Malta and eight other EU member states put forward a declaration to the European Commission for better coordination between member states, in order to reduce uncertainties during travel and to restart tourism in the EU. Whilst respecting public health, it is hoped that disproportionate measures that hamper tourism are not taken within the EU and the Schengen area. The countries signing this declaration are Malta, Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain.
This message was one of the points raised by Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli during her intervention, in the first virtual inter-ministerial meeting between EU Tourism Ministers, organised by the German Presidency of the Council of the EU. This informal meeting between ministers continued discussing the challenges and implications of the pandemic on tourism and the way forward to revive this fundamental industry to the European economy.
Minister Farrugia Portelli stressed upon the need to begin discussions to amend the Package Travel Directive, so that this addresses the challenges faced by travel operators and consumers in the light of the circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which were never envisaged when this directive was drafted.
The third point proposed by Minister Farrugia Portelli was about the importance of tourism within the recovery plan of the European Commission. This can be done by the introduction of a European plan for tourism which clearly pinpoints the objectives and includes a specific budget dedicated towards this industry. The Minister referred also to the importance of extending the flexibilities of state aid rules during this recovery period.