had a strong impact on the thousands of travel professionals from 180 countries that were preparing to meet in Berlin this week,” ECTAA highlighted.
ECTAA’s president, Pawel Niewiadomski, said that while it is essential to support the international and European scientific institutions to work closely with all those communities and countries affected by the current health emergency, it is equally important to bear in mind that travel restrictions going beyond what’s required to control the spread of the virus may cause unnecessary reductions of international travel.
According to Niewiadomski, consumers are in the middle of booking their summer holidays, but many of them may decide to wait for more clarity before making their choice, which poses additional problems for travel industry players.
“Customers can rely on professional travel companies for advice and reliable information. As travel agents and tour operators, our focus is and has always been, on taking care of our customers, and we know that we can be an active part in ensuring that their travel expectations for the coming months and years come true, despite temporary adverse travel conditions in some parts of the world,” he said.
The association, which represents some 70,000 enterprises, is calling upon the European Commission to set-up an official working group with the travel industry on COVID-19 issues, bringing together experts in different fields including national health authorities and the WHO to adopt a holistic approach of the issue, anticipate the next developments, consider relief measures for the most impacted tourism enterprises and prepare the conditions for a quick recovery.