Travel and Tourism stakeholders call for swift adoption and implementation of harmonised EU travel rules

8 June 2021

Ahead of the EU Ambassadors’ meeting on 11 June, the European travel and tourism industry associations call on Member States to approve the Commission’s proposal to start lifting travel restrictions in the EU in a coordinated way . After months of lockdowns and a patchwork of measures across the continent, this proposal is very timely. In view of the rapidly advancing vaccination programs and improving epidemiological outlook in Europe, safe travel is possible this summer – fuelled by the strong desire of European citizens to travel again and secured by the readiness of our sector to provide safe and responsible travel.

If adopted and fully implemented, the text – initially proposed by the European Commission on 31 May – should restore freedom of movement within the EU. In particular, the undersigned associations support the following elements:  

  • Fully vaccinated people can travel without tests or quarantines, from 14 days after having completed their vaccination.
  • People who have recovered from COVID-19 can equally travel without being subject to tests or quarantines for 180 days after their positive test.
  • For other travellers, travel from green zones should remain possible without any restrictions, and travel from both orange and red zones should be possible without quarantine, based on a negative test.
  • Member States should adopt a uniform approach of accepting a negative PCR test result 72 hours before arrival and 48 hours in the case of rapid antigen tests.
  • Unified rules for children: minors accompanying their parent(s) should not test/quarantine where the parents are not required to do so. Children under 6 years old should be exempt from testing.
  • Increase in the thresholds of the ECDC map (14-day incidence rate for the ‘orange’ category increased from 50 to 75).
  • Vaccination, recovery from COVID-19 or a negative test result can be proven by producing a Digital Covid-19 Certificate (DCC) or by other means, until the DCC is available.
  • The EU has provided for an Emergency Brake system whereby if the status of a region deteriorates rapidly because of a high incidence of variants resulting in it changing to ‘dark red’, Member States should impose a testing and or quarantine even if travellers hold a DCC.

“Travel and tourism industry associations wholeheartedly welcome this important initiative towards a coordinated lifting of travel restrictions in Europe. This is an essential move to restore travellers’ confidence and reopen Europe. We believe that the European Commission has played its part, the industry is ready to ensure safe and responsible travel: we now need Member States to act fast”, declared the stakeholders.

To ensure that all European citizens who wish to travel over the coming period can do so under the best possible conditions, the undersigned travel and tourism stakeholders are therefore urging Member States to:

  • Swiftly agree and fully implement the EU Council Recommendations for intra-EU travel, as proposed by the European Commission.
  • Refrain from imposing any travel restrictions other than in the conditions detailed in the updated Recommendations.
  • Ensure that tests (PCR or antigen) are free or at least very affordable for travellers who need them to make use of their right to free movement, for whichever purpose.
  • Ensure the full integration of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) in the passenger journey – in particular its verification before travel (e.g. via state portals) in order to reduce waiting times and queues at airports.
  • Integrate the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) and DCC verification into a single platform with single checks to avoid duplications in order to also reduce waiting times and queues at departure.
  • Ensure the deployment of adequate resources (staff) by competent public authorities for border control and other manual document verifications at airports, ports, stations, etc.
  • Ensure the latest COVID-19 status of their country is displayed on the Re-Open Europe EU website:
  • Agree to provide a more precise outlook on their country’s latest epidemiological situation on a detailed ECDC map.

They added: “There is huge pent-up demand for travel and everyone in the aviation, travel and tourism industries is working on detailed plans to welcome travellers back – so it’s crucially important that everyone plays their part in ensuring that when our sector reopens, it stays open”.

  • Note to editors

    1Through an update of the Council Recommendation 2020/1475 on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in the EU as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic (link)


    Media Contacts

    A4E: Jennifer Janzen, +32 499 828294

    ACI EUROPE: Siobhán O’Donnell,, +353 87 2710065

    CLIA: Nikos Mertzanidis,, +32 (0)485 39 25 70

    ECTAA: Christina Russe,

    ERA: Paula Bangle,, +44 1276 485558

    ETC: Tatiana Veselova,

    ETOA: Tim Fairhurst,

    ETRC: Julie Lassaigne,

    eu travel tech: Emmanuel Mounier,, +32 499 801 374

    HOTREC: Marta Machado,

    NECSTouR: Tomaso Comazzi,

    WTTC: Jamie Wortley,



    Launched in 2016, Airlines for Europe (A4E) is Europe’s largest airline association, based in Brussels. The organisation advocates on behalf of its members to help shape EU aviation policy to the benefit of consumers, ensuring a continued safe and competitive air transport market. With more than 720 million passengers carried in 2019, A4E members account for more than 70 per cent of the continent’s journeys, operating more than 3,000 aircraft and generating more than EUR 130 billion in annual turnover. Members with air cargo and mail activities transport more than 5 million tons of goods each year to more than 360 destinations either by freighters or passenger aircraft. Current members include Aegean, airBaltic, Air France-KLM Group, Cargolux, easyJet, Finnair, Icelandair, International Airlines Group (IAG),, Lufthansa Group, Norwegian, Ryanair Holdings, Smartwings, TAP Air Portugal, TUI and Volotea. Follow us on Twitter @A4Europe.

    ACI EUROPE is the European region of Airports Council International (ACI), the only worldwide professional association of airport operators. ACI EUROPE represents over 500 airports in 55 countries. Our members facilitate over 90% of commercial air traffic in Europe. Air transport supports 13.5 million jobs, generating €886 billion in European economic activity (4.4% of GDP). In response to the Climate Emergency, in June 2019 our members committed to achieving Net Zero carbon emissions for operations under their control by 2050, without offsetting.

    CLIA EUROPE – Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, providing a unified voice and leading authority of the global cruise community. CLIA supports policies and practices that foster a safe, secure, healthy and sustainable cruise ship environment for the more than 25 million passengers who cruise annually and is dedicated to promote the cruise travel experience.

    The European Travel Agents and Tour Operators Associations (ECTAA) represents some 70,000 travel agents and tour operators in Europe, which provide consultancy and sell transport, accommodation, leisure and other tourism services as well as combined products to leisure and business customers.

    The European Travel Commission (ETC) represents the national tourism organisations of Europe. Established in 1948, ETC’s mission is to strengthen the sustainable development of Europe as a tourist destination and to promote Europe in third markets. Its 32-member tourism boards work together to build the value of tourism for all the diverse European destinations through co-operation in sharing best practice, market intelligence and promotion. For more information, please visit

    European Tourism Association (ETOA) is the trade association for better tourism in Europe. We work to enable a fair and sustainable business environment, so that Europe remains a competitive and appealing place to live, work and visit. With over 1200 members representing most areas of the industry, we are a powerful voice at local, national and European levels. We welcome a range of tour operators and European suppliers from global brands to independent businesses.

    The European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC) is an industry association for the duty free and travel retail industry in Europe, serving the industry and its members to help create the right environment to allow the industry to achieve its potential and protect it when challenges arise. ETRC is composed of national and regional affiliated trade associations, Tax Free World Association (TFWA) representing over 500 brand companies, and direct corporate membership from individual companies working in the duty free and travel retail trade across Europe and beyond. For more information, please visit

    eu travel tech represents the interests of travel technology companies, using its position at the centre of the travel and tourism sector to promote a consumer-driven, innovative and competitive industry that is transparent and sustainable. Our members from Global Distribution Systems (GDSs), Online Travel Agencies (OTA), Travel Management Companies in business travel (TMCs) and metasearch sites provide the technology helping to power Europe’s travel sector, adding value not just for travel services providers but also for consumers. At the core of the travel and tourism industries, eutt members are central to achieving sustainable, efficient, seamless, and smart mobility across the transport sector.

    European Regions Airline Association (ERA) – Founded in 1980, European Regions Airline Association (ERA) is a non-profit trade association representing over 60 airlines and around 150 companies involved in European air transport and is the only association representing the entire spectrum of companies involved in European aviation. The association promotes the interests of European airlines by lobbying European regulatory bodies on policy matters, promoting the social and economic importance of air transport and its environmental commitments.

    HOTREC represents the hotel, restaurant and café industry at European level. HOTREC brings together 45 national associations representing the interest of this industry in 33 different European countries. The sector counts in total around 2 million businesses, being 99,5% small and medium-sized enterprises (90% are micro-enterprises, i.e. employing less than 10 people). These businesses make up some 60% of value-added. The industry provides almost 12,5 million jobs in the EU alone (2017). Together with the other tourism industries, the sector is the 3rd largest industry in Europe.

    NECSTouR is the voice of European Regions committed to sustainability – economic, social and environmental - as a crucial driver of destination competitiveness. NECSTouR gathers 36 European regional tourism authorities and 30 associated members providing an integrated approach to tourism governance and acting as an important link between regional and wider European levels of government. To help members deliver the Tourism of Tomorrow, NECSTouR identifies, captures and shares best practice solutions and develops European projects with our members and our key partners and alliances across Europe. Together we implement an interregional cooperation strategy The 5 “S” of the sustainable tourism of tomorrow”, which is complemented by the cross-cutting initiatives Barcelona Declaration “Better Places to Live, Better Places to Visit” and the Smart Specialisation Platform "Digitalisation and Safety for Tourism". In this way we help destinations achieve a smarter, more sustainable approach to tourism development.

    The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector. Members include 200 CEOs, Chairs and Presidents of the world’s leading Travel & Tourism companies from all geographies covering all industries. For more than 30 years, WTTC has been committed to raising the awareness of governments and the public of the economic and social significance of the Travel & Tourism sector. According to WTTC’s 2021 Economic Impact Report, during 2020, a year in which it was devasted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Travel & Tourism made a 5.5% contribution to global GDP and was responsible for 272 million jobs.

The best of the airport industry in your inbox