Holiday boost as EU delays fingerprint checking

Travel agents are optimistic about 2023, with 61 percent of people planning to travel abroad this year and 31 percent planning to book early, according to Abta – Travel Association research.

According to Trailfinders, the number of orders has increased significantly, and it has broken sales records several times this year.

Julia Lo Bue-Said, executive director of Advantage Travel Partnership, said bookings are 85 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Interest in long-haul travel to places like Australia and New Zealand has increased after the easing of Covid restrictions, he said.

However, European destinations remain the most popular, with Spain, France, Italy and Greece named as four of Abta’s five most popular holiday destinations.

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The EES will replace the system where passports of non-EU passengers are checked and stamped on arrival and departure.

Once operational, visitors traveling to a member state from outside the EU will receive detailed information such as biometrics, fingerprints and facial images at automated kiosks.

The EU also plans to introduce a European tourist information and authorization system in November. It will require tourists to register with the system and pay a €7 (£6.13) fee before entering an EU country. This would be similar to the visa waiver scheme for travelers to the United States.

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“Slow Progress”

In addition to fears that it will create long queues for holidaymakers, there are also concerns that the EES will affect freight traffic out of the UK. Dover Portmaster Doug Bannister warned that delays could multiply with the introduction of the system.

The Road Transport Association has warned that the scheme is not yet ready and EU-bound bus passengers fear delays at Channel ports.

Richard Smith, the association’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted that the necessary infrastructure has not been resolved by May.

“We were concerned about the slow pace of getting the system up and running, so we briefed our operators on how it would work. This extra time must be used wisely to make it work effectively.”

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With the implementation of the ECHR, it will apply to all EU member states except Cyprus and Ireland, as well as four non-EU countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The introduction of the IEP has been delayed for the second time. It was originally supposed to be introduced in 2022, but it was postponed until May of this year.

ETC checkpoints are expected to be phased in across Europe to test the technology and avoid long queues in some areas.


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