Unprecedented industry appeal to European Commission President to end quarantines and develop common EU Testing Protocol18 September 2020
Over 20 EU Travel and Tourism Associations issue open letter to President von der Leyen following further dramatic decreases in air passenger traffic.
Over 20 travel and tourism bodies as well as unions across Europe united today in an unprecedented call for European Commission leadership to replace quarantine restrictions with an EU Testing Protocol for Travel in a bid to save the livelihoods of more than 27 million Europeans who work in the sector.
In an open letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the groups, who represent over 5,000 member companies and their workers, point to a continued lack of co-ordination and diverging travel restrictions as crippling their business. The letter is signed by representatives from across the tourism and travel sector and their workers, including airlines, airports, railways, ground handlers, caterers, travel retailers, air navigation service providers, tour operators, hotels, restaurants, cafes, travel agents, road transport operators and logistics services, camp sites, holiday parks, taxi operators, tourism boards and authorities and all their associated supply chains.
The letter comes as the latest data from airport body ACI EUROPE shows a continued decline in passenger traffic at Europe’s airports during the first two weeks of September – now standing at a loss of -73%; down from sluggish ‘peak recovery level’ of -65% mid-August.
“This chaotic situation requires your immediate personal involvement” states the letter to Mrs. von der Leyen. “We are thus urging you to make this issue a top priority and calling on you to address this issue directly with Heads of State and Government”.
“We are therefore also urging you to ensure that the Commission takes the lead in the development of an EU Testing Protocol for travel and its implementation to avoid quarantines and re-open borders”.
The sectors which have united in this call for immediate action point to the fact that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) formally advises states against extreme travel restrictions, which are neither risk-based nor proven effective where community transmission is already present – which is the case across Europe.
The letter concludes by highlighting the core pillars and essential purpose of the European goals. The reduction and removal of quarantines is, state the signatories, “instrumental in re-establishing the free movement of people, ending current discriminations and restoring the essential functionality of the Single Market”.
“We hope the EU will not let us down”.