NEWS RELEASE – 21 December 2020: The year 2020 has been a disaster for travel companies and tourism. Turnover has fallen to barely 20% compared to 2019. State aid en vouchers issued in the first months prevented the collapse of the sector. However, the situation is still critical, and more and more travel organizations seem to bankruptcy because they can no longer keep their heads above water financially. Lots of travel bloggers in The Netherlands en Belgium Fortunately, thanks to low fixed costs and flexibility, they have often found new ways to generate income. Small travel organizations such as travel agencies and bus travel companies are unfortunately less lucky with high fixed costs, staff and hardly any income.
Also read: Dutch travel bloggers have proved resilient during the corona crisis
The most catastrophic year in travel history
Looking back at the year, ECTAA, the European Travel Agent and Tour Operator Association2020 as the most catastrophic year in travel history. With an average of -80% of turnover, the value of the business will barely reach 2020 billion euros in 40, compared to the 175 billion euros in 2019. Travel has been made impossible by the closing of borders and subsequent uncoordinated, contradictory and unstable travel restrictions , discouraging potential customers from traveling and travel companies from restarting.
Also read: Corona holiday hotline consumer association | Share your experiences
Travel companies must lay off staff
The liquidity crisis of the service providers (airlines, hotels, events…) was passed on to tour operators and travel agents, who in turn were unable to reimburse their customers and issue vouchers. In December 2020, airlines are estimated to have to repay an additional 7 billion euros to indirect distribution. Due to a lack of sales due to travel restrictions and health measures, many travel companies have had to downsize their staff, use temporary unemployment benefits or lay off staff.
Pawel Niewiadomski, chairman of ECTAA, said: “We get the same information from all countries: Despite all the efforts of companies and their staff and despite the public support given to the industry, many travel companies will not recover. This has never been seen before! Ongoing support measures are needed for the travel and tourism industry, the sector that hardest hit by the pandemic. †
Restore consumer confidence
In this regard, coordination and joint initiatives to support the relaunch of travel and tourism are essential. As ECTAA's preferred destination for 2020, the Greek National Tourism Organization has made an invaluable contribution to restoring consumer confidence and opening up tourism to business.
Since June, the Greek authorities and Greek travel companies have been communicating clearly with industry and consumers and implementing strict health and safety protocols. Thanks to well-formed policies, Greece managed to welcome visitors safely despite all the difficulties.
Hopefully, more countries will soon follow the Greek example. Only a quick recovery of the tourism sector can prevent a collapse of travel companies in 2021.
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