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Travel and Aviation Bodies Call for Quarantine-free Journeys

Photo source: European Travel Commission

In view of the holiday season, global travel and aviation bodies are calling on EU governments to take immediate action to restore travel and to swiftly implement the latest European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidelines on Covid-19 testing and quarantine measures, in a coordinated fashion.

The world organizations have repeatedly expressed their opposition to conflicting quarantine measures, adding that travelers are “not a high risk”.

According to the latest EASA and ECDC report, air travelers account for “less than 1 percent of all detected coronavirus cases and do not increase the rate of transmission”.

The bodies are now urging European governments to immediately suspend blanket quarantine measures and travel restrictions, claiming that 80 billion euros of potential tourism spending is at risk.

Citing the research, the European Travel Commission (ETC) said the guidelines “provide a clear pathway for EU governments to make informed decisions on travel measures during the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“The guidelines state clearly that people traveling should not automatically be considered as high-risk for spreading infection but should rather be treated in the same way as members of the local population who have not had any direct contact to a person infected with Covid-19,” it said in a statement.

“The importance of restarting mobility in Europe cannot be understated in terms of the role it will play in the recovery of tourism and the wider European economy over the coming months,” said ETC President Luís Araújo.

“This advice has to be swiftly taken on board by governments as we head into the holiday season and begin the path to recovery.”

In the same note, Eric Drésin, rotating secretariat of NET, a network of representative trade associations from Europe’s private tourism sector, called on authorities to lift travel restrictions for short business trips, as they represent a lower risk of transmission, as well as for package travelers, “who like business travelers, have minimal contacts with the local population whilst in the resort”.

Along the same lines, airlines and airports are also supporting the appeal describing passenger quarantines as “ineffective”. They are calling for rapid testing technologies and travel corridors to help restore passenger confidence and support early detection of asymptomatic Covid-19 incidents.

“These guidelines unequivocally show quarantines to be essentially politically-driven, non-risk-based measures which bear no relation to what is actually needed to safeguard public health,” said Olivier Jankovec, director general ACI Europe.

He went on to add that “quarantines fail the test of proportionality, a key principle of EU law – particularly since there are no equivalent measures at land borders. This has resulted in unprecedented limitations to the freedom of movement and the freedom to provide services”.

Photo source: ACI World

Photo source: ACI World

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling for rapid testing of passengers, which it said will “open the door to restarting air travel by eliminating quarantine”.

“The EASA/ECDC protocol makes it clear that quarantine is not an effective measure in the present circumstances. And it is important that the protocol should also be applied to remove the temporary travel restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU from third countries”, said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA regional vice president for Europe.

Meanwhile, welcoming the EASA/ECDC guidelines which recommend quarantine exemption for short stay travel, WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara underlined the importance of restoring freedom of movement.

“The revival of international business travel is crucial to kickstarting the global economic recovery, as last year, inbound international business travel across Europe accounted for 99.8 billion euros, whilst globally it accounted for more than 272 billion dollars.”

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and SETimes.com, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.
  1. Alexandra Reply

    Clarification need
    The website of the airports Athens and Thessaloniki suggest that the negative pcr test (done up to 72h before travel) is not required from the 18th December onwards. The goverment webpage though still shoes that this is required but the goverment webpage was not updated since 9th November. Unfortunately though all information is taken from there so that airlines will not let you travel if you don”t have the test. Could one find out or update the correct version? Can one draw attention to the goverment that the goverment page travel.gov.gr was not updated since 9th Nov.? It certainly puts people off travelling if they have to take a test in their home country costing up to eur200 per person. And maybe this is not necessary but just lack of updating?

  2. Henry Reply

    We Travelers are all prisoners now
    Restless waiting for The freedom of travel again

  3. DIANA GIANNOULIS Reply

    Common sense at last. But I don’t suppose any authorities will act on it – they are always well behind in understanding travel issues.

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