PARIS: EU-wide COVID-19 travel certificate entering into force on Thursday (July 1) and easier travel for the rest of the world gives hope that European tourism will slowly emerge from its worst period in memory of ‘man.
The summer of 2020 saw a sharp drop in cross-border travel, leaving the continent’s beaches, towns and landmarks – many of which are major global destinations – strangely deserted.
Closures, curfews and hotel and restaurant closures have threatened the industry’s livelihoods and frustrated travelers eager for a change of scenery.
This year must be different: COVID-19 is still far from being defeated – especially after the arrival of the virulent variant Delta – but tests for the virus are widely available, the deployment of vaccination in the countries of the ‘EU has accelerated and the EU “travel pass” is to speed up processing at points of arrival.
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Access for tourists from some countries outside the bloc has become easier, but others continue to face draconian restrictions as governments try to avoid a dreaded fourth wave of coronavirus while making tourism a lifeline safety.
Here is a summary of the rules in some of the main tourist sites in Europe.
France, the world’s leading tourist destination, uses a color-coded map showing entry protocols, EU residents who have been vaccinated or have a negative PCR test can enter freely.
The same is true for a number of “green” countries, including the United States, Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand and Singapore.
Visitors to “orange” areas which include Britain and most countries in Asia and Africa, must produce a recent negative COVID-19 test even when vaccinated.
For unvaccinated people from the “orange” areas, however, only essential travel is allowed and a seven-day self-quarantine imposed.
Just over 20 countries remain largely banned, including India, South Africa and much of South America, including Brazil.
Wearing a mask remains compulsory indoors, but the curfew rules have been lifted.
Anyone who is fully vaccinated can enter Spain, regardless of their point of origin.
Arrivals from several countries no longer even need proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. These are Albania, Australia, South Korea, United States, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Rwanda, from Serbia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Macao.
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Unvaccinated travelers from EU countries must produce a negative COVID-19 test no older than 48 hours.
Arrivals from Britain, which make up the largest group of foreign tourists to Spain, must re-test negative PCR, a requirement that had previously been dropped.
Masks are mandatory indoors, but no longer outdoors, and curfews and indoor travel restrictions have been lifted.
Restaurants and bars are allowed for outdoor and indoor seating, but there are some restrictions on the hours and number of patrons allowed at any one time.
Nightclubs have reopened in the Madrid region and in Catalonia, which includes the Barcelona hotspot.
Italy expects 20 percent more tourists than last year.
Arrivals from the EU can enter freely if they have been fully vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or have a negative COVID-19 test less than 48 hours old.
The same goes for passengers from the United States, Canada, Japan, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Rwanda, Singapore and Thailand.
British visitors are subject to a five-day quarantine after presenting a negative test. A second test is required after quarantine.
Italy remains off-limits to tourists from Brazil, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Masks are no longer mandatory outdoors, but must be worn indoors.
Curfews have been lifted, as have restrictions on restaurants and bars, but tables must still be spaced at least one meter (3.2 feet) apart.
According to the rules in effect until July 11, all arrivals must present proof of vaccination or a PCR test dating back less than 72 hours or antigen less than 48 hours.
Unvaccinated arrivals from Britain will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
With the exception of EU member countries, Schengen members, and a small number of other countries including the United States and Australia, travelers need a compelling reason to enter Portugal .
Social distancing and mask wearing are mandatory, and special rules are in place for beaches and pool areas, with a minimum three-meter distance required between umbrellas.
The Greek government hopes to reach around half of its pre-pandemic tourism revenue this summer, which, if confirmed, would double last year’s figure.
Some 150,000 tourists have traveled to Greece since the start of the season on May 14, according to Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis.
Arrivals from EU and Schengen Area countries are allowed into Greece, as are residents of Canada, the United States, Israel, China, Thailand, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
But they are required to fill out a form and produce proof of full vaccination, or a PCR test of less than 72 hours, an antigen test of less than 48 hours, or a post-infection immunity certificate.
Authorities said they would also conduct ad hoc antigen testing on arriving passengers.
Travel to Britain is made difficult for most countries around the world by strict restrictions on arrivals, costly quarantine requirements and costly COVID-19 testing.
The efforts of the tourism sector are mainly focused on domestic vacationers.
Travelers from “green” countries – including Australia, New Zealand and Iceland – need only produce a negative COVID-19 test.
The green list was extended on Wednesday to 16 countries, including Israel, the Balearic Islands and the Cayman Islands.
Arrivals from Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands can enter freely.
COVID-19 infections from the Delta variant have delayed the planned lifting of many social restrictions, but Britain hopes to remove the ban on large social gatherings and unseated consumption in pubs on July 19, as well. that reopen nightclubs.