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Tourist boards promoting European Union countries to Canadian travellers aren’t hitting the panic button over the Council of the European Union’s recommendation that Canada be removed from a list of countries whose residents don’t face tougher restrictions when wanting to visit EU member states.
The council last week recommended that Canada along with Argentina and Australia be removed from a list of nations whose residents don’t face stricter entry requirements, a recommendation that followed climbing numbers of coronavirus cases in the three countries.
The Travel Safe List recommendation isn’t binding, raising the possibility that Canadians planning to soon visit two or more European countries could find differing entry requirements.
All EU countries now insist that visitors demonstrate they are fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
The Travel Safe List is regularly updated.
“I think it will have some impact, but the size of the impact still remains to be seen,” said Marco Frank of VISITFLANDERS. “It is still possible to travel to Belgium. From a European point of view, there are some considerations to overhaul the whole system, but these conversations did not continue when the Omicron variant surged across Europe. Once Omicron peaks, these discussions might be taken up again.”
Frank added that travel from Canada to Flanders and other parts of Europe in 2021 was “not very strong, there is no sugar coating. But the ones who came are more robust and resilient travellers. I feel that these are the ones who will keep on (travelling) despite additional procedural steps.”
Sandra Moffatt of Tourism Ireland’s Canadian office said that “any restrictions will, of course, have an impact on Canadian travellers comfort to travel internationally.”
But Moffatt added there has been “some stabilization in the situation regarding the latest variant (of coronavirus). We would hope more positive news for Canada will follow.”
Moffatt said she’s convinced large numbers of Canadians will want to travel internationally once restrictions are lifted. “We look forward to welcoming Canadian visitors to the island of Ireland this year.”
Barbara Couto of the Tourist Office of Spain’s Canadian office said Spain’s health minister has added Canada to an updated list of “risk” countries following the recommendations, meaning Canadians will have to be fully vaccinated to enter the country, unless they’re in an “exempted” category that allows them in with a “recovery certificate” or a negative test.
Laura Fairweather of Tourism Switzerland’s Toronto office said “it’s early to say” if the council recommendation will affect Canadian travel to Switzerland.
She noted Canadians needn’t quarantine after entering Switzerland.
“We have come a long way in the pandemic and better times are ahead for Q2 and then summer and fall,” she said.
Fairweather noted Switzerland has created Travelcheck to among other things familiarize potential visitors with entry requirements. It can be found at travelcheck.admin.ch/home.
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