New European guidelines for Covid testing and quarantine for air passengers should pave the way for removing travel restrictions.
The call came from the European Travel Commission in response to guidance from the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The document confirms that air travellers account for less than 1% of all detected cases of the virus and do not increase the rate of transmission.
It also states that imported cases of Covid account for a “very small proportion” of all detected cases and are “unlikely to significantly increase” the rate of transmission.
The ETC has consistently called for a common and risk-based approach to restarting European tourism in a safe manner, given the importance of travel and tourism on the path to economic recovery in the region.
It argues that the European tourism sector is at a “precipice” and cannot survive another round of “unco-ordinated ineffective” restrictions.
“These new recommendations provide a solid basis for European governments to begin implementing co-ordinated safety measures to facilitate travel before the vaccine is available,” the ETC said.
ETC president Luís Araujo said: “The importance of restarting mobility in Europe cannot be understated in terms of the role it will play in the recovery of tourism and the wider European economy over the coming months.
“Millions of livelihoods depending on the tourism sector are on the brink of collapse now and we simply cannot afford wasting more time on these unjustified restrictions.
“This advice has to be swiftly taken on board by governments as we head into the holiday season and begin the path to recovery.”