Policy Update, July 2021

European Policy

Health Credentials and Borders

Staying on top of travel restrictions and their implications is proving to be a full time job. Review cycles for traffic light systems, their lists and their implications, are not well coordinated. Political will to open up international travel is influenced by vaccine recognition, roll-out and uptake: a recent report in Travel Weekly addressed hesitancy among US policy makers.

Intra-EU, policy co-ordination among member states on travel within the EU and non-EU Schengen countries is facilitated thanks to the EU Digital Covid Certificate. The EU white list for travel from non-EU countries is also helping re-open leisure travel with new markets added following review.  ETOA is a supporting partner of the ETC’s Open Up to Europe campaign, whose open-access promotional toolkit is available here.

Travelling from the UK to the EU is more problematic: the UK is not on the EU white list. Unless travellers from the UK are fully vaccinated (non-vaccinated children may travel with fully vaccinated parents) the range of practical destinations remains limited. Non-vaccinated travellers may have to quarantine on return. Significant international leisure travel to the UK has yet to re-open. The UK green list is limited. Hopes for inbound recovery rest on the possibility that fully vaccinated international arrivals from ‘amber’ countries (including the US) will be able to visit without quarantine.

From 19th July, Ireland will re-open to international travel with quarantine lifted for travellers with the EU Digital Covid Certificate as well as fully vaccinated travellers from many non-EU countries including the UK and USA. Indoor hospitality for anyone other than hotel residents has yet to re-open in Ireland.  We understand this may change before the end of the month. When indoor hospitality re-opens, vaccine certification will be required unless dining/drinking outdoors. Click here for recent Irish Times article on how this may work: to begin with, indoor hospitality for non-vaccinated EU arrivals or do not have proof of recovery will be limited to their hotels. Children under 18 are exempt with an adult meeting these conditions.

Requirement to provide proof of vaccination varies across Europe. Different vaccinations may be recognised as soon as domestic authorities permit, so it is hard to predict when that will take place. Anomalies persist: at time of writing, a US visitor can arrive in Hungary by road or river, but not by air. Why? Because it is possible to police aviation arrivals, and US is not yet subject to a bilateral agreement (current list here).  France has just imposed a ‘health pass’ requirement to prove recent negative test or completed vaccination status on anyone visiting attractions of 50 or more, to be extended to include hospitality and long-distance transport from August: how this will work in practice remains to be seen given the variety of certification that may need to be verified.

Impact on aviation and traveller experience

Airlines and airports continue to raise concerns that the time taken to verify health credentials will cause delay and disruption. Multiple checks reduce efficiency, from online check-in onwards. For a detailed illustration of the issues, see the the results of a recent survey by ACI Europe (Airports Council International) published on 8th July.

ETOA Member Drop-In: Travel Restrictions

On Thursday 22nd July at 15.30-16.30 BST/16.30-17.30 CEST we will host a member-only Drop In to discuss travel restrictions. To help members plan and operate, we have mapped border protocols for leisure travel for each EU/EFTA member state and non-EU countries including the UK. This will form part of the discussion of ETOA resources and member support. To register, please click here.

Tax and Tourism

Germany  If you are based outside the EU and sell German product, please complete a short survey which will help us assess potential impact of Germany’s proposed change in VAT treatment from 1st January 2022.  If your company is based outside the EU and buys EU product, please participate.  Go to our tax and tourism page to access the survey: we will compile results from next week.

ETOA Travel Trade Masterclass

On 13th July, three ETOA operator members shared their insights among Italian suppliers at our first one-hour masterclass delivered in Italian and co-marketed by regional DMOs to their supply chains. The purpose is to raise awareness of the range of business the travel trade brings, and explore mutual benefit. The initial feedback was very positive. To view the webinar click here.

For DMOs and NTOs interested in collaborating with ETOA to develop the supply-chain’s industry knowledge and encourage product diversification, please contact us at policy@etoa.org  Any contractors, product development specialists or others willing to add their insight on behalf of the wider buyer membership (and potentially have exposure to a new range of suppliers) are also invited to get in touch.


EU Climate Law

The EU published its latest ‘Fit for 55’ package on 14th July. For more information, click here.

Brexit and the travel industry

For guidance please see our Brexit post-transition page and the member-only guiding regulation page.

Updates this month concern UK vehicles driving in the EU. Green cards will shortly no longer be required by UK licence holders when driving in the EU. The GB sticker to be displayed on a vehicle will be replaced by a new UK sticker from 28 September 2021.

Destinations and Attractions


Following a citizens initiative that had over 30,000 participants, this week Amsterdam adopted a regulation intended to limit maximum number of visitor overnights to 20 million per year. What preventive measures are proposed and what interventions are foreseen should the actual numbers exceed that figure is not clear. The minimum desirable number is considered to be 10 million. We are seeking further engagement on topic. Media report here.


There was a meeting on 14th July related to site access and ticketing for the Colosseum/Palatine, at which operators and other stakeholders heard a report from Director of the Parco Archeologico del Colosseo, Dr. Alfonsina Russo, on the actions by the Administration taken during the lockdown to provide a better experience for the visitors. In response, a range of concerns were shared: the booking/ticketing system is still problematic for the travel trade who need more flexibility, and wish to avoid a repeat of the problems related to recovery of prepayments. The 90-day booking horizon was questioned given the volatility of pandemic numbers. Further discussion is planned and we will continue to monitor and participate as the opportunity arises.

Upcoming Events

Registration for the Global European Marketplace + Relaunch ’22 is open, combining our flagship in-person event in London on 29th October with an online workshop on 30th November to maximise opportunity for member suppliers and buyers alike.

Insight Hub

Check our latest statistics, opinion and research pieces on the Insight Hub.

Member information with ETOA

If you have not done so already, please review your company information via this link. To see whom ETOA currently holds as the ‘main contact’ check your listing via this link (you will need to be logged in to see all the information).

Meanwhile, please continue to send any comments you may have about the website to: policy@etoa.org

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