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Boost local demand for tourism through voucher

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Boost local demand for tourism through voucher schemesA number of OECD countries have boosted local demand through state-subsidized discountsin tourism services. The United Kingdom led the way with its "Eat out to help out" discountprogram, which applies to eat-in food and drink on Mondays through Wednesdays. Thediscount is capped at £10 per person and does not apply to alcohol. France is providingconsumers with restaurant discounts of €38 each. These discounts can be used on weekendsand holidays to allow visitors to spend in bars and restaurants. Italy's recovery program allotsevery family free vouchers for cinema, theater, museum, and concert tickets. Italy is also20
refunding 10 percent on credit card transactions, up to €300, for foreign and local touristsalike.Create vacation subsidy programs for domestic touristsSome governments are encouraging local tourism spending by introducing vacation subsidyprograms. Korea, for example, provides workers with vacation bonuses equivalent to 25percent of the cost of the vacation. Southern European countries have variations of suchholiday subsidy schemes, as do other European countries such as Germany and Sweden.Japan goes a step further, covering hotel costs for the first three days of a week-long vacation.Invest in digital solutions to replace human contact in the tourist industrySome recovery programs have committed aid towards reducing personal contact in the touristindustry by going digital. With cars providing greater social distancing than trains orairplanes, France and Germany are subsidizing car rental companies to update their fleetswith electric cars—part of a broader green recovery initiative. Governments are also fundingthe development of online apps for booking tourist services and online tourist guides.Reshape group leisure travelAustria and the Netherlands are financing ways to reshape group leisure travel. This segmentgenerates significant revenues in large cities like Vienna and Amsterdam, mainly from Asiantourists or groups of European retirees. Reshaping group travel implies socially-distancedarrangements—for example trains, not buses—and focus on non-urban sites like parks andhistorical monuments in the open. Such reshaping may take years to mature, and a new typeof tourist too.COVID-19 and the recovery of the tourism industryThe COVID-19 outbreak has been one of the most impactful and tragic pandemics of moderntimes. Currently, saving lives is the absolute priority. However, we also need to begin toaddress the recovery process for the tourism industry in the continued presence of limitationsto international and domestic travel. A disease-induced crisis is not novel in tourism. Thetourism industry has faced several scenarios in the past. However, the present crisis has beenone of the most damaging. This industry will not look the same post-pandemic, and both theindustry and government have a role to play in recovery efforts.

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