The hospitality-tourism sector is one of the major players in the EU economy. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector is facing an unprecedented crisis which is putting the viability of companies and employment at risk. Thousands of companies are struggling to survive or face insolvency. Many workers are on temporary unemployment and have lost or risk to lose their jobs soon.
Usually, EU consumers spend approximately one third of their food and drink budget in restaurants, bars and cafés. The closure of the out-of-home market throughout Europe has had a huge knock-on effect on the entire supply chain, from farmers and food and drink processors to distributors and warehouses.
The tourism sector is vital for the economies of EU regions and entire countries. Before the crisis, the sector employed 12 million workers and represented 10% of the EU GDP. Now, an estimated 6.4 million jobs are under threat.
The European social partners representing the hospitality sector and the food and beverages manufacturing industry – EFFAT, FoodDrinkEurope, FoodServiceEurope and HOTREC – call on the EU for an exit strategy from the COVID-19 crisis and a recovery plan that allows hotels, restaurants, bars, cafés and canteens to survive and to continue employing millions of people across Europe.
Major demands to the EU institutions are:
- The hospitality-tourism sector should be strongly supported by the EU Recovery Plan as it is a major source of employment and a strategic sector that generates growth for other industries as well.
- Rebuilding consumers’ trust should be at the heart of recovery plans, based on strengthened measures to guarantee hygiene and safety of customers and workers, as well as restoring demand through fiscal stimuli and safeguarding purchasing power.
- Initiatives taken in several Member States to protect employment through short-time work and income compensation schemes should be continued beyond the gradual and progressive deconfinement and reopening strategies. The planned Commission’s SURE mechanism (Support to Mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency) must be implemented soon and should cover all workers, including those with non-standard forms of employment, such as seasonal workers, part-time workers, and workers employed in the subcontracting chain.
- Social partners should be fully involved and consulted in the development and implementation of measures to support the hospitality-tourism sector.
The social partners addressed the joint statement to the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union. Please . Please download the full statement here