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ETOA slams vaccination proof for travel as ‘bad policy’

European tourism association ETOA has dismissed calls for international travellers to require proof of vaccination as “bad policy” and “not scientifically supported”.

In a statement, ETOA said: “Industry is way ahead of the political machinery in devising safe travel and service solutions which manage risk, allowing business to return once conditions permit.”

But it insisted: “The suggestion that proof of vaccination should be a pre-condition for travel is bad policy and not scientifically supported.

“While individual service providers may choose to make proof of vaccination a requirement, it is not a practical measure for border control.”

ETOA noted: “Widespread vaccination will provide the long-term solution but may not prevent an individual carrying or transmitting the virus.”

Instead, it argued for “improved testing capacity at affordable rates with faster turnaround, and insurance or other financial protection in the event a positive test necessitates cancellation”.

ETOA joined the Network of EU Trade Associations (NET) in demanding “urgent coordination” of Covid-19 travel restrictions and health measures this week.

In a joint statement, the NET associations argued: “Travellers are looking for a clear signal when they can travel safely again and the travel and tourism industry needs a perspective to be able to start business again.

“NET is calling on member states and EU policymakers to agree on coordinated measures necessary for the successful start of travel and tourism when the epidemiological situation improves.”

It urged a speed up of vaccination rates, a common approach to define incidence rates, work on a common digital passenger locator form, and a common system of proof for tests and vaccinations.

NET also called for “reliable, affordable and efficient testing [to] replace quarantine requirements” and it called for “timely” announcements of restrictions and travel requirements “at least five days” in advance.

In the meantime, it urged “continued financial support” for the sector.

The pan-European Tourism Manifesto group of associations and travel businesses is finalising a series of investment proposals designed to drive a recovery.

The Tourism Manifesto group includes ETOA, the World Travel & Tourism Council, Airlines for Europe (A4E), airports association ACI Europe, cruise association Clia Europe, hospitality association Hotrec, business travel association GBTA, the European Travel Commission (ETC), European travel and tour operators association ECTAA, and businesses including Tui, Amadeus and Travelport.

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