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Europe’s travel & tourism sector welcomes adoption of “EU Digital COVID Certificate” regulation and urges swift implementation

The European Tourism Manifesto alliance of more than 60 travel and tourism organisations warmlywelcomes the adoption of the “EU Digital COVID Certificate” Regulation. The Alliance calls on Member States to ensure swift implementation before July to support the restart of the sector in time for the vital summer season, and to restore freedom of movement within the EU and Schengen Area.

Less than three months after the publication of the Commission’s proposal European Commission proposes a Digital Green Certificate, 17th March 2021 – link , the European Parliament’s LIBE committee and the Council have approved the Regulation on “EU Digital COVID Certificate”. The Alliance recognises this is both positive and necessary to restore freedom of movement: a fundamental principle and one of Europe’s greatest achievements. This tool will greatly facilitate cross-border travel, also allowing Europeans to reconnect with families and friends and do business in person after months of lockdowns and restrictions.

As a common EU instrument, the “Digital COVID Certificate” (DCC) will provide convenient proof that the holder has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, recovered from the virus, or received a negative test result.

The Alliance urges Member States to ensure swift and effective implementation of the Certificate by 1st July 2021 at the latest, and refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on certificate holders (testing or quarantine), in line with the agreement reached between the EU Institutions. The travel and tourism stakeholders stress that any delay will undermine the chances of a successful recovery: sectoral resilience is at its limit.

Re-opening is justified by the latest ECDC data European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Combined indicator: 14-day notification rate, testing rate and test positivity, updated 21st May 2021 – link on the epidemiological situation: the COVID-19 third wave is receding throughout Europe. The vaccination roll-out is accelerating: 46% of adults in the EU had received their first dose as of 25th May According to the President of the European Commission, 25th May 2021 – link, ensuring that the most vulnerable are protected.

The Alliance also welcomes the EU Institutions’ agreement to make €100m available from the Emergency Support Instrument, allowing Member States to purchase COVID-19 tests. These should be made “affordable and accessible” to all travellers, and thereby minimise the risk of economic discrimination.

In its latest Communication on the industrial strategy Communication from the Commission: Updating the 2020 New Industrial Strategy: Building a stronger Single Market for Europe’s recovery, 5th May 2021 – link, the European Commission recognised that travel and tourism was the sector “hardest hit” and that recovery would also be slow for transport. While the Alliance is confident that the DCC will support reopening, to increase the chance of success, urgent agreement and coordination among Member States is still required on the following:

  • Common time limits for COVID-19 testing requirements (such as <24hrs prior for antigen test, <72hrs for PCR test);
  • A harmonised minimum age for children at which a COVID-19 test is required, helping families to plan their trips;
  • No additional requirements on transit passengers in transportation hubs;
  • Swift adoption of the European Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF) which should be linked to the DCC to improve efficiency when boarding passengers and avoiding long queues at transport hubs.

These measures would help restore confidence in cross-border travel, and guarantee a smooth experience for travellers exercising their freedom of movement.
“The agreement reached at EU level on Digital COVID Certificate is a step towards the reintroduction of Schengen and the freedom of movement throughout the EU. Europeans are looking forward to cross-border travel this summer, whether for visiting families and friends, leisure or business. We call on Member States to urgently implement the Certificate and refrain from adding travel requirements for Certificate holders if the epidemiological situation continues improving”, state the stakeholders.

ENDS

Media contact

Shane Bradley

Hume Brophy Communications

etc@humebrophy.com 

Ph: +32 (0)2 234 6860

Jennifer Janzen 

Communications Director, Airlines for Europe (A4E)

jennifer.janzen@a4e.eu 

Ph: +32499828294

Note to editors

The European Tourism Manifesto alliance gathers more than 60 European public and private organisations, covering the whole tourism value chain and beyond. The alliance calls on the European Union for action on key policy priorities for the tourism sector. For more information, please visit tourismmanifesto.eu.
The Secretariat and Chairmanship of the alliance are currently held by the European Travel Commission (ETC). For any enquiries, please contact us via https://tourismmanifesto.eu/contact/.

About A4E

Launched in 2016, Airlines for Europe (A4E) is Europe’s largest airline association, based in Brussels. The organisation advocates on behalf of its members to help shape EU aviation policy to the benefit of consumers, ensuring a continued safe and competitive air transport market. With more than 720 million passengers carried in 2019, A4E members account for more than 70 per cent of the continent’s journeys, operating more than 3,000 aircraft and generating more than EUR 130 billion in annual turnover. Members with air cargo and mail activities transport more than 5 million tons of goods each year to more than 360 destinations either by freighters or passenger aircraft. Current members include Aegean, airBaltic, Air France-KLM Group, Cargolux, easyJet, Finnair, Icelandair, International Airlines Group (IAG), Jet2.com, Lufthansa Group, Norwegian, Ryanair Holdings, Smartwings, TAP Air Portugal, TUI and Volotea. Follow us on Twitter @A4Europe.