Tourism companies awaiting change of ministry travel warning

Tourest 2018
Tourest 2018 Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

As borders continue to open, local travel companies have started selling summer vacation packages. Although restrictions have eased, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Välisministeerium) still recommends avoiding travel.

Travel agency Estravel has opened the sale of summer trips to neighboring countries of Estonia, but also Greece and Bulgaria, as stated on ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Monday.

According to Anne Samlik, CEO of Estravel, clients are currently interested in vacationing in major cities.

Samlik said: "Major cities, that have previously been overcrowded are particularly popular currently. We're talking of Rome, Venice, and Barcelona."

She added: "A lot of questions about destination safety are still asked. That is dependent on ourselves, how we follow regulations, starting from airports, restaurants, and hotels."

To encourage tourism, the European Union has opened the website ReopenEuropa. But travel companies are still waiting on the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to encourage tourism. Namely, the Ministry's website still recommends avoiding travel.

Mariann Lugus, secretary general of the Travel and Tourism Association, thinks it is time to change that message.

Lugus said: "That yellow box on the website - a general travel warning, should be replaced by country-specific warnings because decisions on which countries are safe to travel to have actually been made. It's the greatest message and also the highest of expectations for the whole sector that the general warning would be removed and a country-specific one would replace it."

Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said: "Currently there's a horizontal travel warning, which intends to limit travel without an inevitable need to. /.../ We will consider changing it when a decision is made allowing third country travellers into the Schengen area. Currently the decision has been delayed to June 30. /.../ We're taking it step by step, we certainly don't want to delay it for too long, but we understand that there are consequences to these recommendations."

The EU has recommended countries to open their borders starting this week. Italy did it on June 3, Poland on Saturday, June 13. Spain will open their borders on June 21. While many countries opened their borders on Monday, hesitations to open borders with the U.K. and Sweden are still present.

Read more on which countries can be traveled to from Estonia here.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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