The European Tourism Association (ETOA) has slammed a proposal by the European Commission (EC) to suspend Schengen visa waivers for US and Canadian visitors, saying it will cost millions of jobs in what already is a difficult time for the tourism industry in Europe.
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The EC on April 12 proposed to the European Parliament and the European Council a suspension of Schengen visa waivers for visitors from the US, Canada and Brunei, which continue to apply visa requirements for citizens of some EU member states, despite their citizens benefiting from an EU-wide visa waiver. Visa waiver reciprocity is a principle of the EU’s common visa policy.
An outcome is expected on July 12.
The proposal raised the hackles of ETOA, which estimates leisure travel to fall roughly 30 per cent when a visa regime is imposed.
The association’s CEO, Tom Jenkins, said: “Whilst we have every sympathy with the Commission, they are victims of their own process. It is important that the European economy does not become a victim too.
“The business of accommodating US and Canadian visitors is an enormously important industry for Europe. We effectively sell them services worth approximately €50 billion: it is an export industry on the same level as the automotive sector.
Millions of jobs are dependent on it.”
“The US and Canada are two of our most important and longstanding origin markets. At a time of difficulty for the tourism industry in Europe, this does not project the necessary welcome, ” Jenkins added.
Source : Forbes