Rescue package supports tourism in Sweden’s rural areas
70 million kronor complement huge allocations for the sector
- July 20, 2020 10:30
The Swedish government has presented a rescue package worth 70 million kronor (EUR 6 775 396) to help the country's ailing tourism industry which is being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Presenting the details at a press conference on Thursday, Ibrahim Baylan, the Minister for Industry, Business and Innovation, pointed out that the SEK 70 million in regional support funding were meant for the survival of small and medium-sized businesses in the country’s rural areas which had coped fairly well before the pandemic. The package needs prior EC approval.
Control of the epidemic prioritized over the economy?
Asked why the rescue package is so small, the Minister responded by saying that it is an additional support measure, coming on top of SEK 270 billion allocated directly and SEK 600 billion indirectly (in guarantees and liquidity) to the tourism business sector.
The number of infections in Sweden is decreasing yet international criticism for the country’s approach to the pandemic is far from subsiding. Commenting on this, Ibrahim Baylan said that contrary to the misconception that the government has prioritized the economy, control of the pandemic in Sweden has always come first.
“We have flattened the curve, in this we have been successful; we have educated our population, here we have also been successful. Where we have not been quite successful, is the coronavirus getting into our elderly homes, which is a tragedy. But compared to other parts of the world, I can say we have done the right thing,” the Minister told Radio Sweden.
He added that we are still in the middle of the pandemic and nobody knows how it will unfold and what the fallout will be, therefore the Swedish government is constantly watching and evaluating the situation.
Extending travel ban from most non-EU countries
Meanwhile, the government has extended until 31 August the non-essential travel ban to Sweden from countries outside the EU with the exception of Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK. The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs advises Swedes against non-essential travel to several EU countries until 29 July, and to countries outside the EU, EEA or Schengen until 31 August.
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