ANNOUNCEMENT 04 Dec 2020

In December 2020, the European Commission approved a EUR 625 million (approx. USD 759 million) aid scheme to support Italian travel agencies and tour operators that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS

1

  • 1 harmful
  • 0 neutral
  • 0 liberalising

SOURCE

SA.59755 COVID-19: Aid to tour operators and travel agencies - Italy. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_SA_59755

European Commission Decision, Subject: State Aid SA.59755 (2020/N) – Italy – COVID-19: Aid for tour operators and travel agencies. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/cases1/202050/289899_2218180_65_2.pdf

European Commission, press release of 3 December 2020, State aid: Commission approves €625 million Italian scheme to support tour operators and travel agencies affected by coronavirus outbreak. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_2310

European Commission Decision, Subject: State Aid SA.62356 (2021/N) – Italy
Prolongation of and amendments to SA.59755 (2020/N) – Italy – COVID-19: Aid for tour operators and travel agencies and SA.59992 (2020/N) – Italy – COVID-19: Support measure for the congress and fair industry. Available at:
https://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/cases1/202116/293234_2265897_30_2.pdf

Inception date: 04 Dec 2020 | Removal date: 31 Dec 2021

Financial grant

On 4 December 2020, the European Commission approved a EUR 625 million (approx. USD 759 million) Italian aid scheme to compensate tour operators and travel agencies for the financial losses suffered due to the COVID-19 emergency restrictions. The aid will be provided via direct grants until no later than 30 June 2021.

In this context, the Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, remarked: “the Italian tourism sector has been hit hard by the economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. This €625 million Italian measure will help companies active in the tourism sector tackle the liquidity issues they are facing”.

Eligible companies only include SMEs operating travel agencies and tour operators activities. The final grant amount is obtained after applying a percentage to the fall in turnover experienced by each undertaking from 23 February to 31 July 2020 in comparison to the same period in 2019. Such percentage decreases inversely proportional to turnover, e.g. 20% will be applied for businesses with revenue below EUR 400,000 or 5% for those above EUR 50 million.

The European Commission’s decision highlights that “the measure is liable to distort competition since it strengthens the competitive position of its beneficiaries” and it “also affects trade between Member States, since those beneficiaries are active in sectors in which intra-Union trade exists”. Regardless, the Commission approved the state aid without raising objections, concluding that the measure "is compatible with the internal market pursuant to Article 107(3)(b) of the TFEU".

The state aid is approved under the Temporary Framework under the State Aid and its amendments. The European Commission adopted the Temporary Framework under the State Aid rules of the European Union on 19 March (see related state act).

On 13 April 2021, the European Commission issued a decision under state aid case 62356 extending the coverage period of the scheme until 31 December 2021.

AFFECTED SECTORS

 
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AFFECTED PRODUCTS

 
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