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ETC Calls for Harmonised European Approach to Travel Restrictions

European Travel Commission (ETC) is calling on EU governments to better coordinate their COVID-19 recovery efforts by adopting a harmonised approach to lifting or reinstalling restrictions and safety measures, as tourism confidence plummets to a record low across the continent.

Taking into account the latest epidemiological developments across Europe, ETC also insists that any potential new measures should be local and science-based, avoiding imposing blanket country bans or quarantines, and should be communicated to travellers well before their travel dates.

 While many Europeans are keen to travel again and enjoy summer 2020, they don’t have the confidence to book a trip given the lack of clarity around border barriers, availability of transportation, along with the health and safety protocols in their chosen destination.

 New data from Sojern, who collects and analyses travel intent data from thousands of airline and hotel partners from around the world, highlights that despite most restrictions in Europe being lifted in mid-June, European tourism is showing very slow recovery. Sojern, working with ETC, analysed search and booking data across three aspects of the European tourism market – domestic travel, travel between European countries and international trips to Europe.

 Domestic travel: European interest for domestic travel, as expressed in flight searches and bookings, remained very low in July  with year-over-year drops of -37 percent and a massive -67 percent respectively.

 Intra-European travel: The first two weeks of July saw a slight increase in air bookings (+6 percent) for intra-European travel when compared to June. However, as the month progressed, this positive trend faded with flight bookings dropping again.

 International travel in Europe: Global searches and air bookings to Europe are also well below last year’s levels for July at -67 percent and -72 percent respectively, with Sojern’s data clearly showing that this downward trend has been almost flatlining since May.