The lockdowns and travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have ravaged the global holiday sector.
For Europe - the world's top tourism destination - the health crisis has been especially tough. 23 million EU jobs - around 12% of the region's workforce - depend on tourism in one way or another.
Estimates of the drop in revenue for 2020 are 60% for hotels & restaurants; 60% for airlines and airports; 90% for travel agencies & tour operators; 90% for cruise industry; 70% for museums and cultural sites.
Supporting the holiday and travel industry has therefore become a top priority for the EU.
The European Commission has allocated over 150 billion euros to ensure the stability of the industry, especially small and medium-sized businesses, while also making the rules to access this fund more flexible.
Financing has been distributed through three main channels.
- The European Investment Bank Group, including the European Investment Fund, focusing on supporting SMEs.
- The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to help the Member States fund their coronavirus crisis response.
- The SURE programme, to help the EU Member States pay for national short-time work schemes and other similar measures.
The EIB Group has also established a short-term pan-European Guarantee Fund aimed at supporting SMEs, which plans to mobilise up to 200 billion euros. The fund is supposed to automatically dissolve by the end of 2021 unless member states decide to prolong it.
How can you access all this aid?
Most grants funded by the EU are distributed via regional and national authorities. Find out more here.
EIB's funding, is made available through financial intermediaries, so banks. You can find the list of the ones partaking here.