The European Travel Agents’ and Tours Operators’ Association (ECTAA) has called on European and national decision-makers throughout the EU to plan the way for a return to travel this summer, declaring that all the prerequisites are in place to travel safely. Such a plan should build around a common approach of risk-based travel restrictions, based on testing and health certificates.
In its statement, the ECTAA – of which both the ITAA and ABTA are full members – says that “while the situation is not much different from a year ago, where nearly all travel and tourism has been suspended, today we hold the cards to turn the situation around.”
It argues that vaccination programmes, the widespread deployment of testing and rigorous health and safety protocols mean that tourism enterprises should be able to welcome visitors in a safe way.
Pawel Niewiadomski, President of ECTAA, said: “All we need to do is put the dots together and determine a common European roadmap for return to travel. Travellers and industry need a perspective when and under which conditions travel can resume.”
Moreover, the statement continues, communication to the public is key to restore travellers’ confidence. “We have come a long way since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. Today we have gathered a lot of knowledge from the systematic and strategic testing. For example, the German agency responsible for disease control and prevention, the Robert Koch Institute, has worked out from which countries most foreign infections originated last summer. The result: the classic organised holiday trip only made a small contribution to the incidence of infections in Germany.”
“This is proof that organised travelling is safe. But we need the right framework conditions to start-up travel based on testing and the use of health certificates to facilitate travel.”