Nordic tour operator sues Belgium over inconsistent travel advice for Sweden
Friday, 17 July 2020
Tour operator Nordic, specialised in travel to Scandinavia, is suing the Belgian state because of the “succession of contradictory travel advices to Sweden,” it said Friday in a press release.
In recent weeks, the travel advice to Sweden has changed from a green zone to a red zone and finally to an orange zone, which was still its status on Friday afternoon. According to the tour operator, this change in travel advice has had a particularly large financial impact on the company.
Nordic does not want to dispute the travel advice but speaks of an “incomprehensible sequence and arbitrariness.”
On 3 June, the National Security Council decided that the Belgian borders would be reopened for travel within the European Union, including to Sweden, from 15 June. At the beginning of July, for the first time, there was talk quarantine on return from Sweden. In two days the advice changed from ‘compulsory quarantine’ to ‘no quarantine’.
On 8 July the system of colour codes was introduced for various destinations in Europe. Sweden was given the green colour on 10 July. On 12 July, the colour code was changed to red, while the company had just informed its customers that they could travel as planned.
“With immediate effect, a total travel ban was imposed for the whole of Sweden, even for Swedish Lapland, which has an average of one person per square kilometre,” said Managing Director Maarten Raes. The tour operator cancelled all trips to Sweden and a “few hundred” customers were repatriated based on this travel advice.
However, three days later, on 15 July, the travel advice was again adjusted, this time to code orange. “All repatriations and cancellations turned out to be for nothing, with all the associated costs”, said Raes.
Because the lack of clarity has reportedly had a particularly large financial impact on the company, it was decided “to recover the damage from the Belgian State.”