The European Union (EU) started its internal reopening process Monday as tourists within Europe were permitted to venture out for the first time since travel restrictions were implemented to slow the coronavirus outbreak.
Most European Commission member states have now reopened their internal borders and plans are in place for the EU to open its external borders to foreign visitors on July 1, barring a significant spike in confirmed cases.
Tourism accounts for ten percent of Europe’s overall economic output—money that’s being lost the longer the region remains off-limits to visitors. In 2019, tourism was responsible for 22.6 million jobs (11.2 percent of the EU’s total workforce) and generated €1,319 billion GDP (9.5 percent to the EU economy).
World Travel and Tourism Council President and CEO Gloria Guevara shared a statement about the reopening of Europe and the impact it will have on the travel industry around the world:
“WTTC welcomes the reopening of borders and the easing of travel restrictions across Europe, and applauds the European Commission (EC) recommendation to Schengen Member States to lift all internal border controls by June 15 and international travelers from July 1, as well as the recently announced website Reopen EU to help travelers plan their European holidays.”
“This important move will help encourage holidaymakers to begin traveling again, provide a vital boost to the Travel & Tourism sector, and kick-start the much-needed global economic recovery. We strongly urge EU Member States to follow the EC’s recommendation and coordinate efforts to restore a functioning Schengen zone as soon as possible.”
“We are encouraged to see Spain and Germany working together on a new tourist pilot plan, which today saw the Balearic Island of Majorca welcoming its first visitors in three months. The new initiative saw all passengers and holidaymakers arriving from Germany receiving temperature tests upon arrival.”
“This landmark move by the two European heavyweights is a significant step towards recovery, and it is important other countries implement similar measures which will kick-start the Travel & Tourism sector and save the millions of livelihoods that depend on it.”
“We urge those countries with quarantine measures to reconsider and set out a clear timeline for their removal, to provide greater certainty for Travel & Tourism and the wider economy.”
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