Written by Dugger
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Topics: Tourists

Thursday, 29 April 2004

image for Tourists to be banned from new EU states
Ring of steel: tourists to be kept out

New EU entrant countries are to be forced to prohibit tourists visting their countries for the first three years of their membership over concerns that eased mobility may result in lost tourism revenue in established EU member states.
In Dublin this weekend at a celebration to welcome new EU members such as the Czech Republic, Estonia and Latvia, heads of states will be required to sign into law a bill that will prevent tourists visiting new entrant countries for at least three years.
"People will naturally be allowed to travel there on business, but holidays will be out of the question," said Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
"It's unfair to expect other member states to see tourist numbers dwindling as visitors head to countries like Poland or Lithuania just to buy cheap alcohol or cigarettes. It could lose older members billions of euros in income."
New entrants are understood to have been initially outraged by the suggestion that tourists could not visit their countries, but are understood to have been told their new EU member status could be in jeopardy if they did not comply.
"It's a bit of a shock, but I suppose it just means implementing policies we already had during the Cold War," said Polish prime minister Leszek Miller.
"It'll be a bit of a buzz for a lot of people to go back to the old days," he added. "Businessmen will naturally be tailed when they visit just to give them that 'old world', Cold War experience."
The tourism ban is expected to be lifted by 2008 at the latest.

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