Will summer holidays be possible this year in Austria?
A recent survey by the German institute for tourism found 79 percent of Austrians are planning a summer holiday, with holidays in Austria particularly in demand. But how could holidays look in summer 2021?
The situation now
At present, all hotels and restaurants are closed in Austria until at least Easter, which takes place on the first weekend in April. In addition, it is quite difficult to travel in or out of Austria.
It is difficult for people arriving from most countries outside the EU to enter Austria unless they are resident here.
People arriving to Austria from within the EU must present a recent negative PCR or antigen test and go into quarantine for ten days. The quarantine can be shortened to five days with a negative test.
How could summer holidays in Austria be possible this year?
Austria and Greece are calling for Europe to adopt a “vaccine passport” which can show test or vaccine data, allowing people to travel this summer. The idea of such a document would be to permit those who have been vaccinated to travel freely within the EU.
Within Austria the passports - based on a similar model in Israel - would entitle people who had been fully vaccinated to use their passports as proof when visiting bars and restaurants, going to gyms or attending events.
EU leaders said in February that a draft of the arrangement will be made available in March, although the actual passport is not expected to be released until later.
Will people from other countries be able to come to Austria for a summer holiday?
Hopefully it will be possible for people from other countries to come to Austria for a summer holiday. German tourists are particularly important for Austria’s tourist economy. Normally five to six million German visitors come to neighbouring Austria on holiday every year.
Will people living in Austria be able to travel abroad for a summer holiday?
It all depends on a number of factors: the success of the vaccination campaign in the next few months, the course of the pandemic and whether a vaccine or testing passport can be made to work.
On Friday EU states agreed to aim to establish a vaccine passport system by early summer.
However, there has been no agreement on the advantages such a passport would offer. Meanwhile, Austria’s vaccination campaign has started to gather pace.
As of Monday more than 650,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been given, with more than a quarter of the entire number of doses injected last week between Tuesday and Friday.