Hopes high for return of tourists as EU launches Covid travel pass

·2-min read

A new European Covid-19 travel pass in use from 1 July is to speed up processing at arrival and departure points between different countries.

The new travel pass, with a QR code, will show details of inoculation against Covid-19 or recent negative tests and it can be presented in digital or paper form to board trains, planes and coaches or to show officials at borders.

The pass will be available in all 27 EU countries as well as Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway and Switzerland

Although the pass will reduce delays while travelling, the rules of entry are not the same for all the countries using it.

Spain, for example, has few restrictions for visitors trying to enter the country. Anyone who has been fully vaccinated can visit, irrespective of their point of origin.

Going to France

Some restrictions remain on entry to France, the world’s top tourist destination.

European Union residents will be able to enter France simply by showing the EU travel pass as proof that they have been fully vaccinated or have had a recent negative PCR test.

For other visitors, France will continue to use statistics to grade countries as relatively Covid-free or otherwise, classifying them as red, orange or green.

Countries on the green list include Australia, Israel, Lebanon, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the US. People arriving from these countries can enter France if they show that they have been fully vaccinated or have a negative PCR test from within the past 72 hours.

Over four million Americans visited France every year before the Covid-19 pandemic and since June 9th, when the US eased restrictions on visiting France, more and more Americans have decided to make the trip.

Travellers from orange countries, such as the UK, must only visit France for an essential reason and will be asked to produce a recent negative PCR test, even if they are fully vaccinated. They must self-isolate for seven days.

On Wednesday, France ended most of its anti-Covid restrictions so tourists will now be able to enjoy shops, restaurants museums and cinemas.

Mask-wearing remains compulsory inside public places but is no longer obligatory in the streets and the curfews, which had been in force since late October, have now ended.

Four trillion dollar hit

A UN report released on Wednesday estimated that the economic impact of Covid-19 on tourism could top 4 trillion dollars.

The report, compiled jointly by the UN’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) found that the lack of wide-reaching vaccination programmes in emerging countries was leading to mounting economic losses.

UNWTO does not expect tourism to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.

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