At the end of the year, the European Union embarked on a path to vaccinate most of the member states’ population in the coming months. Widespread vaccination is likely to gradually bring back tourism to its pre-pandemic levels. Generally, it is predicted that this recovery could be completed in 2023. But could there possibly be an acceleration for the tourism industry already in the first half of the year through the vaccination certificate?
The European vaccination certificate may improve the situation of the tourism sector. It is an initiative that Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is promoting to the European Commission with the aim to facilitate travel between member states.
The aim of this initiative is to “facilitate the freedom of movement of persons who have been vaccinated against Covid-19”, as highlighted by the Greek head of state in a letter sent to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
Other countries of the EU have also taken steps in this direction, as Denmark is preparing a “vaccination passport”, while Cyprus looks to open its borders for travelers vaccinated for Covid-19 without restrictions.
Greece’s Initiative Analyzed
It is important to note that such a solution cannot be achieved overnight, especially since it must be agreed upon by all member states.
For now, nothing has leaked as to the view of the European Commission on the subject of vaccination certificate, but experts predict that there is likely an internal discussion on the subject and there is a generally favorable vision for this request.
However, there are a lot of questions that the Commission will have to decide, especially at the level of data storage and transmission, considering the passport will inevitably be digital.
Moreover, it must be stressed that freedom of movement is enshrined at the top of the European constitution. Preventing the EU population from moving due to the lack of vaccination could well constitute an important limit to the creation of the tool.
In this context, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) called on countries not to discriminate travelers who have not yet been vaccinated, considering the fact that it will require a lot of time to vaccinate the majority of the population.
But that is not all, it is also necessary to recontextualize the importance of the tourist issue in such a difficult safety context and therefore the power of ministers within the industry.
Thus, it seems clear that this is not an initiative that can be launched overnight, and it is potentially a lengthy process, also considering the past attempts to coordinate the closure and opening of borders within the EU.