LONDON, 20 July 2020: The World Travel & Tourism Council
(WTTC) has called for more consistent travel rules and Covid-19 advice by
European countries to counter confusion by travellers and holidaymakers.

Those journeying to Europe for the first time since travel
restrictions began to ease, faced a baffling array of different types of travel
rules and advice – with each country across the continent emerging from the
Covid-19 pandemic at different stages, which is delaying the recovery.

The uneven patchwork of COVID-19 national border restrictions
and rules across a supposedly single Schengen zone is an obvious deterrent to
cross-border movement.

Unnecessary and inconsistent border constraints are
deterring travellers and suppressing the resurgence of Travel & Tourism.
The sector’s return is urgently needed to regenerate destinations and act as a
catalyst for global economic recovery.

WTTC research shows that every 2.7% increase in travellers
would generate or recover one million jobs in the sector. Governments working
together with the right coordinated measures could stimulate an increase in
travel by as much as 27%, recreating a massive 10 million jobs in Travel and
Tourism.

Consumer confusion over travel rules such as the wearing of
face masks is evident. It is mandatory for public transport in some countries,
such as France and Germany, but only recommended in Norway and Sweden.
Meanwhile, in Malta, masks must be worn in all public places whereas in Poland
they are not if people can respect physical distancing.

Medical advice, including from the Harvard T.H. Chan School
of Public Health is clear that the use of face masks helps reduce the risk of
transmission up to 90%, protects the user and those around them, as well as
reintroducing a greater sense of normality for travellers.

However, WTTC warns that unless European governments make a
greater effort to align their policies, it will cause the fragile recovery to
stutter and slow down, putting 16 million jobs in Travel & Tourism at risk.

WTTC president and CEO, Gloria Guevara said: “WTTC calls on
all European heads of state to unite for the benefit of the millions of people
who depend on this sector in Europe; both travellers and workers.

“It is urgent that governments learn from the past and take
quick and effective action to coordinate and harmonise travel rules and border
requirements to bring consistency for everyone across Europe. Previous crises,
including the 2008 financial crash, shows where governments coordinate to align
policies, their leadership resulted in a quicker recovery.

“We are encouraged to see that more travellers are spending
time searching for holiday destinations across Europe following the easing of
travel restrictions. Unfortunately, the lack of coordination among countries
has created inconsistencies which means we are failing to rebuild the trust of
potential travellers.

“Anyone travelling from one European country to the next
faces a bewildering difference in travel advice, covering masks, testing and
contact tracing which could seriously hinder the return of the Travel &
Tourism sector.

“This climate of uncertainty for travellers and
holidaymakers is the last thing they need at a time when the Travel &
Tourism sector is crying out for consistency. 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.

“The time to work together is now. The Travel & Tourism
private sector wants to work in partnership with governments and destinations
using WTTC’s carefully devised Safe Travels protocols to bring clarity and wipe
away consumer confusion.”

To align policies, governments need to take into
consideration more than just mortality rates. Wider country measures, including
infection rates, the percentage of tests and contact tracing, the health
system’s ability to cope with COVID-19 and the public’s acceptance of
mask-wearing and observance of social distancing is also important.

The Travel & Tourism sector contributes a massive 9.1%
of Europe’s GDP, worth US$2,018.2 billion to the continent’s economy. Last
year, according to the WTTC Travel & Tourism Economic Impact Report 2020,
the sector was responsible for 37.1 million jobs (9.7% of Europe’s total
employment number).

WTTC has recently issued a ten-point Traveller Guideline for
Safe & Seamless Travel including testing and contact tracing to ensure
people can enjoy Safe Travels in the ‘new normal’.