Updated May 20, 2020, 11:40 p.m.
Whether at the sea in Croatia or in the Austrian mountains: If the trend in the Corona numbers continues, some borders will be open again in Europe from June 15th. Tourism industry and holidaymakers have hope.
The currently restricted freedom of travel within the EU should gradually return – the Federal Government gives hope that summer vacation abroad could still work. He sees “good chances that people can travel to their favorite European holiday regions in the summer,” said the Federal Government’s Tourism Commissioner, Thomas Bareiß (CDU). Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD), after initial consultations with neighboring and holiday countries, was confident that he could lift the existing travel warning, at least for the EU, after June 14th. One was “a good deal closer” to this goal.
According to a survey by infratest dimap on behalf of the “ARD Extra” program, however, 50 percent of those surveyed who have already thought about vacation plans want to stay at home this year as they are. At the same time, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs made it clear that the holiday will be different this year than usual. Preparations are starting in many places. An overview.
Also read: All developments related to the corona virus in our live blog
Holidays in Austria and Switzerland could be possible from mid-June
The relief is great in the Alpine Republic. There are many indications that holidaymakers can now arrive from mid-June. Hotels and accommodation providers in Austria can reopen from May 29th. There are then only minor restrictions. According to the Minister of Tourism Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP), a mouth protection obligation applies in the entrance area and at the reception. However, groups of guests should be treated similarly to people from a common household and therefore do not have to keep a safe distance from each other. Buffets are allowed with special hygienic arrangements, the hotel’s wellness facilities may also be used. The Germans are by far the most important group of guests. You encounter a country with very low corona numbers. Important tourist facilities such as museums, mountain railways and amusement parks are expected to reopen in the next few weeks.
The borders with Switzerland should also reopen on June 15, there are no restrictions on freedom of movement in the country. Many hotels never closed. Shops are open again, as are restaurants, where, however, no more than four guests should sit at the table and keep a distance between the tables. Events such as the big classical music festival in Lucerne and the jazz festival in Montreux were canceled. The number of new infections has been very low since April. At the height of the epidemic, Switzerland had many corona infections in terms of population. The border cantons Ticino towards Italy in the south and Geneva and Vaud in the west towards France were particularly affected.
Italy: Entry from abroad from June
Given the opening of borders in other EU countries, Italy was also under pressure. Because the summer season is just around the corner – holidaymakers should also come to Italy. For this reason, entry from abroad is permitted again from June 3, and the airports should also open again. You can also travel again within Italy. Regions like South Tyrol, which hotels open from the end of May, are vying for German tourists. But the border with Austria is still tight. In any case, distance rules should apply everywhere, parasols on the beach should be far enough apart. Bookings for access to beach resorts are designed to prevent people from frying too close together in the sun. Buffets in hotels are prohibited. Disinfectants must be available everywhere.
Spain: Border opening for tourists at the end of June at the earliest
Germans and sun-seekers from other countries should not book a vacation to Spain in early summer. The government in Madrid reiterated that the border could not be opened to tourists until the end of June at the earliest. Until then, even the Spaniards would be prohibited from traveling to other regions of the country. Mallorca and other holiday islands can hope to be able to receive a limited number of domestic and foreign visitors a little earlier. There is a working group that is talking about such a pilot project, with which one wants to gain initial experience, the government said. People who are allowed to enter despite closed borders because they have their first home or start a job in Spain must remain in quarantine for another two weeks.
France: Summer vacation may be possible from July
According to the government’s idea, the French should aim primarily at domestic tourist destinations this summer. To support this, travel vouchers for families in need are currently being worked on, France’s State Secretary for Tourism, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, told radio station RTL on Wednesday. Most of the tourist destinations are to be reopened by the end of June. Some beaches have been accessible again since the weekend. In the week of May 25, the government plans to provide a timeline for future developments. Large museums such as the Louvre in Paris hope to be able to open again in mid-July. Smaller museums can again receive visitors. Cafes and restaurants in France could reopen in regions where the virus is less common from June 2. The government hopes that summer vacations in the country will be possible from July.
Portugal: Hotels are expected to reopen in mid-July
The prospects for a summer vacation in Portugal look less bleak. The country is extremely dependent on tourism, which accounts for around 15 percent of economic output. In 2019, the holiday areas booked 27 million guests. To save what can be saved, Portugal now wants to gradually open up to foreign tourism. The AHP hotel association recently announced that most hotels could be open again in mid-July. The tourism authority also wants to build trust with a new hygiene seal under the motto “Clean & Safe”. Tourist institutions can apply for it free of charge. Compliance with the regulations should be checked regularly. Thanks to an early response and strict measures, the country on the Atlantic was much less affected by Covid-19 than Spain, for example.
Greece: Tourism should start in July
Greek archaeological sites, such as the Acropolis of Athens, are open again. Museums should follow on June 15, according to the Ministry of Culture. Bathing beaches can also be used again. Travel to all parts of the country and to the island of Crete are also permitted. According to the government, it should be possible to travel to the smaller islands from the end of May. Immigrants from abroad are currently in 14-day quarantine. This is soon to be lifted for travelers from countries with low spread of the corona virus. According to the Greek head of government Kyriakos Mitsotakis, tourism should start again from July 1st in full, but under hygienic conditions. Tourism is extremely important for the country, which had only left its great economic crisis behind in 2018. Most recently, 33 million tourists came in the year.
Niderlande opens tourism from July
The Holland vacation is possible again. Bungalow parks are already gradually opening their gates and holiday apartments are being rented out again. From July 1st, all campsites and holiday parks should be fully reopened. So far, this was only limited. For example, showers and toilets on campsites had to remain closed. The sanitary facilities will also reopen on July 1st on beaches and in nature parks. Museums can again receive visitors from June 1st – provided they register online beforehand. Restaurants, cafes, beach pavilions and pubs can each serve a maximum of 30 guests. From July up to 100 guests are allowed.
Denmark and Sweden were open, not yet an exact date
Denmark was one of the first countries in Europe to close its borders in the struggle against Corona on March 14th. Since then, tourists and other foreigners without a specific reason for entry have not been able to enter the country. This not only upset the travel plans of German spring vacationers, but also the finances of the Danish holiday home operators, most of whose guests come from Germany. But if you are planning a summer trip to Copenhagen or the Danish coast, there is hope: in a TV debate, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had shown himself open to the possibility of soon allowing tourists into the country, for example with a rental contract for a holiday home or could prove the reason for their entry with a hotel reservation. Frederiksen said that this only had to be discussed in political talks.
The trips of many Swedish holidaymakers should also depend on the Danish decision. Because, for example, if you want to travel to Sweden by car, you usually drive via Denmark. An alternative can be the arrival by ferry from Kiel, Rostock or Travemünde, the routes are still used. There are currently hardly any flights from Germany to Stockholm or Gothenburg and if so, only from Frankfurt. In addition, there is a provisional entry ban in Sweden until June 15 – however, this does not apply to countries in the EU and the European Free Trade Association.
Turkey and Cyprus are gradually loosening up
Turkey is gradually loosening the corona measures and preparing for an opening to tourism. The country plans to begin domestic travel at the end of May, and hopes to attract international tourists in June. Strict corona requirements should apply to hotels and restaurants. Distance and hygiene rules must be observed, for example, and the staff should receive pandemic training. Turkey has also developed a certification program for hotels. After opening for international flights, corona tests are to be carried out at the border crossings, for example at Antalya Airport. The semi-governmental airline Turkish Airlines recently extended its flight stop for international flights until June 1.
Nicosia is currently negotiating with Israel and Greece to resume flights soon for vacationers. If an agreement is reached, Israelis and Greeks can fly to Cyprus without having to stay in quarantine for 14 days. The bigger question remains, however, which regulations apply to the countries from which most tourists come: Great Britain and Germany. Because the quarantine-free return flight must also be secured, according to government circles. More than 25 percent of the economy in Cyprus is related to tourism.
Croatia: Foreigners with accommodation bookings have been allowed to enter the country since May 9th
The country, heavily dependent on tourism, on the Adriatic Sea with its long, bay-rich coast and the many islands forcefully urges an opening of the European borders. It is proceeding with its own example: Since May 9, foreigners who can show an accommodation booking can enter without a corona test and without quarantine requirements. The same applies to foreigners who are on business, traveling to a funeral or owning property or a boat in Croatia. The authorities are also working on new rules to prevent large crowds of people on the beaches.
Slovenia and Poland with no exact date
The small EU country between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea wants to allow EU citizens to enter without corona tests and quarantine requirements by June 1st. This would be a great relief, especially for vacationers from Germany who want to drive their own car to Croatia, because their holiday destination is practically only accessible via Slovenia. The country itself has a 46-kilometer section on the Adriatic with a well-developed tourist infrastructure. Hotels with fewer than 30 rooms have been allowed to reopen since May 18. There is still no decision in this regard for larger castles. There are still restrictions for the beach operation: You can swim and surf, but not lie in the sun on the beach.
Poland will hold border controls with other EU countries until June 12. Foreigners are not allowed in. So far there are exceptions for people with permanent residence permits, for truck drivers and diplomats. Hotels and shopping centers have reopened on May 4th. Restaurants and cafés are also allowed to open again.
The Czech Republic should allow foreign tourists to enter the country in mid-June
There is still no fixed road map for the revival of the tourism business. Prime Minister Andrej Babis first wants to open the closed border to travelers from Austria and Slovakia – probably already in mid-June. Germans still have to be patient. In Bavaria, the corona situation is “not ideal,” said Babis in an interview. In 2019, more than two million German overnight guests were counted. They made up the largest group of foreign tourists. The historic old town of Prague, usually a magnet for people from all over the world, is currently almost deserted. In some hostels and hotels in the Moldovan metropolis, the homeless find temporary accommodation. When the borders open again, travelers come across a country that has been largely spared by the corona virus.
Bulgaria eases from June
The holiday country on the Black Sea is gearing up for a summer season under corona requirements. On the long bathing beaches, the deck chairs are already spaced apart. Dosing dispensers with disinfectants should be standard. The hotels already complied with corona-related measures and could now take in local tourists, Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkowa assured. Bulgaria has already agreed with Greece and Serbia to open the common borders for road traffic: as of June 1, travelers should no longer have a mandatory 14-day quarantine for the corona virus. But Bulgaria’s tourism largely depends on international flights, about which there is still no clarity. Tourism is an extremely important sector for the poorest EU country: the industry generates a good 12 percent of its gross domestic product and employs 11 percent of all working people.
Egypt: Entry for foreigners not yet foreseeable
It is still unclear when normality will return to resorts such as Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh. Hotels are now allowed to reopen for local vacationers with 25 percent occupancy and from June 1st with 50 percent occupancy. Among other things, the operators must provide disinfectants at the entrance and disinfect guests’ luggage on arrival and departure. Experts check these conditions and issue a certificate for which around 170 hotels have so far applied. At the airport in Cairo, new thermal imaging cameras are also to check whether travelers have a fever. The borders are still tight for holidaymakers from abroad. (ash / dpa)
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