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Europe's tourism sector hopeful after bloc opens to non-EU citizens

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By Euronews
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Europe's tourism sector hopeful after bloc opens to non-EU citizens
Copyright  REMKO DE WAAL/AFP
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With vaccination rollouts gaining ground and the summer season around the corner, there is fresh hope for Europe's devastated tourism industry.

This week, EU countries decided to let in travellers from outside the bloc, providing they have been vaccinated.

Watching the situation closely is Europe's aviation industry, which has had its worst 14 months in living memory.

"We used to have 14,000 connections, we are down to 6,000 so we really need all those connections back because what this means, for you to travel this summer, you might have to do one or two stopovers," said Agnes Leroux, from Airlines for Europe. "Ideally, we want to get rid of those and restore connectivity."

Leroux said the challenge will be to make sure travellers can get around hassle-free.

"We have a patchwork of legislation across Europe," she said. "The crisis has demonstrated again that solidarity and uniformity is not there yet.

"What we have been saying and it is now scientifically demonstrated is that it is safe to travel by air.

"Airlines and airports have put in place a lot of health protocols. So it is safe and we encourage all of you to take the plane again for the summer holidays."

Meanwhile, the tourism sector has welcomed news non-EU citizens that have been vaccinated will be allowed into the bloc.

"This is great news for the industry, both the United States of America and China are the biggest source markets coming from out of the European Union, also in terms of expenditure, in terms of loyalty to destinations," said Eduardo Santander, executive director of the European Travel Commission.