Q TRAVEL – European airlines and local tourism agencies predict that Costa Ricans could resume tourism travel to the European Union starting in June.
This estimate stems from the fact that by then there would be greater control of the pandemic thanks to ongoing vaccination campaigns and, with this, a replacement of restrictions and quarantines with other types of requirements when entering the region.
Providers of flights and tour packages are clear that everything can change, but they also know that if their forecast is realized, the tourism industry will reactivate with a different dynamic compared to the pre-pandemic.
“It is our trust and hope. We hope as our clients that the panorama improves with vaccination and controls and this will provide more security for all,” said Catalina Vergara, spokeswoman for the aeronautical group Air France-KLM, with flights to France and Holland from Costa Rica.
In such a scenario, the airlines indicate, providing certainty to Costa Rican travelers and the rest of the continent about their flight and stay will be one of the main challenges of the sector.
“We hope that by the start of summer in Europe, starting in June, commercial flights will be reactivated and, with it, our offer in Costa Rica,” said Vladimir Salgado Salazar, head of sales in Costa Rica of the Spanish airline Iberia.
The representative recalled that the European Council, one of the highest authorities of the European Union, reviews every month the restrictions on entry to the European Union (EU) from third countries.
As of today, citizens of non-EU countries are prohibited from taking non-essential flights such as a vacation.
Offering security in this new context is and will be essential, as explained by Felipe Bonifatti, general manager for the Lufthansa Group’s Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Lufthansa offers flights to and from Germany and Switzerland and Costa Rica).
For now, he acknowledges, planning is difficult for both airlines and travelers.
“Today people do not travel where they want, they travel where they can, and they do it to places where they feel safe and with who they feel that way. So the destinations that are imposed now are those that give that peace of mind and certainty in their sanitary entry rules,” he commented.
Bonifatti highlighted Costa Rica as an example of this required security, as authorities quickly defined stable requirements for the entry of foreigners by air. For the entrepreneur, this provides security for the traveler.
“When countries replace the use of PCR tests with quarantines, we have a big problem in tourism. From our point of view, moving out of quarantines to testing and vaccination-based schemes will speed up recovery,” he commented.
Lufthansa’s forecast is also that from June, with the beginning of summer in Europe, flights from Costa Rica and other nations to that continent will be reactivated.
“We expect flexibility, without minimizing the importance of health security. A flight is successful for an airline when it comes and goes full, not just with passengers one way,” he added.
Currently, KLM, Air France and Iberia have service to and from the San Jose and Liberia aiports.
In the case of Spain (Iberia flight to Madrid), passengers not nationals or residents of the European Union are not allowed to enter until February 28, 2021. Nationals or residents of the European Union over 6 years of age arriving from Costa Rica, for example, must have a medical certificate with a negative Coronavirus (Covid-19) RT-PCR, RT-LAMP or TMA test result taken with 72 hours beofre arrival. And the certificate must be in English, French, German, Spanish or accompanied by a certified Spanish translation. Same for France (Air France flight to Paris) and Netherlands (KLM flight to Amsterdam) though authorities from either country do not have “no by date”.
See IATA COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map (powered by Timatic).