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Schengen Visa

EU Approves Another €56.25 Million Italian Scheme to Support Travel Agencies & Tour Operators Affected by COVID-19

On Thursday, June 23, the European Commission announced that it had funded an Italian scheme of €56.25 million to continue supporting travel agencies and tour operators in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic, which was also has been approved under the State aid Temporary Framework.

According to the EU Commission, this assistance will take the form of exemptions from the payment of social security contributions between April and August 2022, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

“The exemption amount per beneficiary will be calculated based on the number of employees over the reference period. If the total amount of the social security contributions due for that period exceeds the overall budget of the scheme, the exemption will be recalculated and applied monthly,” the statement issued by the Commission reads.

It has been explained that the aid will not exceed €2.3 million per beneficiary and will be granted no later than June 30, 2022. Thus the Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to correct a serious concern in the economy of a Member State, in this case, the Italian state.

Previously, the EU Commission allocated €5 million to support tour operators in Italy affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on this assistance, authorized bus companies will be allowed to perform tourist transport services with covered buses that are not subject to public service obligations. In addition, the scheme aims to address the liquidity needs of beneficiaries and help them continue their activities during and after the pandemic.

In support of the rail and passenger sectors affected by COVID-19, the Commission has also approved an Italian scheme of €130 million.

Through a press release issued on June 20, the Commission stressed that the adopted measure would support railway operators by maintaining their competitiveness as well as shifting road-to-rail traffic to pre-pandemic levels.

On June 9, the EU Commission also approved a €60 million Italian plan to support companies engaged in the tourism and thermal baths sectors that have been economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program aims to reduce the labour costs that were being addressed by private employers in the tourism and thermal baths sectors, as well as to encourage and maintain employment levels. Yet, the scheme will exclude new employees temporarily or seasonally employed for three months, with the possibility of assistance being extended up to six months.

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