Tour operators demand clarity on Belgium's new travel rules

Tour operators demand clarity on Belgium's new travel rules
Credit: Belga

Tour operators Tui and Sunweb want clarification of Belgium's colour code system for travellers returning from high-risk areas, defined by the consultation committee on Wednesday.

The committee announced that Belgium's general approach to cross-border travel restrictions and recommendations will distinguish between red, orange and green zones.

For red zones are areas that have been put back into lockdown or are deemed "very high risk" by Belgium's federal evaluation cell. "In that case, we will take immediate measures and will not send tourists there," Demeyere said. "Green means it is not a problem area. But what about orange?"

Orange zones are considered "high risk," and Belgium advises strongly against travelling to these zones, based on objective epidemiological criteria. However, what exactly these criteria are, is not yet clear.

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Specifically, the region of Catalonia remains a question mark, according to Demeyere, as residents or certain areas are again under containment measures due to a sharp increase in infections.

"It makes sense for Lerida to be labelled a red zone, but will the area surrounding the city immediately turn orange, even if the cause of the increase in the number of cases is known?"

The Sunweb tour operator also complains about a lack of clarity. "The Netherlands also works with a colour code, but the meaning is clear," said spokesman Tim Van den Bergh. "Code orange means travel advice against going," he said.

Sunweb will not allow further travel to areas considered to be at risk, he said. "If travellers are forced to be quarantined, whether in Belgium or abroad, or if beaches or bars are closed, we will ask our customers to change their reservations or look for an alternative," Van den Bergh said.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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