2020 is a difficult year for tourism. Will the sector be able to recover from a months-long standstill and develop further?
Calm, only calm! In Lyon, the entrepreneur Anne Prost, who has been offering excursions for 20 years, fights for every client. The woman says: “Unfortunately, at the height of the crisis, I had to fire the interns who helped me, then it was important to reassure the clients who had already paid for the tours. I explained that I would either refund them the money right away, or reserve the excursions for them at a later date, when quarantine will be weakened. Then I called my customers, said that I would continue to work, promised to offer them even more exciting services. ”
How is Ann's firm adapting to new realities? “First of all, you need to calm people down, explain to them that they are safe on the street. I take them to places where there are not many people, I work with very small groups. I have a team of guides, so we can handle it. The main thing is to be flexible and reassure customers, “says Ann.
European Response The Toursector contributes up to 10% of the GDP of the European Union. Months of downtime have hit the industry with an unprecedented blow, with tourism turnover falling 75% from February to June.
To save millions of jobs, the European Commission relaxed government aid rules and mobilized its business support programs. In the long term, the EU plans to attract to the tourism sector and funds from the new Next Generation fund with a budget of 750 billion euros.
Sector representatives welcomed the EU's efforts to establish common rules for organizing travel in member countries. Emmanuel Mounier heads the EU Travel Tech Association: “If we want people to travel again, it is vital for European countries to coordinate their actions. When imposing travel restrictions, they must rely on common criteria for the EU, which in turn take into account scientific evidence. testing protocols for travelers should be introduced The European Commission is proposing all this, we are in both hands in favor.
Tourism goes online The recovery of the industry will be accompanied by transformation. Emmanuel Mounier sees it this way: “I think that after the crisis, people will take into account more elements when choosing a particular option. They will be interested not only in the most profitable, but also the most stable offer, they will pay attention to it. So tour operators should strive for maximum transparency, the digitalization of the industry will help in this. With new technologies, travel will be easier, cheaper and greener. ”
Figures and facts:
- The European Commission has taken a number of measures to support the travel and tourism sector affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In May, it approved the Travel and Transport Package and developed general criteria for lifting travel restrictions for member countries.
- In June, a dedicated REOPEN EU website and mobile app were launched with an interactive map and up-to-date information on safe travel in the EU.
- The European Commission has guaranteed access to funding for travel companies, including the immediate provision of funds to affected businesses through the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative. The tourism sector also fell under the program of assistance to small and medium-sized businesses with a budget of 8 billion euros.
- In terms of employment, the European SURE program helps member states meet the costs of paying for partial unemployment and keeping jobs.
- In July, the European Council agreed on an ambitious recovery plan, agreeing on an EU budget for the period 2021-2027. The agreement provides an opportunity for the European Commission to borrow up to 750 billion euros in financial markets.
Useful links: Travel and transport package
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