European travel and tourism industry associations call for removal of restrictions
They claim that the industry is ready to ensure safe and responsible travel
Ahead of the EU ambassadors meeting on June 11, European travel and tourism industry associations call on Member States to approve the Commission's proposal to start removing travel restrictions in the EU in a coordinated way . After months of blockades and a mosaic of measures across the continent, this proposal is very timely. In view of the rapid advancement of vaccination programs and the improvement of the epidemiological outlook in Europe, safe travel is possible this summer, driven by the strong desire of European citizens to travel again and ensured by the willingness of our sector to provide safe and responsible travel.
If fully adopted and implemented, the text, initially proposed by the European Commission on May 31, should restore freedom of movement within the EU. In particular, the undersigned associations support the following elements:
- Fully vaccinated people can travel without testing or quarantine, starting 14 days after completing their vaccination.
- People who have recovered from COVID-19 can also travel without being tested or quarantined for 180 days after testing positive.
- For other travelers, travel from the green areas should still be possible without any restrictions, and travel from the orange and red areas should be possible without quarantine, based on a negative test.
- Member States should take a uniform approach of accepting a negative PCR test result 72 hours before arrival and 48 hours for rapid antigen tests.
- Unified Rules for Children: Minors accompanying their parents should not be tested or quarantined where the parents are not required to do so. Children under the age of 6 must be exempt from the test.
- Increased ECDC map thresholds (14-day incidence rate for category 'orange' increased from 50 to 75).
- Vaccination, COVID-19 recovery, or a negative test result can be proven by producing a Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) or by other means, until DCC is available.
- The EU has envisaged an emergency braking system whereby if the state of a region deteriorates rapidly due to a high incidence of variants causing it to turn 'dark red', Member States should impose a test or even quarantine if travelers have a DCC. .
“Travel and tourism industry associations enthusiastically welcome this important initiative towards a coordinated lifting of travel restrictions in Europe. This is a fundamental step in restoring the confidence of travelers and reopening Europe. We believe that the European Commission has played its role, the industry is ready to ensure safe and responsible travel - we now need Member States to act quickly, ”stated stakeholders.
To ensure that all European citizens wishing to travel during the next period can do so in the best possible conditions, the undersigned travel and tourism stakeholders urge Member States to:
- Quickly accept and fully implement the EU Council Recommendations for intra-EU travel, as proposed by the European Commission.
- Refrain from imposing travel restrictions other than the conditions detailed in the updated Recommendations.
- Ensure that tests (PCR or antigen) are free or at least very affordable for travelers who need them to exercise their right to free movement, whatever the purpose.
- Ensure the full integration of the Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) in the passenger's journey, in particular its verification before the trip (for example, through state portals) to reduce waiting times and queues at departure / arrival (airports , ports, stations, etc.). ).
- Integrate the Passenger Location Form (PLF) and DCC verification into a single platform with unique controls to avoid duplication and also reduce waiting times and queues at departure.
- Ensure the deployment of adequate resources (personnel) by the competent public authorities for border control and other manual verifications of documents at airports, ports, stations, etc.
- Make sure the most recent COVID-19 status for your country is displayed on the Re-Open Europe website
- Agree to provide a more accurate overview of the most recent epidemiological situation in your country on a detailed map from ECDC.
They added: “There is a huge pent-up demand for travel and everyone in the aviation, travel and tourism industries is working on detailed plans to welcome travelers, so it is vitally important that everyone plays their part to guarantee that when our sector reopens, it stays open".