Sweden removes its advice against overseas travel

Sweden's Foreign Ministry on Friday lifted its advice to avoid non-necessary travel, which has been in place since March last year. However, an entry ban still applies to travellers from most non-EU countries.

Sweden removes its advice against overseas travel
The change comes into effect from October 1st. Photo: Erik Simander/TT

When the ministry first introduced its global travel advisory on March 14th 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was the first time such a warning had ever been issued to cover the whole world.

Throughout the crisis, the advisory has been extended and some countries have been removed from the advice.

Now, starting from October 1st, the advisory will be completely lifted.

“The travel advisory for all countries in the world was an extraordinary measure in a difficult and unpredictable time,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde said in a government statement. “The ambition has always been to lift the advisory as soon as possible and we believe that we have reached that time now. However, it is important to remember that the pandemic is far from over, which still affects travel.”

She urged travellers to continue taking responsibility to find out which rules applied to them at their destination country, for example related to Covid-19 testing and local restrictions, and to keep up to date with changing recommendations.

The ministry’s advice against travel was never legally binding, but it has important implications, for example linked to validity of travel insurance or availability of consular help for those who travelled against the advice.

The advisory only relates to travel from Sweden overseas.

Journeys in the other direction, from foreign countries to Sweden, are still subject to travel restrictions put in place by the Justice Ministry. These currently include a requirement for most travellers to show a negative Covid-19 test in order to enter Sweden, and a ban on entry from most non-EU/EEA countries. There are several exceptions for both rules, including for Swedish citizens and residents, and people travelling for urgent work or family reasons.

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‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Europe's airports chief told passengers to leave time for delays this summer as the air travel industry struggles to meet surging demand after the pandemic.

'Arrive early': Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

“The clear conjunction of a much quicker recovery with a very tight labour market is creating a lot of problems,” Olivier Jankovec, head of the Europe branch of the Airports Council International (ACI), told AFP.

He said there were issues from airports to airlines, ground handlers, police and border controls, but insisted: “The system still works”.

READ ALSO: Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

“It’s important for passengers that they communicate with the airlines in terms of when they should get to the airport, and prepare to come earlier than usual to make sure to have the time to go through, especially if they have to check luggage,” he said.

Strikes by low-cost pilots and cabin crew across Europe – including this weekend – are adding to the disruption.

Speaking at the ACI Europe annual congress in Rome, Jankovec said airports had taken measures to improve the situation, which would come into effect from mid-July.

“Additional staff will be coming in July, the reconfiguration of some of the facilities and infrastructure to facilitate the flows will also come into effect in July,” he said.

“I think it will be tight, there will be some disruptions, there will be longer waiting times.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“But I think that in the vast majority of airports, the traffic will go, people will not miss their planes, and hopefully everybody will be able to reach their destination as planned.”

He also defended increases in airport charges, after criticism from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines.

Airports face “the same difficulties and inflationary pressures” as airlines, which he noted were putting their fares up, he said.

“Staff and energy is 45 percent of our operating costs, and of course inflation is also driving up the cost of materials,” he said.