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EU to open to tourism

The EU to open to tourism is a huge shake up for the European travel industry. The EU commission has recommended easing restrictions on non-essential which basically means tourists travelling from non-EU states.

The EU Commission tweeted the following on 3 May 2021.

“Time to revive EU tourism industry and for cross-border friendships to rekindle – safely”

President Ursula von der Leyen

As things currently stand the EU only allows non essential travel from only seven countries.

EU to open to tourism – what exactly are they proposing?

EU members states will be able to accept tourists from outside of the European Union, if they have received an “approved jab”. As in a COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved for use by the EU. Not all that different from the controversy that was caused when China announced their own approved list.

China relax entry to foreigners - but there's a catch
EU to open to tourism

Under the scheme anyone who has received an EU approved vaccine within two weeks of their intended trip will be able to come in as tourists. The rules also state that if the EU state in question does not require quarantine for its own citizens, then it cannot require it for vaccinated visitors from foreign countries. Sound complicated? It’s not as bad as it sounds.

What if it all goes wrong?

The proposal also contains protocol for an “emergency break” should new variants develop, or there are deteriorating situations in other countries. India probably being a case in point here.

What about the EU Travel passport?

The EU “travel passport”, or rather Digital Green Certificate was approved by lawmakers last week as part of plans to revive tourism within the bloc. Note it is called a “Digital Green Certificate” rather than passport, so as not to sound discriminatory. Quite ironic when a passport by its very nature is one of the most discriminatory documents on earth.

Much like other countries, such as China, the system will revolve around digitally read QR codes, which will contain peoples personal details, such as if they have been infected and, or vaccinated.

The bold EU plan is also looking to include non-EU states such as Switzerland, Iceland and Norway. Note a distinct lack of the UK on the list. The UK are apparently planning their own travel passport, as well as a resumption of some form of tourism from as soon as May 17th, 2021.

EU to open to tourism – current precedents

Copenhagen in Denmark recent launched a local version of the app called the Coronapas, which allows customers who have either been vaccinated, or have recovered from coronavirus to enter bars for example.

Remember the whole “passport for the pub” fiasco? It’s kind of like that, but without the controversy. You can read about that controversy here.

EU to open to tourism
EU to open to tourism

Israel which has been one of the fastest countries to vaccinate its people has also embarked on a similar scheme, with Israelis now able to visit both Cyprus and Greece as tourists.

The IATA Travel Pass

One reason for governments rushing to bring in their own vaccine passports has been to avoid have the system being controlled by the private sector. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) having brought out their own IATA Travel Pass, which is currently being trailed by a number of airlines as well as being intensely watched by those in the travel industry.

Yemen Airlines plane service from Socotra to Cairo

What are the concerns about the scheme?

There are some legitimate concerns, such as the scheme coming too soon, as well as the risks associated with bringing new variants into the continent, but there are also “data fears”.

As always these are related to the fear that the Brussels bureaucrats are planning to do something nefarious with your data Bourne Identity style, rather than just trying to jump-start safe travel. First world problems as they say. But with the EU to open to tourism, we can but hope more countries follow suit.

You may read about which countries are currently open or soon opening to travel here. You may also read our exciting international travel programmehere.

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