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Summer Travel Gets its Own App in Europe

TravelPulse logo TravelPulse 6/16/2020 Laurie Baratti
a close up of a map: Map of Europe. © iStock/Getty Images E+/wsfurlan Map of Europe.

Today marks the reopening of the European Union’s (E.U.) internal borders between member nations, which abruptly slammed shut when COVID-19 began to gain momentum across the continent.

The European Commission had requested that all E.U. national governments reopen their internal borders by today. “Most member states have done so,” a Commission spokesperson told Forbes.

The E.U. aims to reopen its external borders to foreign visitors on July 1. Tourism accounts for ten percent of Europe’s overall economic output—money that’s being lost the longer the region remains off-limits to visitors.

Desperately hoping to salvage the summer vacation season, the European Commission is pushing for people to start taking trips, although it also realizes that much uncertainty and confusion remains about where it’s safe (or even possible) to travel at this point. Reportedly, E.U. countries may still ban flights from specific airports within the Union, even if their borders are technically open.

Given Europe’s uncoordinated approach to applying travel restrictions amid the pandemic, the Commission decided to create its own web tool, called ‘Re-open EU’, which also launched today in a pilot version. It will enable users to select any E.U. destination to find up-to-date information about that country’s current travel restrictions and its public health measures in force.

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“It provides real-time information to allow travelers to make responsible decisions on how to manage continuing risks related to Coronavirus when planning their travels and holidays during this summer and beyond,” a Commission spokesperson explained.

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An interactive menu allows you to easily see whether the specified country is accepting flights from your airport; whether it’s permitting visitor entry via boat, train or bus; whether its public transportation is running; face-mask and quarantine requirements; whether tourism sites and cultural attractions are open; and whether restaurants, bars, clubs and beaches have opened.

There is also plenty more information, made available in 24 languages, including the latest health and safety updates, and identification of any areas that might present a high risk of infection within the user’s selected destination.

Because the app incorporates information supplied by E.U. members’ individual governments, its accuracy and usefulness rely heavily upon those nations’ cooperation. The tool promises to improve as time progresses, said the Commission. A mobile version of the app will be soon become available, as well.

Sources have called it unlikely than any E.U. country will be opening its borders to travelers from the United States any earlier than, perhaps, September 2020, due to the ongoing severity of the health crisis in the U.S.


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