EU mulls ‘COVID-19 passports’ to restore tourism industry

The Tourism Ministers of the 27 the European Union Member States meet on Monday through a video conference, in a bid to find a way to restore the tourism in the block, which has been one of the most affected sectors by the Coronavirus pandemic.

During the video conference, the Ministers discussed the need to protect tens of millions of travellers, and restore tourism, in particular for Italy, Greece, Croatia and Portugal, who all rely on a thriving tourism sector.

Among other ideas, the EU diplomats discussed the option of creating a certificate of security in the sphere of tourism under the provisional name “COVID-19 passport”, which would refer to the health status of the owner of the document, and enable him/her to travel to the EU and Schengen States.

This passport would be linked to capitals being subject to “common rules and protocols” for social distancing, as well as tracking systems if there is an outbreak of infections.

Croatia’s Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli confirmed that the Ministers agreed on the creation of a common document under name COVID-passport, which would work all over the EU.

We reached several conclusions, particularly in the organization of the joint European approach to emerging from the crisis. It will include the creation of joint protocols and measures in the spheres of health and security. The ministers agreed that the common document under provision name Covid-passport should be created and it will work all over the EU,” Cappelli said.

During the same video conference, the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Thierry Breton called for fast action, pragmatism and creativity to recover and build a resilient and sustainable tourism industry.

During his speech, Commissioner Breton pointed out that the virus has had a devastating impact on the entire tourism ecosystem, including hospitality, travel agencies, tour operators, airlines and other forms of transport.

Previously, on April 15, the European Commission and European Council Presidents proposed a European roadmap to phase-out the containment measures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

However, all member states are also planning to unilaterally take additional measures aside from the ones outlined in EC’s guidelines.

For example, Greece is planning to welcome travellers who have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies and are believed to be immune from the virus, whereas France wants to give priority to domestic travellers favouring a so-called “staycation”.

SchengenVisaInfo.com had previously reported that those wishing to travel to the Schengen Area after the Member States start permitting entry for non-EEA nationals, may have to present a negative COVID-19 test.

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