The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which will become effective next year, may bring new difficulties after travellers, travel agencies and authorities may not be prepared, travel industry experts have warned.
Under the ETIAS system, travellers from more than 60 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, and New Zealand, who are eligible to travel visa-free to the EU will be subject to a €7 fee, in order to enter, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The validity of the ETIAS travel permit will be three years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first. Besides, ETIAS authorisations are issued for multiple trips, which means that travellers are eligible to use them as many times as they want, provided they do not violate the permitted period of stay.
According to Greek Travel Pages, in spite of the fact that, once the ETIAS takes effect, the majority of applications will be processed within minutes, with applicants receiving the response in their emails immediately, those who fail to obtain ETIAS approval will not be eligible to board their flights or will be sent back at the EU borders. This could lead to needing to change travel plans and possibly requesting refunds.
Technology and travel experts advise that intermediaries stay informed and also provide clear guidance when it comes to visa and entry requirements, thus ensuring their customers are aware of the consequences of non-compliance.
In addition, they also emphasise the importance of staff training as well as clear instructions in order to ensure consistent processes and responses.
On the other hand, market experts expect that passengers’ lack of preparation will affect the travel industry with a larger number of cancellations and refund requests. According to market experts, in such cases, businesses should use a cost-effective payment platform that can handle disruptions without significant expenses and time delays.
Market insiders believe that the new ETIAS requirement can also bring new opportunities. Among them, travel issuance companies may be required to develop more targeted and competitively priced policies. At the same time, hotels can make more money by offering visa assistance services for a fee or using the interaction in order to convert the sales of other products.
The launch of the ETIAS system has been postponed several times. But, in February this year, the EU authorities confirmed that the system would become effective in 2024. The announcement was confirmed by the EU Commission’s Spokesperson for Home Affairs, Migration and Internal Security, Anitta Hipper.
Read More: EU’s ETIAS May Bring New Difficulties to Travellers, Experts Warn