National responses to the coronavirus pandemic among the European Union’s 27 members varied widely. While some countries closed down fast, telling citizens to stay at home, others carried on almost as normal. This disparity has led to a bewildering tangle of guidelines over who can enter or exit each of the member states, posing problems for potential holidaymakers and the businesses targeting them.
View Re-open EU
A new online resource created by the EU seeks to clarify the regulatory confusion for travellers. Re-open EU is an interactive tool that provides “the information you need to confidently plan your European travel and holidays while staying healthy and safe”, as the website puts it. A simple map-and-tab system structures information by country under four headings. “Info” has links to national sources of virus-related information. “Travel” uses a series of icons to give details on entry and exit for tourism, any requirement for quarantine or medical documents, access by non-EU nationals and more. “Services” shows what is open in terms of bars, restaurants, non-essential shops, museums or tourist accommodation. Lastly, “Health & safety” indicates if facemasks are needed, physical distancing is in place, whether the country uses a track-and-trace app and so on.
Another tool, IATA’s Interactive Covid-19 Travel Regulations Map, offers a clickable world map colour-coded for the severity of travel restrictions in force. Select any country to see a list of the current rules governing entry. Designed primarily to help airlines verify passenger documents, the Map is a quick and effective way to see who can go where under the latest guidelines.
While neither resource is aimed specifically at the duty free and travel retail sector, both could prove valuable for brands and retailers in adapting their offer to the new travel landscape emerging.