WTTC calls on EU to ease travel restrictions
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has called the European Union Tourism Ministers to remove the remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions and to keep the economy open.
WTTC was invited to address the EU Ministers on behalf of the private sector at a closed meeting held in Dijon.
During this meeting, WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson asked the ministers to lift the current restrictions that remain in place and help the travel and tourism recover, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Even though Simpson addressed tourism ministers during this particular meeting, she said that now is the right time for France to make a difference during its EU presidency.
“As Presidency of the Council of the European Union, France is in a unique position to make a real difference. Europe’s recovery is at a critical juncture. We need to keep the economy open and restore unrestricted travel,” the statement of Simpson reads.
Due to the strict restrictions that were imposed in order to halt the further spread of the COVID-19, millions of jobs have been lost. Thus, the President of WTTC has urged that the ministers relax the rules so that the travel and tourism sector can thrive again.
According to Simpson, if COVID-19 restrictions continue to be lifted, the travel and tourism sector will be able to employ around 24 million persons across the EU.
The employment rate increase will contribute directly to the EU’s overall economy. It has been highlighted that if the restrictions get dropped, the sector will contribute some €1.3 trillion to the overall EU economy.
“After almost two years without international travel, the loss of businesses and millions of jobs, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. If restrictions continue to be removed, the sector could employ almost 24 million people across the EU and contribute some €1.3 trillion to the region’s economy this year,” Simpson said.
During this meeting, the WTTC President also highlighted the importance of sustainable recovery. She said that the aviation industry needs urgent support in reducing carbon emissions.
The airlines have been promised a Single European Sky allowing them to fly on the shortest routes. However, due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and the closure of Russian airspace, planes have been following zig-zag routes across Europe, thus, burning extra fuel. For this reason, the responsible authorities have been reminded once again of sustainable travel.