Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 June, 2020 at 9:12 am by Andre Camilleri
MEPs call for additional measures to save the EU’s tourism and travel sector and make it future-proof after COVID-19 crisis.
- MEPs ask for more support for tourism SMEs on the verge of bankruptcy
- High hygiene standards and health protocols needed to help restore tourism
- Crisis is an opportunity to make EU tourism sustainable
The resolution on transport and tourism in 2020 and beyond was adopted on Friday by 587 votes in favour, 32 against and 46 abstentions. It identifies areas where actions taken so far remain insufficient to support a sector that employs 22.6 million people (11.2% of the total EU employment) and that contributed 9.5% to EU GDP in 2019.
Giving tourism businesses a chance of survival
Short-term financing to avoid businesses going bankrupt and to support workers, including self-employed workers, in the transport, culture and tourism sector.
Support long-term recovery and modernise the sector: Parliament asks the Commission to issue guidance to ensure available funding can be accessed swiftly. MEPs call for a dedicated budget line for sustainable tourism in the 2021-2027 long-term EU budget.
Guarantee safety and fairness by
- establishing common standards and detailed protocols for hygiene and health screening measures;
- developing an early alert system that warns tourists about any potential health threat at their destination;
- creating an EU safety certificate for establishments and operators that meet the highest hygiene and safety standards;
- launching a dedicated information campaign on travel and tourism, aiming at promoting intra-EU travel, re-establishing confidence in travel and tourism during COVID-19, and educating tourists on the health and safety measures in place;
- ensuring safe transit and country-to-country movement is not hampered by unilateral measures and agreements between individual member states.
Learning from the COVID-19 crisis
The Parliament encourages the Commission to explore the idea of a crisis-management mechanism for EU tourism, in order to respond adequately and swiftly to any future challenge of similar magnitude.
MEPs see the crisis also as an historic opportunity to modernise tourism in the EU and make it more sustainable, e.g. local and rural tourism initiatives, or out-of-season travel. The EU should promote and certify environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically sound travel and tourism.
The Parliament wants EU support to serve as a tool to guide infrastructure and transport development and tourism towards more sustainable, innovative, resilient and high-quality products and services. The Parliament supports the concept of ‘safe and smart destinations’ to ensure the development of sustainable, responsible and accessible tourism.