The world’s aviation, tourism and travel sectors have warmly welcomed the idea of a digital green certificate verifying Covid-19 vaccination set to enable restriction-free movement and help restart travel and tourism in the EU.
Based on an idea tabled in January by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the common, interoperable and mutually-recognized digital green certificate proposal is expected to be approved next week during an EU Council meeting as part of a wider restart plan.
More specifically, the green certificate to be used ahead and during travel will validate holders’ vaccination against Covid-19, recovery, or negative test results.
More than 60 travel and tourism organizations under the European Tourism Manifesto Alliance are expressing their support for the initiative, urging its swift implementation in time for the summer and cooperation with the World Health Organization, the OECD, and other international bodies.
Eduardo Santander, chairman of the European Tourism Manifesto Alliance and CEO of the European Travel Commission (ECT) said the digital green certificate proposal was “a major step in the right direction”, adding however that a “clear plan outlining conditions and timing to prepare for the safe restart of travel and tourism in Europe” was vital.
The European Tourism Manifesto is the voice of the European travel and tourism sector and its members include WTTC, ACI EUROPE, CLIA EUROPE, ECTAA, ETC, Europa Nostra, HOTREC and FEG.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and its members also welcomed the proposal noting that it will provide a “significant and much-needed boost to economies and save millions of jobs and livelihoods”.
“The onus is now on member states and the European Parliament to adopt this new initiative, and we urge them to take the necessary steps to implement it as a matter of urgency,” said WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara.
“The proposed digital green certificate, along with enhanced health and hygiene measures and mandatory mask wearing, will provide the reassurance consumers need to book their trips and ensure the return of safe international travel,” she added.
On its part, Europe’s aviation sector also warmly received the news with industry associations Airlines for Europe (A4E), ACI EUROPE (Airports Council International), ASD (Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe), CANSO, European Regions Airline Association (ERA), and International Air Transport Association (IATA) calling for the immediate approval of the proposal.
Additionally, aviation bodies underline the need for swift implementation of the green certificate system urging EU governments to ensure the certificates are operational in time for the peak summer travel months enabling the elimination of all restrictions to travel but recognizing that vaccination should not be mandatory in order to travel.
“The EC has our full support, and we call on the European Parliament and Council to work on its swift adoption via an emergency procedure. We need a clear path out of this crippling situation, and appeal once again to the EU member states to implement common solutions and plan ahead in a fully co-ordinated and aligned way,” said the leaders of the aforementioned associations.
“States must now do their part by acting in a co-ordinated manner, to avert yet another patchwork solution of fragmented agreements borne out of frustration and necessity”, they added.
In the meantime, a recent survey found that more than half of Europeans (54 percent) said they aim to travel before the end of July.