Travel rules and measures threaten to dim European summer

Published on : Monday, July 26, 2021

Chaos and confusion concerning travel rules and measures for restricting new virus outbreaks are initiating another unkind summer for Europe’s worn out tourism industry.

Popular destination countries are struggling with increasing COVID-19 variants, but the mess and last-minute nature of the efforts with the approaching of the peak season is posing to disrupt another summer.

In France, the world’s most visited country, visitors to cultural and tourist sites had to meet a new requirement this week for a special COVID-19 pass.

To get the pass, which comes in paper or digital form, people need to prove that they’re either fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from an infection, or produce a negative virus test. From next month, this pass could extend to restaurants and cafes.

Italy has also said that people will need a similar pass to access museums and movie theaters, dine inside restaurants and cafes, and get into pools, casinos and many other venues.

At the Eiffel Tower, tourists who were not informed, lined up for quick virus tests so that they could get the pass to visit the Paris landmark.

Juan Truque, a tourist from Miami, said that he wasn’t vaccinated but took a test so he could travel to France via Spain with his mother.

“Now they are forcing you to wear masks and to do similar kind of things that are impositions to you. To me, they are violations to your freedom.” Truque said.

Europe’s travel and tourism industry is desperate to make up following a devastating 2020. Last year, international tourist arrivals to Europe declined by almost 70%, and for the first five months of this year, international arrivals were down by 85%, according to the UNWTO figures.

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