During the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Crisis Committee meeting in Madrid on Monday, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis proposed three steps to restart tourism: Covid-19 vaccination, rapid antigen testing and exchange of data.
Theoharis is the president of the UNWTO’s Regional Commission for Europe.
He stressed the need for EU governments to converge with travel and tourism stakeholders and coordinate actions in order to facilitate safe travel.
As the minister pointed out, “people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 should move freely. However, we must make it absolutely clear that vaccination should not be mandatory or a prerequisite for travel.”
He also presented the ‘travel vaccination certificate’ proposed by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Meanwhile, European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas on Tuesday stressed the benefits of vaccination certificates, saying they are of “utmost importance.”
Greece’s proposal will be raised on January 21 during an EU leaders’ video conference.
“We need vaccinations certificates that would allow for a clear record of each individual’s vaccination history to ensure the right medical follow-up. A common EU approach to trusted, reliable and verifiable certificates would allow people to use their records in other EU member-states,” Schinas said.
A certificate of vaccination against Covid-19 would ensure “the quickest possible re-establishment of freedom of movement between member-states, but also with third countries.”
He also indicated that such an initiative may be approved by the end of January.