As European Union authorities are working to establish a Digital Green Certificate to facilitate facilitate safe and free movement in the coronavirus era, the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) is expressing concern that the certificate may not be ready on time for the start of the summer tourism season.
The EU digital certificate will be proof that a person has either been vaccinated against the coronavirus, received a negative test result or recovered from the virus.
Earlier this month, 13 EU countries agreed that the Digital Green Certificate should be available by this June “at the latest”.
However, European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said that the Commission would be ready to complete the necessary technical infrastructural work by the end of June.
ETOA: ‘We need to move quicker’
Speaking to reporters during a press event on Tuesday, ETOA Policy Director Tim Fairhust expressed concern for the time frame of the certificate’s launch.
“I am afraid that the Digital Green Certificate will pass through the legislative process on June 26, at the earliest. That’s late!” he said.
“There is room for a responsible reopening based on the [epidemiological] data but we can’t move as fast as the slowest. We need to move quicker than that,” he added.
Fairhust made the statement during a press conference held on the sidelines of the Travel Trade Athens 2021 event by the Athens Development & Destinations Management Agency (EATA) in collaboration with ETOA.
He went on to add that the Digital Green Certificate should not be discriminatory.
“A positive step’
Meanwhile, Greek tourism executives see the adoption of a Digital Green Certificate as a positive step for the restart of Greek tourism.
“The whole travel industry is in favor of clear common regulations that support the sector’s safe operation and offer credibility to the process for the gradual return to normality,” Eftichios Vasilakis, CEO of Greek carrier AEGEAN, said during the Travel Trade Athens press conference.
It is reminded that the vaccination certificate idea was initially tabled by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in January, with the aim to enable the restart of travel and support EU economies.