Many countries across the Eurozone are lifting travel restrictions and opening up borders in an attempt to kick start the hard hit tourist industry. The European Commission issued guidance on 12th May on how member states might resume tourism and travel this summer. Their advice is aimed at giving people the chance to get some “well needed rest, relaxation and fresh air”.
Some of the details set out by the Commission include:
- Encouraging the sale of tickets and check-in to be done online.
- Ensure safe social distancing at airports and train stations, particularly security check points and baggage drop-off and reclaim.
- No sales allowed on board flights to limit contact.
- Passengers to be seated apart unless they are from the same household.
- Disinfectant gels to be available in all places at transport hubs.
- All transport staff to wear PPE.
- Encouraging mobile phone alerts of possible infections while on holiday.
From Saturday 16th May, Germany has said it intends to open some borders, but those with France, Switzerland and Austria will be extended to June 16th. The German Interior Minister has said he would like to see free travel in Europe from mid-June but stated that controls would be re-introduced if there were further outbreaks.
Tourism provides 10% of European economic output, not to mention millions of jobs but lifting restrictions, seen as vital to countries economies will be done in a careful and phased way. The European Commission has pointed out that workers and travellers need to know that hotels, Restaurants and beaches are safe. The use of contact tracing apps. is also being worked on across many countries to monitor the spread of the disease in the future.
Will it affect the UK?
In a nutshell, not at the moment. As we are technically no longer a member of the EU we don’t necessarily have to follow their rules. The spread of the disease and the number of people affected has also varied a great deal from country to country and both of those factors have been higher in the UK than some other European countries. Many airlines are indicating they intend to start flights sooner rather than later and Easyjet and wizzair are two that are positively encouraging people to book holidays in the future. The UK Government is leading the advice for the UK and at the moment the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all but essential travel and until that situation changes Europe can take what measures it likes but we would be ill advised to book a weeks holiday in the Algarve or the Swiss Alps!
Although it’s really good to see some travel restrictions being lifted the Government advice is still not to book holidays at home or abroad for the summer at least, and the relaxation of some European borders will mean little to us in the UK. There is no doubt light can be seen at the end of the proverbial tunnel but we have a little way to go yet. The Government is likely to judge the effects of the lifting of travel restrictions in other countries across the globe before phasing in our own and all of us will be watching progress on that. The team at compareholidaymoney are keeping our eyes peeled for the good news as we come out of lockdown slowly, and hopefully, it won’t be long before you are comparing the exchange rates once again for your travel money!