European Travel and Tourism Sector Urges EU Governments to Agree on Harmonised Travel Restrictions

The European Tourism Manifesto Alliance, the voice of the European travel and tourism sector, has called on its Member States to urgently agree on harmonised travel restrictions and ensure swift implementation to help the sector survive this unprecedented crisis.

The European Tourism Manifesto alliance has applauded renewed efforts by the European Commission, as well as the initiative from the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union, to improve coordination on cross-border travel and restore the integrity of the Schengen area.

In the wake of an expected dramatic economic downturn, it is crucial that travel within the EU and the wider European area (including EEA, UK and Switzerland) be carefully and quickly restored. In addition, international coordination to re-establish transatlantic travel would provide a vital boost to the travel and tourism sector. Spain is one of the European countries most affected by the crisis as it relies so heavily on tourism. Spain’s Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca, in particular, have been hit hard by the downturn in tourists.

The 2020 summer season, which officially ends soon, was strongly impacted by this crisis, with traveller confidence reaching a record low. Hotel occupancy rates in Europe were at 26.5% in July 2020, which accounts for a fall of 66.4% compared to the same month last year. Moreover, top 5 European destinations, such as France, Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands only saw just 40% of 2019’s volumes for intra-European travel, with Spain lagging at a pitiful 22% of last year’s volumes.

While many European holidaymakers were keen to travel again during the summer, the inconsistent and ever-changing border restrictions along with confusion about quarantine and test requirements, caused frustration for both businesses and travellers. As in the case of Scotland and Wales breaking out on their own and introducing restrictions on a selection of Greek Islands and Portugal- including Gibraltar.

The European Tourism Manifesto Alliance seeks to address all these issues and more, if not, then the times ahead for the Travel and Tourism Industry will be bleak indeed.

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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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