ANAT: The current conditions for entering Romania seriously affect the free tourist movement of Romanian citizens and foreign citizens who want to visit our country

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ANAT is sounding the alarm regarding the travel conditions in Romania. The conditions for entry into Romania regulated by CNSU Decision no. 111 / 6.12.2021 and then resumed in Decision no. 2 / 7.01.2022 seriously affects the free tourist movement of Romanian citizens and foreign citizens who want to visit Romania, are deeply discriminatory and in a discordant note compared to those imposed by other Member States of the European Union.

From an economic point of view, they seriously impact the activity of Romanian tourism and international transport operators, bringing a new wave of cancellations of reservations as well as a massive decrease in requests for new reservations; the most eloquent example is the hundreds of canceled scheduled flights of airlines operating flights to and from Romania.

In this regard, the National Association of Travel Agencies (ANAT) and the Incoming Romania Association (AIR) sent an open letter to Prof. Univ. Dr. Alexandru Rafila, Minister of Health and to Constantin-Daniel Cădariu, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Tourism.

"From a social point of view, the obligation imposed on tourists to test before returning to the country induced the fear of staying at the destination in a situation of a positive result (with the loss of the return flight, the engagement of unforeseen expenses and quarantine in a foreign country unknowns), which can sometimes be even false positive (the margin of error of PCR tests is about 5%) but the devastating consequences for the traveler and for the agency responsible for carrying out the package of services remain and are difficult to manage.

The most unfortunate impact, however, is the obligations imposed on immunized travelers (through vaccination or post-infection): on the one hand, the vaccination campaign is sabotaged, as it is known that the main reason that pushed the mass of undecided people to vaccination was freedom of movement. on the other hand, travelers have a choice of three options, each with unfortunate and unpredictable consequences: to take the risk of a positive or false positive PCR result before returning to Romania, with the consequences described above; to be quarantined even if he is healthy (with negative consequences both on the individual, especially if he is employed, and on the employer and the social security budget); to falsely claim to come from an EU country instead of declaring the actual origin of the journey (very possible but also expensive to verify, especially in the case of connecting flights to an EU Member State). We appreciate the openness of the government representatives with whom we have discussed so far and we hope that this situation will be resolved quickly ", underlines Dumitru Luca, ANAT president.

The latest statistics have shown that no strain of COVID 19 is endemic to a particular geographical area and, even if such situations occur in the future, it would be necessary to restrict travel only in that area. For these reasons, but also on the basis of the progress of the vaccination campaign in third countries, the Council of Europe has published a "white list" of third countries for which travel restrictions must be removed; the list is updated every two weeks and includes countries such as China, Chile, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Peru, Qatar, etc.

It should also be borne in mind that a number of 33 states and territories outside the European Union have adopted the digital certificate system (so-called "green certificates"), interconnected their databases with the European Union and mutually recognize each other. their validity. These include both favorite destinations of Romanian tourists and potential incoming tourist markets: Albania, Armenia, Cape Verde, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Norway, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, etc. At least for this list, there is no justification for imposing additional conditions in addition to those in the case of return from an EU state.

On 25.01.2022 The Council of Europe has adopted a new recommendation on a coordinated approach to facilitate safe free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic. This recommendation will enter into force on 1 February 2022, the same day as a delegated act amending the Regulation on the digital certificate on COVID, which provides for an acceptance period of 270 days for vaccination certificates.

According to the new recommendation, measures related to COVID-19 should be applied taking into account the status of the person, and not the situation at regional level, except in areas where the virus is circulating at very high levels. This means that the main determining factor should be the situation of a traveler with regard to vaccination against COVID-19, testing or cure of COVID-19, as evidenced by a valid EU digital certificate on COVID. A person-based approach will substantially simplify the applicable rules and give passengers greater clarity and predictability.

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