Covid-19: Call to sing off the same hymn sheet

The European Tourism Manifesto Alliance, the voice of the European travel and tourism sector, calls on member states to urgently agree on harmonised travel restrictions and ensure swift implementation to help the sector survive this unprecedented crisis.

The alliance says it is crucial that travel within the EU and the wider European area (including EEA, UK and Switzerland) be carefully and quickly restored.

In addition, international coordination to re-establish transatlantic travel would provide a vital boost to the travel and tourism sector.

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.

Hotel occupancy rates in Europe were at 26.5% in July 2020, which accounts for a fall of 66.4% compared to the same month last year.

Moreover, top five European destinations, such as France, Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands saw just 40% of 2019's volumes for Intra European travel, with Spain lagging at 22% of last year's volumes.

While many Europeans were keen to travel again during the summer, the inconsistent and ever changing 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 alliance called for national governments to urgently approve the European Commission's proposal to adopt the following:

  • 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.

Other recommendations

  • Replace the need for quarantine of travellers with comprehensive, cost-effective testing and tracing.
  • Avoid blanket restrictions to free movement by implementing more targeted measures which are limited in geographical scope.
  • Avoid imposing travel restrictions on passengers in transit.
  • Agree on common rules for requesting pre-travel COVID-19 negative test results where needed.
  • Ensure the interoperability of contact tracing apps in the EU and the harmonisation 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.

Pending the return of significant visitor flows, continued financial support for the sector is necessary so that the European tourism ecosystem returns employment to the economy as soon as possible.

WTTC research shows that every 2.7% 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%, recreating 10 million jobs in travel and tourism across Europe.

Tourism Manifesto

The European Tourism Manifesto alliance gathers more than 60 European public and private organisations, including GBTA. The alliance calls on the European Union for action on key policy priorities for the tourism sector. For more information, visit tourismmanifesto.eu.

(Source: GBTA)


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