urismAs EBI informed in an article in its March newsletter, last month the Commission issued a Communication titled “A common path to safe and sustained re-opening”, which spells out a number of recommendations for Member States to adopt a coordinated approach to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, such as the adoption of a Digital Green Certificate.
One of the measures listed in the Communication is the rollout of an EU tourism health seal, which businesses will be able to display in order to show that they are complying with health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is intended to build confidence among consumers for the restart of tourism. The International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) has developed a specification for the seal, which covers a variety of business activities, including “yacht harbours and nautical activities”. This specification will now be taken up by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) by mid-May. EBI has been closely involved in the preparations for the tourism health seal with both ISO and CEN, representing the interests of marinas, charter companies and other boating industry businesses. A key point in EBI’s contributions was the need to keep the seal cost-efficient and easy to implement for large companies and SMEs.
Moreover, EBI has reached out to the Commission with several questions about the tourism health seal. According to the Commission, it is expected that most Member States will implement the seal. In principle, the seal would be used on the basis of self-certification (that is, business can certify themselves without third-party assessment), although surveillance might be put in place at a later stage, under the initiative of each Member State. Member States which have in place national seals (equivalent to the proposed EU seal) can apply the certification and surveillance system used for those on the new EU seal. In addition, Member States can give the EU seal to companies that already had a national seal, if such a national scheme is deemed adequate and comparable. Finally, the seal would cost between 100 and 200 €, although the Commission is looking at ways of providing funding and is calling on Member States to reduce that fee, suggesting the possibility that Member States offer the seal for free.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), an official advisory body of the European Union, published its opinion on “Transport and Tourism in 2020 and beyond”. It recommends policy measures to help the boating and nautical tourism sector in its recovery and return to growth after COVID-19. The opinion was adopted by the plenary of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 18th September with a majority of 217- 2. The body, representing employers, workers and civil society forms an integral part of the EU’s decision-making process through its recommendations.
Led by rapporteur Panagiotis Gkofas, the opinion calls for measures to support the tourism and transport sector survive and recover from the impact of COVID-19. This includes calls for a harmonised approach to travel restrictions, a strategic plan to implement economic, tax relief and other support measures for businesses. The opinion also includes several measures specific for the boating and nautical tourism industry that EBI has been calling for.
Commenting on the EESC opinion, EBI Secretary-General Philip Easthill said “We are delighted to receive such a positive endorsement and push by the European Economic and Social Committee for the tourism sector and nautical tourism sector in particular. The exchange that we have had with the EESC in advance of this opinion is an example of how crucial the dialogue between industry and policy-makers is at this time. It helps develop suitable policy measures to support companies, protect jobs and those regions reliant on the boating industry. We call on the EU institutions and EU countries to follow the recommendations and put the sector on track for a strong recovery in 2020 and beyond.”
The opinion can be found in full here (also in other languages).
Funded by the European Commission, five nautical routes were developed that can now be accessed and promoted to boaters. They focus on nautical and maritime activities, ecotourism, waters sports or sailing with the aim to foster blue growth, help creating new jobs and promote sustainability in their respective regions.
The nautical routes aim to attract tourists to new areas with different themes. The five routes are:
More information on all nautical routes, can be found here.