Portuguese EU presidency urges member states to “act without delay” to save tourism

The Portuguese presidency of the European Union (EU) on Tuesday urged member states to “act without delay” to save European tourism from the COVID-19 crisis by speeding up a digital health passport scheme.

“The COVID-19 crisis put the sector under strong economic pressure and had a particularly serious impact on small- and medium-sized companies, which constitute the vast majority of companies active in tourism,” said Portugal’s Secretary of State for European Affairs Ana Paula Zacarias on behalf of the Portuguese EU presidency.

It is important “to provide the necessary financial support to alleviate the lack of liquidity of many tourist companies, to avoid major job losses and to help the sector out of recession,” she said in a plenary session of the European Parliament.

In mid-April, EU member states agreed to launch negotiations on details of a Digital Green Certificate with lawmakers in the European Parliament in order to establish a system to restore travel and tourism by summer.

Zacarias urged the European Parliament to move forward with the creation of the “free pass digital passport as soon as possible,” saying “I am confident that this certificate, if properly equipped with the necessary guarantees of non-discrimination and protection of personal data, will contribute greatly to this objective.”

She also called on the bloc to “reduce the spread of the coronavirus, speeding up the vaccination process.”

“This requires increasing vaccine production capacity and ensuring its availability in all member states, which will result in a faster resumption of safe mobility across Europe,” she said.

Portugal, whose tourism has a pivotal role in the national economy, has registered severe lose in its tourism industry since the beginning of the pandemic.