Mediterranean.Observer is sharing brief summary of the articles that MEP István Ujhelyi (Hungary, S&D), MEP Ivan Štefanec (Slovakia, EPP) and MEP Elena Kountoura (Greece, GUE/NGL) contributed on The Parliament Magazine – section on ‘tourism and hospitality’
- MEP István Ujhelyi (Hungary, S&D) – “Winning back people’s trust” – The Covid-19 crisis caught the hospitality sector, EU Institutions and Member States unprepared. The European Parliament underlined actions towards the recovery, including: immediate injection of liquidity; crisis management and long-term sustainable EU strategy; increased coordination at EU level. It is important to recognize the economic, social, and political role of the sector. The next steps towards the recovery will be granting greater governance, further raising awareness, and promoting marketing campaigns to increase travellers and customers confidence.
- MEP Ivan Štefanec (Slovakia, EPP) – “Creating a catalyst for concrete support” – MEP Štefanec expressed his support to our call to establish a European hospitality task force. He stressed how supporting the establishments that are integral to our European way of life is crucial and the importance of the hospitality supply chain. We now find ourselves in the first phase of the recovery – with EU economies starting to reopen and recovery funds being unlocked. However, according to recent estimates, it will take at least two years for the sector to come back to pre-Covid-19 levels. The process will most probably pick up speed when indoor spaces will reopen, and businesses will become viable once again. Key now: reducing the VAT on hospitality businesses across Europe.
- MEP Elena Kountoura (Greece, GUE/NGL) – “A sector in need” – Wide-spread uncertainty has already put a late start to the summer season, at a moment when it is essential for the sector to maximise profit. To help the sector back on its feet, the European Parliament has urged for the coordinated resumption of safe travel and tourism within the EU and common health and safety protocols. Hospitality and tourism establishments now need the appropriate financial support. On this front, SMEs in the sector are still facing huge hardships. MEP Kountoura highlighted the situation of Greek SMEs, whose majority could not meet the preconditions set in State Aid programmes: even when they were eligible, they could not afford to acquire new debt from loans. The political will to support hospitality and tourism should be reflected in the national recovery and resilience plans submitted to the Commission for approval. To this end, the Parliament TRAN Committee recently published a Report for an EU Strategy for Sustainable tourism, calling on member states to develop national and regional action plans for sustainable tourism.