The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the tourism industry, which is such a dominant force in many parts of Europe, was severe and led to the temporary closure of timeshare resorts and other touristic accommodation not only in Europe but around the world.
However, as deaths and infection rates are now on a downward trend, countries around Europe are starting to ease the restrictions imposed earlier in the year, open up their borders and allow hotels and resorts to reopen.
Governments are moving tentatively to ensure that there is not a second wave of infections and warn that restrictions will be re-introduced if infection levels rise again. Strict physical distancing is still required and the wearing of face masks is generally compulsory and is set to remain so for some time to come, in shared spaces such as public transport and shops.
During this phase, resorts and hotels will closely followed health department guidelines – the safety of their staff and guests is paramount. Information on guidance introduced by tourism authorities can be found here.
Please note that the updates below are liable to change at short notice:
Travelling to and from EU countries is allowed without restrictions, with the exception of Portugal, Sweden, Bulgaria and Romania. For more information, visit https://www.sozialministerium.at/en.html
Borders in Belgium are now open to those traveling within the EU and the Schengen+ zone. This includes the UK, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway. For more information, visit https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en
Source countries are now divided into two categories (A and B – see list here) based on internationally available epidemiological data. Persons flying from Category A countries face no restrictions when traveling to Cyprus; people traveling from Category B countries are required to have a COVID-19 test carried out at the source country 72 hours prior to travel. The test certificate will be requested prior to aircraft boarding, and should also be displayed at border control on arrival.
For travellers from Category B, whose country is unable to make testing widely available to the public, compulsory testing will be required upon arrival at Cyprus airports. The cost of testing is borne by the traveller, and the expected cost is estimated at 60 Euros per person
All countries will be reviewed on a weekly basis, in accordance to their epidemiological characteristics.
Destination protocols can be found here.
Borders are open for citizens coming from EU Member States (including the UK) and Schengen countries, except Portugal and Luxembourg.
An updated list of countries allowed to enter Denmark is available on the Danish Police website.
Border control has been lifted between Finland and the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Greece, Liechtenstein, Malta, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Hungary.Internal border control has already has been lifted from travel between Finland and Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as for pleasure craft travel between Schengen countries.
Travel to France is possible without restrictions from countries in the European zone (EU Member States, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican). Travellers no longer need an international travel certificate and will not be required to self-isolate on arrival, unless they show signs of Coronavirus.
Travellers from the UK are asked to self-isolate on arrival but this is not compulsory. See here for more information.
The borders in Germany are now open to visitors from Schengen areas, the EU and the UK and there is no requirement to self-isolate for 14 days. As of 28 July, the German foreign ministry advises against unnecessary travel to Catalonia, Navarra and Aragon due to high infection numbers.
For travellers entering from a country that is qualified a risk area most federal states will require a compulsory 14 day quarantine. For more information, visit https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/coronavirus/2317268
Other tourists are not expected to be able to travel to Germany until at least August.
As of 1 July, residents from EU+ countries are allowed to travel to Greece. EU+ consists of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland. International flights are allowed into all airports in Greece.
Before entering the country, all travellers must complete a Passenger Locator Form
For more information on the protocols for arrivals in Greece, visit https://travel.gov.gr/#/protocol_air
Non essential travel to and from Ireland is not encouraged. Passengers arriving in Ireland from overseas are legally required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form. Passengers arriving from overseas are expected to self-isolate for 14 days.
Passengers arriving from overseas are expected to self-isolate for 14 days. Further information is available at www.gov.ie.
Travelling to and from EU countries is allowed without restrictions, with the exception of Bulgaria and Romania. Travelling to and from Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, as well as the United Kingdom, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican City State and the Republic of San Marino, is allowed without restrictions. All persons travelling to Italy need to provide the carrier, or law enforcement officers, a self-declaration form.
Further information is available on the www.esteri.it.
Travel is now permitted to and from the following countries: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Italy, France, San Marino, Slovakia, Switzerland, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, the United Kingdom and Vatican City.
Only passengers who declare to have spent the previous 14 days in one of the specified countries will be eligible to travel from these regions to Malta.
Travellers arriving in Malta from these countries and regions will not be required to observe a quarantine period of 14 days, but will be requested to fill in a passenger locator form to allow the authorities to trace them quickly should the need arise.
For further information, visit health.gov.mt.
Morocco is still subject to strict restrictions and the state of emergency has been extended to 10 August.
For more information, go to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/morocco/coronavirus
Norway has lifted its entry restrictions for travellers coming from Schengen and EEA countries, provided that the country of origin meets the epidemiological criteria defined by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. For more information, visit https://www.fhi.no/en/op/novel-coronavirus-facts-advice/facts-and-general-advice/travel-advice-COVID19/
EU citizens, Schengen area counties and those from the UK are now welcome, and the border between Spain and Portugal reopened on 1 July. Further information can be found at www.visitportugal.com.
Passengers flying to the Madeira archipelago have to present a negative test to COVID-19 carried out within 72 hours prior to departure or they can perform it upon arrival. For more information, visit http://www.visitmadeira.pt/en-gb/useful-info/corona-virus-(covid-19)/information-to-visitors-(covid-19)
Since the end of the State of Alarm in June, the Autonomous Communities have taken responsibility for the measures taken to fight Covid 19, as freedom of movement across Spain is now permitted.
A number of local outbreaks of Covid-19 have been identified since the end of the State of Alarm and outbreaks in regions of Catalonia, Aragon and the Basque Country are of particular concern. In other regions, such as Andalusia, there is an increase of cases due to nightlife activities, parties and social gatherings.
With the exception of Canary Islands and Madrid, the use of facemasks is mandatory for anyone over the age of 6 years old on all forms of public transport in Spain and in many other indoor and outdoor public spaces.
Tourists can find practical information on the Covid -19 crisis on the following link: https://www.spain.info/en/discover-spain/practical-information-tourists-covid-19-travel-spain/
Borders reopened to European countries, including the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein on 15 June. However, travellers entering Switzerland from certain countries or regions will have to go into quarantine for 10 days – for more information visit https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/empfehlungen-fuer-reisende/quarantaene-einreisende.html#1918240392
Borders reopened on 27 June with no quarantine requirements although a Covid-19 test is mandatory and must be carried out 72 hours prior travelling to Tunisia. Additionally, a form must be completed providing health details.
Hotels and resorts are open at 50% capacity and need to follow health and safety measures of “Protocole sanitaire pour le tourism tunisien anti-COVID-19” (units for guests’ isolation, temperature measurement for staff and guests, luggage disinfection, etc)
Restaurants are also open at 50% capacity and and need to follow health and safety measures of “Protocole sanitaire pour le tourism tunisien anti-COVID-19” (distance of 2.5 m between tables, only 4 clients per table max, no self-service available, etc)
Turkey has lifted all covid travel restrictions and is now allowing passengers from all nations to enter, under its previous regulations. Visitors will, however, have to have a health screening and temperature check on arrival.
Guidelines for hotels and resorts have been introduced to ensure the safety of guests. The “Safe Tourism Certification” indicates they businesses have taken standard measures to prevent COVID-19 infections.
Travellers arriving in England no longer have to self-isolate when arriving, if they:
- are travelling or returning from one of the countries with travel corridor exemption
- have not been to or stopped in a country that’s not on the exemption list the previous 14 days
Passengers arriving in Scotland will no longer need to quarantine provided they have not been in a non exempted country in the previous 14 days. For more information, go to Coronavirus (COVID-19): public health checks at borders (international travel)
Passengers arriving in Wales from outside of the Common Travel Area, or where they have been outside of the Common Travel Area in the past 14 days, need to provide their contact details and travel information and to isolate themselves for a period of 14 days.
Everyone arriving in the UK must complete the passenger locator form 48 hours before arrival.
NB:As of 26 July, Spain has been removed from the travel corridor list and passengers arriving from Spain in all four nations must quarantine for a 14-day period. The FCO advises against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks in the country.
Members of the public with queries about their timeshare have been advised to contact their resort or developer, who will be able to give them up-to-date information about the status of their booking or talk through their intended holiday plans. In addition to this, KwikChex, RDO’s enforcement department, is available to respond to queries about companies that are not in membership of RDO, via the Timeshare Helpline.
Assistance available to timeshare businesses
Governments around the world recognise the difficulty that the tourism industry is having in keeping going and in April, the G20 – the forum for international cooperation – held a meeting of tourism Ministers to discuss providing support to the sector. It is in the process of identifying challenges that have arisen from the crisis and will be developing and sharing further targeted responses to stimulate recovery and identify ways to improve resiliency in the sector.
Ministers will also ensure that the introduction and removal of travel restrictions are coordinated and proportionate to the national and international situation, but at the same time ensures the safety of travellers.
The Spanish Government has taken a number of measures to fight the spread of COVID-19 and has produced a series of questions and answers to clarify employers’ legal obligations and support them in protecting their businesses and staff.
The document below, includes details of the measures taken, covering employment, social security, employers’ obligations and access to detailed advice:
In the UK, the Government has put together a comprehensive package of support for businesses including, but not limited to, the following:
- Coronavirus Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month.The scheme has been extended to the end of October and from the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.
- Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to help eligible freelance workers receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least three months. Those eligible will receive a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the three years up to 2018/19.
- Deferral of the next quarter of VAT payments for firms, until the end of June – representing a £30bn injection into the economy.
- £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses.
- Grant schemes – Businesses will be eligible for a £25,000 cash grant per property, for each property that has a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
What has RDO being doing?
Together with EUROC, the European timeshare owners’ association, RDO has been lobbying to ensure that the measures introduced provide the right level of support to timeshare businesses and, importantly, that the financial support continues during the recovery phase.
More detailed information and guidance is sent by email by the Secretariat to RDO members on a regular basis.
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