European lawmakers have appealed for additional measures to salvage the Union’s tourism and travel sector as well as the introduction of new crisis management tools that will be able should the need arise to take immediate action.
A total of 587 MEPs voted in favor of the resolution (on transport and tourism 2020) adopted last week, which identifies areas where actions taken so far are insufficient to back the sector which employs 22.6 million people and accounted for 9.5 percent of the EU’s GDP in 2019.
The Union’s lawmakers are requesting more support for Covid-19 impacted tourism SMEs and a harmonized set of health protocols and screening measures, adding that the coronavirus health crisis should prompt upgrades and sustainable tourism practices in the future which will promote local and rural tourism initiatives and off-season travel.
In this direction, lawmakers are calling on the Commission to issue guidance to ensure available funding can be accessed swiftly.
They also called for the establishment of an early alert system that warns travelers about potential health threats at their destination; granting EU safety certificates to businesses that meet the highest hygiene and safety standards; launching a far-reaching information campaign promoting intra-EU travel that would restore confidence in travel and educate on health and safety measures, and lastly, ensuring country-to-country movement not hampered by unilateral measures and agreements between individual member states.
The EU should also promote and certify environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically sound travel and tourism activities and businesses, the MEPs note.
In this direction, parliament supports the idea of “safe and smart destinations” that would commit to developing sustainable, responsible and accessible tourism.
Furthermore, European Parliament is also calling on the Commission to consider setting up a crisis-management mechanism for EU tourism which would be able to respond adequately and swiftly to any future challenges.