More Details on State Aid for Slovenia’s Hard Hit Tourism Sector

By , 08 May 2020, 12:00 PM Business
More Details on State Aid for Slovenia’s Hard Hit Tourism Sector JL Flanner

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STA, 7 May 2020 - Details are emerging of a package of state aid the Slovenian tourism sector will get to survive what is expected to be a deep slump. Aside from an extension of existing measures that all companies are eligible for, tourism companies will get an extra loan facility and a short-time work scheme.

 A short-term work scheme, best known by its German name Kurzarbeit (Wikipedia), will be put in place as part of the third stimulus package, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told the press on Thursday.

Existing schemes such as state financing of temporary layoffs, which expire at the end of May, will be extended for tourism companies by between four and eight months to facilitate a gradual reopening of the sector.

A lending facility providing liquidity loans of EUR 5,000-40,000 for small and medium-sized companies will be put in place and grants of EUR 16 million total will be available to cover the running costs of restaurants and accommodation services.

"The state will help tourism because it is an industry hit by coronavirus in the most drastic way," said Počivalšek, adding that the industry needed "measures that will facilitate not just survival but also restructuring and the development of new products."

"We want to preserve jobs in tourism, retain high-quality staff and help smaller providers survive," he said. The situation is expected to improve next year, but Počivalšek stressed that some estimate tourism may need up to five years to recover.

While outdoor areas of bars reopened this week and restaurants have been serving take-away food for several weeks now, the bulk of the hospitality sector remains shut down as hotels, spas, campsites and tour operators await the government's decision to reopen.

A document circulated on social media in recent days suggested accommodation providers with up to 30 beds could reopen on 12 May along with restaurants, bars and campsites, followed by tour operators, larger hotels, wellness centres and pools on 1 June.

Počivalšek said these dates were merely indicative. "They still need to be examined. Some are more likely, others less so."

Another major unknown are instructions for precautionary measures that providers will have to follow. Počivalšek said they were being finalised and would be presented shortly.

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