European Union plans to kick-start tourism across the continent will see travel restrictions lifted between member states based on the level of Covid-19 infection in each country.
Ireland could be among the first to have travel restrictions eased due to the low rate of infections and deaths compared to other states.
This could have major economic and tourism benefits, but the health implications would spark concern in some quarters.
Ireland could find itself in a difficult position as it has its own roadmap and plans to monitor overseas arrivals.
Under the EU Commission's plans, travel and tourism will recommence as soon as possible between countries with similar levels of infection and health service capacity.
But the new EU guidance comes at a time when the Government is preparing to unveil new rules on making it mandatory for all visitors to Ireland to self-isolate for two weeks.
The Commission will today publish criteria for lifting travel bans between member states along with new health and safety standards for the tourism industry.
A Government spokesperson said it will consider the EU Commission's proposals when they are published. "In the meantime, each member state, including Ireland, is following its own roadmap out of the Covid emergency."
Meanwhile, chief medical officer Tony Holohan has warned against booking trips abroad this July, despite plans by airlines to resume some flights. He said advice about non-essential travel would not change in that time-frame.
Last month, EU leaders asked the commission to draft proposals for restoring the tourism industry.
Central to the plan is the reopening of borders across Europe on a phased basis.
The EU is keen to ensure there are no bilateral deals between member states on when travel will return, which could potentially splinter the single market.
Several member states have discussed resuming travel between their countries on an individual basis.
Last week, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he intends to reopen his borders to "safe countries" such as Germany and the Czech Republic to encourage tourists to spend the summer in his country.
However, Brussels will insist on a collaborative approach to reopening borders based on health advice.
The new recommendations will suggest travel and tourism will be permitted between regions or members states with similar epidemiological statuses, meaning movement will begin sooner between countries where the virus has been controlled.
"The guidelines contain criteria to take into account when making an assessment and it may well be that Ireland is a in good position to open borders at a certain moment," an EU source said.
The source said the guidelines were developed by the commission "based on a political commitment of the member states" to develop a shared strategy for reopening the EU for tourism and business.
Last night, a government spokesperson said they have "set out a roadmap, which for the time being requires all arrivals into Ireland to self-isolate for a two-week period. That self-isolation period will continue in line with public health advice".
Another government source added: "Anyone is welcome to come here whenever they want, but they will have to self-isolate for the first two weeks of their stay."
Yesterday, the Irish Independent revealed gardaí are to be given the power to check up on passengers arriving in Ireland from overseas under new Covid-19 restrictions being considered by the Government. This could include gardaí calling at the addresses of passengers to ensure they are adhering to self-isolation for two weeks after arrival in this country.
Strict new regulations are being drafted to make it a legal requirement for anyone arriving in Ireland to self-isolate and give the authorities details of where they will be staying.
At an EU summit last month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and other leaders agreed a plan should be drafted for reopening the continent for tourism.
The EU Commission plan to be published today will also contain new EU health and safety standards for air travel, hotels and tourist attractions to ensure customers are protected once they reopen.
It will also contain rules for refunding tourists who have lost money due the widespread cancellation of flights and hotel bookings.
According to reports, the Commission will insist tourists are entitled to refunds - but new guidelines will be issued for vouchers to help companies make them as attractive as possible. EU news website Euractiv said this will include allowing customers to cash in vouchers for up to a year and rules ensuring refunds are protected from companies becoming insolvent. The draft document said protection against company bankruptcies should be organised at national level by member states.
"This will strengthen European citizens' confidence on which the transport, travel and tourism industry should re-build their recovery," it said.
Meanwhile, the EU Commission's director-general of migration and home affairs, Monique Pariat, has said the challenge which lies ahead is to "restore the integrity of the Schengen area".
"The process will be complicated. Member states have introduced different measures in a very uncoordinated manner and unwinding these different national decisions will take some time," she said.
A serious challenge is that some Schengen members appear willing to lift controls only to people from countries they consider to be safe from the virus or which might make up an important part of their tourism market.
The EU insists that when a border between two countries opens, every resident should be allow to cross, regardless of their nationality.
Austria's tourism minister, Elisabeth Koestinger, said: "Closed borders can't be an ongoing situation. We have always pushed for considerations on how and under which conditions borders could be reopened."
She has pushed for the reopening of borders to countries as "successful in combatting the coronavirus as Austria. This means we - under continuous observation of infection figures - should go back to open border step by step."
EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson, however, warned that there can be no discrimination. "Member states cannot open borders for citizens of one EU country but not for others. This is essential," she said.
Regardless of what happens inside the Schengen area, people from outside Europe will not be allowed to enter until at least June 15.
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