The World Travel & Tourism Council has hit out at plans to impose quarantines on international arrivals, such as restrictions being planned by the UK.

The WTTC was responding to European Commission guidelines to help re-start summer holidays in 2020 and beyond as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

The tourism and transport initiative has been designed to ensure a co-ordinated approach at a European level, to ease restrictive measures and restore mobility.

The move is hoped to herald a phased re-start of travel across Europe this summer, while ensuring the safety and health of travellers and those who work in the sector.

WTTC president and chief executive Gloria Guevara said: “We fully support the European Commission’s stance on quarantines and agree these should not be necessary if appropriate and effective containment measures are in place at departure and arrival points for flights, ferries, cruises, road and rail transport.” Guevara added.

“We urge member states to carefully reflect before deciding whether arrivals need to self-isolate as this would be a major deterrent to travel and put those countries at a competitive disadvantage.

“We call on governments to find alternative solutions rather than maintaining or introducing arrival quarantine measures, as part of post-pandemic travel restrictions.

“Once a traveller is tested and confirmed as safe to travel, further restrictions such as quarantines should not be necessary.”

She added: “WTTC has been in constant discussions with the European Commission and we encourage all member states to follow these important guidelines.

“Strong co-ordination and co-operation across Europe will avoid unilateral and fragmented measures which would only lead to confusion and disruption for travellers and businesses alike.

“Our research shows at least 6.4 million jobs are impacted across the EU, and in order to save these jobs and protect the livelihoods of millions of people, we must learn from the past and ensure a coordinated approach between the public and private sector.”

Meanwhile, the Canary Islands Tourist Board welcomed the EC’s advice on how to safely resume travel.

Tourism minister Yaiza Castilla said she was pleased to see “a common statement from the European Commission showing its support and giving confidence to the sector for the first time in this economic and tourism crisis”.

She added: “The guidance protects the consumers and their rights and, at the same time, strives to re-boot Europe’s tourism.”

The islands are working to provide health and safety measures to tourists and residents by introducing “innovative procedures” to provide safety at airports, transportation, accommodation, restaurants and beaches.