RPT - Big Portion Of EU Recovery Fund Must Be Allocated For Tourism Support- Italian Association

GENOA (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 09th May, 2020) ENOA, Italy, May 9 (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko - The tourism industry in Italy expects strong supportive measures from the government in the nearest future and insists on the need to receive a portion from the EU Recovery Fund since national measures across Europe are not enough to cope with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, Marina Lalli, vice-president of Federturismo Confindustria, the Italian travel and tourism federation, told Sputnik.

Tourism is one of the main industries in Italy and, according to the Statista Research Department, represented roughly 13 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

"In the decree that should appear in May, we expect serious measures, strong tax aid, real money and not just loans. Immediate non-repayable loans are required as well as a complete exemption of direct taxes for the whole year of 2020. We need targeted interventions, dedicated to the specific needs of tourism businesses that will be present for who knows how long more, for those who have been most affected by the pandemic," Lalli said.

She noted that all of the bureaucratic obstacles in the processes of applying for state support must be removed.

"Tourism is experiencing an unprecedented crisis and Europe must rapidly adopt extraordinary measures to complement the national ones because national measures alone are not enough. It is, therefore, necessary that a significant portion of the EU Recovery Fund be foreseen for the sector," Lalli said.

The EU tourism industry is estimated to lose around one billion Euros ($1.09 billion) every month as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, European Commissioner for Internal Markets Thierry Breton announced in mid-March, soon after first lockdowns were imposed in Europe.

On April 21, he urged the European Union to take greater action to save the bloc's tourism industry. The commissioner said that 1.6 trillion euros would be required to fund Europe's economic recovery after the COVID-19 outbreak, and a significant portion of these funds must be diverted to the tourism sector.

On April 23, the EU leaders agreed at a video summit to create the recovery fund but failed to overcome the north-south divide over how to finance it and how to spend the money.