European Economic and Social Committee hearing: tourism SMEs after Covid-19

On 7 September 2021, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised a hearing on “tourism SMEs after Covid-19”. Participants included entrepreneurs, the EU Institutions (e.g. Ms. Marie Hélène Pradines, Head of Unit DG GROW, and MEP Cutajar) and some representatives of the private sector.

Mr. Alexandros Vassilikos addressed the audience as President of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH). Marta Machado, HOTREC Deputy Director General, was present for HOTREC.

In a nutshell, the main messages passed on behalf of the sector were the following:

  • One of the most urgent measures for the industry is an injection of liquidity and tax relief. In the medium term, avoiding insolvencies of companies by restructuring capital debt and providing tax incentives for private investments will be crucial;
  • In the long term, hospitality must become more digital, resilient and greener;
  • To ensure the sector becomes more resilient, access to EU funding should be improved; vocational & education training is to be further developed; the tourist season should be extended and the EU’s capacity to manage shocks affecting travelling should be improved;
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of the sector, avoiding food waste, and extending the tourist season will be of the utmost importance to achieve greener tourism;
  • A fairer relationship between hospitality businesses and major online intermediates is needed, as well as a level playing field in the short term accommodation rental and support for the digitalization of tourism SMEs in destinations.

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