Tourism work

How will post-containment tourism work in Europe?

03:31

Every day lost due to COVID-19 to tourism hot spots in Europe counts.

Travel restrictions so necessary to control the pandemic have ravaged an industry that typically supplies 10% of the continent’s gross domestic product and attracts 360 million international arrivals each year.

The German tourist operator TUI, the largest in Europe, is losing $ 250 million a month due to debt and customer repayments.

As temperatures warm, the European Commission on Wednesday announced plans to temporarily reopen internal borders and restart travel, with hundreds of millions of holidaymakers and temporary workers desperate to wake up the continent’s sleeping giant for the summer season .

“Our thoughts are now on summer and the places we love to travel”, said Commission Member Margrethe Vestager.

Although summer vacations in some countries are possible, the whole experience will be very different.

Airports will be regularly cleaned to restore public confidence in air travel. / Ian Langsdon / AFP

Airports will be regularly cleaned to restore public confidence in air travel. / Ian Langsdon / AFP

At the airport

Expect to queue. The latest Commission guidelines encourage airports, many of which carry out temperature checks on departing and arriving passengers, to install dedicated lanes to separate passenger flows.

Other measures include regular disinfection of surfaces, requesting contactless check-in where possible, physical distancing at security checks and baggage drop-off and pick-up, and removal or rearrangement of luggage. benches or tables to prevent the gathering of people.

It is also being considered to ask passengers to arrive earlier than the current two hours before the departure time.

Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost airline, will also ask passengers in July and August to provide address details when visiting another EU country. This information will then be passed on to governments to help monitor segregation regulations.

Heathrow Airport, Europe’s busiest, is testing non-contact thermal imaging cameras to monitor passengers in immigration halls without the need for queues.

It also tests ultraviolet lighting to disinfect safety trays and non-contact control equipment to reduce person-to-person contact.

Dedicated queues will be introduced at airports across Europe. / Ian Langsdon / AFP

Dedicated queues will be introduced at airports across Europe. / Ian Langsdon / AFP

Lifting the restrictions will prove to be much more difficult than installing them as each country has implemented slightly different measures beyond central guidelines.

Arrivals between the UK and France, for example, are exempt from a 14-day quarantine, although the former has only recently introduced such measures.

“If we need it, we should apply it on a global basis,” John Strickland, an independent air travel consultant, told CGTN.

“Who’s going to go on vacation if they have to go into a 14-day quarantine when they return?” “

On Wednesday, the European Commission suggested that a three-phase approach to reopening the borders between countries with “similar global risk profiles” could go forward.

The measures are not yet binding, but some states have already taken matters into their own hands.

Leaders of Austria, Greece, Israel, Norway, Denmark and the Czech Republic have already met twice to discuss easing restrictions between them and the creation of “tourist safety zones”.

READ MORE: “Fighting for survival”: airline boss says industry is in peril

On Friday, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia will reopen their borders to create a “travel bubble”. Germany and Austria plan to reopen their borders, the latter relying heavily on German tourists, on June 15.

All of this, however, remains a matter of division.

“We will not accept bilateral agreements within the European Union which could create privileged tourist channels,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said this week.

Some airlines are required to deep clean all planes every night to protect passengers and restore public confidence in flights. / Ian Langsdon / AFP

Some airlines are required to deep clean all planes every night to protect passengers and restore public confidence in flights. / Ian Langsdon / AFP

On the plane

Some airlines have already announced their own in-flight rules. In addition to asking passengers to take their own temperature at home before flying in July and August, Ryanair will also require masks to be worn on board and has banned toilet queues. Passengers must request to use the facilities.

All of the airline’s planes will be deep cleaned every night with chemicals that will last for more than 24 hours.

Regulators are due to define universal protocols in the coming weeks, but will likely include recommendations for filtering hospital-grade air and vertical airflow to be introduced into cabins and reduced movement on board. Meals must also be pre-ordered at the time of booking.

Public health will be a priority.

“Our first statistics show that on board, there are very few cases of contamination, and that we can put in place measures to protect passengers from any contamination”, explains to the CGTN Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of the ‘International Air Transport Association (IATA).

READ MORE: Exit strategies: can things get back to normal?

De Juniac also pointed out that not selling the headquarters to adhere to social distancing measures would not make financial sense, but could be considered in the early stages of the restart to encourage growth.

“If you neutralize the central seat on every part of the airplane corridor, you neutralize more than a third of the seats and you don’t make any money, so I admit that it is economically impossible to operate these planes. “, did he declare.

He added, however: “I think we can find the right compromise.”

Holidaymakers and workers are desperate to reopen the tourism industry for the European summer season. / Vincenzo Pinto / AFP

Holidaymakers and workers are desperate to reopen the tourism industry for the European summer season. / Vincenzo Pinto / AFP

To destination

The hub airports, IATA and the European Union want to establish a common health standard across the world for air travelers, so there is no confusion around potential quarantines when travelers reach their destinations.

“The key question is whether passengers will be allowed to enter the country they are traveling to and whether they will be allowed to return again,” said John Holland Kaye, Managing Director at Heathrow Airport, during a select committee of the British parliament.

Away from the airport, further calls for a common approach by all European states to coronavirus security measures in hotels, outdoor shops and the hotel sector are being made.

“We call on governments to adopt our protocols and help us in a coordinated manner,” Gloria Guevara, CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council, told CGTN.

The more the measures are aligned – from social distancing to wearing a face mask and even banning hotel breakfast buffets because germs spread easily – the more likely tourists are to follow them.

“This will help us build confidence in travelers and grow faster,” Guevara added.

READ MORE: Deserted beaches in Spain as tourism crippled by coronavirus

Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for Internal Marketing, called for a “Marshall Plan” so that the funds for the bloc’s recovery plans are made available to hotels, restaurants and tour operators to bounce back from the crash.

Greece is trying to get ahead. Tourism accounts for 20 percent of GDP, more than a quarter of all workers, and the country is desperate to start attracting some of the record 33 million arrivals it recorded last year. With just 152 coronavirus deaths after an early lockdown, he has already sent the EU a plan on how he hopes to reopen to foreign tourists by July 1.

On the island of Santorini, meanwhile, beach bar owner Charlie Chahine has installed plastic covers around lounge chairs to help install reassurance that the vacation is safe.

“If that’s what people’s safety depends on, such a construction or such a construction – we (just) want to work, we want to go,” he told Reuters.

Hospitality industry services, such as restaurants, are gradually reopening across Europe after COVID-19 lockdown measures effectively prevented dining out. / Fabrice Coffini / AFP

Hospitality industry services, such as restaurants, are gradually reopening across Europe after COVID-19 lockdown measures effectively prevented dining out. / Fabrice Coffini / AFP

It’s not just the hotspots around the Mediterranean that are trying to boost the industry. Dutch restaurant ETEN in Amsterdam has redeveloped the greenhouses in which it usually grows vegetables to test out a stylish outdoor dining experience for up to three people.

Waiters wear gloves and face shields and use a long board to bring dishes into the glass booths to ensure minimal physical contact with customers. The restaurants are scheduled to open to the public on May 19 in the Netherlands.

“We are now learning to clean, to serve, to take out empty plates in an elegant way, so that you always feel well taken care of,” said owner Willem Velthoven, but the initial feedback has been positive.

The more the confinements are relaxed across Europe, the more an industry defined by ingenuity will try to emerge with renewed dynamism.

It may have a different feel, but it will always be a vacation.

Video editing: Natalia Luz. Graphics: James Sandifer

To verify The pandemic playbook, major CGTN Europe survey on lessons learned from COVID-19

Source (s): Reuters


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