ECTAA, the European Travel Agents and Tour Operators Association, says the industry stands ready to set and implement a plan for return to travel this summer, writes Shauna McCrudden
While the situation is not much different from a year ago, where nearly all travel and tourism has been suspended, ECTAA, which represents some 70,000 travel agents and tour operators in Europe, believes this can be turned around.
Vaccinations programmes are being rolled out, ensuring that the most vulnerable people are protected, alleviating the strain on health systems. Tests are becoming increasingly performant and in such sufficient capacity to be deployed in travel on a large scale. Rigorous health-and-safety protocols have also been implemented by tourism enterprises to welcome their guests in a safe way. All of these procedures have paved the way for a safe return to travel.
Pawel Niewiadomski, President of ECTAA, says, “All we need to do is put the dots together and determine a common European roadmap for a return to travel. Travellers and industry need a perspective when, and under which conditions, travel can resume.”
ECTAA has pointed out that the world and the travel industry has come a long way since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, having 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. According to the Robert Koch Institute’s Epidemiological Bulletin of February 8th, 2021, the classic organised holiday trip only made a small contribution to the incidence of infections in Germany.
ECTAA is joining the calls of many tourism stakeholders to European and national decision-makers to plan the way for a safe return of travel in time for the summer. Such a plan would build around a common approach of risk-based travel restrictions, based on testing and health certificates. Moreover, communication with the public is key to restoring travellers’ confidence.
Pawel adds, “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.”
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