Covid-19: Hospitality task force needed to coordinate recovery – Kelly

Seán Kelly MEP is calling on the European Commission to establish a task force to ensure the hospitality sector is prioritised in Covid-19 recovery plans across the EU, having experienced “severe hardship” throughout the crisis.

 

Writing to the Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, the Ireland South MEP stressed the “unprecedented pressure” that the outbreak of COVID-19 has put the EU tourism industry under, due to the necessary health restrictions needed to manage the pandemic.

 

“The hospitality sector has been among the most acutely affected, with businesses being forced to shut down at short notice and many workers being laid off temporarily or indefinitely. This has created a crisis for Europe’s restaurants, bars, hotels, cafés and pubs”, Kelly said.

 

There is the risk that a large part of that sector will be unable to recover, according to the Fine Gael MEP. However, recent assurances that hospitality should be at the heart of both national recovery plans and the EU Recovery Fund is very welcome. Establishing a task force dedicated to coordinating approaches to support the hospitality sector across EU policy planning and in Member States would ensure that the Commission delivers on that commitment.

 

Such a task force could “provide practical guidance to governments about how their recovery plans support the tourism and hospitality sectors in a targeted, efficient and immediate way. This also needs to ensure that value chain partners are able to access much needed support from the EU Recovery Fund”, said Kelly.

 

“The arrival and distribution of successful vaccines has provided a sense of hope for an economic recovery, but the pandemic has already hit livelihoods and caused significant hardship for many businesses.

 

“The virtual ceasing of activity in the sector has led to a dramatic knock-on effect on its suppliers. Many actors in the food supply chain, which is primarily made up of SMEs, such as farmers, processors, traders, wholesalers, and food and drinks manufacturers face severe hardship”, Kelly underlined.

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