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Saturday, May 16, 2020

Europe is preparing for the tourist season

European countries are gradually lifting the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic and are trying to restore the tourism industry.

According to EU recommendations, the gradual and coordinated lifting of restrictions should be divided into two stages. The first will open borders between countries with a similar epidemic situation, the second - between all countries of the community.

Spain is among the countries most affected by the pandemic, whose tourism industry constitutes a significant part of the economy - hotels, restaurants and bars are already open. 
From May 15 to the end of the emergency, which is scheduled to occur on May 24, any foreigner arriving in Spain must submit to a 14-day mandatory quarantine. Spain's government plans to re-open the borders in early July.

Italy from May 4 gradually lifts the restrictions, but the borders of the country remain closed to foreign tourists. 
From May 18 it will be possible to travel in the regions without self-certification, and from June 3 between the regions. The borders will re-open on June 3rd. Visitors, initially only from EU and Switzerland, will not have to undergo quarantine. 
Due to the huge losses of the tourist sector the government is trying to encourage Italians to spend their holidays in their own country. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, wants to co-finance the industry with 2 billion euros through a system of vouchers given to low-income families.

Greece plans to receive first tourists from abroad on July 1. The Minister of Tourism, Harry Theochari, envisages the creation of tourist corridors with countries that have not been affected by the pandemic as much as most Western Europe. "The number of cases in some countries is lower than in others, so their citizens may start traveling earlier," he said. He added that perhaps instead of tourists from Great Britain, France or Germany, more vacationers from Central and Eastern Europe will come to Greece.

Croatian tourism minister Gari Cappelli said the country is negotiating bilateral agreements with Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia on the possibility of traveling between these countries without having to undergo quarantine. Citizens of Slovenia should be able to visit Croatia at the end of May, the others in mid-June. Some hotels have already opened in the country, after that private accommodation and nautical tourism are to start operating.

Turkey has announced the introduction of a system of certification of tourist facilities and services that is to ensure the full safety of tourists and industry employees. The program is voluntary, but the authorities strongly encourage all restaurants, hotels and transport companies to take part in it - their list will be made available to tourist companies and on websites. 

Portugal's borders will remain closed until at least June 15, and by that time the authorities are also planning to reopen hotels, restaurants and beaches. By the end of May, detailed rules for the use of beaches in Portugal will be announced.

Polish government is considering opening borders for tourists from abroad, but this does not mean that citizens of all countries will be able to visit Poland this summer.
The government plans to only allow tourists from countries where the health situation is under the best control. Two proposals are considered. The first assumes the opening of borders in July and August for the countries where infections are the lowest, but also for those where tests are the most common. The second option is a mandatory coronavirus test, a few days before departure, for a tourist who will want to enter Poland without the need for quarantine.