The European Union officials recommended that the union gradually starts lifting border restrictions to allow for travel to resume normally and rejuvenate tourism after the Coronavirus pandemic forced all countries to ban international travel across the 27 countries of the Union
The temporary travel restrictions have already caused a shocking blow to tourism which makes up for 10% of the Union’s economic output.
The restriction applies even within the Schengen area that is made up of all the members of the Union as well as additional European countries. At least 17 countries have enforced emergency border controls in an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Three Baltic states are already planning to open up their borders starting May 15 as the curb is eased.
However, even the countries that are relaxing their travel bans are enforcing a two-week quarantine for foreign travellers.
The Commission estimates some 6.4 million jobs could be lost in tourism, which employed 12 million people before the crisis.
As the result of the travel ban, the tourism sector may loose up to 6.4 million jobs. The sector employed 12 million people before the pandemic. Tourism has experienced a staggering 80-90% drop in turnover in Q1 of 2020. The sector prepares for a devastating summer season as the EU braces for a worst recession in decades.
Tourism Industry In Grave Trouble
“Our tourism industry is in grave trouble,” the Commission stated, warning that the sector has reported falls in profit ranging from 50% for hotels and restaurants to 90% for cruises and airlines.
The pandemic has steered the EU on a road towards the worst-ever economic downturn. With the member states fighting over medical equipment, exporting bans on drugs, and imposing border curbs and money to save what is left their single market.
“Europe needs a break”
The EU executives plan to replace the travel ban with targeted restrictions and non-mandatory recommendations in order to gradually lift the ban as the situation improves.
Since Europeans are most likely to stay at home or travel within their country this summer, peripheral EU regions and islands are likely to be neglected and will take longer to recover.
“Until a vaccine or treatment is available, the needs and benefits of travel and tourism needs to be weighed against the risks of again facilitating the spread of the virus… possibly leading to a reintroduction of confinement measures,” the draft plan states.