European airports prepare for the arrival of non-EU tourists

The aviation sector is beginning to emerge from a long 14-month slumber. With the vaccination campaign advancing apace and the summer season just around the corner, airports are gearing up. And the one in Brussels is no exception.

It is committed to the arrival of tourists from China and the United States, following the agreement reached on Wednesday by the 27 EU member states to reopen the external borders of the European Union to vaccinated tourists.

Never before has such a difficult situation been experienced. “We used to have 14,000 connections and we have dropped to 6,000, so we need to recover all these connections. Otherwise, to travel this summer, it may be necessary to make one or two stopovers. And we want to avoid this by restoring connectivity,” explains Agnès Leroux of Airlines for Europe.

The main challenge is to ensure that travelers can move smoothly and board without delays. Something that could be difficult if there is a multiplication of documents.

“We have a mosaic of legislation in Europe. The crisis has once again demonstrated that solidarity and uniformity do not yet exist. What we were saying and now it is scientifically proven is that traveling by plane is safe. Airlines and airports have implemented many protocols. So it’s safe and we encourage everyone to get back on the plane for the summer holidays, “adds Leroux.

The tourism sector has welcomed the decision to allow fully vaccinated non-EU passport holders to travel to Europe.

“This is great news for the industry. The United States and China are the largest source markets outside the European Union, also in terms of spending and in terms of loyalty to destinations. Diaspora tourism is going to be very important for destinations such as Ireland, but also Germany, where the return of American tourists is expected. Many destinations are focusing on them, as well as on China. In recent years there have been large investments to attract Chinese tourists “, comments Eduardo Santander , Executive Director of the European Travel Commission.

In addition to China and the United States, mainland Europe also hopes to welcome the British, most of whom will have completed double vaccinations in the summer. In total, 19 million British tourists traveled to Spain in 2019. And Madrid hopes to attract them again with its campaign You Deserve Spain or ¨ “You deserve Spain”.