European Comission

MEPs seek guarantees for safe travel and a new EU tourism strategy

EU criteria for safe and clean travel, a joint vaccine certificate and the EU health certificate label for tourism service providers must be integral parts of the new EU tourism strategy, ...

EU criteria for safe and clean travel, a joint vaccine certificate and the EU health certificate label for tourism service providers must be integral parts of the new EU tourism strategy, MEPs say.

The resolution on the EU strategy for sustainable tourism, which was adopted on Thursday with 577 votes in favor, 31 against and 80 abstentions, states that the pandemic of the COVID-19 virus paralyzed the EU tourism industry and endangered 6 million jobs out of 27 million in sector.

MEPs recall that the tourism and travel industries account for about 10% of EU GDP. They therefore call on the Member States to certainly include them in their national recovery plans and to consider the possibility VAT reductions in those sectors.

"Safe and clean" tourism

Due to the pandemic, passengers strive for "safe, clean and sustainable tourism", the Parliament points out and calls on the member states to fully and without delay implement the common criteria for safe travel. Among other things, this includes the EU protocol on health safety for pre-departure testing and the use of quarantine only as a last resort.

A joint vaccination certificate should facilitate travel and be an alternative to PCR tests or quarantine, lawmakers say. They warn that it should comply with privacy and data protection rules and be used once there is sufficient scientific evidence that vaccinated people do not transmit the virus.

The resolution also calls on the Commission to introduce an EU health certificate label that would guarantee compliance with the minimum hygiene standards for the prevention and control of COVID-19 disease, which would help restore consumer confidence in the tourism and travel sectors.

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After the pandemic

Members of the European Parliament welcome the establishment of the portal "Re-open EU" and call on the Member States to provide the Commission with clear information when deciding whether to apply or lift restrictions on free movement.

They also point out that the Commission must consider the post-pandemic period and replace the 2010 strategy in order for Europe to retain its leading destination status. The document also calls on the Commission to set up a European Tourism Agency to support the tourism ecosystem, promote Europe as a tourism brand, collect up-to-date data on EU tourism, support small businesses in accessing EU funding and help the tourism sector prepare. for future crises. 

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"This report calls for a genuine European effort to relaunch tourism in the continent’s hardest-hit regions. Proposals for a vaccine certificate and a health certificate label have been taken into account, but what we need now is genuine European coordination of the testing system without imposing additional costs on European citizens. The EU urgently needs to accelerate the distribution of vaccines across Europe and establish appropriate financial instruments to support the green and digital transitionSaid the rapporteur, Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar.

Also, yesterday the representatives of the European Commission decided to speed up the procedure approvals of green digital certificates so that they can be accepted by June, allowing safe free movement during a pandemic.

With 468 votes in favor, 203 against and 16 abstentions, MEPs voted in favor of the urgent procedure (Article 163) which allows for faster parliamentary scrutiny of the Commission's proposals while fully respecting democratic powers.

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