regulations on tourist protection

The tourism sector is calling for the lifting of unnecessary travel restrictions

A few days ago, travel and tourism associations published a Position Paper calling on EU member states to lift unnecessary travel restrictions. After the summer season, Europe enters ...

A few days ago, travel and tourism associations announced Position document in which they call on the Member States of the European Union to lift unnecessary travel restrictions.

After the summer season, Europe enters the second phase of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. So far it is in the European Union fully vaccinated about 74% of adults, and despite the continued spread of the virus, it is estimated that the impact of the pandemic on public health has been brought under control within the European Union.

Currently, according to the European Travel Commission (ETC), discussions are under way between Member States on the revision of the Council's recommendations on travel restrictions. Among other things, the Council is considering updating the criteria behind it maps of travel restrictions in the EU marked in color, to include vaccination and hospitalization rates, not just incidence rates.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) now acknowledges that restrictions on travel through the EU have not had a significant impact on reducing virus transmission, hospitalizations or deaths. It also proposes to discontinue the use of combined indicators and a color-coded system due to the limited value of public health, in order to focus on promoting vaccination among travelers.

All of the above calls for the complete abolition of this color-coded system and the lifting of travel restrictions for all digital COVID (DCC) holders, regardless of their country / region of origin. EU countries should therefore move to a passenger risk-based approach rather than the country-to-country approach currently in use.

With a focus on the individual traveler, there is no justification for treating international travel differently from travel within the EU. While several Member States have already opened trips outside the EU under similar conditions as within the EU, some continue to discourage irrelevant travel to any country that is not on a very limited list of safe countries.

International travel should be allowed under the same conditions as for travel within the EU: on the basis of vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test; with quarantine requirements and recommendations against unimportant travel strictly limited to very high frequency or variant areas of concern. On this basis, travel and tourism associations call on Member States to abandon the use of the EU White List.

“EU leaders need to focus on rebuilding international air traffic as quickly as possible, building on the success of the Digital COVID Certificate (DCC). Since its launch in June 2021, DCC has quickly become the de facto global standard, with more than half a billion certificates taken. We call on the EU to use its influence and DCC success to accelerate the implementation of commitments made during the G7 summit, at which members agreed on a set of common travel standards including interoperability and mutual recognition of digital applications, testing requirements, vaccination status recognition and comparable criteria when appropriate measures may be required ”, the Document states, emphasizing the importance of the following elements:

  • Member States should additionally update and harmonize your travel rules and restrictions. In particular, it is necessary to harmonize the list of recognized vaccines, the duration of testing and vaccination, the requirements for children (who should be allowed to follow the same applicable rules as adults regardless of their own vaccination status) and the recognition of mixed vaccinations and complementary vaccines.
  • Together with the European Commission, Member States should work on a coordinated EU COVID plan for travel and tourism. This would include:
    • A harmonized approach to re-establishing freedom of movement, recognizing the endemic nature of COVID-19 and replacing complex traffic light systems;
    • Common criteria on when to stop using passenger location forms (PLF), as well as hygiene standards at a later stage (face masks, social distancing, etc.);
    • Simple and clear rules that are the same all over Europe - to avoid a mix of exit measures, similar to those we saw at the beginning of the crisis.
  • All Member States should recognize seven vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for international travel, as the U.S. has just done. This option is already included in the DCC Regulation itself and could be the basis for a more harmonized approach. Vaccine certification accepted at the border should also be accepted for entry into facilities at the destination where required. This measure would restore alignment within the Schengen area and simplify travel rules for travelers outside the EU.
  • Decisions on DCC equivalence - In order to facilitate the recovery of international travel, we strongly support the ongoing work of the European Commission in seeking an agreement with third countries on the mutual recognition of the COVID-19 certificate. We support DCC becoming the foundation for the global standard in digital certifications.
  • Digitization of verification procedures: Manual DCC and PLF checks by the crew continue to cause complexity and long queues at airports and ports. The situation could become extremely difficult to manage as traffic is constantly recovering. We therefore call on national governments to support the digitization of the verification process by providing a simple “queue for travel” message as part of the online application process.
  • Antigen tests should be systematically accepted as an alternative to slower and more expensive PCR tests.

Source: ETC

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