The European Commission said on Wednesday that its proposed Tourism and Transport package of guidelines and recommendations aims to help the EU tourism sector recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, by supporting businesses and ensuring that Europe continues to be the number one destination for visitors.
“We propose a common European approach to managing what will remain a difficult 2020 summer season, while preparing for a more sustainable and digital tourism ecosystem in the future,” Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said.
“Millions of SMEs and family-run businesses working in accommodation, restaurants, passenger transport and travel agencies risk bankruptcies and job losses – they urgently need to go back to work,” Breton added.
The Commission says it aims to support Europe’s tourism sector by ensuring liquidity for tourism businesses, in particular SMEs, and saving jobs.
More specifically, the Commission proposes flexibility under State aid rules allowing Member States to introduce schemes, such as guarantee schemes for vouchers and further liquidity schemes, to support companies in the transport and travel sectors and to ensure that reimbursement claims caused by the coronavirus pandemic are satisfied.
“The schemes for vouchers can be approved by the Commission very rapidly, upon notification by the Member State concerned,” according to the Commission’s guidelines.
As noted by the Commission, the EU continues to provide immediate liquidity to businesses affected by the crisis through the Coronavirus Response Instrument Initiative, under shared management with member states.
In addition, the Commission has made available up to 8 billion euros in financing for 100,000 small businesses hit by the crisis, with the European Investment Fund.
The Commission added that jobs could be saved with up to 100 billion euros in financial relief from the SURE programme which is designed to help member states cover the costs of national short-time work schemes and similar measures allowing companies to safeguard jobs.
Moreover, the Commission also supports partnerships between employment services, social partners and companies to facilitate reskilling, especially for seasonal workers.
“We are helping European tourism get back on track while staying healthy and safe,” Breton said.
The Commission’s ways to address the liquidity crunch caused by Covid-19 are included in its overall strategy towards tourism’s 2020 recovery, which can be downloaded below: