Live from Brussels – Issue n°103
A message from Ms. Marie Audren, Director General of HOTREC
Living with Covid-19 has been as challenging as it gets for European hospitality: many establishments are either officially or de facto closed and others are still operating on the brink of disaster.
The pandemic will continue to affect our sector in the coming years, and reopening will require unprecedented coordination among EU institutions and Members States. However, we must keep in mind that reopening is not the same as recovery: the impact of the coronavirus on the industry has been seismic, and getting back to pre-Covid-19 levels will be neither instant nor easy.
Nevertheless, I am convinced that European hospitality will prevail.
The relatively rapid roll-out of vaccination programs and the recent provisional approval of the so-called ‘EU digital Covid Certificate’ already provide us with a light at the end of the tunnel. The latter, in particular, will be essential to help rebuilding customer and traveller confidence.
We at HOTREC also warmly welcomed the appointment of a Director in charge of Tourism at the European Commission: Ms. Valentina Superti, whom we thank for sharing her views on the future of tourism and hospitality in this newsletter. It is to note that the European Commission also recently launched the EU Industrial Strategy 2021, acknowledging the dramatic impact of the pandemic on tourism, prioritising its recovery.
Looking ahead, the sector will need adequate support from the EU until the end of the crisis and beyond. Hospitality businesses will look at their respective governments for a swift implementation of national Recovery Plans, increased stability and financial support.
Further regulating future EU rules on digital marketing will also be of the utmost importance. In this regard, earlier this month, we welcomed the verdict by the German Supreme Court, prohibiting Booking.com from imposing ‘narrow’ price parity clauses on German hotels. A historic milestone for our member, Hotelverband Deutschland (IHA), and for German hoteliers, and setting an important precedent for other European markets.
I believe that our industry has all the potential and the resilience to lead the way into the digital and green transition: the challenges brought forth by the pandemic must become a turning point to an improved ‘next normal’. Let’s turn our greatest challenge yet into an opportunity!
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