The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, a group of more than 60 public and private travel and tourism organisations and the voice of the sector in Europe, strongly welcomes the European Commission’s proposal to introduce a common, interoperable and mutually-recognised Digital Green Certificate.
This digital proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has recovered from the virus, or has a negative test result will greatly facilitate safe free movement of citizens and restart of travel and tourism in the EU.
Today, there are already a number of European countries that facilitate entry into their country if travellers can provide such proof. More countries are expected to follow as vaccinations are rolled out and the health situation improves. EU coordination is thus vital to avoid a fragmented situation with 27 different certificates covering testing, vaccination and immunity.
The alliance urges the European Parliament and the Council to swiftly approve the Commission’s proposal, and for all Member States to ensure a speedy implementation. It also calls on the EU to work collaboratively with the World Health Organisation, OECD and other international bodies to come to a global solution for the digitisation of vaccination, testing and immunity records to facilitate international travel when the epidemiological situation allows.
Europe’s travel and tourism sector is encouraged by the Commission’s proposal, but this initiative on its own will not be enough. The alliance reiterates the urgent need to develop a concrete EU roadmap, following a risk-based and data-driven approach, to identify the conditions and scenarios under which current travel restrictions could be loosened and lifted in a coordinated manner across the EU and beyond. The recent industry recommendations cover:
- Creation of an EU Task Force in cooperation with the industry and social partners to restore travel and tourism
- Coordination of travel restrictions and requirements
- A harmonised EU framework for travel-related testing with sufficient affordable capacity
- Coordinated reopening of tourism activities, for instance based on the EU Guidance for the progressive resumption of tourism services issued on 13th May 2020.
Proving the urgency of the need for a common EU framework, a recent survey revealed a strong pent-up demand among Europeans to resume travel with 54% aiming to take a trip before the end of July 2021. Notably, 41% of respondents wish to travel to another European country.
“The Digital Green Certificate proposal released today is a major step in the right direction. But time is of essence now. We need a clear plan outlining conditions and timing to prepare for the safe restart of travel and tourism in Europe to be ready for the critical summer season 2021! Europe should work on this together leaving no place for fragmentation and unilateral actions”, says Eduardo Santander, Chairman of the European Tourism Manifesto alliance and CEO of the European Travel Commission.