Government still debating support for tourism industry ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

The passenger terminal at Tallinn Airport.
The passenger terminal at Tallinn Airport. Source: Sander Koit/ERR

Measures to support the tourism industry have not yet been agreed by the government, Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) told ERR.

The issue was discussed by the government on Thursday night but no agreement was reached. Ideas previously floated to alleviate the industry's woes include a voucher system or extending the wage subsidy policy.

Kiik said a choice must be made in the near future as to which of the proposed options is considered the most reasonable and affordable. But said tax benefits, such as the abolition of hotel VAT, are currently not on the table. 

Other countries have created vouchers systems - which subsidized domestic travel or eating in restaurants - but care must be taken to ensure the system is fair to everyone in society and that no one is excluded, he said.

"If we create a voucher system, we must ensure that the opportunity to participate is guaranteed to both the wealthier and the less affluent part of society, i.e. this co-payment, the contribution, must not be so high that a certain part of society - elderly or low-paid - cannot using this voucher," he told ERR.

He said that none of these solutions were ideal: "But in a crisis situation where we have relative difficultly in predicting the coming months, years, until the vaccine becomes widely available, we need to take steps and measures which are not 100 percent secure, but do have a positive impact on the sector."

The tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit due to the coronavirus and the restrictions put in place to contain it.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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