The EPP Group proposes concrete measures to restart tourism and travelling ahead of the upcoming summer holidays. The same travel rules must apply across the EU. The vaccination rollout must be sped up. The EU COVID-19 certificate must be in place before the summer to allow the crossing of internal borders and Member States should not add additional travel restrictions on top of the certificate. COVID testing for the purpose of the certificate must be free.
Tourism businesses like hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and others need additional financial help. The EPP Group calls on the Member States to include such funding in their national recovery plans, and on the European Commission to come up with an EU Tourism Strategy for the years to come with a concrete action plan to respond to the crisis.
“There is no time to lose. The tourism and travel decline due to the pandemic has been affecting millions of livelihoods and businesses depending on them. Behind those businesses, often run by families, stand people who need financial help and a long-term strategy to adapt to the new reality: a real EU master plan for the recovery of the sector. They cannot afford to lose another summer”, said Claudia Monteiro de Aguiar MEP, ahead of this evening's plenary debate on saving the summer tourism season.
With more than 11 percent of all jobs in Europe and around 10 percent contribution to the EU’s gross domestic product, the tourism sector is at the heart of Europe’s economy and yet it is one of the sectors hit hardest by COVID-19. With a drop of 70 percent in revenues in 2020 and up to 11 million jobs at risk, the EPP Group initiated today's plenary debate to discuss measures safeguarding jobs and incomes in the sector.
“Help the tourism sector to save our summer holidays. With the ongoing pandemic, many European citizens are afraid to plan holidays. Therefore, restarting travelling in a safe and coordinated manner will rebuild trust and ensure employment and the economic recovery. We must make safe holidays possible this year and show the tourism industry that the EPP Group is stepping up efforts to support them”, added Monteiro de Aguiar.
The EU hosts 2.4 million tourism businesses, 90 percent of which are small and medium-sized and are particularly vulnerable. In 2020, European destinations, such as France, Germany and the Netherlands saw just 40 percent of 2019’s volumes for intra-European travel, with Spain lagging behind at 22 percent. According to the latest figures, 56 percent of Europeans are feeling positive about their holidays and wish to travel either domestically or to another European country, while only 27 percent are reluctant to travel within the next six months.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 175 Members from all EU Member States