Destination and Policy Update

July 2020

ETOA, with our partners USTOA and CATO, have developed health and sanitisation guidelines specifically for tour operators. The TOURCARE guidelines focus on the implementation of sanitisation and operational procedures to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and increase the level of safety for passengers, employees, and local communities visited. They are intended to promote tour operations, complement public health instructions and support such in-house protocols that may be in force within the supply chain.

To share knowledge of various initiatives designed to promote good practice and restore confidence in travel, we continue to compile a list of operating guidelines and safety protocols from trade bodies, individual businesses and tourism boards. Please send any examples you are aware of here. For a comprehensive list of resources related to the crisis, please continue to see our COVID-19 page. If you would like assistance in finding the information you need please contact us.

Tomorrow, 1 July, we will hold an online Group Tourism working group meeting at 15:30 BST / 16:30 CEST. Members working with group tourism are welcome to participate. Please contact Sofie Jensen if you would like to join this meeting or hear more.



The UK government has confirmed in a meeting with EU officials on 12 June that the transition period (where UK still largely follows EU laws) will end on 31 December 2020.

Negotiations are still taking place between UK and EU officials on a free trade agreement. The agenda for the negotiations can be seen here. Issues being discussed include reciprocal healthcare arrangements for visitors, transport operations and temporary movement of workers. For further information on the implications for travel between EU and UK from 1 January 2021, please see our Brexit page. This page will be updated over the coming months as the outcome of the negotiations becomes known and in the meantime members with any questions, please contact us.

Risk management and insurance

Together with its partner ECTAA, ETOA has produced a paper analysing issues affecting both business and consumer confidence. These relate both to the regulatory framework and insurance. We are seeking further dialogue with the insurance industry. If you would like to know more about our work on this topic, please contact us.


A survey is in progress to understand what ETOA’s buyer members are doing on this topic, and how important they consider it to be. While return to economically viable activity is the priority for business, the sustainability agenda will become increasingly influential on policy development, including the design of financial support instruments. The results of the survey will inform ETOA’s activity on this critical topic, so we would be grateful if as many buyers as possible provide a response. To complete, please click here or forward to a colleague.


For the latest information on border restrictions, services allowed to open and health and safety protocols (e.g. whether mandatory to wear a face covering or mask on transport services) please see Re-Open EU map, IATA map and government webpages on our COVID-19 resources page.

Updates on COVID-19 are communicated in our weekly bulletin. Please continue to contact us with any questions you have or information you are seeking to help with decision making on operations and product planning.


Bruges – guided tours: Guided tours in Bruges are possible again, but organisers must adhere to specific rules laid out in this protocol. Important points:

  • The maximum group size is limited to 20 persons, excluding the guide.
  • The one-and-a-half-meter rule also applies for guided tours.

If this cannot be respected, it is mandatory to wear a face mask.


Some cities have decided to suspend ZTL fees and tourism tax for the rest of 2020 in order to help the industry recover, including Lucca and Siena.

Assisi – San Francesco Basilica: Information (in Italian) about restrictions to visit the basilica until further notice can be found on our Italy page.

Florence – Uffizi and Accademia: Our understanding is that bookings made for 2020 by Grandi Clienti via Civita will not be considered (this applies to country-wide bookings via Civita). Operators must make new reservations if they wish to re-establish previous bookings. We are confirming this with Civita and will update our Florence page when we have more information.

Rome – Colosseum vouchers: CoopCulture issued new information about the COVID-voucher procedures 27 June. Clients can now request vouchers for group bookings made up until 30 September 2020. The deadline for requesting the vouchers is also 30 September 2020. Vouchers can be used until end 2021. CoopCulture has also announced the procedure for applying vouchers to new bookings. Learn more about the procedure as well as general information about current measures when visiting here.

Rome – Vatican group visits from 1 July 2020 and 2021 tariffs: As mentioned in our June update, group visits are allowed again at the museum. There will be a few changes to the regulations from 1 July, including group size. It will also be allowed to use whispers again. Furthermore, the Vatican Museum has announced their 2021 tariffs for the museum and for Ville Pontificie; there is no mention of group sizes for 2021. Current regulations, including measurements for group visits as well as the 2021 tariffs, can be found via our Rome page.


Amsterdam – VMR (Entertainment tax): The Gemeente has further delayed the first declaration due for 2020 for the land-based activities applicable for VMR from next month until the end of 2020. The declaration for water-based activities that qualify for VMR is still due during July 2020 for the first 6 months of the year. Announcement here which includes information on the deferral of other taxes due to COVID-19. For information on VMR please see our Netherlands tourist tax page.

The Hague – Mauritshuis: The city is open for visitors, with plenty of open space – and a beach! Time-slot entry is now available at The Mauritshuis for visitors to see The Girl with the Pearl Earring and other treasures. Further information here.


Barcelona – accommodation openings: A list has been made available by the hotel association of Barcelona containing the hotels which are now open in the city. Read more on our Barcelona page.

Barcelona – attraction openings: Several attractions are re-opening in July. Information about new safety guidelines and booking methods, if applicable, in below links. Some of the attractions opening are:

Granada – Alhambra: The Alhambra and Generalife is now open. Read more about the new COVID-19 measurements on our Spain page.

Tarragona – Port Aventura: Reopening on the 8th of July. Details about the attraction and new safety measurements here.

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