Since the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa last month, it’s set a wave of new travel restrictions across the globe, and particularly within Europe.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has criticized the latest restrictions from France, urging them to harmonize their approach with the rest of the European Union.
IATA Criticizes France After Enforcing Different Entry Requirements Than The EU
Last week, France imposed new travel restrictions that require all visitors from outside the EU to provide proof of a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours of their planned arrival in France and proof they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The French authorities have also emphasized that third-country nationals must agree to undergo further testing when they arrive in France.
The IATA has strongly criticized these new travel rules, as they say imposing pre-departure Covid-19 testing requirements is against the EU guidance. The organizations have also suggested that France should lead a common EU approach that would help to preserve connectivity.
“The latest COVID travel restrictions imposed in France are not proportionate to the risk and undermine the free movement of EU citizens. The government should work for a coordinated EU-wide response to Omicron,” IATA wrote on Twitter.
As France currently has some of the strictest measures against vaccinated and recovered non-EU travelers, the IATA has urged the French government to impose more proportionate measures and harmonize its approach with the other member states.
IATA has also called on the EU Commission to refrain from shortening the validity of vaccine passports to nine months.
What Are The Latest Restrictions In Europe?
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, previously called on the EU Member States to temporarily halt travel to and from territories that have recently been affected by the Covid-19 new variant.
Austria suspended tourism last month but revealed today that travel for touristic purposes will be allowed again after December 13.
While Germany has began a lockdown for unvaccinated people, Acting Health Minister Jens Spahn has stressed there will be no renewed tightening of border controls within the EU. He said that it is a matter of distinguishing between persons who have been fully vaccinated and those that have not.
Italy has unveiled a “Super Green Pass” system for the holiday period, which essentially tightens restrictions on any unvaccinated persons in higher-risk regions of the country.
Portugal has also tightened its entry requirements, requiring travelers to show a negative test result upon arrival.
The United Kingdom added a new testing requirement for all international arrivals, along with the existing day two test.
Ireland updated their entry requirements on Sunday, requiring all travelers to show proof of a negative Covid test result upon arrival.
The IATA said that the travel restrictions threaten the global travel industry’s recovery.
“Unfortunately, government responses to the emergence of the Omicron variant are putting at risk the global connectivity it has taken so long to rebuild.’
The latest restrictions are certainly impacting the EU tourism industry, which is down by almost 77%.
According to the European Travel Council (ETC) data, international tourist arrivals to Europe are expected to drop by 60% by the end of the year, and they are not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories