Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune is calling for Clare’s position as a leading destination for tourism to be a focus as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, as part of a collective approach in ensuring our tourism and hospitality sectors continue to do well post-pandemic.
MEPs at the European Parliament have called for a new EU strategy on tourism. They have highlighted how the COVID-19 outbreak has paralysed the EU’s tourism sector, with six out of 27 million jobs at risk. MEPs said that the tourism and travel sectors account for around 10% of the EU’s GDP. They are now urging EU countries to include these sectors in their recovery plans.
MEP Clune has welcomed the announcement of the establishment of a €17m fund in Ireland which will allow businesses serving food to apply for funding to help pay for more outdoor seating.
MEP Clune said: “Measures such as these are very welcome and will certainly help the tourism and hospitality sectors recover from an awful year. However we must keep up the fight and ensure that we keep pushing ahead with any measures that will help these industries.”
The EU Parliament said that due to the pandemic, travellers want “safe, clean and more sustainable tourism”. They are calling on member states to fully implement common criteria for safe travel without delay. They said these should include an EU Health and Safety protocol for testing before departure. MEPs also said a common vaccination certificate should facilitate travel and called for swift agreement on an EU wide approach.
MEP Clune said: “The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the tourism and hospitality sector in particular. We must ensure that these sectors emerge strong from the pandemic and there is a need for a united European approach to the roll-out of the initiatives such as the Digital Green Certificate. Initiatives such as the Digital Green Cert or Vaccination cert are moves in the right direction for our tourism sector.”
MEP’s are also urging the Commission to introduce an EU hygiene certification seal, which could certify minimum COVID-19 virus prevention and control standards and could help restore consumer trust in the tourism and travel sectors. They also stress that the Commission must look beyond the pandemic and replace the 2010 strategy on EU tourism to maintain Europe’s standing as a leading destination. In addition they are calling on the Commission to set up a European Agency for Tourism, which will support the tourism ecosystem, promote the European brand, provide the EU with the latest data on tourism, assist small businesses to access EU funding and help the tourism sector to prepare for future crises.