The European Commission has announced that it has approved an Italian scheme worth €698 million in order to support companies active in the tourism sector which have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through a statement issued on May 11 by the EU Commission, Executive Vice President in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager stressed that companies active in the tourism sector have seen a significant decline in clients and profits due to the Coronavirus outbreak and restrictive measures in force, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“This €698 million Italian scheme will enable Italy to support these companies by helping them meet their liquidity needs and ensuring the continuity of their activities. We continue to work in close cooperation with the Member States to find workable solutions to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, in line with EU rules,” he also noted.
A portion of this budget will be made available through the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
According to the EU Commission, based on the scheme, the assistance will take the form of direct grants and tax credits for travel companies and loans to travel agencies and tour operators.
“For tourism companies, the measure is aimed at covering part of the costs for the improvement of structures and facilities and energy efficiency. The eligible beneficiaries will be entitled to receive an aid amount covering up to 50 per cent of the eligible costs, within a maximum ceiling of €100,000 per company,” the statement reads.
As far as travel agencies are concerned, this measure aims to cover part of the costs related to renovations and digital development activities.
Beneficiaries who qualify will be able to receive assistance in the form of a tax credit covering up to 50 per cent of eligible costs, within a maximum limit of € 25,000 per beneficiary.
The scheme aims to address the liquidity needs of the beneficiaries and help them continue their activities during and after the pandemic.
The Commission also concluded that the scheme is under the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the assistance will not exceed €2.3 million per beneficiary and will be provided no later than June 30, 2022.
On May 6, the EU Commission also approved another Italian scheme worth €129 million to support the tourism sector in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Commission, this scheme consists of limited amounts of aid, which are in the form of a tax credit that serves for rent payments related to tourism activities to be paid for the period January-March 2022 and aid in the form of support for uncovered fixed costs.