The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, a group of more than 60 public and private travel and tourism organisations, on Thursday called for the creation of Commission-led Task Force to restore freedom of movement following months of lockdowns and travel restrictions due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The request is part of a series of joint recommendations for EU Member States on how to relaunch travel and tourism in Europe in time for summer 2021.
“At the heart of the recommendations is the development of an EU roadmap for safely restoring travel once countries emerge from national lockdowns to be developed and implemented in close cooperation with industry and social partners,” the European Tourism Manifesto alliance said.
According to the authors of the paper, the dedicated Commission Task Force for the restoration of free movement of people would lead the development and implementation of the roadmap – and provide ongoing assessments based on risk and the latest scientific data.
“The goal would be to identify the conditions and scenarios under which current restrictions to international travel could be loosened and ultimately lifted across Europe and beyond,” the alliance said.
As a result, the roadmap will need to be agile and updated on a regular basis.
The joint recommendations laid out by the European Tourism Manifesto alliance were shared with EU governments ahead of two crucial discussions – a videoconference of the European leaders (February 25-26) and an extraordinary meeting of Tourism Ministers (March 1).
The recommendations to EU Member States include:
- creation of an EU Task Force to restore freedom of movement of people
- coordination of travel restrictions
- a harmonised EU framework for travel-related testing
- EU coordination to avoid having 27 different (health) certificates covering testing, vaccination and/or immunity
- a coordinated reopening of tourism activities.
On the issue of vaccination certificates, the alliance recommends that they should not be mandatory in order to travel (once vaccination is more widely available), but vaccinated travellers or those with proven immunity should be exempted from entry bans, testing and quarantine restrictions.
The authors of the paper highlight that preparations on a common approach to travel in the EU should begin “now”, in order to restore public confidence by the summer.
“Our goal is for Europe to return to its place as the leading tourist destination in the world – and a safe one… Our recommendations detail a joint way forward towards restoring travel and tourism and freedom of movement on behalf of European citizens,” they said.
Press here to read the recommendations of the European Tourism Manifesto alliance.
The European Tourism Manifesto is the voice of the European travel and tourism sector and its members include ACI EUROPE, CLIA EUROPE, ECTAA, ETC, Europa Nostra, HOTREC, FEG and the WTTC.
The aim of the alliance is to request action from the European Union on key policy priorities for the tourism sector.