A gradual lifting of borders in an effort to kick-start the tourist industry hammered by the coronavirus pandemic is being proposed by the EU.

Details of the proposals are due to be unveiled later today  (Wednesday).

However, a draft document called for a “concerted” and “non-discriminatory” move across the 27-nation bloc.

The non-binding plans involve gradually removing travel bans and then border checks as the Covid-19 outbreak comes under control across member states.

Countries with a similar health situation would work together to lift their borders and maintain targeted restrictions.

Economic affairs commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said: “Our message is we will have a tourist season this summer even if it’s with security measures and limitations.”

In an interview with six European newspapers, he said Europe’s tourist industry was facing a 40% loss of activity and the sector had to be re-launched with a focus on three areas:

  • Focusing security measures on transport and accommodation in holiday destinations
  • Co-ordinating the re-opening of borders and avoiding “discriminatory” treatment between states
  • Maintaining the rights of consumers when companies are replacing cash compensation with vouchers

Austria and Germany have become the latest EU countries to agree to remove travel restrictions.

From Friday there will be random checks at border crossings and free movement should resume from June 15.

While the UK and Spain are introducing 14-day quarantines for arrivals, Tui chief executive Fritz Joussen dismissed concerns that the measure will finish any remaining summer travel business, saying “let it evolve a little”.

UK health secretary Matt Hancock warned on Tuesday that “big lavish” summer holidays are not going to be possible for this summer.

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