The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, a group of more than 60 public and private travel and tourism organizations, announced it strongly supports the European Travel Commission’s proposal to introduce a common, interoperable and mutually recognized Digital Green Certificate. This digital certificate would be proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has recovered from the virus or has a negative test result, which would “greatly facilitate safe free movement of citizens and restart of travel and tourism in the E.U.,” according to the European Tourism Manifesto.
Currently, there are already a number of European countries that facilitate entry into their country if travelers can provide proof of a vaccination, recovery or negative test result and more countries are expected to follow as vaccinations are rolled out and the health situation improves. European Union (E.U.) coordination, the European Tourism Manifesto says, is vital to avoid a fragmented situation with 27 different certificates covering testing, vaccination and immunity.
The alliance is urging the European Parliament and the Council to approve the Commission’s proposal and for all member states to ensure a speedy implementation. It also calls on the E.U. to work collaboratively with the World Health Organization, OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) and other international bodies to come to a global solution for the digitization 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 European Tourism Manifesto adds. The alliance reiterated the urgent need to develop a concrete E.U. 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 E.U. and beyond. The recent industry recommendations cover:
- Creation of an E.U. Task Force in cooperation with the industry and social partners to restore travel and tourism
- Coordination of travel restrictions and requirements
- A harmonized E.U. framework for travel-related testing with sufficient affordable capacity
- Coordinated reopening of tourism activities, for instance based on the E.U. Guidance for the progressive resumption of tourism services issued on May 13, 2020
Proving the urgency of the need for a common E.U. framework, a recent survey revealed a pent-up demand among Europeans to resume travel with 54 percent aiming to take a trip before the end of July 2021. Notably, 41 percent of respondents wish to travel to another European country.