WTTC backs Schengen vetting

LONDON, 9 July 2018: The World Travel & Tourism Council congratulated the EU, at the weekend, on the adoption of tougher pre authorisation system that will vet visa-exempt tourists entering Schengen countries.

WTTC said it supported the EU’s new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), a pre-authorisation system, which allows the EU to know who is entering the EU, from where and if they pose a risk to EU security.

When ETIAS comes into operation, all visa-exempt third-country nationals who plan to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for an online pre-travel authorisation.

The aim of this is to simplify border checks, but it requires a process that the traveller has to complete ahead of their visit.

During negotiations, WTTC stressed the importance of the process to be made as easy as possible for legitimate travellers.

WTTC said fees should remain at a reasonable level, one that did not discourage travellers from coming to Europe. The final fee of seven euros meets this balance.

“We see this as an important first step in the digitalisation of travel. The ultimate aim will be the use of biometric technology to ensure seamless, more efficient and more secure travel.

“WTTC is committed to enhancing security and improving the entire passenger journey. This will essentially maximise the potential of the Travel & Tourism to create jobs and drive economic growth,’ stated World Travel & Tourism Council president and CEO, Gloria Guevara.

ETIAS will be free for under 18s and over 70s.

Applying for ETIAS aims to be quick and simple, requiring no more than a travel document, credit card and access to the internet.

The vast majority of applicants will receive a positive reply within minutes. If additional information, or an interview would be needed, different possibilities will be offered taking into account the situation of the traveller.

The new system was adopted 5 July at the European Parliament Plenary in Strasbourg and is expected to come into operation in 2021.