Europe’s major travel organizations have called on European Union member states to effectively harmonize travel restrictions in light of another wave of COVID-19, which is set to hit the continent in the following weeks.
In a joint press release, the European Travel Commission (ETC) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), with support from a number of key travel stakeholders, warned that restrictions on freedom of movement could put nearly 900,000 jobs in Australia at risk. Eliminate 35 billion euros from the region’s economy this year.
According to Julia Simpson, President and CEO of WTTC, a properly coordinated response across the EU is vital to restoring confidence for travel rather than creating more uncertainty.
“The vaccination roll-out across the European Union is among the best in the world with 65 per cent of the population now fully vaccinated. We cannot afford to let all the hard-earned progress made this year be reversed. This will have consequences,” said President Simpson. a dire impact on jobs and livelihoods.”
It also urged EU countries to continue using the EU’s digital COVID certificate, stressing that the same has so far enabled fully vaccinated people to travel safely.
ETC President Luis Araujo joined Simpson in her call, as well as urging EU governments to work together amid the growing number of cases as the year-end holiday approaches.
We must avoid any further uncertainty or fragmentation. With high vaccination rates, COVID certification from the European Union and stringent safety protocols in place, safe travel is entirely possible. In the run-up to the highly anticipated holiday season, EU citizens need clear and coherent rules,” President Araujo said.
The call comes as the majority of EU countries have tightened travel restrictions and imposed the use of passports for COVID-19 vaccination in order to reach inland areas such as bars, shopping malls, museums, etc. Some member states have made COVID passports mandatory to access university campuses and public sector workplaces.
Among the harshest measures imposed by Austrian authorities after Austria went into complete lockdown on Monday, November 22. The same is supposed to last for 20 days, until December 13. However, if the situation improves, the shutdown will take place. Lifted after ten days.
On the other hand, Norway has reintroduced the obligation to register before arriving in its territory for all travelers, including Norwegians and those vaccinated against COVID-19.
Bulgaria has expanded its high-risk list with 14 other countries in the European Union and the Schengen area, which means that travelers from these countries now face stricter restrictions when traveling to Bulgaria.
Currently, Europe has some of the highest rates of COVID-19. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that in the past seven days, the rate of coronavirus infection in Europe per 100,000 population was 262.8, while the global rate is 46.1.
However, the continent has some of the highest vaccination rates in the world, despite the situation. Based on data published by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), 65.5 percent of the total population in the EU/EEA is fully vaccinated.
The new COVID-19 measures have been ‘welcomed’ with protests across Europe.