Travel and tourism stakeholders, including the European Travel Commission (ETC), Airlines for Europe (A4E), Airport Council International (ACI), World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC), have called on the EU to intensify the safe restart of tourism and travelling and also to accelerate efforts towards the revival of the economy across the Union.
Furthermore, ETC asks the EU Commission and the Member States to recognise all seven vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and to accept antigen tests as an alternative test, as they are faster and more cost-effective compared to PCR tests, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
According to a press release issued by ETC, member states should altogether agree on the list of recognised vaccines and tests’ and vaccines’ validity. Moreover, ETC calls on the 27-nations-block to harmonise their entry rules for children and recognise booster shots and mixed vaccination.
The Travel Commission also urges the member states and EU Commission to adopt a unified EU COVID Exit Plan for Travel and Tourism, including a system for free movement across the EU, which would replace the colour-coded system. Moreover, as part of the Exit Plan, ETC calls for the governments to jointly agree on when to end the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) requirements and to abolish the hygiene measures such as face coverings and social distancing.
“Simple and clear rules that are the same throughout Europe – in order to avoid a patchwork of exit measures, similar to the ones we saw at the beginning of the crisis,” ETC further noted.
Furthermore, ETC strongly supported the establishment of numerous recognition agreements with third countries for mutually accepting the COVID-19 certificates and claimed that the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate should become a global standard for digital certificates.
At last, the Travel Commission recommends that the DCC and PLF should be checked online in order to cut the long queues at airports.
“The situation might become extremely difficult to manage as traffic volumes keep recovering. We, therefore, call on national governments to support the digitalisation of the verification process by providing a simple “okay to travel” message as part of the online check-in process,” the press release reads.
SchengenVisaInfo.com recently reported that ETC has been calling on the EU to introduce a new colour categorisation of the countries which would be based on the incidence, vaccination and hospitalisation rates of the respective country. Moreover, the authority highlighted that a system that is based on the traveller’s vaccination status, rather than their country of origin, would accelerate the reopening of tourism and resume inbound and international travelling.