As the spread of the coronavirus across Europe is slowing, a growing number of countries are easing restrictions and opening their borders. However, conditions and restrictive measures may be different for each country since there has not been a comprehensive agreement.
24 has gathered the latest information about the tourism restart plans of European countries and their travel restrictions.
The tourism industry has been massively affected by the spread of coronavirus as well as the travel restrictions. Italy was one of the focal points of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, and it was the first European country to go into lockdown. Tourism is one of the main industries in Italy, and the contribution of tourism to the Italian economy has constantly been growing. In 2019, it represented roughly 13% of the country’s GDP. After months of isolation, the Italian government decided to permit
unrestricted travel between Italy and other Schengen countries − with no quarantine requirements − and within Italy itself from June 3.
Despite the decrease in coronavirus cases and deaths, Hungary and some neighbouring countries (Slovenia, Switzerland, and France) are maintaining restrictions for Italians. On Wednesday, Austria announced that it would reopen its border with Italy from June 16.
In the case of Germany, the Federal German Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced its decision to
lift the travel warning for non-essential trips to 31 European countries from June 15.
These countries include the EU Member States, the Schengen Area countries, the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland. However, it has to be noted that Germany extended travel warning to the rest of the world outside the EU until the end of August.
In the United Kingdom,
the Foreign Office (FCO) is currently advising against all but essential international travel for an indefinite period.
The FCO first advised against all but essential travel in March as the coronavirus spread throughout the world, and then amended its guidance to an “indefinite” travel ban in April. It has given no indication as to when that ban will be lifted. From June 8, all who arrive have to self-isolate for 14 days or face a £1,000 fine.
The Government announced that it is considering ‘air bridges’ – travel links between the United Kingdom and other selected countries − as a way of relaunching international travel. This solution would allow quarantine-free travel between the UK and countries with similar infection rates. It will be complemented with a five-point assessment that will include:
Although ‘air bridges’ are not likely to be introduced before the end of June, the Canary Islands, Portugal, and Turkey can be considered possible candidates for the agreement.
In the case of lifting border controls and easing travel restrictions, the Hungarian government is constantly monitoring international practice and the epidemiological data of individual countries.
On June 8, border controls were lifted on all of Hungary’s Schengen borders. Travel restrictions from Austria, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Croatia were also lifted,
and citizens of the listed countries can enter Hungary without the need for compulsory home quarantine.
Austria, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Croatia are available as travel or holiday destinations.
Belgium is due to open its borders to citizens from the Schengen Area and the European Union, including the United Kingdom, on 15 June, but the two-week quarantine obligation is still in place.
Croatian borders are open to tourists from the European Union, including the United Kingdom. All arrivals have to fill out a form online in advance, and proof of a tourist accommodation booking is required on entry (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Germany, and Slovakia constitute an exception). Parks, beaches, shops, museums, hotels, outdoor restaurants, and bars are open.
France will reopen its borders to citizens from the European Union and the Schengen Area on June 15. The country is currently divided into two zones: orange and green, which determine how strict the lockdown rules are in different areas. Shops, restaurants, bars, museums, beaches, and parks are permitted to reopen in the green areas.
Citizens from 29 countries (Albania, Australia, Austria, Northern Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Hungary, Romania, New Zealand, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, the Czech Republic, and Finland) will be eligible to travel to Greece for non-essential purposes from June 15. Some shops, bars, and restaurants are open. Museums, amusement parks, and sports facilities will open gradually throughout the month.
The Spanish prime minister announced that the country will reopen to international tourists from July. Museums and beaches are open, and some hotels were also allowed to reopen from 11 May.