The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has called for “more consistent” rules and advice from European nations to stop confusion among travellers and holidaymakers.
Those journeying to and around Europe in recent weeks have faced “a baffling array” of regulations and protocols, according to WTTC, as countries are at different stages of Covid recovery.
“Unnecessary and inconsistent border constraints are deterring travellers and suppressing the resurgence of travel and tourism. The sector’s return is urgently needed to regenerate destinations and act as a catalyst for the global economic recovery,” WTTC said.
According to WTTC research, every 2.7% increase in travellers would generate or recover one million jobs in the travel sector and a coordinated approach from European governments could stimulate an increase in travel by as much as 27% - recreating 10 million jobs.
A particular area of confusion, WTTC said, was over the wearing of face masks, which is mandatory on public transport in some countries, such as France and Germany, but only recommended in others like Norway and Sweden.
Meanwhile in Malta, masks must be worn in all public places, whereas in Poland they are not if people can socially distance.
“This climate of uncertainty for travellers and holidaymakers is the last thing they need at a time when the travel and tourism sector is crying out for consistency,” said WTTC president and chief executive Gloria Guevara.
“The restoration of consumer confidence, during the most important season of the year in one of the world’s largest regions for travel and tourism cannot be understated.”
To align policies, the WTTC urged governments to take into consideration “more than just mortality rates” and base their in-country and travel advice for citizens on wider measures, including infection rates, the percentage of tests and contact tracing, health systems’ ability to cope with Covid-19 and the public’s acceptance of mask-wearing and observance of social distancing.
“The time to work together is now. The travel and tourism private sector wants to work in partnership with governments and destinations using WTTC’s carefully devised protocols to bring clarity and wipe away consumer confusion,” Guevara added.