Prepare your business for the new rules coming in 2024
From January 2024, travellers from more than 60 nations, including Israel, the UAE and the UK, who are currently able to travel through the EU’s Schengen travel area without a visa will need to apply for authorisation via the EU Travel Information & Authorisation System (ETIAS).
See the full list of countries from which nationals need to apply for authorisation here.
While the requirements are relatively simple, travellers who don’t have the necessary ETIAS approval in place will face not being able to board their flights.
In cases where travellers aren’t prepared with the correct paperwork, the knock-on effect for the travel industry will come in the form of cancellations and requests for refunds.
We asked experts from across the travel industry to share insights on how the sector can prepare and avoid issues caused by new border entry systems.
Christian Sabbagh, Travelsoft, said: "Up-to-date booking technology can help make the whole visa process more seamless, regardless of whether that’s existing rules or new ones like the upcoming ETIAS.
"Equally, staff training and clear instructions would be helpful to ensure consistent processes. All around the world anyone booking a holiday via a retail travel agent or tour operator expects guidance on visa and entry requirements. It's a major responsibility and part of the service travel experts provide.”
Travellers can nominate a third party or a commercial intermediary to apply for authorisation on their behalf. The third party must submit the application through the official ETIAS website or the mobile app and both the traveller and the third party will need to sign a declaration of representation.
A signed document must be held by both parties as proof that a travellers has authorised a third party to handle their personal data and submit their application.
Alex Barros at hotel revenue management platform BEONx, said: "There’s the possibility of building ancillary revenue streams by charging for a visa arrangement service or using the interaction to convert sales of other products."
Submitting the application via the official ETIAS website or the mobile app is free for minors and adults and costs €7 for those aged between 18 and 70 – but, as a third party, an intermediary can charge an additional fee for their services.
Katie Crowe at travel insurer Battleface added: "This could also be good news for the insurance industry as many visa-related processes require proof of insurance. However, travellers are likely to opt for basic or minimal policies simply to gain their visa, so insurers will have to work harder to sell more relevant and competitively priced policies instead of the inflexible one-size-fits-all policies.”
Hotels may also be able to use the new entry system to add value by sharing information with guests in advance, which would also help avoid cancellations.
Adam Harris at Cloudbeds concluded: “As hotels are often expected to provide proof of reservation letters, this is an opportunity to add value to guests and build loyalty. We recommend using guest engagement tools that allow you to automate communications prior to their stay."
For more information,visit travel-europe.europa.eu/etias_en