This year’s tourist season can still be saved as long as EU countries apply common rules and coordinate, Eduardo Santander, executive director of the association European Travel Commission (ETC), told EURACTIV.com in an interview.
“This summer is not lost on condition that we will have common rules and standards. We also need a ‘referee’ and the Commission can play that role, set some rules,” he said.
Referring to the economic loss caused by COVID-19, Santander, who represents National Tourism Organisations based in Brussels, said it’s currently estimated at 45-70% depending on the sector, ranging from airlines and tourist agencies to restaurants.
OECD estimates losses of $275 to 400 billion worldwide, while according to the World Travel and Tourism Organisation, some 13 jobs will be lost in Europe.
He expressed his optimism about a “smart” holiday this year, saying the tourism sector was pushing for a harmonised approach in Europe.
“The problem we see now in the media is that each country is looking to find its own solution with different recipes.”
“We need to have something harmonised throughout the EU because otherwise we risk creating competitive advantages. Imagine some countries having very loose controls and others very strict. Therefore, it is possible for some to choose that place with loose controls,” Santander added.