Tourism MEPs: trust in travelling remains low, SMEs are suffering 

Press Releases 
  • EU-wide hygiene measures for each mode of transport 
  • Clearer information to travellers, more objective process of opening and closing borders  
  • Need for a genuine EU tourism policy 

Members of Parliament’s Tourism Task Force request additional urgent measures to relaunch tourism in Europe and help businesses to survive the COVID-19 crisis.

The Transport and Tourism Committee discussed on Tuesday, with European Commission Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Director-General Kerstin Jorna, the tourism aspects of the EU Recovery Package and next long-term EU budget. The MEPs also reiterated their request for further action to support the sector, which is facing bankruptcies and massive layoffs. (Catch up with the debate here.)

The Tourism Task Force took stock of the progress made by different actors to help the sector to overcome the crisis one month after the Parliament adopted its resolution on transport and tourism:

“As we enter the peak of the tourist season, confidence and trust in travel have not been re-established, as shown by the shortfall in tourist numbers. Despite the sector's efforts to re-open activities in a safe way as well as the initiatives from the European Commission such as the Re-open EU web platform, much more is needed to restore this confidence.

As soon as possible, Europe needs

  • a common threshold of what would be considered an acceptably low level of virus propagation, which would then have to be enforced across all EU member states;

  • common hygiene and sanitary measures for various modes of transport within the European Union, instead of different protocols at each airport or port;

  • a more objective and transparent process of opening the borders to third-country nationals, based on epidemiological evidence; the current recommendation that lists 15 third countries whose nationals can enter the EU is confusing for travellers, especially to those in transit.

We also see that specific financing for tourism is still lacking in several member states. The sector is suffering from a lack of liquidity due to the drop in demand. Specific financing is either not tailored to tourism or has not been allocated due to a lack of will demonstrated by some member states.

The Tourism and Transport package and the EU Recovery Plan put forward by the European Commission in May were important first steps for relaunching tourism in the EU. Nevertheless, it is clear by now that more efforts are urgently needed.

The coordinated relaunch of the tourism sector at EU level must be an immediate strategic priority both for the EU institutions and for the member states, as the Parliament outlined in its 19 June resolution on tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond.

Further to recognising tourism as one of the economic activities most badly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, the tourism sector must be given due importance in the EU Recovery Plan. This must include the possibility of providing additional financial support to the sector, also taking into account the share that the travel and tourism sector contributes to a member state’s GDP.

Most importantly, we regret that repeated calls from the Parliament for a dedicated budget line for sustainable tourism have fallen on deaf ears and that subsequently this was not included in the revised long-term EU budget for 2021-2027.

This crisis clearly highlights the benefits that a genuine European tourism policy could bring. We need a common EU tourism policy to enhance the EU’s competitiveness in this sector, promoting cooperation between member states and regions and creating options for further investment and innovation in the sector.”

Members of the Tourism Task Force:

Karima Delli (Greens/EFA, FR) (Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism)

Benoît Lutgen (EPP, BE)

Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska (EPP, PL)

Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar (EPP, PT) (Member of the Steering Group)

Barbara Thaler (EPP, AT)

Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi (EPP, EL)

Giuseppe Ferrandino (S&D, IT)

István Ujhelyi (S&D, HU) (Member of the Steering Group)

Josianne Cutajar (S&D, MT)

Isabel García Muñoz (S&D, ES)

José Ramón Bauzà Díaz (Renew, ES) (Member of the Steering Group)

Søren Gade (Renew, DK)

Roman Haider (ID, AT)

Massimo Casanova (ID, IT)

Carlo Fidanza (ECR, IT)

Elena Kountoura (GUE/NGL, EL)

Mario Furore (NA, IT)