“Tourist corridors” linking Europe’s summer holiday resorts least affected by the coronavirus pandemic, may help pave the way for tourism industry recovery on the continent.
The EU is pondering the possibility, as they seek ways to reopen Europe to Europeans for summer tourism with appropriate health protocols in place. “The idea would allow some beach resorts to reopen in time for the peak summer season,” Business Insider reports, as border controls are lifted.
“The Czech Republic is said to be considering plans to create a corridor with Slovakia and Croatia; all three have experienced relatively few cases of the virus,” it says. “Countries such as Spain, Italy, and the U.K., which are dealing with widespread coronavirus outbreaks, appear unlikely to be included for consideration in any early trials.”
Mediterranean Malta also backs the idea of “safe corridors between territories and regions” which have gotten on top of virus management. Maltese Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli says the corridors could include “clear new protocols on flight, accommodation, interaction, meals and visits.”
With the EU border closure still in place until at least May 15, and several countries taking their own measures on lockdown exits, the need for common rules and protocols for tourism recovery is vital. European tourism ministers are also considering a COVID-19 passport to allow Europeans to travel this summer. The passport would give people a clean bill of health.
Common EU Guidelines For Resort Reopening: But Not All European Countries Are Equal
There are doubts as to how Europe can take a common approach on tourism, given the varying rules and nationwide quarantines in place. These correspond to the differing degree of the coronavirus outbreak from country to country too.
“The emerging approach is to try to agree common guidelines for reopening resorts or beaches on a restricted basis, rather than a free-for-all that could jeopardise the gains made through months of lockdown,” The Times reports. The EU is seeking measures “that would help protect the tens of millions who want to travel, while throwing a lifeline to a key industry in countries such as Italy, Greece, Croatia, Spain and Portugal,” it says. Others including Spain, Italy and the U.K. would be unlikely to be included in any early trials of such a plan it indicates.
Details of the tourism corridors and other strategies should be revealed soon, when the European Union unveils its proposals. That’s likely in coming days according to the EU Observer.
Will Some Countries Go It Alone To Tourism Recovery?
A total alignment on EU and national measures for a tourism comeback seems unlikely with the raft of plans currently being unfurled in different countries. France, for example, has just announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival from May 11, when it eases its lockdown. That however will not target EU, Schengen or U.K. arrivals, so the possibility of a much-needed tourism industry pickup pivoting on European travelers is there. Even if it happens down the line. Some hotels and other tourism operators in France are preparing for European tourists to return in July, given hotels and restaurants cannot reopen until June 2 at the earliest.
According to France 24 news, the COVID corridors and passports could go hand-in-hand. Ministers of nine countries, including France, Italy, Greece and Spain, wrote to EU leaders in late April, “to warn that the industry could collapse if special measures were not implemented soon,” it reports.
Sure there are risks, says Malta’s Farrugia Portelli, but they must be managed. “We have to commit to reopening as soon as possible … Too much is at stake to simply remain inactive, until help arrives, in the form of a vaccine. We cannot take this route.”