On 13 May, the European Commission has published several communications with guidelines and recommendations to help Member States gradually lift travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen safely after months of lockdown. The package also aims to help the EU tourism sector recover from the pandemic, by supporting businesses and ensuring that Europe continues to be the number one destination for visitors. The package includes:
- a strategy towards recovery in 2020 and beyond;
- a common approach to restoring free movement and lifting restrictions at EU internal borders;
- a framework to support the gradual re-establishment of transport while ensuring the safety of passengers and personnel;
- a recommendation aiming to make travel vouchers an attractive alternative to cash reimbursement for consumers; and, finally,
- criteria for restoring tourism activities safely and gradually and for developing health protocols for hotels and restaurants.
Under the Temporary Framework, the Commission has again approved several State aid schemes that were launched by Member States to support their economies:
- a €25 million Belgian aid scheme to support coronavirus related research and development activities in Wallonia;
- a €322 million Croatian loan guarantees and subsidised loans scheme for micro, small and medium-sized companies affected by coronavirus outbreak;
- a €88 million Bulgarian scheme to support micro and small companies affected by coronavirus outbreak.