IATA wades into the EU visa fracas as July 12 deadline looms

IATA wades into the EU visa fracas as July 12 deadline looms

DUBLIN — IATA has called on EU and North American governments to resolve the looming crisis for the EU-US/Canada visa waiver program.

Most EU citizens can visit Canada and the U.S. without having to apply for a visa, however Canada requires visas for nationals from Bulgaria and Romania. The U.S. requires visas for nationals from Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Cyprus, and Poland.

The issue has become a political hot potato in recent months. While Canadian and U.S. citizens currently have visa-free access to EU states, authorities have said that unless Canada and the U.S. drop their visa requirements for all EU nationals, travel to the EU for Canadian and U.S. citizens may require visas in the near future.

The European Commission has given the European Parliament and the 28 member governments until July 12 to advise the European Commission on whether the provisions of a 2014 reciprocity amendment should be enforced for Canadian and U.S. citizens.

According to the European Travel Commission, more than 30 million Canadian and U.S. tourists visit Europe each year, spending over US$54 billion.

“Nobody wants to risk the economic consequences of introducing new requirements for travelers from Canada and the U.S. to Europe,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President, Europe. “We are calling on the EU institutions to agree upon a proportionate approach, in cooperation with their U.S. and Canadian counterparts.”

IATA’s AGM took place in Dublin this week. Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO of Air France-KLM, was confirmed to succeed Tony Tyler as IATA’s Director General and CEO. His appointment is effective from Sept. 1. IATA’s 2017 AGM will take place in Cancun.