Procedure : 2020/2649(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0166/2020

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 17/06/2020 - 30
CRE 17/06/2020 - 30

Votes :

Texts adopted :


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<TitreSuite>to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>

<Titre>on the progressive resumption of tourism services in the EU</Titre>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Marian‑Jean Marinescu, Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar, Barbara Thaler, Elissavet Vozemberg‑Vrionidi</Depute>

<Commission>{PPE}on behalf of the PPE Group</Commission>


See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0166/2020


European Parliament resolution on the progressive resumption of tourism services in the EU


The European Parliament,

 having regard to Article 6(d) and Title XXII, Article 195 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

 having regard to the Commission’s guidance on how to safely resume travel and reboot Europe’s tourism in 2020 and beyond,

 having regard to its legislative resolution of 27 October 2015 on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on package travel and linked travel arrangements, amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 90/314/EEC (09173/3/2015 – C8-0281/2015 – 2013/0246(COD))[1],

 having regard to its resolution of 29 October 2015 on new challenges and concepts for the promotion of tourism in Europe[2],

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the EU’s tourism industry is made up of 2.3 million businesses, primarily small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), employing an estimated 12.3 million people;

B. whereas the travel and tourism sector accounts for 3.9 % of EU GDP and for 5.1 % of the total labour force (which equates to some 11.9 million jobs), and when its close links with other economic sectors are taken into account the sector’s figures increase significantly, accounting for 10.3 % of GDP and 11.7 % of total employment (equating to 27.3 million workers);

C. whereas travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic have decimated the tourism industry – a major player in the EU economy; whereas revenue is expected to drop by 50 % for hotels and restaurants, 70 % for tour operators and travel agencies and 90 % for cruises and airlines; whereas Europe accounts for half of the world’s tourist arrivals and the situation is particularly hard for European countries that are dependent on tourism; whereas least 6.4 million jobs are at risk in the EU;

D. whereas the severe restrictions imposed on movement and travel in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak have led to a 60 % to 80 % reduction in international arrivals, amounting to losses of between EUR 840 and EUR 1.100 billion in export revenues worldwide; whereas summer is a crucial season for tourism in Europe;

1. Welcomes the Commission communication of 13 May 2020 entitled ‘COVID-19: EU Guidance for the progressive resumption of tourism services and for health protocols in hospitality establishments’ (COM(2020)3251);

2. Urges the Commission to set an EU sanitary label guaranteeing the highest hygiene and safety standards in EU tourism facilities to boost tourists’ confidence and the recovery of the sector;

3. Emphasises the need for a more concrete and detailed action plan on monitoring and evaluating the proposed phased exit strategy for getting out of the COVID-19 crisis;

4. Urges that any measure must be based on reliable and uniform data and the exchange thereof, and on the commitment of Member States; stresses that any measure must bear in mind agreed, objective and non-discriminatory principles and criteria aiming at unrestricted freedom of movement and the proper functioning of the single market;

5. Requests that a mechanism be put in place at EU level for establishing a threshold for safety and security when it comes to lifting or introducing travel restrictions, and that an appropriate level of monitoring and an action plan be prepared for any negative development regarding the epidemiological landscape;

6. Asks that a mechanism be established at EU level to define the rate of a sufficiently low level of transmission, and that uniform application of such a rate be ensured across the EU;

7. Highlights that travel restrictions and border controls should be lifted for the regions, areas and Member States whose epidemiological situation is improving and are sufficiently similar, once common criteria has been established to assess it; stresses that improvements in epidemiological situation is key for restoring safe travel and transport and for resuming tourism services;

8. Considers that, while the general principles for restoring connectivity and for protecting passengers and transport workers are welcome, standards and detailed protocols should be established and made internationally accepted as a matter of urgency regarding common hygiene measures in all modes of transport; considers that each transport operator should apply uniform measures in a harmonised way so as to provide predictability and clarity; considers that technical operational protocols should be made a prerequisite for safe travel;

9. Welcomes the joint document from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) entitled ‘COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol: Operational Guidelines for the management of air passengers and aviation personnel in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic’, and urges their swift implementation;

10. Supports the need for the highest levels of safety and security to be enforced and maintained using interoperable digital technologies (e.g. via applications to support mobile tracing, a dedicated Commission information website, or making use of the Digital Innovation Hubs), with a view to providing help for the travel and tourism industry and for tourists; stresses that an early alert system that efficiently warns tourists about any potential health threat at their destination should be developed so that quarantine and evacuation protocols are immediate and effective;

11. Insists that restarting the tourism sector must be conducted on the basis of measures that enhance the competitiveness of the sector, and that focus on guaranteeing liquidity and preferential financing terms for companies and the self-employed, regardless of their turnover; insists that support be provided to the employees in the tourism sector who have lost their jobs; requests, therefore, that the Commission propose a roadmap towards achieving a major reduction in administrative burdens affecting SMEs in the tourism and transport sectors, and reiterates its call on the Commission to draft a comprehensive strategy for the tourism sector, including the cultural sector, to be supported by a specific budget line in the next multiannual financial framework (MFF);

12. Emphasises the fact that small and family-run businesses, in particular agri-tourism and small hospitality providers, will face more difficulties in complying with new safety standards compared to large tourism companies and infrastructures; stresses, therefore, that such businesses must receive particular attention and support; stresses that businesses of this kind are particularly prevalent on islands that are dependent on tourism and that face double insularity, and that they must also receive tailor-made support to aid their recovery;

13. Welcomes the Commission Recommendation (EU) 2020/648 of 13 May 2020 on vouchers offered to passengers and travellers as an alternative to reimbursement for cancelled package travel and transport services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic[3], which provides flexibility and support for operators – also in the form of State aid and guarantee schemes – and appropriate protection for consumers; stresses that it is key to ensure consumer confidence, and that without trust, potential tourists will not buy any travel and tourism services in advance; stresses that tourists must have the guarantee that they will be compensated if their trips are cancelled due to the pandemic; stresses that tourists should be encouraged to take out travel insurance;

14. Suggests that vouchers be made more attractive through the creation of promissory notes from vouchers, therefore incentivising their use during the summer of 2020; suggests that those vouchers that have already been issued could provide tourists with extra features, such as discounts, the possibility of redeeming them against package tours, or the possibility of the voucher being passed on to someone else;

15. Reiterates its request to the Commission to propose a stronger, legally based solution for the issuance of vouchers;

16. Invites the Commission to launch a communication campaign including through an EU-wide information app that provides information about all the measures taken to guarantee travellers’ safety in order to make people more aware and feel more confident about travelling in the EU;

17. Considers that the EU recovery plan must include the possibility of providing additional financial support to the tourism sector on the basis of the share that the travel and tourism sector contributes to a Member State’s GDP, and that the flexibility for the Member States to support the tourism sector under State aid rules must be maintained until the end of 2021; stresses that, as part of a coordinated response, those countries that are particularly dependent on the tourism sector should be given special treatment, and that specific measures should be considered for outermost regions (ORs) and island regions; considers that the ultra-peripheral regions, where tourism has a great role to play, should also be properly addressed in the EU recovery plan;

18. Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for an EU recovery plan and revised 2021-2027 MFF. recognising tourism as an important and strategic economic activity and one that has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 crisis; highlights the fact that the new recovery instrument, Next Generation EU, outlines that tourism could see a more than 70 % drop in turnover in the second quarter of 2020 while the basic investment needs in tourism, comprising EUR 161 billion, rank first among the various ecosystems;

19. Expresses its regret over the absence of a proper budget line for tourism in the next MFF and the lack of a short-term, direct and targeted financial aid instrument to address the liquidity problems faced by micro-enterprises and SMEs; stresses that currently there is no dedicated envelope for tourism in place and that enterprises will have a hard time understanding what funding opportunities are available to them and how to access them;

20. Underlines the fact that connectivity is a crucial need for outermost regions, given their structural, social and economic situation; stresses that Article 349 of the TFEU acknowledges that there is a special need to protect these regions due to their remoteness, insularity, small size, difficult topography, climate and economic dependence on a few products; stresses that Article 355 of the TFEU acknowledges the need to protect the insular regions that, due to their geographical circumstances, require special attention, in particular those islands that face double insularity; stresses that there is already a demand to visit such places and calls for the EU to make sure that it is logistically possible for tourists to get there;

21. Maintains that within the framework of the recovery strategy, the Commission must pay special attention to the importance of culture for European tourism, since 68 % of Europeans say that the presence of cultural heritage has an influence on the choice of their holiday destination[4]; highlights the fact that the EU is a key cultural tourism destination, mostly due to its incomparable cultural heritage, which includes museums, theatres, historical sites, festivals and cultural routes;

22. Calls, in this respect, for an increase in support for the cultural sector so as to give all Europeans, and especially young people, the possibility to experience other European cultures and European history; calls for an increased budget for Discover EU, a programme that has the potential to considerably boost youth tourism;

23. Highlights the specific needs of the cultural institutions receiving public aid during this period of recovery, since they need to ensure visitor safety and sustain their economic model;

24. Underlines the major role sport plays in tourism, recalling the important place of sporting events and activities in making Europe’s regions attractive to tourists; highlights the opportunities arising from travel by athletes and spectators to sports events, which can attract tourists to even the most remote areas; highlights the importance of Europe’s gastronomy, gastronomic routes and HORECA sector for the tourism industry and the economy as a whole; stresses that the above must therefore be integrated into the overall tourism strategy;

25. Asks the Commission to design a long-term strategy that goes beyond just reactive measures to COVID-19 and aims to build the basis for a resilient tourism industry in the EU; stresses that such a strategy must adapt to the new reality once the pandemic is over and must contend with the lasting devastating effects; stresses that the strategy must include a plan for digitalising the sector, and schemes to regenerate tourist areas; stresses that the strategy must support the green transition of the sector by adapting processes and renewing infrastructures and facilities;

26. Insists that a proper strategy for sustainable tourism be adopted in coordination with Parliament and the Member States, which includes measures to be applied and observed by all Member States, industries and tourists;

27. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.


[1] Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0366.

[2] OJ C 355, 20.10.2017, p. 71.

[3] OJ L 151, 14.5.2020, p.10.

[4] Special Eurobarometer 466 - Cultural Heritage Report, 12/2017

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