The European Commission has presented a package of guidelines and recommendations to help Member States gradually lift travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen, after months of lockdown, while respecting necessary health precautions.
The Commission's guidance aims to offer people the chance to get some well-needed rest, relaxation and fresh air. As soon as the health situation allows, people should be able to catch up with friends and family, in their own EU country or across borders, with all the safety and precautionary measures needed in place.
The package also aims to help the EU tourism sector recover from the pandemic, by supporting businesses and ensuring that Europe continues to be the number one destination for visitors.
The Commission's Tourism and Transport package includes:
- An overall strategy towards recovery in 2020 and beyond;
- A common approach to restoring free movement and lifting restrictions at EU internal borders in a gradual and coordinated way;
- A framework to support the gradual re-establishment of transport whilst ensuring the safety of passengers and personnel;
- A recommendation which aims to make travel vouchers an attractive alternative to cash reimbursement for consumers;
- Criteria for restoring tourism activities safely and gradually and for developing health protocols for hospitality establishments such as hotels.
For tourists and travellers
The Commission is looking to give people the ability, confidence and safety to travel again with the following measures:
- Safely restoring freedom of movement and lifting internal border controls
- Restoring transport services across the EU while protecting the health of transport workers and passengers
- Safely resuming tourism services
- Ensuring cross-border interoperability of tracing apps.
- Making vouchers a more attractive option for consumers
For tourism businesses
The Commission aims to support Europe's tourism sector by:
- Ensuring liquidity for tourism businesses, in particular SMEs, through flexibility under State aid rules and EU funding
- Saving jobs with up to €100 billion in financial relief from the SURE programme
- Connecting citizens to local tourism offer, promoting local attractions and tourism and Europe as a safe tourist destination
Members of the College have added:
Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: "Tourism is vital to the Single Market and its four freedoms and a key contributor to the EU's economic, social and cultural way of life. It has also been deeply impacted by the measures needed to contain COVID-19. As our Member States gradually lift restrictive measures, we are putting in place the foundations for rebooting the tourism eco-system and Single Market in a safe, proportionate way that will prevent the resurgence of the virus within the EU, whilst safeguarding our way of life.”
Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, has stated: “We aim to create safe conditions in every mode of transport, to the extent possible, both for people traveling and transport workers. As we re-establish connectivity, these guidelines will provide authorities and stakeholders a standard framework. Our priority is to restore mobility as soon as possible, but only with clear provisions for safety and health.”
For more information see the press release here.
Press release first published on 13th May 2020.