Holiday operators say 'safe travel is possible this summer'
The European Travel Agents' and Tour Operators' Associations, representing some 70,000 travel agents and tour operators in Europe, is calling European and national decision-makers throughout the EU to plan for a safe return of travel this summer.
Such a plan should build around a common approach of risk-based travel restrictions, based on testing and health certificates, the ECTAA has said.
"While the situation is not much different from a year ago, where nearly all travel and tourism has been suspended, today we hold the cards to turn the situation around," the associations said. They claim "all the prerequisites are there to be able to travel safely this summer" and that the industry "stands ready to set and implement a plan for return to travel."
"Vaccinations programmes are being rolled out, ensuring that the most vulnerable people are protected and alleviating the strain on our health systems. Tests are becoming increasingly performant and in sufficient capacity to be deployed in travel on a large scale," they added.
"Rigorous health and safety protocols have been implemented by tourism enterprises to welcome their guests in a safe way."
Pawel Niewiadomski, President of ECTAA, said: “All we need to do is put the dots together and determine a common European roadmap for return to travel. Travellers and industry need a perspective when and under which conditions travel can resume.” ECTAA is joining the calls of many tourism stakeholders to European and national decision-makers to plan the way for a safe return of travel in time for the summer.
"Such a plan should build around a common approach of risk-based travel restrictions, based on testing and health certificates. Moreover, communication to the public is key to restore travellers’ confidence.
"We have come a long way since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. Today we have gathered a lot of knowledge from the systematic and strategic testing. For example, the German agency responsible for disease control and prevention, the Robert Koch Institute, has worked out from which countries most foreign infections originated last summer. The result: the classic organised holiday trip only made a small contribution to the incidence of infections in Germany.
"This is proof that organised travelling is safe. But we need the right framework conditions to start-up travel based on testing and the use of health certificates to facilitate travel.”