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Government wants to set up corona voucher fund to help travel agencies through the crisis

The Federal Government has said that it wants to set up a corona voucher fund to help travel agencies through the crisis that has been caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The fund would provide travel agencies with interest-free loans. This would enable them to refund customers the value of the voucher they had issued to customers that had seen their holidays cancelled due to restriction brough in to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

Last year 200,000 corona vouchers were issued between 20 March and 19 June to people that had seen their package tours cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis. The vouchers that can be used to pay for another holiday are valid for one year. Currently all tourist travel to and from Belgium is banned. It is likely that many of those that received the vouchers will ask for their money back during the coming months, causing serious cashflow issues for many travel agents. The interest-free loan proposed by the Federal Government would help see them through.

Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’ the federal Secretary of State responsible for consumer affairs Eva De Bleeker (Flemish liberal) call on listeners to show solidarity with those in the travel industry. “People that can manage it financially should consider re-booking their holiday to a corona-safe period”.  

“If a travel agency goes bankrupt the packet holiday is insured and the customer will be given a refund. But we want to avoid bankruptcies at all costs”.  

Talks between the Federal Government, the insurance companies and the travel industry on how the corona fund should be organised are currently ongoing. “This is very much in the interest of the insurance companies because if the travel agencies go bankrupt, they will have to pay out the value of the corona vouchers. They would in this case be able to get support from the state”, Ms De Bleeker added.

 

 

 

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