European transport, tourism and travel retail sector calls for urgent alignment on travel


EU trade bodies say coordination is needed now to help ‘save the summer season’ for regional travel (Frankfurt airport pictured)

EUROPE. Transport and tourism associations in Europe have expressed concern over the patchwork of travel rules that have emerged across the region amid the latest wave of COVID-19. They call for harmony in the way the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) is handled by states.

In December, the European Commission announced that the DCC would be valid for nine months without a reminder, several EU countries – including France, Italy, Denmark and Malta – decided to shorten the validity of vaccination cards for use national at seven or three months. A number of countries have also introduced additional testing requirements for vaccinated or recovered European travellers, which run counter to current EU Council recommendations.

Professional bodies supporting the call for harmonized travel rules

An alliance of trade associations, which includes Airlines for Europe (A4E), Airports Council International (ACI), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC), among others, said “the emerging gaps are worrying “because nation states have varying rules on travel.

They noted that travel and tourism have been hit harder than other sectors of the economy and that a coordinated response is needed.

“Although the pandemic has been raging for two years, several EU member states continue to act unilaterally, adopting a different DCC validity period, as well as diverging rules regarding children and young adults under the age of 18. This will have a direct impact on families wishing to travel for the winter holidays and later this spring.

“This inconsistency in travel restrictions across the EU directly affects individual passengers and businesses to plan their future trips and holiday bookings. The transport and tourism industry is still seeing booking rates of at least -3% below 2021 levels.”

They also noted that the most recent guidelines from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) focused on other measures and did not include travel restrictions. As noted, the World Health Organization (WHO) has highlighted the failure of travel restrictions to limit the international spread of Omicron and points to the “ineffectiveness of such measures over time”.

The parties said: “The emergence of uncoordinated travel restrictions across the EU undermines the purpose of the DCC – to support safe and free movement within the EU. We urge governments to stop deviating from this consistent approach and ensure a clear and harmonized process at European level.

“The travel and tourism sectors have already suffered greatly from the pandemic, with economic consequences that are expected to continue for years. Now more than ever, coordination between national governments to provide clear, safe and consistent rules is needed, to sustain traveler confidence, ‘save’ the summer season and ultimately ensure economic recovery.


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