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EU, travel industry seek to harmonise travel restrictions

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The European Tourism Manifesto, an alliance of more than 60 trade organisations and private companies in the tourism sector, has called on Member States to urgently agree to harmonised travel restrictions, so that safe travel throughout the EU again becomes possible.

 The move follows the EU Commission’s announcement last Friday proposing a set of recommendations to prevent discriminatory measures applied by member states in a new attempt to harmonise fragmented COVID-19 travel restrictions across the bloc.

The Commission has re-released a new website, “Reopen EU” (first opened in June, but now upgraded)

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( ) which provides comprehensive and up-to-date information on travel restrictions by country. “This interactive tool provides you with the information that you need to confidently plan your European travel and holidays, while staying healthy and safe,” the site says.

Every 2.7 per cent increase in travel flows would generate or bring back one million jobs in the sector. Harmonising the inconsistent patchwork of COVID-19 rules and travel advice in Europe could lead to an increase in travellers by as much as 27 per cent, recreating 10 million jobs in travel and tourism across Europe, the European Tourism Manifesto notes, citing the latest WTTC research.

“European travel and tourism is the ecosystem most affected by the coronavirus crisis due to insufficiently coordinated travel restrictions, declining traveller confidence and reduced consumer demand. The 2020 summer season was strongly impacted by this crisis, with traveller confidence reaching a record low.” the European Tourism Manifesto alliance said in statement published on Tuesday.

“We call on national governments to urgently approve the European Commission’s proposal and to:

  • Establish common criteria and thresholds for determining epidemiological risk, including a common colour-coding system to identify risk areas. These criteria should be evaluated on a detailed regional level, considering relevant geographical factors (particularly islands).
  • Implement common measures to put in place upon departure to and return from risk areas. These measures should be determined with sufficient detail and based on scientific evidence (as there is no reason to restrict travel to entire countries if only certain regions are affected), and comprise:
  • Replacing the need for quarantine of travellers with comprehensive cost-effective testing and tracing
  • Avoiding blanket restrictions to free movement by implementing more targeted measures which are limited in geographical scope
  • Avoiding imposing travel restrictions on passengers in transit
  • Agreeing on common rules for requesting pre-travel COVID-19 negative test results where needed
  • Ensuring the interoperability of contact tracing apps in the EU and the harmonization of Passenger Locator Forms based on international standards.
  • Follow a common structured and transparent process to publish clear, comprehensive and timely information about any travel restrictions where these are needed,” the statement said.

These proposals comprehend and expand on those of the EU Commission.

“While many Europeans were keen to travel again during the summer, the inconsistent and everchanging border restrictions along with confusion about quarantine and test requirements, caused frustration for both businesses and travellers, deterring booking and damaging materialisation for both leisure and business travel,” the statement concludes.






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