Travel and tourism professionals in the European Union are calling for the immediate implementation of harmonized regulations in order to facilitate movement and restart economies.
Tourism stakeholders are hoping their proposals are considered during an EU ambassadors’ meeting on Friday.
Industry associations are urging member states to approve a European Commission proposal which foresees lifting travel restrictions across the EU in a coordinated manner. The proposals are aimed at addressing a patchwork of measures which is making travel complicated and difficult.
“This is an essential move to restore travelers’ confidence and reopen Europe. We believe that the European Commission has played its part, the industry is ready to ensure safe and responsible travel: we now need member states to act fast,” said the associations in a statement.
Citing strong pent-up demand for travel combined with improving epidemiological data and rapidly advancing vaccination programs, European tourism associations want travel to restart this summer.
“There is huge pent-up demand for travel and everyone in the aviation, travel, and tourism industries is working on detailed plans to welcome travelers back. So it’s crucially important that everyone plays their part in ensuring that when our sector reopens, it stays open,” the groups said.
Initially proposed on by the European Commission last month, the following should apply across the EU:
- Fully vaccinated individuals can travel without tests or quarantines, from 14 days after having completed their vaccination
- People who have recovered from Covid-19 can travel without being subject to tests or quarantines for 180 days after their positive test
- Travel from green zones should remain possible without any restrictions, and travel from both orange and red zones should be possible without quarantine, on the basis of a negative test
- EU states should adopt a uniform approach of accepting a negative PCR test result 72 hours before arrival and 48 hours in the case of rapid antigen tests
- Unified rules for children: minors accompanying their parent(s) should not test/quarantine where the parents are not required to do so. Children under 6 years old should be exempt from testing
- Increasing the thresholds of the ECDC map
- Vaccination, recovery from Covid-19, or a negative test result can be proven by producing a Digital Covid-19 Certificate (DCC) or by other means, until the DCC is available.
The travel and tourism organizations are calling on member states to:
- swiftly agree and fully implement the EU Council recommendations for intra-EU travel
- refrain from imposing any travel restrictions other than in the conditions detailed in the updated recommendations
- ensure that tests (PCR or antigen) are free or affordable for travelers
- ensure the full integration of the Digital Covid-19 Certificate in the passenger journey with emphasis on verification before travel in order to reduce waiting times and queues at departure / on arrival
- integrate the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) and DCC verification into a single platform with single checks to avoid duplications in order to also reduce waiting times and queues at departure
- employ extra staff for border control and other manual document verifications at airports, ports, stations, etc
- ensure the latest coronavirus status of their country is displayed on the Re-Open Europe EU website
- agree to provide a more precise outlook on their country’s latest epidemiological situation on a detailed ECDC map.