EU Attitude Towards Tourism During Pandemic

To slow down the spread of coronavirus and protect the health of EU citizens, as well as the general well-being in Europe, certain travel restrictions had to be imposed. The European Commission makes every effort to make it possible for people to meet and to ensure the free movement of citizens, goods, and services as it is possible under these circumstances and takes full account of health and safety measures. So, what measures have been taken to ensure the tourism in the European Union during this pandemic?

Safe Trips

The Re-open EU online platform was launched by the European Commission on 15 June 2020. This platform was originally set up as one of the measures announced by the Commission in its Tourism and Transport Package to promote safe travel and relaunch tourism in the EU, while respecting the necessary health protection measures.

In the light of the current health situation and the recurrence of coronavirus, more attention has been paid to providing a country-by-country overview of epidemiological data and national requirements for coronavirus safety and travel restrictions, such as quarantine and testing.

The information provided for all European countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland is updated daily using validated data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the Member States. The platform provides information in 24 official EU languages ​​and is compatible with both Android and iOS phone software.

Digital Green Certificates

On 17 March of 2021, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal establishing a common framework for a digital green certificate, which includes data on vaccination, test results, and disease transmission. The document sets out an EU-level approach to the issuance, verification, and recognition of these certificates to facilitate free movement within the EU and based on the strict principles of non-discrimination and fundamental rights for EU citizens. The technical parameters set at EU level to ensure security, interoperability and full compliance with personal data protection requirements should be operational by mid-June. It is also possible to extend the scope of the initiative to include eligible certificates issued by third parties.

General Form of Passenger Location

In cases when traveler cross borders by plane or train, i.e., in large groups, the exchange of data between Member States’ contact tracing authorities can be of particular importance. Member States may use digital passenger location questionnaires to collect data on cross-border travelers entering their territory. To allow Member States to exchange relevant data through the exchange platform set up by the Commission and EASA, the European Commission has published draft measures laying down the necessary legal conditions for the processing of such personal data. These measures should be adopted before the summer holiday season.

Measures for Travelers

On February 2, 2021, the European Council has updated its recommendation on restrictions on travel from third countries to the EU. EU countries should require that travelers traveling for any essential or non-essential reason, except for transport and border workers, have passed a PCR test with a negative result at least 72 hours before departure. In addition, they may require self-isolation, quarantine, and contact tracing for up to 14 days, as well as additional COVID-19 testing during the same period if necessary. Quarantine and additional testing on arrival or after arrival should be established for travelers from a third country where a virus strain of concern has been detected.

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