The European Commission has approved a €129 million Italian scheme to support the tourism sector in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
1. Financial support
The EU scheme consists of limited amounts of aid — State aid — in the form of a tax credit for lease payments related to tourism activities due for the period from January to March 2022 and aid — State aid — in the form of support for uncovered fixed costs. The public support will be granted no later than 30 June 2022.
In order to be eligible for EU support, tourism companies in Italy must have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 50% during the eligible months, compared to the corresponding period in 2019. The tax credit will cover up to 60% of the rental payments related to the relevant activities.
In particular, when it comes to limited amounts of aid, the public support will not exceed €2.3 million per beneficiary. When it comes to support for uncovered fixed costs, the aid will not exceed €12 million per company.
Hence, the Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a EU country, in line with EU legislation. Since the onset of the pandemic, the EU executive has already disbursed financial aid to support tourism and airlines in Bulgaria and Slovenia.
2. Tourism decrease
Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was estimated that Italy recorded a decrease of approximately 67 million tourist arrivals in 2020 over the previous year. According to Statista, Veneto was the region experiencing the highest drop with a decrease of roughly 12 million arrivals. Lombardy registered the second-highest decrease, losing about 9.5 million tourist arrivals between January and December 2020.
During 2020, about €36.7 billion were lost from the Italian economy due to the collapse of international travel, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said. However, the tide seems to be turning for tourism in Italy. According to a recent survey from the market research institute Demoskopika, the number of domestic and international tourists in Italy is set to rise by 43% — around 92 million people — compared to 2021.