Corona autumn: fatal blow for hospitality sector?
The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is hampering travel once again. Several countries are reimposing quarantine regulations and mandatory PCR tests. Concerned voices from all over the continent highlight how many Europeans jobs depend on tourism.
Government killing the economy
The new rules in France - which include completely shutting down bars and restaurants in Marseille and Aix-en-Provence - go too far, criticises columnist Edouard Tetreau in Le Figaro:
“Instead of acknowledging its past mistakes and changing its strategy, what is the government doing? It's accelerating towards the wall of a new lockdown with its horn blaring. Who seriously believes that the economy and society, which are already in tatters after the lockdown in the spring, can recover quickly from this package of measures? ... The cascade of unpaid rent, personal bankruptcies and impoverished families will claim far more lives than Covid has done. With these idiotic, incomprehensible measures that are instilling a contagious fear, the Castex government - which I had hoped would be more pragmatic and less Jacobean - is killing the French economy.”
A bitter disappointment for Santa
Finland has announced plans to implement new restrictions requiring tourists to be tested both before entering the country and after their arrival. This does not bode well for tourism in Lapland, Helsingin Sanomat fears:
“Tourism in Lapland employs around 10,000 people and brings in over a billion euros a year. ... The decision to have tourists do two tests and be quarantined for three days at their destination comes as a blow to the region. The trip to Santa's workshop is getting too complicated for holidaymakers from risk countries like the UK. ... Most of the almost 2,000 tourism companies in Lapland are small. And small companies often have only a thin financial cushion for crises. A wave of bankruptcies could now jeopardise the decades of work that have made tourism in Lapland a success story.”
Save what saved us
Tourism accounted for 16.5 percent of Portugal's GDP in 2019. It is vital to keep this otherwise crisis-resistant industry alive, MEP Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar urges in Público:
“Tourism is a resilient, creative and high-quality sector, so we must continue to focus on this industry where we are truly 'the best'. Tourism has proven this over the years. This sector, so acclaimed in the past for boosting the Portuguese economy in a time of crisis, must not be abandoned now in the name of other interests. ... Tourism has done and given so much to Portugal that it deserves the special attention of the current government.”
Only brave guests can help
Hotel operators must now hope that some holidaymakers will travel despite the warnings, Kurier puts in:
“Europe is one big travel warning. Or rather, a patchwork of red lists. And from the hotel owners' point of view, it's a great big red rag. For many of them, this winter will be the proverbial acid test. Bookings for the coming ski season have dropped by around two-thirds. ... Tourism consultants are saying that one in three hotels in Austria is on shaky footing, and that one in ten will close down. And even that is easier said than done. As a hotelier you can't just turn the key and leave. ... Even loan deferments are of little use if there are no guests and thus no money coming in. And the government can't help either. Ultimately only those willing to go on holiday despite everything can help.”