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European social partners of travel agents’ and tour operators’ community call for emergency measures

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The European social partners for the European travel agents and tour operators welcome the new instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE), designed to help protect jobs and workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but urgent measures to avoid adverse liquidity effects on European businesses. 

BRUSSELS - The European social partners for the European travel agents and tour operators – ECTAA, the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association, and UNI Europa, the European Services Workers Union – in joint statement call on the European and national authorities to give a strong signal to the European travel industry and put forward ambitious measures.

While acknowledging the measures that have already been taken by European and national authorities to support the economy, the situation is continuously evolving. ECTAA and UNI Europa called yesterday on the public authorities at both national and European level to take further actions and use the necessary flexibility at their disposal to overcome the present difficulties. 

Eric Drésin, secretary general of ECTAA said “The cancellation of trips is currently causing an exorbitant outflow of liquidity, which could lead to the insolvency of thousands of tour operators and travel agencies in the very near future. All efforts need to be undertaken to help workers, enterprises, economic activities to survive the crisis.”

European as well as national Social Partners should be consulted in the designing as well as implementing of measures which should guarantee credit access and financial support for enterprises and for workers and self-employed.

Annika Flaten, director of tourism of UNI Europa concluded “the whole industry is under high pressure and we need to keep workers in their jobs, to protect them from unemployment as much as possible. European Social Partners showed their willingness to find positive solutions. They are ready to work the European Commission to transform words into actions”.

Statement of the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Social Partners 

3 April 2020

The European social partners for the European travel agents and tour operators – ECTAA, the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association, and UNI Europa, the European Services Workers Union – are fully committed to sustaining and supporting European economic activities to the best of their abilities during this unprecedented pandemic crisis. 

The unavoidable decisions to contain the covid-19 pandemic are severely restricting public life and bringing travel and tourism to an almost complete standstill. Considering that this is a crisis of yet unforeseen dimension since the beginning of the European integration, the social partners for European travel agents’ and tour operators’ community call on the European Commission to continue giving a strong signal to the European travel industry.

A rapid solution needs to be found to the massive cancellations of travel as result of negative travel advisories and closing of borders. The cancellation of trips is currently causing an exorbitant outflow of liquidity, which could lead to the insolvency of thousands of travel companies (tour operators and travel agencies) in the very near future.

All efforts need to be undertaken to help workers, enterprises, economic activities to survive the crisis, to be able to come back to their activities when the crisis ends, to keep workers in their jobs meanwhile, to protect from unemployment and loss of income, to alleviate financial losses and to prevent speculative phenomena leading to a consolidation of the market detrimental to SMEs.

Social Dialogue at all possible levels can provide a good context for finding suitable solutions for this exceptional situation and experience shows that it contributes to reaching the high-level buy-in needed for successful implementation.

Equally, we are calling on the European and national authorities to put forward urgent measures to avoid adverse liquidity effects on European businesses and households during the coming weeks.

While acknowledging the measures that have already been taken by European and national authorities to support the economy, the situation is continuously evolving. Thus ECTAA and UNI Europa call on the public authorities at both national and European level to stand ready to take further actions and use the necessary flexibility at their disposal to overcome the present difficulties. 

The Social Partners notably call on:

  • The Commission to coordinate the EU budget with the decision adopted by the ECB, the EIB, and national banks to guarantee credit access and financial support for enterprises, especially all types of SMEs, affected by the lockdown and emergency measures;
  • The Commission to set-up the adequate legal and financial framework to the Member States providing financial and income support for workers and self-employed affected by unemployment or suspension from work;
  • The Commission and Member States to establish an emergency fund for the travel supply chain allowing enough liquidity to be available, to help enterprises to cover the loss of incomes as well as to face their obligations vis-à-vis employees, customers and suppliers;
  • The Commission and Member States to ensure that financial support reaches enterprises, especially all types of SMEs, and all workers, including the self-employed;
  • Member States to involve national Social Partners in the designing as well as implementing of national measures


Eric Drésin                                                                        Annika Flaten
ECTAA , Secretary General                                           UNI Europa, Director of Tourism

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