Tourism sector calls for state wage support to continue to spring 2021 ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Hotel room.
Hotel room. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Almost all the professional associations representing the Estonian tourism industry have sent a letter to the government, asking them to restore the wage support scheme introduced at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, until the spring of 2021, the daily Postimees writes (link in Estonian).

In their statement, the professional associations pointed out that the drop in income in the sector has been 50-90 percent. The support measure, first introduced at the peak of the pandemic, would help to prevent the redundancies of around 15,000 people.

For example, 1.43 million nights were spent in Estonian accommodation establishments in the first half of this year, which is over 50 percent down on the same period for 2019, the statement said. Revenue from the sale of accommodation services amounted to €47.7 million- the average annual drop has been 59 percent.

The revenue from accommodation decreased the most in Tallinn - in June, the fall was 88 percent, in July 68 percent and in August 72 percent. The revenue of travel agencies and tour operators has fallen by more than 90 percent over the same period, and the number of foreign visitors is 84 percent lower.

"For six months, we have been in a deep crisis and the figures given do not predict the possibility of the market recovering before the spring of 2021. Two more circumstances make this situation exceptional for our sector this fall-winter -in the summer, it was not possible to pick up the traditional stock for the low season in the summer, and on the other hand, most of the borders are closed for tourism to Estonia for an unknown period," the statement read.

The statement was signed by representatives of the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association, Estonian Travel and Tourism Association (ETFL), Estonian Rural Tourism, Estonian Spa Association and Estonian Convention Bureau.

The government's wage support packaged was introduced in April at the peak of the pandemic, and saw up to 70 percent of an employee's wage, to a maximum of €1,000 per month, paid via the Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa). The scheme, applicable only to businesses, large and small, which could prove major negative effects arising directly from the pandemic, was initially intended only to last for two months.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino, Andrew Whyte

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