THE Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) has welcomed the European Commission proposal to create a Digital Green Certificate to facilitate the safe free movement of citizens within the EU during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Digital Green Certificate will be a proof that a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative test result or recovered from Covid-19.
ITAA chief executive officer Pat Dawson, founder and owner of Cork-based Dawson Travel, said the proposal is a welcome first step.
“This the first step towards a common path to a safe and sustained re-opening of the travel industry, ensuring the safe movement of people from EU country to country, whether a business or leisure traveller. It can only be welcomed.
“The next step is for our Government to move fast and start preparing for opening up safely,” he said.
The ITTA, which represents over 100 travel agents, is now calling on Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan to “respond positively” to the proposal.
“We are calling on him to meet with us and others involved in the industry, to plan a strategy on the reopening of our country and air routes.
“However, we have been calling on Government for pre-departure airport testing for months.
“Travel is not just ‘bucket and spades’ leisure holidays.
“It is also corporate travel and for those who need to visit friends and relatives,” Mr Dawson said.
He pointed to the impact Covid is having on the travel and tourism industry.
“The travel and tourism industry has been the heaviest hit in Ireland with 400,000 jobs affected,” he said.
“There have been four separate pieces of legislation on travel since January – it is probably the most legislated sector.
“We now need to think of path for recovery and the EU is calling for this to be coordinated.”
President of the ITAA and Managing Director of Shandon Travel, Michael Doorley, said the proposal “charts the way ahead for a balanced policy and common EU approach”.
“While health policy requires continued control until a sufficient vaccination coverage is achieved, the conditions must be created across the Single Market to allow for safe and sustained re-opening, so that citizens can enjoy their rights and economic and social activity can resume,” he said.