The European Tourism Manifesto on Wednesday called on EU Member States to ensure swift implementation of the EU Digital COVID Certificate before July to support the restart of the sector in time for the vital summer season, and to restore freedom of movement within the EU and Schengen Area.
The European Tourism Manifesto is an alliance of more than 60 travel and tourism organisations.
The alliance’s call comes after the European Parliament’s LIBE committee and the Council approved the regulation on the EU Digital COVID Certificate which is aimed to facilitate travel in the post-coronavirus era.
“The alliance recognises this is both positive and necessary to restore freedom of movement: a fundamental principle and one of Europe’s greatest achievements. This tool will greatly facilitate cross-border travel, also allowing Europeans to reconnect with families and friends and do business in person after months of lockdowns and restrictions,” the European Tourism Manifesto said in an announcement.
As a common EU instrument, the digital COVID certificate will provide convenient proof that the holder has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, recovered from the virus, or received a negative test result.
The alliance urges Member States to ensure swift and effective implementation of the Certificate by July 1 “at the latest”, and refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on certificate holders (testing or quarantine), in line with the agreement reached between the EU institutions.
The travel and tourism stakeholders stress that “any delay will undermine the chances of a successful recovery: sectoral resilience is at its limit”.
The alliance also welcomes the EU Institutions’ agreement to make 100 million euros available from the Emergency Support Instrument, allowing Member States to purchase COVID-19 tests and make them “affordable and accessible” to all travellers.
While the alliance is confident that the EU Digital COVID Certificate will support reopening, to increase the chance of success, urgent agreement and coordination among Member States is still required on the following:
– Common time limits for COVID-19 testing requirements (such as <24hrs prior for antigen test, <72hrs for PCR test);
– A harmonised minimum age for children at which a COVID-19 test is required, helping families to plan their trips;
– No additional requirements on transit passengers in transportation hubs;
– Swift adoption of the European Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF) which should be linked to the EU Digital COVID Certificate to improve efficiency when boarding passengers and avoiding long queues at transport hubs.
“These measures would help restore confidence in cross-border travel, and guarantee a smooth experience for travellers exercising their freedom of movement,” state the stakeholders.
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.