May 14, 2020
Yesterday, the European Commission has presented a package of guidelines and recommendations to help Member States gradually lift travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen, while respecting necessary health precautions.
The goal is to offer people the chance to get some rest, relaxation and fresh air. As soon as the health situation allows, people should be able to see friends and family, in their own EU country or across borders, with all the safety measures that are needed.
The package also aims to help the EU tourism sector recover from the pandemic, by supporting businesses and ensuring that Europe continues to be the number one destination for visitors.
The commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said that
“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.”
The guidance proposes “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.”
For tourists and travellers
There are some measures to reinforce the confidence and safety to travel again. For example:
• The Commission wants to, safely and gradually, give people freedom of movement and lift internal border controls. Free movement and cross-border travel are the key to tourism.
The E.C. proposes a phased and coordinated approach that starts by lifting restrictions between areas or Member States with sufficiently similar epidemiological situations.
• Restore transport services across the EU while protecting the health of transport workers and passengers. The guidelines present general principles for the safe and gradual restoration of passenger transport by air, rail, road and waterways.
They put forth a series of recommendations, such as the need to limit contact between passengers and transport workers, and passengers themselves, reducing, where feasible, the density of passengers.
• Safely resuming tourism services. The Commission sets out a common framework providing criteria to safely and gradually restore tourism activities and developing health protocols for hotels and other forms of accommodation, to protect the health of both guests and employees.
These guidelines will allow people to safely stay at hotels, camping sites, Bed&Breakfasts or other holiday accommodation establishments. Eat and drink at restaurants, bars and cafés and go to beaches and other leisure outdoor areas will be possible soon.
For tourism businesses
The Commission aims to support Europe’s tourism sector by:
• Ensuring liquidity for tourism businesses, in particular SMEs, through:
– Flexibility under State aid rules allowing Member States to introduce schemes, such as guarantee schemes for vouchers and further liquidity schemes.
The goal is to support companies in the transport and travel sectors and to ensure that reimbursement claims caused by the coronavirus pandemic are satisfied.
– EU funding: EU continues providing 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 in financing for 100,000 small businesses hit by the crisis, with the European Investment Fund.
– Saving jobs with up to €100 billion in financial relief from the SURE programme.
This one helps Member States cover the costs of national short-time work schemes and similar measures allowing companies to safeguard jobs.
The Commission also supports partnerships between employment services, social partners and companies to facilitate reskilling, especially for seasonal workers.
– Connecting citizens to local tourism offer, promoting local attractions and tourism and Europe as a safe tourist destination.
The Commission will work with Member States to promote a patronage voucher system under which customers can support their favourite hotels or restaurants.
For more information click here.
Source: European Commission official website