An alliance of European travel and tourism organisations has urged the use of an “evidence-based” approach to travel restrictions amid the growing coronavirus crisis.
The demand came from the European Tourism Manifesto, which comprises more than 50 public and private organisations including Tui, Amadeus, Travelport, Clia and the World Travel & Tourism Council.
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The group called for solidarity and support for China, the source of the virus, during an “exceptionally challenging time” and committed to work with partners in Europe and Asia.
About 77,000 people in China are reported to have been infected with the virus and nearly 2,600 have died.
More than 1,200 cases have been confirmed in 26 other countries and there have been more than 20 deaths. Italy reported its fourth death on Monday.
The European tourism sector representative body urged an “evidence-based approach to travel restrictions, while taking the necessary and appropriate measures to ensure the protection of public health”.
The European Tourism Manifesto alliance said: “From higher education to retail, hospitality to transportation, the social and economic impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis on travel and tourism illustrates the importance of Europe’s relationship with China.
“The strong mutual interest in both cultural and commercial exchange between China and Europe was shown by the EU-China Year of Tourism in 2018.
“We must draw on its legacy in this difficult time to ensure that Chinese visitors are welcome and respected throughout Europe. From expedited visa facilitation to attractive offers, public and private sectors must collaborate to enable and support a strong recovery.
“Public safety is the prime concern of governments, and we recognise the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation, with the strong support of the UN World Tourism Organisation.
“Travel restrictions that exceed such recommendations may cause unnecessary alarm, disruption and adverse economic impact across all sectors.”
The group is encouraging a cross-sector strategic plan for recovery.
The US Department of State has called on Americans travelling to or within Asia on a cruise to reconsider their plans.
US State Department official Ian Brownlee said: “We urge US citizens to evaluate the risks associated with choose to remain in an area that may be subject to quarantine.
“While the US government has successfully evacuated hundreds of our citizens in recent weeks, such repatriation flights do not reflect our standard practice and should not be relied upon as an option for US citizens under potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.”
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