Europeans could enjoy their summer holidays in the near future with a potential “COVID-19 passport”, EU tourism ministers discussed such plans over a video conference on Monday, according to media reports.
If the reports are to be believed, the so-called “COVID-19 passport” would allow European tourists to travel in and out EU-borders. However, such a travel waiver at this time needs a collective agreement with member-states. If not the case, then it might apply to bilaterally participating nations.
A “COVID-19 Passport” Is In the Works
This announcement comes as some EU states plan to soften restrictions for EU tourism. However, there’re no plans to extend this serendipitous passport from non-EU travelers anytime soon.
On a video conference chaired by Croatia’s tourism minister Gari Cappelli, the leaders of the other EU-states discussed for the possibility of such a travel document.
And the idea was to allow tourists to travel from EU countries where the pandemic is under control. According to reports, “a respectable number of countries” are already interested in the COVID 19 passports.
Media reports also confirm there were discussions of ensuring tourism is covered in the short-term recovery funds, which wasn’t a case in the budget of the first package until 2027.
Many EU countries like Italy, Croatia, France, and Spain heavily rely on tourism. Additionally, 10% of the EU’s total GDP comes from travel and tourism, and the industry generates 400 billion Euros while accounting for 12% EU jobs. Cappelli emphasized that “tourism is the key to strengthening” and “saving national economies.”
“We must allow the borders to be opened as much as we can, which all of us must then respect.”
Croatia’s tourism minister was quoted as saying.
According to the discussions, this proposed “COVID-19 passport” could be used by all EU tourists who’d arrive and depart for vacation via air, water, rail, and road, while sustaining the safety travel protocols.
Since March 17, EU member-states have reportedly ruled out all travels except essential ones from the external world, for a proposed of at least 30 days, to prevent further virus spread from foreign countries. In early April, this EU travel ban was further proposed to extend until mid-May, according to Forbes.
Chances are grim for any probability of non-EU tourists being able to get hold of the passport if enacted. With travel restrictions into EU countries in place until May 15, there is a possibility that it will be extended.
Another report stated the EU’s Schengen planning to block out all travels from the outside world until September to bypass possible spread of the COVID-19.
What is your view on such a potential passport for the EU countries? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.