Live from Brussels – Issue 106
Welcome back to this new issue of ‘Live from Brussels’!
As the end of another challenging year is approaching, we are already planning for our upcoming projects and goals: once again, we expect that helping the sector exit the crisis and increase its resilience will be our number one priority in 2022. This summer season, the overall good industry performance, the progressive reopening of the Union’s borders and the ongoing approval of national Recovery Plans brought forth a wave of optimism. However, many businesses – from large chains to micro-enterprises – are still struggling to survive due to staff and supply shortages, short term debt, and the lack of international tourists, among other things.
The truth is that two promising months cannot make up for the damage caused by almost two years of closures and uncertainty. The pace with which the sector will bounce back will depend on its capacity to adapt to the ongoing transitions and enter a new era of resilience, innovation and sustainability. We had the pleasure to brainstorm on this topic and more in the first episode of our brand new podcast, ‘Dare to Host’.
Right now, it’s clear that, in the short term, extending the existing EU and national funding for as long as necessary will be essential to ensure a full recovery. To this end – and considering the current worsening of the epidemiological situation in Europe – we keep urging the European Commission to further extend the State aid Temporary Framework until at least mid-2022. Earlier this morning, I stressed this issue over this morning’s European Tourism Forum.
Achieving a more sustainable tourism and hospitality ecosystem by 2030 will also be of the utmost importance for businesses across Europe to remain competitive and return to pre-pandemic levels. In this sense, the past few weeks have been fruitful, with the COP26 on 1-13 November serving as a springboard for the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, which we fully support.
The path towards digitalisation will also represent a major challenge and an opportunity for the industry: taking the next steps towards a more digital ecosystem will require many resources and a long time commitment. For such an investment to be profitable – especially in the case of SMEs and micro-enterprises – the industry will need to achieve a fairer relationship between hospitality businesses and online intermediaries and a workforce with the right set of skills. In this regard, we are keeping a close eye on the latest developments on the Digital Markets and Services Acts. In this issue of our newsletter, we also had a chance to discuss this and more with MEP Josianne Cutajar (Malta, S&D).
In other news, the next few weeks will be exciting for HOTREC, with our General Assembly taking place on 2-3 December. Our members and some great speakers will join us in beautiful Lyon for two days of fruitful discussions and best practice sharing. We can’t wait to meet you all!
We hope you will enjoy our newsletter.