European Commission’s guidelines on resuming travel and rebooting Europe’s tourism – COVID-19

Travel and tourism is one of the industries most affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Travel restrictions and lockdown measures in the European countries caused that traffic, both cross-border and within the country’s territory, has been completely stopped. Currently, the tourism and travel industry is facing an unprecedented crisis. In the light of the coronavirus emergency, on 13 May 2020 the European Commission has published a guidance on how to safely resume travel and reboot the European tourism¹. The aim of the guidelines is to help Member States to safely and gradually lift the lockdown restrictions while respecting the health precautions, to reactive tourism business activities and travels.

The package of the Commission’s guidelines includes an overall strategy towards the EU tourism recovery in 2020 and beyond, a common approach to restore free movement, criteria for restoring tourism activities healthy and gradually, a recommendation about the travel vouchers as well as a framework for restoring transport¹.

In order to restore freedom of movement and lift the internal border controls in a safe way, the member states should introduce targeted measures, which will replace the blanket restrictions. All actions should be based on epidemiological, economic and social considerations. The countries should be also able to apply containment measures during the whole journey. Moreover, the guidelines contain general rules for the restoration of passenger transport services, while respecting the safety of passengers and workers. Another recommendation concerns the safe way of resuming tourism services and development of health protocols, which will allow visitors to enjoy their stay in tourism accommodations safely. The Commission also highlights the importance of the cross-border interoperability between coronavirus tracing apps, in line with the guides on data protection and rules in the EU toolbox. Last but not least, the institution presents recommendations related to travel vouchers issued by travel and transport operators, in order to increase their attractiveness for the customers.

To support European tourism businesses, the Europen Commission intends to ensure liquidity of tourism enterprises through a special EU funding and flexibility under state aid rules. Moreover, the Commission will contribute to jobs’ saving by a financial relief of 100 billion euro from the SURE programme (Temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in Emergency). The institution will also cooperate with Member States in order to promote tourism on the local level as well as Europe as a safe tourism destination.

More information about the Commission’s guidelines:

1. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_854

Recommendation on vouchers offered to passengers and travellers: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/recommendation_vouchers_en.pdf

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