The Transport and Tourism Committee welcomes the Commission’s latest package, notably the clarity on passenger rights whilst supporting both sectors to overcome COVID-19 crisis.
Statement by Transport and Tourism Committee Chair Karima Delli (Greens/EFA, FR):
“The Commission's package on tourism and transport is a great example of addressing together the current and upcoming challenges in sectors that have been heavily hit in the pandemic.
The European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee has been insisting since March on a strong and coordinated EU-wide action to overcome this crisis.
On behalf of the Tourism Task Force, I would like to underline that the tabled proposals are necessary tools to relaunch tourism in Europe in a harmonised way. It is crucial to reassure citizens that tourism and travelling will be possible and safe this year.
The package presented today is historic: the Commission took the first steps towards a coordinated European approach on tourism - a real EU tourism strategy -, which is needed now more than ever. We need a long-term vision that is smart and sustainable, with a dedicated budget line as well as a mechanism to manage crises.
Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee MEPs remain strongly committed to EU recovery plans and are happy to contribute to organising the European Tourism Summit in September. We should use this crisis to redesign tourism across the EU. Tourism must become sustainable and responsible. Supporting local tourism should be a matter of priority.
On passenger rights, I welcome the recommendation on vouchers and reimbursements. Consumers cannot be doubly victimised by this crisis and have to be able to choose freely between reimbursements and attractive vouchers.
Last but not least: reopening the borders should be possible only if the public authorities have made sure the risk of a new wave of COVID-19 cases is low. Once borders reopen, there cannot be any discrimination to free movement and the process has to be based on clear criteria. Reopening borders only between certain areas solely for economic gain will be unacceptable.”
Members of the Tourism Task Force of the Transport and Tourism Committee called on the Commission already in March to present a tourism rescue action plan, which ensures timely national and European assistance for the travel and tourism sector, including via national compensation schemes and financial aid instruments, and establishes a crisis-management mechanism for the sector.
The European Parliament noted in its 17 April resolution on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences that the transport and tourism sectors have been severely affected and suggested that a prevention and management mechanism be developed for the tourism sector at EU level to protect workers, help companies and ensure passenger safety.
The Committee reiterated its requests for a coordinated action plan for tourism as well as transport in a debate with Commissioner Breton on 21 April and in a discussion with Commissioner Vălean on 28 April. The Civil Liberties Committee emphasised on 11 May that the temporary checks on Schengen borders need to be lifted in a coordinated manner as soon as conditions allow.