Thursday, June 10, 2021

European Travel & Tourism Stakeholders Call for Implementation of Harmonized EU Travel Rules

The European travel and tourism associations have once again called on the Member States to start abolishing travel restriction in the EU, in a coordinated way, to ease the travel process ahead of the summer season, as the vaccine program is accelerating.

Such requirements have been urged by stakeholders ahead of the EU Ambassadors meeting that will be held on June 11, reports.

The Associations’ call, according to them, is very timely to revive the travel and tourism industry by summer, after months of lockdowns and restrictions imposed to halt the further spread of the virus.

The proposal initially presented by the European Commission on May 31, if implemented, would restore the freedom of movement within the European Union.

European Travel and Tourism associations support the following elements;

  • People who have been fully vaccinated can travel without being subject to additional requirements such as test or quarantine.
  • People who have fully recovered from the Coronavirus can travel without being obliged to present a negative result of the COVID-19 test or remain self-isolated upon their arrival to a specific country.
  • Citizens from countries that have recently reported a low number of COVID-19 infections should be permitted to travel without being subject to any restrictions. At the same time, travel from medium risk countries as well as high-risk countries should be allowed without quarantine requirements and based only on a negative test result.
  • Member States should adopt a uniform approach of accepting a negative result of a PCR COVID-19 test, not older than 72 hours before arrival, and 48 hours in the case of rapid antigen tests.
  • Minors travelling with their parent(s) should not be subject to quarantine where the parents are not required to do so. Children under six years should be exempted from travel.
  • Increase the thresholds of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control map (two weeks incidence rate for the ‘medium risk’ category increased from 50 to 75).
  • Exempt from restrictions travellers who present a digital COVID-19 certificate.
  • The European Union has presented an Emergency Brake system that can be used in the case that a region marks an increased number of infections (which could lead to changing the category to dark red); the Member States should impose testing and quarantine rules for travellers of these zones, even for those who obtain a Digital Green Certificate.

“Travel and tourism industry associations wholeheartedly welcome this important initiative towards a coordinated lifting of travel restrictions in Europe. This is an important move to restore travellers’ 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 the Member States to act fast,” stakeholders stressed in this regard.

The stakeholders have also called on the Member States to implement the EU Council Recommendations for intra-EU travel, avoid imposing any travel restrictions other than in the conditions detailed in the updated Recommendations, and ensure that that tests (PCR or antigen) are accessible or at least very affordable for travellers.

Airports Council International Europe (ACI) previously warned that the current restrictions could lead travellers to spend hours at airports this summer.

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