Today,the EuropeanCommission is launching ‘Re-open EU’, a web platform to support a safe relaunch of travelling and tourism across Europe. It will provide real-time information on borders and available means of transport and tourism services in Member States. Re-open EU will also include practical information provided by Member States on travel restrictions, public health and safety measures such as on physical distancing or wearing of facemasks, as well as other useful information on EU and national tourism offers. This will allow Europeans to take responsible and well-informed decisions on how to manage continuing risks related to Coronavirus while planning their holidays and travels during this summer and beyond.
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said: “After weeks of confinement, EU internal borders are reopening. The Re-open EU website we are launching today will provide travellers with easy access to information to help them confidently make their travel plans and stay safe during their trip. It will also help small restaurant and hotel owners, as well as towns across Europe, draw inspiration from innovative solutions developed by others.”
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and responsible for the Joint Research Centre (JRC), said: “Europe’s vast and rich cultural heritage is one of our major assets. But with no possibility try o travel and with most venues closed these past months, culture and tourism have been hit hard. The Re-open EU platform provides up to date, essential information.
The Re-open EU platform is part of the Commission’s Tourism and Transport package of 13 May 2020, launched to rebuild confidence among travellers in the EU and help European tourism resume safely, in line the necessary health precautions. The new platform, which also comes with a mobile friendly version (a web-based app), acts as a key point of reference for anyone travelling in the EU as it centralises up-to-date information from the Commission and the Member States in one place. It will allow people to browse country-specific information, updates and advice for each EU Member State through an interactive map. It will be easily accessible via app or website, and be available in the 24 official EU languages.
Furthermore, the platform includes information on patronage voucher schemes that allow consumers to show support for their favourite hotels or restaurants by buying vouchers for a future stay or meal once they reopen, to help the European hospitality industry as restrictions are lifted and borders reopen. Patronage vouchers help businesses to overcome cash-flow bottlenecks, with services provided later. The amount paid by the customer goes directly to the service provider. By setting up the dedicated page, the Commission intends to help better link participating businesses and interested customers, especially when travelling abroad.
Finally, Europe’s digital cultural platform, Europeana, is launching Discovering Europe, a collection of art works and photographs of some of Europe’s most iconic landmarks. Furthermore, a dedicated tourism hub will be created on Europeana Pro to help cultural heritage professionals discover initiatives supporting tourism throughout the EU.
The Commission package on tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond, adopted on 13 May 2020, announced the publication of a dedicated website to provide travellers with all relevant information to travel safely in the EU. The Commission also announced its intention to build on the momentum of patronage voucher schemes and work with national authorities, local tourism organisations and businesses to multiply and scale up such initiatives.
Ministers responsible for tourism first discussed the launch of a dedicated Re-open EU platform during their 20 May video conference and broadly welcomed the initiative. Developed by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), Re-open EU offers real-time information covering some 30 indicators on transport, public health and tourism, provided by Member States and supplemented by data from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
On 11 June 2020, the Commission presented its recommendations for a partial and gradual lifting of travel restrictions to the EU after 30 June and called on Member States to remove restrictions to free movement and lift internal border controls by 15 June, considering the improving health situation in the EU and the implementation of physical distancing and other health-related measures by Member States.
Through Re-open EU, the Commission also provides relevant information on tourism offers in different Member States, including EU actions such as European Capitals of Smart Tourism, European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) and the European Capitals of Culture.