International travel expected to return as planned, but door will not be 'thrown open', says Ryan

ireland
International Travel Expected To Return As Planned, But Door Will Not Be 'Thrown Open', Says Ryan
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said the easing of restrictions over the summer will continue to follow a gradual approach. Photo: PA Images
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Vivienne Clarke

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has said he expects plans for the EU digital travel certificate to go ahead as planned on July 19th.

However, he cautioned that the further easing of restrictions in Ireland would be gradual across August and would not be like the UK where “the doors were thrown open”.

There was still a risk, so the situation would have to be monitored, he said.

Data from the UK would be significant in determining how plans could evolve, he added on his way into Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.

"We’re going to get everyone vaccinated, back dining, able to socialise, it will just take a bit of time.

"It’s not going to be a huge change, it’s going to be step by step," Mr Ryan said.

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Delta

Taoiseach Micheál Martin echoed Mr Ryan's comments on the focus on data from the UK, stating the situation there is being monitored, particularly the relationship between the number of Delta variant cases and the impact on hospitalisations.

Mr Martin said the Delta variant is beginning to have an impact in Ireland, adding that the Government was very worried as the number of cases and those presenting for testing had increased in the past week.

“We do need to be careful about this, to be sensible,” Mr Martin said.

The Taoiseach added that when this summer and last summer were compared, many more facilities were open, but progress had been made to date and it had to be protected.

Confidence

The president of the Irish Travel Agents Association, Paul Hackett has also expressed confidence that the Government will go ahead with the EU digital travel certificate on Monday week.

Speaking to Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show, he said the restrictions on non-essential travel were having an impact, not just for travel agents, but also for airlines and airports, adding: “There is no consumer confidence to book travel at this stage."

He noted, however, that consumer sentiment was very strong and people want to travel.

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When asked about the possibility of tourists becoming stranded while on holidays if circumstances changed, Mr Hackett pointed out that the digital travel cert would protect against that.

“All of Europe is buying vaccines from the same pot, the UK is different, that's why the digital cert is only referencing travel within the EU community.”

The volume of travel for the rest of 2021 was not going to be high, he predicted: “It’s going to be fractional compared to 2019."

Mr Hackett estimated levels would be about 20-25 per cent of 2019 figures, with vaccinated people making up the majority of those travelling abroad.

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