Travel agents and tour operators join calls for relief measures for the travel

Wednesday 28, April 2010


Travel agents and tour operators join calls for relief measures for the travel


In view of the upcoming meetings of EU Tourism and Transport Ministers at EU level to discuss the impact of the airspace closure caused by the volcanic ash cloud, ECTAA and GEBTA call on the European Commission Vice-President responsible for tourism, Mr. Antonio Tajani, to support urgent relief measures for travel agents and tour operators.


Travel agents and tour operators have gone into great efforts to assist and repatriate their customers stranded abroad due to the air traffic closure over most of Europe. The cost incurred by travel agents and tour operators since 15 April is estimated to be in excess of 450 million Euros. This figure excludes the cost of travel agents, which employed additional staff, opened call centres and enhanced their web operations to respond to the massive demand for information as well as booking or re-booking requests.


This estimate is very conservative, as it only provides an evaluation of costs incurred up to 26 April. It does not take into account the lost revenue from travel and package tours that have been cancelled or are being postponed due to the uncertainty in air travel.


ECTAA and GEBTA have approached the European Commission Vice-President, Mr. Antonio Tajani, to support the European tourism industry. Since February 2010 Mr. Tajani has responsibility for the tourism sector as part of his Commission portfolio of Enterprise and Industry. The two associations are urging the Commission to include travel agents and tour operators in the economic impact assessment of the airspace closure. They are also calling on the Commission to grant travel agents and tour operators access to state aid or any other form of support for the industry that compensate damages for natural disasters or exceptional situations, if this is granted to the airline industry.


Said President of ECTAA: "Travel agents and tour operators have spent millions of Euros to assist their stranded customers and repatriate them by all means of transport. The financial impact has reached an unprecedented level and plunged the sector right back into another crisis. If relief measures are not available, a number of travel agents and tour operators may face some very serious difficulties."




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