Ahead of an extraordinary meeting of EU ministers of tourism, 14 European stakeholders in aviation and tourism have urged the Portuguese presidency of the EU to put its efforts into the coordination of all restrictive measures related to Covid-19.
In an open letter, industry and worker associations outlined the different actions that they felt would revive the sector, enabling the restart of international travel as soon as it is safe to do so. The group asserted that coordination is required on travel restrictions, vaccination certificates and testing requirements, all of which continue to negatively affect both tourism and aviation.
The associations called for EU harmonization on the following matters:
- Widespread use of affordable, reliable and rapid tests to ease current travel restrictions;
- Termination of quarantine requirements for air travelers that have already tested negative;
- Clarity on the timing, languages and exemptions to Covid-19 tests which remain unclear; and
- Exemption of vaccinated travelers from testing, quarantine and other restrictions;
They also noted that vaccinations should not be a pre-requisite to travel, but should assist in the restart of air travel.
In a statement, the associations said, “We believe that the European Union can still save what remains of the tourism and air transport sectors by applying a truly coordinated approach to these challenges. The current patchwork of restrictions across Europe is causing confusion for Europe’s travel and tourism industries, and amongst its workers.”
Furthermore, they noted that unpredictability and a lack of clarity on restrictions impede air transportation connectivity, which in turn puts employment at risk in the air transportation sector, tourism and beyond. A failure to secure the upcoming summer travel season could lead to hundreds of thousands more job losses across Europe.