Tourism Committee MEPs: EU must act, 22 million jobs are at stake  

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  • Uniform EU-wide criteria needed for testing, travel forms, quarantine terms, health protocols for transport and public spaces 
  • Concrete action and guarantees for tourism SMEs, travellers must get clearer information 
  • Creating a common EU policy for sustainable tourism is a must 

Members of Parliament’s Tourism Task Force reiterate that the tourism sector needs EU-level coordination and substantial support to give SMEs a chance of survival.

The Transport and Tourism Committee met on Wednesday with travel and tourism stakeholders to take stock of the dire situation facing the sector and to discuss ways to overcome this unprecedented crisis. (Catch up with the debate here.)

The Tourism Task Force MEPs issued a joint statement after the meeting, acknowledging the tourism sector’s disappointment that the EU has done little to help:

“More than six months have passed in this emergency situation, yet there are still no common criteria in the EU on how to handle and live with this pandemic: no universal hygiene and health protocols, no common rules for testing or on how to assess the risks, no adhering to the free movement principle.

Even when travelling is partially possible, the wide array of rules make it extremely difficult. People are confused and have no guarantees that their planned trips can and will go ahead.

The tourism sector, that employs 22 million people in Europe, is on the verge of collapse. This is no small threat: depending on the country, tourism accounts from 4.3% to 25% of the GDP. As things stand, hundreds of thousands of SMEs will not survive until the end of this year.

It is still not clear which crisis management tool can be used by the tourism sector, besides the “European instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE)”. We insist on urgent concrete action from the European Commission and the member states. A well-defined crisis management mechanism is needed; the sector is fighting to survive.

The tourism sector therefore requires urgently:

  • Direct and dedicated financial support;
  • Consistent and transparent criteria to assess the risks across the EU;
  • EU-level coordination of travel restrictions, hygiene and health protocols;
  • A clear path towards a genuine EU policy on sustainable tourism.

It is high time for the EU to come forward with a strategy on sustainable tourism and a dedicated budget line in the next long-term EU budget. A €300 million budget line to implement a common vision for sustainable tourism over the next seven years is not too much to ask. It is essential, to make sure that this economic sector will have a chance to get back on its feet after months of stagnation and so that we can shape it to become more sustainable.

We need EU leadership. It is a matter of political will and it is time to take bold decisions.”

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)

Tilly Metz (Greens/EFA, LU)

Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg (Greens/EFA, DE)

Carlo Fidanza (ECR, IT)

Elena Kountoura (GUE/NGL, EL)

Mario Furore (NA, IT)