Millions of people inside and outside Europe have been affected by the current air traffic disruption in European airspace. Many travellers are stranded and airlines, airports, hotels, travel agencies and tour operators, as well as local tourism authorities and diplomatic representations are facing extreme challenges to provide assistance, and safeguard the rights and wellbeing of travellers.
The members of the Tourism Emergency Response Network (TERN) have been closely monitoring and coordinating the situation during the past few days.
At a meeting convened by UNWTO on 19 April, TERN recommended that the following principles should be considered as general emergency priorities in situations such as the current one:
The number one priority remains the safety.
Travellers should be provided, as far as possible, with the required means to ensure their wellbeing, namely:
– clear and precise information;
– assistance and support, whenever possible and in accordance with passengers’ rights; and
– visa facilitation procedures when in transit and unable to leave airports.
The respective authorities are called on to provide to the sector all possible regulatory support.
TERN noted that such an unprecedented situation requires a joint co-ordinated effort from all stakeholders – governments and the private sector.
TERN also welcomes all proactive measures regarding alternative means of transport, including the increases in capacity and the maintenance of reasonable price levels.
TERN will continue to closely monitor the situation as it unfolds.
– The eruption of the Eyjafjalla volcano in Iceland on 14 April and the subsequent ash cloud drifting across Europe have resulted in the closure of a major part of European airports.
– According to Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for Safety of Air Navigation, some 95,000 flights have been cancelled in European airspace between 15 and 20 April.
– The following organizations are currently cooperating within the TERN network:
African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA)
Airports Council International (ACI)
American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA)
American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA)
Asociación Latinoamericana de Transporte Aéreo (ALTA)
Association of Asia and Pacific Airlines (AAPA)
Association of European Airlines (AEA)
Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)
Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)
Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)
European Travel Commission (ETC)
Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
International Federation of Tour Operators (IFTO)
International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH&RA)
International Shipping Federation (ISF)
Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
National Tour Association (NTA)
Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)
Tour Operators’ Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development (TOI)
United Federation of Travel Agents’ Associations (UFTAA)
US Travel (UST)
World Health Organization (WHO)
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA)
World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)
World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation (WYSETC).