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ETC Supports EU Commission’s Recommendations for Intra-EU & International Travel Amid COVID-19

The European Travel Committee (ETC), made up of 70 travel and tourism organisations, has endorsed the EU Commission’s proposals for updated and improved recommendations regarding travel within the EU as well as internal travel to the EU.

“We welcome the European Commission’s ongoing efforts to ensure a coordinated approach to travel measures and to support the proposed shift to a single-traveler-based approach, where a valid EU digital COVID certificate is sufficient for travel without additional requirements,” the ETC statement reads.

According to a press release from ETC on November 30, EU member states should follow the Commission’s proposals and adopt an approach based on individual travelers without imposing additional entry rules.

“This is in line with the latest reliable, science-based analysis of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which confirms that travel restrictions generally do not have an effective impact on the spread of the virus in Europe,” the ETC stated.

Last week, the commission proposed shortening the validity of vaccination certificates from 12 to nine months.

Regarding this proposal, the ETC said it is very important for all EU member states to agree on a standard term in order to avoid fragmentation of national legislation and contradictions between EU member states.

However, the same has been pointed out that the recommendation to shorten the validity of vaccination certificates and the requirement to provide evidence of a booster injection would create inconsistencies between countries with different vaccination rates and the availability of booster vaccines, reports.

Furthermore, ETC has emphasized that the implementation date of January 10, 2022, proposed by the committee, would be too late to affect the winter holidays as both citizens and industry need coherent rules to prepare for year-end travel.

In addition, a group of 70 public and private travel and tourism organizations welcomed the committee’s proposal for all Member States to recognize vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

However, it has been noted that the additional requirement to provide a negative PCR test for travelers who have been vaccinated with a WHO approved but not EMA approved vaccine could create different regimes.

Therefore, the ETC called on EU member states to recognize WHO approved vaccines without imposing additional entry rules.

“This point applies equally to recovered travelers; there is no justifiable reason that additional PCR testing should be required from non-EU travelers who have been recovered while this is not required of EU travelers,” the ETC added.

Apart from all the above suggestions, ETC also urged member states to adopt the existing passenger locator model to further coordinate travel procedures and facilitate contact tracing.

>> EU countries tighten travel restrictions as Omicron variant detected in several member states

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