The European travel industry is desperate as Covid surges

Workers will scaffold in 2020 at “Paradise” beach on Mykonos, Cyclades, Greece. The island is traditionally crowded with wealthy foreigners, but last year it became a haunted island.

Alice Messinis | AFP | Getty Images

Perhaps no other industry has been hit as hard as the global travel and tourism sector, where planes landed, resorts closed, and carefree vacations are a distant memory for most of us during the Covid-19 pandemic. ..

Some European countries (Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc.) rely on tourism to boost economic growth through the prosperity of thousands of businesses, livelihoods and communities that have led to the success or failure of the season. I will.

With the Covid vaccine being rolled out throughout the region from late 2020, there was great hope that Europe could expect a recovery in tourism this summer.

Instead, the season looks very uncertain due to the proliferation of delta variants in Europe, the proliferation of various rules and restrictions, signaling systems that specify country risk profiles, and quarantine and vaccination requirements.

Fourth wave?

Recent trips in Europe are certainly not suitable for the weak. Covid infection rates have skyrocketed across the region as highly infectious delta mutants have swept the globe.

Like its predecessor, the Alpha variant (which Delta is currently robbing), Britain was like a harbinger of fate when it came to what the rest of Europe could expect. In the UK, we saw more covid waves caused by the alpha variant earlier this year, and now we are seeing another wave with a delta.

Despite continental efforts to stop the subspecies, an unavoidable spread has occurred and the strain now accounts for the majority of new country-to-country transmissions.

In the Netherlands and Spain, after the two countries reopened their nightclubs in late June and two weeks later they reversed the course, there was a surge in cases primarily due to the nights sector. Meanwhile, France announced earlier this week that it would enter the fourth wave of the pandemic, and government spokesman Gabriel Attal warned.

“We have entered the fourth wave. The pandemic dynamics are very strong. We see faster waves and sharp rises than all previous waves … Incidence continues to explode. … a very big, very sudden rise, it hasn’t been seen since the pandemic began. “

Tourism and airline stocks were hit at the beginning of the week when the global market plunged sharply with new concerns about a global recovery. Europe’s well-known low-cost carriers EasyJet and Ryanair were among the stocks that saw a noticeable decline. For example, easyJet shares were trading at 842.20p on Friday, but plummeted to 758.20p by early Monday afternoon.

EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren told CNBC on Tuesday that the travel sector is facing a “very difficult” situation, but the vaccination program in Europe is the key to reopening. The data show that two doses, Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca-Oxford University, are effective against delta variants and reduce the risk of hospitalization and death.

“We always knew it [the recovery] It didn’t go straight … but you can see that the restrictions are being lifted. However, there is no doubt that infectious diseases will increase when society and communities are opened.The problem is to make sure that the vaccination is breaking the link between [infection and] Severe hospitalization and death, and fortunately it looks like that, “Landgren told CNBC’s” Squawk Box Europe. “

Complex travel

Anyone planning a last-minute vacation in Europe this year should often rely on a confusing, complex and fairly stressful experience — and even before you get off the plane.

According to official statistics, going from the UK to Greece is a vacation taken by 3.4 million British people in 2019 and is a common example of the complexity of vacationing during these difficult times.

Greece has proven that visitors from the United Kingdom are negative for the Covid-19 PCR test performed within 72 hours prior to entry, or are negative for the rapid antigen test performed by accredited laboratories within 48-. We allow if we can provide proof of that. 1 hour before regular flight. Or proof of two doses of Covid vaccine completed at least 14 days before travel.

However, before arriving in Greece, you must complete a passenger locator form with vaccination status, vacation address and relatives by 11:59 pm (local time) the day before your arrival. Then, before returning to the UK, the holiday manufacturer must perform a PCR test and fill out a separate passenger locator form. Then, within 2 days of returning to the UK, perform an additional 10 days of PCR testing or quarantine.

All of that, and Greece is actually one of the easiest places to go on vacation this year.

Like other European countries, Greece is not immune to the somewhat unavoidable rise in the Covid case due to the open economy (especially the island’s night economy). Still, the number of cases per day seems to be smaller than in France and the United Kingdom, for example. On Wednesday, Greece reported 2,972 new cases, 19 of which were found after border testing.

Busy time at Paris Uri Beach, Greece: This image was taken in 2017 and was considered one of the best performing summers in terms of visitor arrivals.

NurPhoto | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Wolfango Piccoli, co-president of risk consultancy Teneo Intelligence, said Wednesday that Covid-19’s resurgence in Greece “raise new challenges, especially with respect to another poor tourism season and its ensuing economic implications.” Said. About Prime Minister Kiriacos Mitsutakis.

“Mr. Mitsutakis wanted to avoid a pandemic this summer as the centre-right government reached the midpoint of its four-year term. He improved tourism revenues and launched a Greek reconstruction program. , But the number of Covid-19 has increased significantly in recent weeks, and the key tourism sector is already seeking state support in the fall, fearing an increase in visitor numbers this year. ” Piccoli says.

Piccoli pointed out that Greece is facing challenges as Delta variants are gradually gaining dominance. Vaccinated. “

So far, he said, only about 120,000 of the estimated 980,000 Greeks in this age group have been vaccinated.

Piccoli said that vaccination levels in the general population have reached nearly 52% with at least one dose of vaccine and nearly 44% with full vaccination, “due to recent delays in intake, the government has vaccinated. Questions have arisen as to whether the goal can be achieved. By the end of summer 70-75% of the adult population. “

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