The European Commission has approved a €5 million Italian scheme to support tourism bus operators affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement was made by a press release from the EU Commission, which also indicated that the scheme had been approved under the Temporary State Assistance Framework, SchengenVisainfo.com reports.
This measure will help bus companies authorized to operate covered bus tour services that are not subject to public service obligations.
The purpose of the program is to meet the liquidity needs of the beneficiaries and help them continue their activities during and after the pandemic. To be eligible, bus operators must have at least a 30 percent reduction in turnover during 2021 compared to 2019.
“The Commission has found that the Italian scheme is in line with the conditions stipulated in the interim framework. In particular, the assistance will not (1) exceed 2.3 million euros per beneficiary, and (2) it will be granted no later than 30 June 2022”, explains the press release.
The authority recently gave the green light to another Italian plan worth 60 million euros to support companies operating in the tourism and thermal baths sectors that have been hit economically by the coronavirus pandemic.
The EU Commission has also announced that this program aims to reduce labor costs handled by private employers in the tourism and thermal baths sectors while at the same time encouraging and maintaining employment levels.
In addition, the system will exempt new employees hired temporarily or seasonally for a period of three months, with the possibility of extending the assistance for up to six months.
According to the EU Commission, the aid will not exceed 2.3 million euros per beneficiary and will be provided within a month – until June 30.
Previously, the European Union Commission approved another Italian scheme of 129 million euros that works to support the tourism sector in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the EU Commission explains, this scheme consists of limited amounts of assistance, which will be allocated in the form of a tax credit for rental payments related to tourism activities and will be paid for the period from January to March 2022.
The EU Commission also revealed that general support will not exceed 2.3 million euros per beneficiary in the case of limited aid amounts. On the other hand, when subsidizing fixed costs that are not covered, the assistance will also not exceed 12 million euros per company.