Ahead of the EU Ambassadors’ meeting on 11 June, the European travel and tourism industry associations call on Member States to approve the Commission’s proposal to start lifting travel restrictions in the EU in a coordinated way1. After months of lockdowns and a patchwork of measures across the continent, this proposal is very timely. In view of the rapidly advancing vaccination programs and improving epidemiological outlook in Europe, safe travel is possible this summer – fuelled by the strong desire of European citizens to travel again and secured by the readiness of our sector to provide safe and responsible travel.
Covid 19 has had an unprecedented impact on people’s lives and economies. A glimmer of hope surfaced with the development and gradual roll-out of the vaccine programmes. They will provide protection to the most vulnerable population groups and help our health systems better cope with the C19 crisis. However, we cannot wait until all people are vaccinated to be able to travel again. This would shatter the hopes of many people wanting to travel and cripple an entire industry already at the brink of bankruptcy. ECTAA is thus calling on the EU and national decision-makers to prepare an EU roadmap for return to travel in time for spring and summer season. We need to give travellers and the industry a perspective when and under which conditions travel can resume as vaccinations are progressively rolled out.
Recognising that tourism has been “badly hit” by the COVID-19 crisis, ECTAA is pleased to see that Tourism Ministers are eager to use the EU Recovery Fund for tourism. ECTAA also welcomes their support for a “harmonized solution” for refunding travel packages, including vouchers (link).