Since dropping the guard at once and to all sounds too ambitious in a pandemic-stricken world, several Central European and Baltic countries have settled for opening borders to neighbouring countries that exhibit a steady coronavirus response.
France-Germany-Swiss-Austria and Latvia-Lithuania-Estonia are the latest European countries poised to create a travel bubble between them starting May 15th. Australia and New Zealand introduced this win-win proposition wherein tourism will kickstart in the safe travel zone or “travel bubble” between the countries, albeit with continued restrictions outside the zone. Now with several Central European and Baltic countries following suit, travel bubble proves to be a breath of fresh air for tourism stifled by a global pandemic. But it should be noted that countries outside the travel bubble, including Russia and Poland, will stay exempt from the safe zone for now. A more deliberate and harmonized approach will be charted out to address the rest of the internal bans, assures the European Commission.
Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas tweeted that Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are eyeing on opening a safe corridor of travel among each other and counts on the move to be a big step towards a normal life.
Shortly after, President of the European Council Charles Michel endorsed this move and further reiterated the need for restoring travel “as soon as possible”. He continued and declared that “they must work together on the proposals made, and move towards a reopening which is essential for our economies and for tourism.”
The EU commission also hints that Poland and Finland might be the next countries to create what’s predicted to redeem tourism in the coming days — a COVID-free travel zone between countries bouncing back from the pandemic. Above all, this could bring lesser-known parts of Europe into the tourism radar for good, thereby relieving the pressure of mass tourism on Central European countries like France and Italy.