Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Netherlands’ Tourism Board Proposes Travel Bubble With Belgium & Germany

The Netherlands’ Board of Tourism and Conventions (NBTC) has proposed to create a travel bubble between the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, which would facilitate travel among these three territories if the introduction of COVID-19 vaccination passports is delayed.

The General Director of NBTC, Jos Vranken, has stressed that he will once again discuss the three-country travel corridor plan with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy this week, reports.

Frank Oostdam from the Dutch Association of travel agents ANVR has stressed that he was charmed by the idea. However, he warned that such a plan shouldn’t hinder a potential border concept in which countries such as Italy would be included.

The idea of travel bubbles has been introduced and implemented several times among European Union Member States’ countries, up to this point, even though it was not welcomed by everyone.

Last month, the Foreign Minister of Estonia, Eva-Maria Liimets, announced that her country plans to restore the “Baltic Bubble” by the summer season in order to ease the travel process between Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. Such a travel corridor was opened on May 15 last year, even though it remained open for just a few months.

Among other European countries that removed restrictions on their internal borders last year are also the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria, which opened their borders for citizens of each other, permitting travellers to move freely.

However, Vice President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, criticized the introduction of small “mini-Schengen Zones” within the European Union, stressing that it should not be permitted that a smaller Schengen replaces the current Schengen Zone.

“I’m going to give you an example about borders. In no way will the intention to return to our usual Schengen, removing the current restrictions on our internal borders, be replaced by a kind of regional mini Schengens that fragment our single market and discriminate against non-participating member states. This is not possible,” Schinas said at the time.

According to the figures published by Worldometers, 1,571,398 persons tested positive for the Coronavirus pandemic in the Netherlands since the beginning of the pandemic.

The same source reveals that more than 17,380 persons have died from the virus in the Netherlands, as yet.

The country faces over 220,730 active cases, while more than 1,333,280 persons have fully recovered from the Coronavirus and its new strains that have profoundly affected many countries worldwide.

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