The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament have called for a “Travel Guarantee Fund” to help ensure travelers do not lose out during the health pandemic.
This is part of a detailed package of tourism-related proposals the group, the second largest in the EU institution, has come up with. It is also recommending a “road map for sustainable tourism”.
The package aims to support the sector after the breakdown caused by the spread of the coronavirus in Europe, and worldwide.
The S&D’s position paper on the tourism and travel industry, among others, it calls for:
- The development of a European framework for workers in the whole value chain of the tourism and travel industry. Ensuring decent working conditions and access to social protection are necessary for all kinds of workers, seasonal work and atypical contracts included;
- The development of a Crisis Management Mechanism, which would help member states to facilitate an EU wide response to different possible future crises;
- The creation of a European Travel Guarantee Fund that would secure the financial liquidity of the tourism and aviation sector, while at the same time guaranteeing the payment of consumers’ reimbursement claims and allowing companies to offer guaranteed flexible credit vouchers in exceptional circumstances instead of cash reimbursements;
- The Commission is asked too swiftly develop a road map for sustainable tourism that would contain innovative measures to reduce the climate and environmental footprint of the sector and to further encourage investments in sustainable tourism schemes. In this regard, we stress the importance of promoting a shift from mass tourism to other forms of cultural and sustainable tourism.
- Finally, the group calls for the creation of a European Tourism Certification, that also takes into account the Eco-label, which could set European-wide minimum health and hygiene standards that would help to restore consumer’s trust in the sector and thus contribute to its revitalisation.
S&D vice-president responsible for transport, Ismail Ertug, said, “Tourism is key for Europe’s post-COVID-19 recovery. Among the member states that were hit the hardest by the pandemic are the top holiday destinations in Europe. We now need to look ahead while guaranteeing the health and the safety of those traveling. That is why we call on the European Commission to establish a Travel Guarantee Fund that gives financial stability to the industry whilst ensuring the continuous application of consumer protection – for the current crisis and any future crises.”
S&D member and vice chair of transport and tourism committee, István Ujhelyi, added: “The Covid-19 crisis has shown how vulnerable the tourism industry is. A dedicated budget line in the new Multi-annual Financial Framework and a crisis management mechanism, as well as a long-term smart and sustainable strategy, are absolutely needed. In our position paper, we make strong commitments to rebuilding such a crucial industry for the European economy. It is a new beginning by putting the entire tourism sector in its rightful place among the different European policy areas.”