European travel and tourism sector urges EU governments to agree on harmonised travel restrictions  

  • 10:20 AM, 13 Sep, 2020
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(September 8, 2020) The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, the voice of the European travel and tourism sector, is urging Member States to agree on harmonised travel restrictions and ensure swift implementation to help the sector survive this unprecedented crisis.

The Alliance applauds renewed efforts of the European Commission as well as the initiative from the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union to improve coordination on cross-border travel and restore the integrity of the Schengen area. The need for continued COVID-19 control is foreseeable and, under Art.24 of the Schengen Borders Code, any related border restrictions must be coordinated.

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.

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The Alliance calls 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. Information should also be made available on the Re-open EU web platform.

The sector has been calling for better coordination between Member States and a harmonised European approach to travel restrictions and safety measures since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such an approach will help rebuild traveller confidence and help the sector in its slow recovery, protecting millions of livelihoods, jobs, and enterprises.

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