Live from Brussels – Issue 109
Welcome to our ‘Live from Brussels’ newsletter. As we publish this new issue, our team is looking at the outcome of the 84th HOTREC General Assembly, which took place in Prague in late April. The event has been the perfect opportunity to exchange views with our members and guests on the direction European hospitality is taking amidst the slow recovery and the dramatic geopolitical situation.
A moving speech from our colleagues of the Ukrainian Hotel and Resort Association (UHRA), joining us online from Kyiv, highlighted the unthinkable struggles hoteliers in the country are experiencing and described a severe refugee crisis. I am proud of having UHRA among our members and applaud the HOTREC family and the entire hospitality sector for their essential role in welcoming the Ukrainian people fleeing the war zone.
Overall, we are concerned by the combined impact of pandemic-related issues and the recent increase in inflation rates and energy and food prices and keep asking for continued support and access to EU funding. In this context, I believe that the recent decision by the Irish government to extend the 9% reduced VAT rates for tourism and hospitality is precisely the kind of measure that the industry needs to help companies get back on their feet.
Despite remaining cautious, what emerged from the event is also a sentiment of optimism. European countries all over Europe are lifting travel and quarantine restrictions – an initiative which, just this week, we warmly welcomed together with our colleagues from the European Tourism Manifesto alliance – while still warning the EU on the need to revise the Council Recommendations on travel. We hope for the reestablishment of international travel if the epidemiological situation allows it.
In this issue, we had a chance to discuss the recovery and the impact of the Ukrainian war on the European tourism ecosystem with Mr Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of the European Travel Commission (ETC), whom I want to thank for his precious contribution.
Our General Assembly also gave us an opportunity to celebrate a crucial achievement as last March EU legislators reached a landmark agreement that will lead to the final adoption of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). We believe that the DMA text will ensure that hoteliers are treated more fairly by online travel agents and tackle behaviour that undermines the sector’s digitalisation. Our Members also provided us with valuable and constructive insights to build a level playing field and support future rules on short-term rentals at European and local level.
To conclude, it is a pleasure for me to announce that, come June 1st, the Turkish Restaurant & Entertainment Association (TURIYD) will join HOTREC as a new associate member. We are looking forward to welcoming you and working together to make European hospitality thrive!
Enjoy your reading!