The European Travel Commission (ETC) has joined forces with “over 20 travel and tourism bodies as well as unions across Europe” to call for the EU to replace quarantine for entrants, if they are even allowed to enter, with COVID-19 testing. The news comes in a press released published by the ETC.
The purpose of the large group of individual bodies joining forces is that the European travel and tourism sector has suffered massive losses due to shutdowns in response to COVID-19; the aim is to “save the livelihood of over 27 million Europeans who work in the sector.”
According to the press release, shutdowns have been uncoordinated and devastating to any business or employee involved in the travel and tourism sector.
“European travel and tourism has 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”, said Luís Araújo, President of the European Travel Commission.
The ETC and the large group of other organizations involved sent a letter to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. The intent is to point out the lack of coordination between EU/Schengen Member States and is signed by representatives from the travel and tourism sector that includes airlines, airports, railways, ground handlers, caterers, travel retailers, air navigation service providers, tour operators, hotels, restaurants, cafes, travel agents, road transport operators and logistics services, camp sites, holiday parks, taxi operators, tourism boards and authorities, and all of their associated supply chains.
The letter is in response to the latest data from the airport body ACI EUROPE; the data showed that air traffic has slowed consistently from the ‘peak recovery level’ of -65% in in mid-August to -73% currently, in mid-September 2020.
“This chaotic situation requires your immediate personal involvement” states the letter to Mrs. von der Leyen. “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 reads.
The letter concludes “we hope the EU will not let us down.”
Signatories to the letter are:
• Airline Catering Associations (ACA)
• Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE)
• Airlines International Representation in Europe (AIRE)
• Alliance of Rail New Entrants (ALLRAIL)
• Airport Services Association (ASA)
• AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD)
• Airlines for Europe (A4E)
• Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO)
• European Business Aviation Association (EBAA)
• European Cockpit Association (ECA)
• European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA)
• European Federation of Campingsite Organisations & Holiday Park Associations (EFCO&HPA)
• European Regions Airline Association (ERA)
• European Travel Commission (ETC)
• European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF)
• European Tourism Association (ETOA)
• European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC)
• EU Travel Tech (ETT)
• EuroGites (eurogites)
• General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA)
• Hotels, Restaurants & Cafés in Europe (HOTREC)
• International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)
• International Air Transport Association (IATA)
• International Road Transport Union (IRU)
• Taxi Europe Alliance (TEA)
The ETC is an organization that advocated for the travel and tourism sector the individual Member State governments as well as the larger EU bodies of government to improve and sustain industry standards and productivity.