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Coronavirus: Controversial plan to support tourism

The House commerce committee will discuss on Wednesday ways of salvaging the tourism sector, including a controversial plan for businesses to issue vouchers instead of cash refunds to customers for cancelled bookings.

The issuance of such vouchers is to help shield the hard-hit tourism sector from the effects of the coronavirus epidemic that has brought global travel to a financially devastating halt.

Yet such a plan contravenes EU law, of which the European Commission is the guardian, which provides customers with the right to choose between a cash refund or accepting a voucher for a future package holiday.

The same problem affects airlines, which have been trying to deflect millions of refund claims to avoid additional drains of their cash reserves in a sector grounded by the pandemic.

If passed

The House committee is also expected to decide on a to suspend the annual fee of €350 for companies which is payable by the end of June until the end of December.

In addition to the committee and the deputy tourism minister, representatives of the finance ministry and other officials will be present.

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