For top politicians like Heiko Maas, Markus Söder or Ursula von der Leyen, the matter is clear – if no miracle should happen, we can probably make up for the usual summer holiday this year. This assessment is incomprehensible on several levels. Why should it be dangerous for a Berliner from an epidemiological point of view to spend two weeks in a summer cottage in the Swedish wilderness? In addition, there is the expected economic damage. In countries such as Croatia, Austria or Greece, which are certainly no more dangerous than Germany in terms of Covid-19, entire regions are economically dependent on tourism. The damage that Maas, Söder and von der Leyen cause with such generalizations will be enormous. Time to take a breath and differentiate.
The Bavarian prime minister and perceived German shadow chancellor Markus Söder has a strange understanding of holidays: since “the après-Ski in Ischgl, the Strong Beer Festival in the district of Tirschenreuth or the carnival in Heinsberg were platforms for the spread (of the new Coronavirus)”, an opening of the borders for tourism is “currently not responsible”. It may be Mr Söder, Yes, privilege, to spend his vacation in such a boozy mass events – millions of Germans tick as lucky different. And what does the carnival in the Rhineland have to do with the fact that in summer it should not be possible to hike in the High Tatras, to mountain bike in the Slovenian Alps, to walk with the dog on the Danish North Sea beach or to let your soul dangle on the Croatian Adriatic islands?
What is permitted or not permitted on site on holiday is not the responsibility of the Bavarian prime minister, but is the responsibility of the local authorities on site. It is not the case, for example, that the Spanish government in Corona times would allow mass visits of foreign tourists in the entertainment venues on the Ballermann. And there is also not necessarily the initial suspicion that the Danish authorities, for example, implement protection measures such as distance regulations less professionally and do not monitor their compliance as reliably as their colleagues in Saxony or the Saarland. If a state like Croatia decides on a transparent Basis to reopen its Hotels and restaurants under strict conditions in June, then it is not up to Markus Söder or any other German provincial Prince to question this and prohibit German nationals from holidaying in these countries. Croatia currently has around 1,000 active Covid-19 cases and has had 47 fatalities. This is about as much as the district of Freising. Denmark has about as many Covid-19 cases as the city of Munich and Greece can match the district of Tirschenreuth in this regard. So it would be nice if Söder and Co.would take care of their sphere of influence first.
Against this background, another statement by Söder also seems remarkable. As the holiday abroad this year is “unlikely”, the local catering and hotel industry should expect a “Run”, according to Söder. The question arises, of course, on which basis Markus Söder will allow the Germans to holiday in the Bavarian district of Traunstein (942 official Covid-19 cases), but will prohibit the holiday in the Austrian District of Kitzbühel (355 official Covid-19 cases), which lies a few kilometers to the South. This ban obviously has nothing to do with the alleged health protection.
What is being discussed here with the pretext of Health Protection seems rather to be a special Form of “Gastro-nationalism”. If all the world dissuades from booking the summer holiday at Lake Wolfgang, you book your holiday stop at Lake Chiemsee. If it is uncertain whether you can spend your holiday at the Danish North Sea, this year it goes to the German North Sea. This is certainly nice for the German Hoteliers and innkeepers, who are already suffering enough losses at the moment, but also highly unfair to the tourist regions of other countries.
According to expert estimates, two thirds of all Austrian accommodation establishments would not be able to cope with the absence of German tourists. In structurally weaker countries such as Croatia or Greece, which is already economically depressed, entire regions are threatened with impoverishment if tourism is to remain absent for the entire year.
It is up to the Federal government to stop this madness. If another country like France closes its borders to German tourists, Berlin can of course do little. However, the situation is different with the states that have either opened their borders with Germany or will soon reopen them. These include countries such as Austria (also as a transit country), Denmark, the Netherlands or Sweden. But there is little point for German tourists if the holiday countries open their borders as long as Germany keeps its borders closed. Although as a German citizen you may enter your own country again despite closed borders, you must then expect that you will be prescribed an official 14-day compulsory quarantine. This is part of the “measures” of the Federal Foreign Office and effectively prevents German citizens from travelling to other EU countries at present and in the foreseeable future. It is also paradoxical that these regulations only apply to tourists; those who travel abroad on business are excluded from these measures.
There is no obvious reason why summer holidays should be banned, whether at home or abroad. Anyone who equates holidays with “Ballermann” argues unfaithfully. It is important here to differentiate and weigh. Epidemiologically problematic Amusements à la Après-Ski in Ischgl are prohibited in all EU states anyway, at least this season. If it is not necessary to make a law, then it is necessary not to make a law – this timeless quotation from Charles de Montesquieu should be supreme maxim in the Times of Corona.