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New EU System Will Prescreen Visa-Exempt Nationals



Europe is beefing up border security and earning praise from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The EU is adopting a new strategy to monitor migration in and out of the Schengen area using the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).

Currently, there is a lack of information related to visa-exempt, third-country nationals arriving at the Schengen external borders. The European Commission has proposed and is adopting a new, automated system that would gather information on visa-exempt travelers before they arrive to determine any irregular migration, security or public-health.

The model is similar to ones that already exist in the U.S., Canada, and Australia and has now been adopted by the EU.

When ETIAS begins, visa-exempt third-country nationals traveling to the Schengen area will need to apply for a pre-travel authorization designed to simplify border checks.

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The WTTC praised the move.

“We see this as an important first step in the digitalization of travel,” said Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the WTTC.

“The ultimate aim will be the use of biometric technology to ensure seamless, more efficient and more secure travel,” Guevara added. “WTTC is committed to enhancing security and improving the entire passenger journey. This will essentially maximize the potential of travel and tourism to create jobs and drive economic growth.”

ETIAS will not be free, however. Though travelers will pay 7 euros, those under age 18 and over age 70 will be free of charge.

The aim is to make the application process quick and easy, requiring just an Internet connection and a credit card. Eligibility will be determined within minutes.

The new system is scheduled to begin operation in 2021.

airlines/lufthansa-begins-biometric-boarding-at-lax.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow”>Biometrics are becoming increasingly prevalent when monitoring travelers. Airports and airlines are working to further ease the travel experience using facial recognition technology and fingerprint data for bordering passes and security checks. It won’t be long before paper boarding passes—and maybe even passports—will be a thing of the past.

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Travel Industry Lauds Passage of Paycheck Protection Program Reform Bill



The U.S. Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act on Wednesday, sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk for final approval.

The reform bill provides business owners with additional flexibility and more time to utilize loan money and still be forgiven under the PPP established to provide economic relief in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The travel industry has been quick to commend lawmakers. The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) is in full support having advocated for the improvements behind the scenes.

“We commend the Senate for passing the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (H.R. 7010), which would change PPP loan terms—in some cases retroactively—in a number of ways ASTA has advocated for, including five-year loan terms, reducing the requirement that 75 percent of the loan must go to payroll to get forgiveness, allowing forgivable expense over 24 weeks (as opposed to the current eight) and allowing companies to restore headcount without jeopardizing forgiveness by the end of the year (versus the current June 30),” Eben Peck, EVP Advocacy, ASTA, said in a statement.

“While the PPP will remain complex, this bill gives more flexibility to PPP recipients and increases the chances that loans can be fully forgiven,” Peck concluded.

The U.S. Travel Association also wasted no time praising the decision, calling it an “important step.”

“The PPP changes passed by both chambers are another important step in providing relief to small businesses that otherwise will not survive until the economic recovery phase,” added U.S. Travel’s Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “The modification to the portion of funds that can be used for non-payroll expenses is especially crucial to travel-related small businesses, which have comparatively high capital overhead but virtually zero incoming revenue because of the necessary measures in place to stem the spread of the pandemic.”

U.S. Travel still believes that there’s more work to be done to ensure a successful recovery. The organization is encouraging officials to extend PPP eligibility to non-profit and quasi-governmental entities responsible for driving local and regional economic development.

“Like the businesses they serve, the finances of these non-profits have been devastated by the standstill in travel and tourism, and the moment of recovery will be moot unless they can keep their lights on to take advantage of the return in travel demand,” Barnes stated. “We urge leaders to move urgently to enact the next phase of coronavirus response legislation, which is absolutely vital to the future of the travel and tourism industry, and to prioritize expanding eligibility to those most hard hit by this pandemic such as destination marketing organizations.”

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