MIAMI – In order to save the oncoming summer season, South European countries, whose economies are heavily dependent on tourism, are easing entry restrictions for to travelers from the EU and also to those coming from non-European countries.
In detail, the forthcoming travel opening in Southern Europe is as follows.
Since May 15, the country does not require a five days quarantine on arrival neither the following PCR test. On arrival, the traveler gets a “green pass” with a variable validity: 48 hours for those presenting a negative Covid-19 test, either PCR or antigenic, six months for all persons having both vaccine injections or having recovered from a Covid infection.
The “green pass” allows travel in all the Italian regions and islands. The Minister for Tourism made it clear that the pass “is valid for everyone, especially for tourists coming from non-EU countries.”
The island offers a cheque up to US$220 (€200) per person for a stay of at least three nights in a high-class hotel. The amount offered has to be spent locally and will be increased by 10% if the traveler stays on the Gozo island.
According to the Covid evolution in the country of origin of the traveler, based on charts published by the EU Commission, Malta may request either a full vaccination or a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival.
The country never closed its borders but requests a negative PCR test taken not more than 72 hours prior to arrival plus a health questionnaire to be filled up online. In Spain, the health state of emergency has been ended on May 9.
Movements between regions are again possible and curfew maintained only in the Balearic Islands (23:00 to 06:00), Valencia region, and Catalogne (00:00 to 06:00).
On May 16, the government has authorized touristic travel to most of the EU countries, Cyprus, Croatia, Lituania, Holland, and Sweden being excluded. Travelers coming from EU countries having a Covid incidence lower than 500 cases for 100000 inhabitants may travel freely.
However, all travelers over the age of two, prior to boarding, have to present a negative PCR test taken within the preceding 72 hours. Airlines boarding passengers without tests would be subject to fines going from US$510 (€500) to US$2,200 (€2,000).
Since May 15, foreign tourists are allowed to enter the country on the condition of being fully vaccinated or on the presentation of a negative Covid test. Travel within the country and to the Greek Islands is permitted under the same conditions. The seven days quarantine imposed on EU travelers has been lifted in mid-April.
The EU Commission is currently working on a European health certificate to be used for travel within the EU which, if everything goes well, should be operative by end of June. Most unfortunately, a certain tendency, for each individual country, to establish its own “travel pass” – i.e. the Italian “green pass” – may create more havoc than ease in travel.
If this happens, a traveler might be faced with a multitude of “travel passes” and forthcoming travel difficulties when visiting more than one country during a single trip. The same seems to be happening on a global scale where several “passes” are already either in application on under development.
As the saying goes, as “too many cooks spoil the broth”, having more than one pass may spoil travel.
Featured image: Spanish low-cost airline Volotea is registered in Castrillón, Spain, and has bases in Spain, Italy, France, and Greece. Photo: Javier Rodrigues/Airways