European Vacation Won’t Be the Same as Controls Fade Slowly

(Bloomberg) --

The revival of tourism will be gradual and holidays won’t be the same as before, Germany’s foreign minister cautioned after talks with European Union partners.

While Germany is aiming to lift a global travel warning from June 15, efforts to normalize travel would focus on Europe, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said at a news conference following a video call with his counterparts from nations including Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Austria.

”Step by step, we want normalization. We hope to be in a position to lift the general travel advisory on June 15,” said Maas.

Germany has a worldwide travel warning on unnecessary leisure trips abroad due to the coronavirus. Border controls with France, Austria and Switzerland are already being scaled back gradually before being lifted from June 15.

As the pandemic has yet to peak in other parts of the world, the focus is on easing restrictions in Europe first, Maas said.

Even so, it will be a gradual process, and ongoing safety measures will mean that vacationing in Europe during the summer holidays won’t be the same as before.

“Vacation this year will have little in common with what we know,” Germany’s chief diplomat said.

The European Commission last week presented recommendations for EU countries as they loosen lockdowns. The proposals cover everything from the removal of internal EU border restrictions to the use of mobile-phone tracing applications.

An overriding concern is that easing could backfire and prompt a reversal of easing.

“Exploring ways of allowing traveling while avoiding that the risk of an increase in infections gets out of hand will be key,” the foreign ministers said in a joint statement following their talks.

Discussions to coordinate and implement policies would continue on Friday, Maas said.

Bavarian Premier Markus Soeder earlier on Monday said he wasn’t too optimistic about cross-border travel in Europe any time soon and that domestic tourism ought to be promoted instead.

“I don’t think like Heiko Maas that it’ll be so easy to put forward plans for us to be in Italy, Spain or France again in a month,” Soeder said at a news conference. “I would advise against taking rash measures. All over Germany there are wonderful places.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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