European Commission seeks to gradually restart tourism sector
The European Commission has unveiled a series of guidelines designed to kickstart the tourism sector across the continent in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Many tourism businesses remain closed after months of lockdown.
The new guidance seeks to reopen borders, but with “all the safety and precautionary measures needed in place”.
From Friday there will be random checks at border crossings and then on June 15th free movement should resume.
UK travellers have already been warned not to expect “lavish” international holidays, with plans for a 14-day quarantine on air arrivals.
But travel without quarantine will be possible to France and Ireland.
European commissioner for transport, Adina Vălean, said: “We aim to create safe conditions in every mode of transport, to the extent possible, both for people traveling and transport workers.
“As we re-establish connectivity, these guidelines will provide authorities and stakeholders a standard framework.
“Our priority is to restore mobility as soon as possible, but only with clear provisions for safety and health.”
The non-binding plans involve countries working together to gradually remove travel bans and then border checks, while keeping targeted measures as the Covid-19 outbreak comes under control across the member states.
Suggestions include online check-in wherever possible, limiting the sale of food onboard flights, seating passengers from the same household together and protective equipment for staff.
Travel, transport, accommodation, food, and recreation contribute to almost ten per cent of EU GDP and provide a key source of employment and income in numerous European regions.
Some 267 million Europeans (62 per cent of the population) make at least one private leisure trip per year and 78 per cent of Europeans spend their holidays in their home country or another EU country.
At the same time, the tourism ecosystem has also been one of the most affected by the heavy restrictions on movement and travel imposed in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) foresees a 20-30 per cent reduction in international arrivals, amounting to losses of between €280 and €420 billion for the travel industry worldwide.
In Europe, the summer is a crucial season for the industry, bringing €150 billion on average to the European tourism sector, with 360 million arrivals.
The new package from the commission follows the pathway set by the Joint European Roadmap published by the Commission last month.
The package also aims to help the EU tourism sector recover from the pandemic, by supporting businesses and ensuring that Europe continues to be the number one destination for visitors.
Find out more on the official website.