Croatian MEP Tonino Picula addressed a question to the European Commission late last week regarding possible compensations to member states whose economies are heavily dependent on tourism, and may suffer heavy losses caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic: "Does the Commission plan active measures and specific resources for offsetting the heavy losses of EU Member States whose economy is significantly dependent on tourism?"
Croatian media have already reported that one third of all tourist reservations for the upcoming Easter holidays have been canceled. Reports do not paint an optimistic picture before the upcoming season. The loss will be felt in every sector as the tourism supply chain includes everything from accommodation, food and beverages, to transport and passenger services. Picula thus believes the EC must have a plan and the means to help the countries worst hit by a decline in tourist traffic.
Picula reminded the Commission that Croatia, as a major tourist destination, is significantly dependent on tourism revenues. In the last three months, millions of Chinese citizens have been unable to travel, and traditional markets for Croatian tourism, such as Italy and Germany, have been directly affected by the coronavirus. This situation creates a fear of contagion among people planning to visit another country and negatively affects tourist travel. Therefore, Picula's second question focused on suppressing false news around the coronavirus: "How can the Commission respond to the fight against irrational and sensationalist misinformation about coronaviruses, which create fear and further discourage citizens from traveling?".
Tourism accounts for 10.4 percent of world GDP. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) have announced that a drop in consumption and a reduced number of trips worldwide have already caused an estimated $ 22 billion in losses. However, those losses may amount to up to $ 49 billion if the crisis continues as the SARS epidemic.