European Travel Commission Urges EU Commission to Replace Quarantine With Testing

More than 20 travel and tourism associations, including the European Travel Commission (ETC), have sent an open letter to the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, asking her to address the issue of the ongoing decrease in air passenger traffic due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

In order to save the jobs of more than 27 million persons who work in this sector, the European Travel Commission together with 20 travel and tourism bodies have once again urged the European Commission leadership to test persons upon their arrival to European countries for COVID-19, instead of using quarantine rules, reports.

 “European travel and tourism have suffered a devastating blow from the coronavirus crisis due to insufficiently coordinated border restrictions, declining traveller confidence and reduced consumer demand. The industry simply cannot afford to have a similar fragmented picture with inconsistent and constantly changing national approaches for the upcoming autumn and winter seasons. The freedom of movement and millions of livelihoods in Europe are at stake today, and the European Commission has to lead the way to restore travel in the EU”, the President of the European Travel Commission, Luís Araújo pointed out.

The groups who represent more than 5,000 member companies expressed their concerns regarding the current travel restrictions which are affecting their business.

Previously this month, an ACI EUROPE report revealed that during the first two weeks of this month, there was marked a continued decrease in arrivals at the European airports. According to the report, during the two weeks of September was recorded a 73 per cent decrease in passenger traffic, in Europe, compared to 65 per cent decrease noted in mid-August.

“We are thus urging you to make this issue a top priority and calling on you to address this issue directly with Heads of State and Government…We are therefore also urging you to ensure that the Commission takes the lead in the development of an EU Testing Protocol for travel and its implementation to avoid quarantines and re-open borders,” the letter stressed.

Last month, airlines and airport urged European governments to accept a negative result of COVID-19 test, instead of imposing quarantine rules for passengers, upon their arrival.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), in August, called governments across Europe to lift border restrictions in order to stop the devastation of Europe’s economic sector caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Last month, Europe’s airline and airport associations also stressed that travel restrictions are not science-based, according to them,  through a joint letter sent to Prime Ministers, Transport, Health, and Home Affairs Ministers across the EU, Schengen zone and the UK.