With the tourism and travel sector in the EU coming to a near standstill, Socialists and Democrats call on the European Commission, EU Council and the European Council to save the industry through the implementation of a European Travel Guarantee Fund. In a letter sent to the leaders of the three institutions, S&Ds ask for swift measures that will ensure the survival of travel and tourism companies, and the respect of travellers’ rights.
S&Ds also call for the introduction of a European Tourism Certification that will allow companies to have clear guidelines on how to implement safety measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Iratxe García, S&D Group president, stated:
“Faced with this unprecedented, multifaceted crisis, our response must rise to the challenge. One of the sectors gravely impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is tourism, currently the third largest economic branch in Europe. It contributes to the entire European GDP with more than 10% and provides over 25 million jobs on the continent.
“It is in order to save these 25 million jobs, and millions of travellers, be they for leisure, family reasons or work, that we urge the leaders of EU institutions to act now with common guidelines and resources in order to save this industry from collapse.”
Biljana Borzan, S&D vice-president in charge of the internal market and consumer protection, said:
“We are aware that many tourism operators are in trouble and we are looking to help them through the EU budget. On the other side, many people and many families are experiencing economic problems due to the crisis. More than one third of European citizens cannot afford unexpected costs. That is why the S&D Group will not allow citizens to provide cheap loans to the travel industry. Consumers must be able to get their money back for cancelled travel or package travel as granted by the EU legislation. Only by preserving consumers’ trust can we hope to revive the tourism sector, which is so important for Europe.”
Ismail Ertug, S&D vice-president in charge of transport added:
“Millions of jobs are acutely endangered. We want to help the tourism industry to survive this severe crisis. With the European Travel Guarantee Fund, we want to help out with liquidity problems and save companies from bankruptcy. By introducing a tourism certification, we want to win the trust of tourists and ensure their safety within the European Union. We must act now. Later will be too late!”