Ieper is a favourite destination for British tourists eager to visit the great War battlefields. As non-EU citizens they were required to take a test and quarantine until the result was in. This put many people off.
Eighteen months after the start of the pandemic here only a handful of Britons are making he trip to Ieper. Tests cost money and quarantine bites into your holiday. The good people of Ieper hope the relaxation will now allow tourist trips to resume. The run up to Armistice Day 11 November is traditionally a busy time in the city and British visitors are known to be good spenders. Their absence has been a particular blow to the local economy.
Starting last Friday non-EU visitors no longer need to do a test on arrival in Belgium if they are fully vaccinated. A corona test does need to be taken during the 72 hours prior to arrival on Belgian soil.
Peter Slosse of the Ieper tourist office: “I have spoken with a number of people. It’s a step in the right direction, but won’t be sufficient to return visitor numbers from the UK to pre-pandemic levels. We want British citizens to be treated like EU citizens. If they are fully vaccinated, their Covid Passport should be sufficient. A negative corona test should not be required. It’s a barrier for many.”
Countries like France, Spain and Portugal do not require any test for fully vaccinated Brits.