At the heart of the recommendations is the development of an EU roadmap for safely restoring travel once countries emerge from national lockdowns to be developed and implemented in close cooperation with industry and social partners. A dedicated Commission Task Force for the restoration of free movement of people would lead the development and implementation of the roadmap – and provide ongoing assessments based on risk and the latest scientific data.
The goal would be to identify the conditions and scenarios under which current restrictions to international travel could be loosened and ultimately lifted across Europe and beyond. As a result, the roadmap will need to be agile and updated on a regular basis. The joint recommendations laid out by the European Tourism Manifesto alliance were shared with EU governments ahead of two crucial discussions – a videoconference of the European leaders on 25 and 26 February and an extraordinary meeting of Tourism Ministers on 1 March.
Tracking the progress of vaccination campaigns
The recommendations call on the commission-led Task Force to track the progress and impact of ongoing vaccination campaigns as well as mitigation measures such as testing and quarantine, based on risk levels within the EU and internationally.
“Our goal is for Europe to return to its place as the leading tourist destination in the world – and a safe one. As EU vaccination programmes progress and protect the most vulnerable citizens, we must jointly prepare for the restart of travel. There is simply no time to lose – preparations on a common approach should begin now in order to restore public confidence by the summer. Our recommendations detail a joint way forward towards restoring travel, tourism and freedom of movement on behalf of European citizens. We look forward to working with EU leaders to put this plan into action as soon as possible,” state the authors of the paper.
The European Commission recently released figures showing holiday bookings in Italy, Spain and Greece fell at least 70 per cent, warning the industry to brace for another quiet year. With vaccination rollouts gathering pace and with tourism taskforces such as this only likely to further boost traveller confidence and help get borders opened again, its only a matter of time before bookings for international trips will boom once more.