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ROUNDUP 2 / Foreign Minister: No ‘normal vacation season’ possible this summer message


(new: quote from Karl Lauterbach in the 7th paragraph)

BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – According to Federal Minister of State Heiko Maas, people in Germany cannot hope for a normal summer vacation without restrictions in the Corona crisis. Development Minister Gerd Mller also considers travel outside of Germany possible. The travel association DRV warned against a “general swan song” on the summer vacation.

Maas said on Tuesday after a video conference with his colleagues from Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein: “A normal holiday season with full beach bars and full mountain huts will not be possible this summer. That would not be responsible”.

The SPD politician did not rule out that the borders for tourists would be opened again before the summer and that vacation trips with certain restrictions would be possible. This is difficult to predict, he said. At the moment there are still restrictions on freedom of movement in many countries. “These are not prerequisites with which you can spend a relaxing holiday at all.”

In Germany there is a worldwide travel warning for tourists until May 3rd. At the end of April, a decision will be made as to how to proceed, said the Foreign Minister.

Development Minister Gerd Mller also holds summer vacation outside of Germany possible. “Holidays in Germany can be possible again this summer,” the CSU politician told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Tuesday). “I also believe that there is an opportunity to do so in the Mediterranean region, including in North Africa.”

Tourism is an important economic sector for North African countries such as Tunisia, Morocco or Egypt, said the minister. A prerequisite for trips to the region are “functioning hygiene concepts according to European standards”, emphasized Mller.

The SPD member of the Bundestag and doctor Karl Lauterbach, on the other hand, described the “watson” summer vacation plans for this year as “grotesquely bad idea” in an interview with the news portal on Tuesday. “The risk is very high that we will experience a severe relapse of the disease in summer. Including another lockdown and high death rates,” said Lauterbach accordingly.

DRV President Norbert Fiebig criticized that statements that the summer vacation should be written off or only kept possible in Germany were “in no way expedient”. Fiebig called for a “positive sign that travel will be possible again – of course, taking appropriate hygiene and precautionary measures into account”. A differentiated debate is necessary and not a “general swan song” for the summer vacation.

“In order to get a minimum of planning security for the companies in the travel industry – travel agencies as well as tour operators and everyone else – we need as differentiated travel information as possible,” said Fiebig. If you continue to warn against traveling abroad in general in the future, this will not do justice to reality.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (VP) first sees the resumption of international air traffic in the medium and long term between countries with a successful anti-corona strategy. He expects a scenario that international countries will open their borders to each other again if they defeat the virus or have very low infection rates, said Kurz in Vienna. “Like a club where you can only be there when there is no health risk.” Aviation has practically come to a standstill as a result of the entry bans in the Corona crisis.

Overall, the travel industry is under pressure worldwide due to the pandemic. The summer season, which runs until October, is traditionally the best-selling time for tour operators and travel agencies – especially business with trips abroad. Countries like Greece, where tourism accounts for almost a third of the economy, fear the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

In Germany, the industry is calling for emergency aid. Around 70,000 hotel and catering businesses are facing bankruptcy. According to a survey by the German Tourism Association (DTV), many providers of holiday apartments and holiday homes are also threatened with the end. Almost 54 percent of more than 9,000 respondents stated that they would no longer be able to continue operating from the end of June. “The tens of thousands of small providers of vacation rentals are still falling through the federal aid network,” criticized DTV managing director Norbert Kunz. They too should finally have access to liquidity aids and grants – regardless of whether they rented as a sideline./mar/DP/jha


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