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Tourism SHIELD

After the successive Anti-Crisis Shields, on 23 September this year, the President signed a law called the tourism shield[1] which complements the Anti-Crisis Shield of 2 March this year. Due to the continuing epidemic and the progressive increase in diseases, the tourism industry is still in a bad financial situation despite the increase in traffic during the holiday season. Market observations show that there is an urgent need to develop statutory solutions ensuring that tourism entrepreneurs are able to continue their business.

What assistance will be provided under the law?

The law provides for the extension of existing support measures, including the following:

1) additional idle time pay,

2) exemption from the obligation to pay social security and health insurance contributions,

3) clarification of the provisions on vouchers.

The law also provides for the establishment of the Tourist Return Fund which will partially take over the return of receivables to customers and tour operators under the Insurance Guarantee Fund. The Tourist Assistance Fund will also be established to support tour operators in the future.

Who can count on help?

The additional idle time pay and exemption from the obligation to pay social security and health insurance contributions may be applied for by entrepreneurs conducting activities under the following PKD classification codes:

1) Other passenger land transport not elsewhere classified (49.39.Z),

2) Rental and leasing of other machinery, equipment and tangible goods not elsewhere classified (77.39.Z),

3) Performing arts activities (90.01.Z),

4) Support activities to performing arts (90.02.Z),

5) Activity of escape rooms, haunted houses, dance facilities and other forms of amusement or recreation organised indoors or in other enclosed places (93.29.A.),

6) Other amusement and recreation activities not elsewhere classified (93.29.B).

It is also required to show a decrease in revenue by at least 75% in the month preceding the submission of the application compared to the same month in 2019.

The same group of entrepreneurs will also be entitled to apply for exemption from the obligation to pay social contributions for the period from 1 July to 30 September 2020. In this case, showing a decrease in revenue by at least 75% is also required.

The law provides for the rules for the execution of vouchers granted to customers as a result of cancelled stays and unprovided services. According to the amendment to the law, the vouchers are subject to protection based on the rules governing the security of activity conducted by tour operators. In the event of bankruptcy, the injured customer will have the right to apply for a return.

For the tour operator, it is crucial to establish two funds under the Insurance Guarantee Fund. The Tourist Return Fund is intended to relieve the burden on tour operators by paying out the funds to the customer who has cancelled the service without using the voucher option. The Tourist Assistance Fund is designed to accumulate funds for the future in case an event similar to the COVID-19 pandemic occurs, putting the tourism industry in a very bad financial situation.

Summary

The proposed solutions are intended to help the most disadvantaged tourism entrepreneurs tour operators in connection with the upcoming return implementation deadline extended by the provisions of the Anti-Crisis Shield. Some say that the right to additional idle time pay and exemption from the obligation to pay contributions is granted to a narrow group of entrepreneurs operating in the industry and the decrease-in-revenue threshold is too high. It is clear that due to the end of the summer season, the tourism entrepreneurs, at least some of them, will be faced with the need to think about the future direction of their business.  

 

Adam Madejski, attorney-at-law

 

[1] Law of 17 September 2020 amending the Law on special solutions related to preventing, counteracting and combating COVID-19, other infectious diseases and related crisis situations, and certain other laws.

 

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