Time to reconnect Europe: The campaign calls for a united approach to restore freedom of movement, enhance testing capacities and progressively drive non-essential travel in Europe

The united campaign is supported by four leading industry associations, A4E, ACI, IATA and ETRC

EUROPE. The European travel and tourism sector, supported by Airlines for Europe (A4E), Airports Council International (ACI), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC) have jointly launched the ‘Destination Summer’ campaign to lobby policymakers and lift travel restrictions across Europe. The Moodie Davitt Report first reported on the initiative last week.

Destination Summer seeks work with the European Union and national policymakers to adopt a united approach to lift restrictions and safely reopen international borders.

The campaign builds on the roll-out of various vaccination programmes across Europe, and urges a coordinated approach to the lifting of travel restrictions in line with vaccine efficacy and mass testing.

The coalition is calling for a harmonised European approach for the following key points

  • The restoration of freedom of movement in the EU via the implementation of a digital COVID-19 certificate
  • The roll out of affordable and reliable rapid EU testing capacities and increased availability of antigen tests to end blanket quarantines
  • The push to drive non-essential travel via the revision of an ‘EU White List’ allowing travellers from non-EU countries with good epidemiological situations and for those inoculated with EU-approved vaccines

The sector is encouraging European citizens to travel again. It is also asking industry stakeholders in travel, aviation and tourism to join the campaign under the #destinationsummer hashtag and share their desire to safely travel again on social media.

“Freedom of movement is a core European principle and citizens need to be able to move both freely and safely,” said A4E Managing Director Thomas Reynaert. “After 15 months of lockdowns and travel restrictions, it’s time to reunite travellers in Europe. We need to see a coordinated easing of restrictions. Our campaign urges policy-makers to recognise the speedy, positive impact of vaccinations and scientific knowledge gained the last year for EU countries to better coordinate and restore free movement for citizens.”

Saving summer: The campaign calls on travel and tourism industry stakeholders to share their desire to safely travel again under the hashtag #destinationsummer

ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec added, “There is huge pent-up demand to travel again, and we do not want to reopen for Summer, only to be in lockdown again. Travelling responsibly means staying safe and healthy so that Europe will have a better chance of a quicker and longer-term recovery. By respecting safety measures, together we can make the summer of 21 one to remember for all the right reasons.”

The campaign underlines the value of travel to people’s mental health and states that 76% of people want to be reunited with family and friends as soon as possible

“According to a recent survey by IATA, 76% of people want to travel to see family and friends as soon as possible,” added IATA Regional Vice President for Europe Rafael Schvartzman. “We have the means — with testing and vaccinations — to safely reconnect people and restart the travel and tourism sector in time for summer. We just need the will and coordination by governments to make it happen.”

ETRC Secretary General Julie Lassaigne added, “Together we can make the reopening of travel and tourism in Europe this summer a reality. This is a key strategy to ensure the health and wellbeing of citizens and the vitality of the whole European travel and tourism value chain in the long term.”