The EU has adopted the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), a pre-authorisation requirement for visa-exempt third-country nationals planning to travel to the Schengen area.
Scheduled to come into effect in 2021, ETIAS assesses who is entering the EU, from where and if they pose a risk to EU security.
The enforcement is said to be aimed at easing travel to the EU and simplifying border checks.
In a statement congratulating EU on the move, WTTC said it welcomes how the needs of travel and tourism were taken into account while also ensuring enhanced EU security.
During negotiations, WTTC had stressed the importance of the process to be made as easy as possible for legitimate travellers.
In addition to the ease of process, WTTC also advocated for the fees to remain at a reasonable level, one that does not discourage travellers from coming to Europe. The final fee of seven euros (US$8.20) meets this balance, WTTC said.
ETIAS will be free for travellers under 18 and over 70.
“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,’ stated Gloria Guevara, president & CEO World Travel & Tourism Council.
The aim is for ETIAS application to be quick and simple, requiring no more than a travel document, credit card and access to the Internet.
A majority of applicants will receive a positive reply within minutes, according to the WTTC statement. If additional information, documentation or an interview would be needed, different possibilities will be offered taking into account the situation of the traveller.