In a bid to prevent Covid numbers from escalating in the Mediterranean before the upcoming 2021 summer season, industry representatives from their respective countries outlined various measures that will affect the yachting industry in the coming months.
During today's Yachts, Ports and Travel Restrictions webinar hosted by various EU representatives, it was made clear that mandatory PCR testing for crew and guests will remain in place virtually across the board, with varying degress of additional quarantine measures being imposed based on where the person has travelled in from, in particular from non-schengen countries outside the EU.
Although there are no major restrictions on yacht movements, where Covid numbers are on the rise some countries have been forced to take stricter measures. Many EU countries have already adopted a traffic light approach which provides for their various regions to be categorised as green, orange or red. Italy has included the colours 'white' and 'yellow' to denote safe areas for chartering, with orange and red areas to be avoided.
Today's host reiterated that charterers should plan their itineraries carefully to avoid unnecessary headaches down the line.
With restricted routes, quarantine measures and mandatory PCR testing, this is going to have a decisive impact on travel plans of charter guests and crew for the foreseeable future.
Once the EU vaccination programme is well underway, it has been agreed a re-evaluation of currrent measures will take place at the beginning of May.
The yachting industry is playing it safe. By implementing conservative measures now this should help make a success of the 2021 yachting season, a move that is especially important after the bleak summer of 2020.
That said, the delays to the EU vaccination program is already having an impact on major yachting events that mark the start of the season, such as the Monaco Grand Prix, which may still go ahead but very likely without the usual spectators.
a holistic approach by all member states will be needed, as this affects us all
There are talks in the pipeline about possible Covid-19 incentives for the 2021 yacht charter season, with VAT reductions mooted as one possibility. This would seem to be a fair option, given that VAT is causing an issue for many charterers in the Mediterrean right now.
Much will be dependant on how long it takes for normal, or near-to-normal, charter operations to resume, which will likely dictate the nature of incentives to induce yacht charters to the various regions around the Med.
The general concensus is that it is still early days, and very much a moveable feast with regard to restrictions going forward. It was also agreed that "a holistic approach by all member states will be needed, as this affects us all".
Talks will resume at the beginning of May.
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