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Coronavirus: Travel and transport within Europe

20 May 2020
by Willy van Knippenberg

The last months of the COVID-19 crisis have not only deeply affected those infected and their families, and taken a financial toll on businesses, entrepreneurs and the workforce. They have also required sacrifices from almost everyone. Those in the healthcare frontline or in more intense forms of physical confinement have particularly suffered.

It's time to recover

Handled correctly, safely and in a coordinated manner, the months to come could offer Europeans the chance to get some well-needed rest, relaxation and fresh air, and to catch up with friends and family, in their own Member States or across borders. Many have kept themselves going with just that thought but want to be reassured that there will be hotels, camping sites and restaurants, bars and cafes to go to, trekking paths, waterfronts and cycling trails accessible, cultural attractions open to visit, transport to get there without restrictions and above all that everything possible has been done to ensure that they will be as safe as possible from infection.

The months to come should not be lost for the vibrant European tourism ecosystem covering a range of activities such as travel, transport, accommodation, food, recreation on land and water, culture or nature. Directly and indirectly, it contributes close to 10% to EU GDP and has made the EU the world’s leading tourism destination, with 563 million international arrivals and 30% of global receipts in 2018.

Tourism creates jobs

For many Member States, European regions and cities, tourism is a key contributor to the economic and social fabric. More than that, it provides much needed jobs and income, often concentrated in regions with no alternative sources of employment and involving low-skilled workers. But this ecosystem has been hit hard. The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) foresees a decline of international tourism of 60% to 80% compared to last year, amounting to losses of between EUR 840 billion to EUR 1.100 billion in export revenues worldwide. And the next months are crucial: during an average summer season (June-August) residents of the EU make 385 million tourism trips and spend EUR190 billion.

Many Europeans look forward to taking a break during the summer months, but they also want to be sure that they will be safe during their travel and vacation.

European Commission recommendations

The European Commission sent a communication to the European Parliament containing the following recommendations:

  • Safely restore unrestricted free movement and reopen internal borders: Guidance on restoring freedom of movement and lifting of internal border controls
  • Safely restore transport and connectivity: Guidance on transport
  • Safely resume tourism services: Guidance on tourism, in particular hospitality
  • Address the liquidity crunch and rebuild consumer confidence: Recommendation on vouchers

Getting tourism back on track

The time calls for a coordinated response at European level for the short-term exit from the crisis, but also for shaping recovery and addressing shared challenges in the longerterm. The above measures should give people the opportunity and confidence to travel safely. However, those measures alone will not be sufficient to ensure a successful summer season. It is time for a coordinated response at European level to overcome the crisis in the short term. Visit these websites to help you plan your next move:

UK Goverment

Guidance for British people travelling overseas during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
URL: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

IATA Interactive Coronavirus (Covid-19) Travel Regulations Map

Check the entry criteria for each destination before travelling
URL: https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/international-travel-document-news/1580226297.htm?pub=autodetect

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