1. EU’s State aid
In a bid to counter the impact of Covid-19 in the tourism sector, the European Commission has approved a €15.34 million (BGN 30 million) to support Bulgarian companies dealing with touristic activities. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework, which foresees procedures to support economies dealing with the consequences of the pandemic. Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of direct grants.
In order to be eligible, companies must have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 30% over 2020, compared to 2019. In addition, the aid amount per beneficiary will not exceed 20% of its turnover in 2019, or €1.8 million, whichever the lowest.
The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework — the aid will not exceed €1.8 million per beneficiary and will be granted no later than 31 December 2021.
Finally, the EU executive concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line EU law and the conditions of the Temporary Framework.
3. Winter season and green certificate
With the winter season knocking at the door, the Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism has declared that an “extremely interesting tourist season” is bound to happen. However, discussions persist over the need to present the green certificate.
In view of the pandemic, there are a number of requirements that are related to the epidemiological situation that we must comply with. One of them is the presence of a green certificate.Stella Baltova, Minister of Tourism
The Bulgarian Minister noted that the presence of the Covid-19 certificate won’t be necessary in hotels, however, all services part of the accommodation, including restaurants, do require the green certificate.
So far, access to ski facilities will be granted without the green pass. In a Ministry statement, Baltova said that a virtual meeting with ski resorts representatives was held and the rules for implementing anti-epidemic measures while carrying out tourist activities were presented. This protocol is to be co-ordinated with the Ministry of Health.
Baltova presented to the participants the main measures that places of accommodation must respect, including the wearing of protective masks by employees and visitors, regulation and control of the flow of guests in the hotel and the placement of information boards.
“It is necessary to follow the orders of the Minister of Health and the prescriptions of the respective regional health inspectorate,” Baltova said.
On October 25, Bulgaria’s tourism and restaurant industry has threatened to start national protests if the government does not amend the rules for issuing a green pass. Despite accepting the certificate, the industry wants that Covid-19 antibody tests can be legally recognised for getting the certificate. They claim that antibody Covid-19 tests are legally recognised in Austria.