Ministers exchanged views on how best to take forward the implementation of the guidelines and recommendations presented by the Commission on 13 May with a view to helping member states coordinate the gradual lifting of travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen while respecting the necessary health precautions.
Tourism is one of the key sectors of the European economy. It is unfortunately also one of the sectors hit the hardest by the COVID-19 crisis. Today's video conference, the second one in less than a month to be dedicated to tourism, confirmed that we all stand united and determined to do all that it takes for the quick and full recovery of European tourism. A recovery that allows our tourism businesses to restart their activities and guarantees the health and safety of both visitors and local communities.
Gari Cappelli, Croatian minister of tourism
The exchange of views was structured around the following two questions :
-What is your assessment of the measures taken at EU level and what further measures should be taken in order to ensure adequate financial and other forms of support for the tourism sector?
-What would be the best way forward to ensure efficient and timely coordination in the implementation of the guidelines and measures from the tourism and transport package?
Ministers broadly welcomed the Commission guidelines as a necessary first step for the recovery of the tourism sector.
More specifically, ministers expressed strong support for a number of principles that should govern such recovery, such as :
-close coordination at EU level,
-gradual, step-by-step approach,
-decisions based on sound epidemiological data,
Considering that clear communication and full transparency are the necessary conditions for restoring trust in travel and tourism, ministers encouraged the Commission to carry out its plans to create an interactive website, which will make available to the public real-time information on the conditions and measures in place in each member state concerning tourists.
Several member states were of the view that the tourism sector needs a swift and targeted financial support at EU level to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, including adequate financial support from the upcoming EU recovery plan, to be presented by the Commission on 27 May 2020.
Finally, as regards passengers whose flights were cancelled due to the pandemic, a number of ministers called upon the Commission to provide member states with additional flexibility in order to address liquidity problems of airline companies.
-20 May 2020