took part in a video link with the Ministers for tourism of the EU Member States today to discuss options for tourists to travel in Europe during the summer in a way that is mindful of the continuing risk of infection.
Said Thomas Bareiß: “Today’s video conference of the EU Ministers for Tourism confirmed that some initial concerted steps have been taken to restore freedom of movement and the end of border controls at internal EU borders, and that we are striving for more steps to be taken. This year’s holidays will be different than usual. We’ll have to live with restrictions. It is unavoidable that we will need to continue to rigidly comply with distancing and hygiene rules. We want to revive cross-border tourism within the EU. As we do so, we need to carefully balance health and safety with people’s eagerness to travel and our economic interests. One important signal that has been sent is that the tourism sector can count on support from tried and tested EU programmes, particularly the EU Structural Funds. I am confident that all this will succeed and that people will be able to travel to their favourite holiday destinations in Europe this summer.”
In its tourism and transport package of 13 May 2020, the European Commission provided guidance to Member States on how to restore freedom of movement and end border controls at internal borders, on how to gradually restore transport services and connectivity, on how to gradually re-introduce tourism services and on health protocols for the hospitality sector. The guidance also recommends that attractive credit notes should be offered to customers on a voluntary basis where travel package or transport services have been cancelled. The guidance is an important basis for discussion for the European partners as they agree on the criteria and the timeframe for the next steps to be taken. In its overall strategy, the European Commission commits to supporting the European tourism sector as it overcomes the crisis, and to doing so by taking a number of measures, including financing from the European Structural Funds.
On Monday this week, Foreign Minister Maas had already talked with his counterparts from Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece, Croatia, Portugal, Malta, Slovenia, Cyprus, and Bulgaria about ways in which concerted efforts can be made to gradually and reciprocally open borders for tourism.