MEPs demand more clarity for tourism in COVID-19 crisis

FILE PHOTO: Travellers wearing protective face masks ask for information inside Terminal 2E at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy, after the U.S. banned travel from Europe, as France grapples with an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The Member of the European Parliament (MEPs) gave overall positive feedback on the Commission’s transport and tourism package however, many are insisting on more concrete actions and financial support ahead of the summer holidays.

In a statement the European Parliament said that the Transport and Tourism Committee discussed the European Commission’s guidance on how to safely resume travel and allow tourism businesses to reopen.

Rebooting tourism

MEPs underlined the need to restore trust in safe travelling through additional concrete measures, as the current situation remains uncertain despite the proposed package. The European Commission announced that a website on safe holiday options will be available in a few weeks’ time.

Financial difficulties

Many MEPs raised the issue of massive job losses, risk of bankruptcies in the sector, and commented on the lack of concrete help and specific short-term financial support as well as the need for a dedicated long-term budget line.

Safety concerns

With many questions on safely restarting tourism in the EU up in the air, the Commission pointed out that cooperation between the member states has improved and lifted travel restrictions, including opening borders, should be based on set criteria and strong health protocols.

The Commission is encouraging member states to introduce certification schemes for safe travelling. A similar EU-level action, however, will not be feasible ahead of this summer.

Passenger rights

The MEPs highlighted that the rules for reimbursements are being flouted too often in different member states. The Commission assured MEPs that they are following the issue closely and passengers retain the right to cash reimbursements.

In the meantime, the Transport and Tourism Committee is planning separate discussions on budgetary questions and long-term recovery plans for the sector.