Parliament Proposes New Green and Sustainable Tourism Strategy for EU, Schengen Area

The European Parliament has announced possible measures to be taken for tourism in a post-pandemic world, according to a press release published by the Parliament.

According to the press release, there have been several factors presented to the Parliament that will go up for a vote on 25 March 2021, which are listed and summarized below:

Tourism and COVID-19

The travel and tourism sector has been the one most hurt by the pandemic. The sector employs about 27 million Europeans and accounts for about 10% of Europe’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is a massive part of the bloc’s economy. In the first half of 2020, there were 66% fewer tourists traveling to Europe than normal, and 97% fewer in the second half of 2020. There are currently 6 million jobs at risk in this sector.

Need for a new tourism strategy in Europe

Members of the European Parliament are now called upon to create a strategy to make tourism in Europe “cleaner, safer, and more sustainable” as well as getting the sector going once again. This will likely include a common vaccination certificate recognized by all Member States.

Financial assistance

MEPs say that continued short-term financial assistance is needed to help the sector survive, and that Member States should continue to include travel and tourism industry businesses in their recovery and assistance plans.

Common vaccination certificate

Once there is empirical evidence that vaccinated people cannot spread COVID-19, MEPs believe that a common vaccination certificate recognized by all Member States should be established. This is to serve as an instrument “to re-establish freedom of movement” and will be an alternative to a negative PCR test or quarantine.

Making tourism more sustainable

The Parliament’s report says that the pandemic has shifted consumers’ preferences to greener options that bring them closer to nature. As a result, the European Union must develop more sustainable forms of tourism that will reduce the environmental impact of the sector.

Other proposals

Other measures being proposed are a common hygiene seal that businesses will be able to display to show that they have followed the proper guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their business.

The Parliament is also proposing establishing a new EU agency for tourism.

The measures listed above and more will go to vote in the Parliament on 25 March 2021. If voted into force, the measures will need to pass in other houses of European Union government.

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