Tourism sector calls for new wage support measures

A "Welcome to Estonia" tourism poster. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Sectors hit hard by the slow recovery of tourism are hoping the government will reintroduce wage support measures. As the rate of COVID-19 is rising in Estonia, the number of tourists is expected to fall in the coming months.

In a letter sent to the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association and the Estonian Travel and Tourism Association wrote the high infection rate is having a "devastating effect" on the tourism sector and the state should start preparing wage support measures.

This week, as Estonia's infection rate rose to one of the highest in Europe, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) made recommendations to introduce additional restrictions for passengers from Estonia and to avoid traveling to the country.

"Due to the modest success of vaccination and the ineffective control of the spread of the virus in recent weeks, we have once again reached a stage in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic where, in addition to human health and life, many people's jobs are at risk," it said.

"Estonian companies engaged in inbound tourism can see how our foreign partners have been canceling group trips to Estonia for some time now because, in their opinion, our disease figures are too high compared to other destinations. Tourists simply do not dare to come to Estonia, they have many other options," the letter said.

The associations point out they will be hit for a second winter in a row and employees are not to blame.

"We see the need to implement the salary measure immediately, no later than November 1," it is said in the letter.

In recent months, the government has concentrated on the number of people in hospital and the healthcare system's ability to cope rather than the rising number of infections.

No additional measures are planned.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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