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五周假期,无处可去:疫情重创欧洲旅游业

五周假期,无处可去:疫情重创欧洲旅游业

David Meyer 2020年04月30日
对于价值2万亿美元的欧洲旅游业来说,眼下的处境或许意味着世界末日。

今年4月中旬,捷克共和国的酒业贸易机构分享了一些令人清醒的消息。

尽管市场研究人员注意到3月的酒类销量同比增长14%,但这一数字包含了零售商在新冠疫情肆虐期间卖给禁足在家的当地人的所有酒精饮品。酒店、餐馆和酒吧的酒水销售坠入低谷,考虑到它们的停业情况,这并不奇怪。而且,如果以酒精单位来衡量,整体销量实际上暴跌了四分之一。

在这个著名的醉酒目的地,出现这种情况的主要原因是旅游业停摆。“这是因为边境关闭了。”捷克酒类进口商联盟的主席弗拉基米尔·达瑞布尼克解释说。

3月16日,捷克共和国关闭边境,成为首批因为新冠疫情危机而自我孤立的欧洲国家之一。它绝不是最后一个这样做的国家。六周后,在27个欧盟成员国中,只有荷兰和卢森堡仍然允许人们不受限制地通过陆路进出其领土。

韦尼格罗德城堡目前已对游客关闭。自3月以来,像这个坐落于德国萨克森-安哈尔特州的旅游胜地一样,许多景点都因为新冠疫情而暂停对游客开放。图片来源:Wire photography: Swen Pförtner/dpa-Zentralbild via Getty Images

对于价值2万亿美元的欧洲旅游业来说,这或许意味着世界末日。要知道,在岁月静好的正常年份,此时此刻正是该行业为迎接夏季假期旅游高峰做准备的时候。

“我们目前所处的情势非常独特,既没有需求,也没有产品。”欧洲旅游协会的首席执行官汤姆·詹金斯说。“实在是糟糕得不能再糟了。”

“我们原本期待着今年能创下历史新高。”

相关数据令人震惊。在捷克共和国(从4月27日又开始允许本国公民出境),今年的旅游收入预计将下降75%。在旅游业占国内生产总值(GDP)12%的西班牙,旅游收入预计将暴跌80%,即1,300亿美元。

在旅游业占GDP比重高达20%的希腊,预计有三分之二的酒店即将破产倒闭,该国正在硬着头皮应对这一凄惨前景。

在很大程度上,这场灾难是人们无法进入欧洲所致——欧洲的外部边界于3月17日关闭。詹金斯指出,每十年一次的上阿默高耶稣受难剧,原本将于今年在德国巴伐利亚州同名小镇隆重上演。业内人士此前信心满满地预计,这将推动美国进入欧洲的游客流量增加10%到20%。

“可悲的是,从入境游客流量的角度看,我们原本期待着今年能创下历史新高。”他说。

但欧洲内部旅游业的停摆也带来了毁灭性打击。需要指出的是,欧盟居民通常将80%的旅游支出花在欧盟内部。这样做的理由很充分:几乎所有欧盟国家都处于以人员自由流动著称的所谓“申根区”,欧盟的内部边界几乎成了摆设。就像跨境经营企业一样,这早已被欧洲人视为理所当然的事情。但现在,这套申根体系已经无法正常运行。

眼下,欧洲人正面临他们此前无法想象的事情。欧洲人享有的带薪休假天数一直让其他发达国家艳羡不已。根据法规,欧盟工人每年至少有长达四周的假期,此外还有密集安排的公共假日。欧洲工人充分利用五到六周的年假,精心策划旅游行程的情况并不鲜见,而现在他们却被要求驻留在国内,不要外出。

德国人尤其善于利用这些慷慨的假期安排,他们也是欧洲其他国家最热情的入境游客之一。坐拥46处世界文化遗产的德国,自身也是一个非常热门的旅游目的地。尽管如此,无论是作为一个重要的游客来源国,还是作为其他国家游客竞相前往的旅游目的地,德国也无法幸免于难。德国旅游业行业组织DRV在4月26日预测称,三分之二的旅游公司正处于破产边缘。

“如果联邦政府不尽快出手保护旅游业,1.1万家旅行社和超过2,300家旅游公司中的大部分,恐怕很难熬过这场新冠疫情带来的生存威胁,数万名从业者也将失去工作。”该协会主席诺贝特·费比格在一份声明中说。

相互冲突的路线图

以35年前签署协议的卢森堡小镇命名的申根自由流动体系,实际上已经陷于瘫痪。这是一场更大范围的欧盟框架危机的生动写照。在各成员国疲于应对新冠疫情之际,传统上主要围绕经济团结议题运作的欧盟,顿时变得束手无措。

但是,撇开象征意义不谈,这些封闭的边界目前成了一个实际问题,谁也不知道如何解决。每个欧盟成员国仍然保留着对其边界的最终控制权,而作为欧盟中央管理机构的欧盟欧委员会,只能竭尽所能地劝说各国政府采取某种协调一致的方式解除边境管制。

4月15日,欧盟委员会发布了一份“欧洲解除冠状病毒遏制措施路线图”,就各成员国在考虑开放其边境时应该考虑的问题提出了一系列标准。“高度协调的前进道路事关欧洲的共同利益。”该委员会恳求道。

但现在发生的事情远远谈不上协调。相反,一些欧洲国家正在提议签订双边协议,允许人们从其他一些欧盟成员国入境,但只涉及少数几个国家。

例如,捷克共和国正在与克罗地亚就建立一条所谓的“冠状走廊”进行谈判,以推动两国间的旅游往来,但度假者必须证明他们没有感染病毒。这两个国家并不接壤,而这显然不是问题。其共同之处在于,新冠病毒感染病例相对较少,且可控。

奥地利已经意识到,如果没有德国游客襄助,其旅游业将走向破产。出于这种担忧,该国也制定了一项类似计划。但德国外交部长海科·马斯似乎并不买账。在他看来,重新开放跨境旅游将导致感染率再度飙升。马斯于4月26日表示:“欧洲各国正在竞相成为首个重启旅游业的国家,这将导致不可接受的风险。”

欧洲政策中心的欧洲移民事务主管玛丽·德·索梅尔用“混乱”一词来形容欧洲内部重新实施边境管控的进程。“如果在解除管控的过程中再次出现这种混乱,那么我们将陷入麻烦。”她说。

德·索梅尔指出,尽管人员自由流动在3月之前仍是欧盟内部的普遍现象,但2015年难民危机期间建立的一些内部边境控制措施从未完全消失。

“直到3月和4月,德国、法国、奥地利、挪威、瑞典和丹麦仍在坚持边境管控,其目的是阻止难民二次流动。”所谓的“二次流动”是指一些难民离开他们抵达欧盟后注册的首个庇护国,又前往另一个成员国的行为。“这样做很可能是为了给本国公众创造一种印象,让他们觉得边境管控已经部署到位,但从长远看,这并不是个好兆头,因为它清楚地表明,实施边境管控是很容易做到的事情,而取消这些措施则完全是另一回事。”她说。

安全措施

今年,正如法国和意大利的政治家所建议的那样,“宅度假”可能是唯一的选择。但撇开边界问题不谈,一旦旅游业重启成为可能,目前还不清楚欧洲乃至世界其他地方的旅游业将会变成什么样子。

现在还远远不能确定新冠疫苗能够在短期内上市,如果真能研发出来的话。因此,酒店业很可能需要采取一些“社交距离”规则,这将带来非常不一样的度假体验。试想一下酒吧里的凳子远远隔开,欧洲海滩上的折叠式躺椅再也不像以前那样紧凑摆放的情形。

一些旅游业的重要参与者都对这种做法的实际效果深表怀疑。例如,瑞安航空的首席执行官迈克尔·奥莱利坦言道,如果这意味着每一排的中间座位都得空着,他领导的这家廉价航空公司将不会恢复航班。“66%的载客率根本赚不到钱。”他在4月下旬说道。

欧洲旅游协会的詹金斯也认同这种观点。“每一种服务业都有很高的固定成本。唯有最大限度地利用产能,才能抵消这些固定成本,这是服务业赖以运营的基础。”他说。“无论是商店、餐馆、剧院、航空公司,还是培训机构,只要你重新开张营业,你就有强烈的动机去尽可能地推高上座率。现在摆在旅游业面前的选项是,要么没有生意可做,要么做亏本买卖。这两个选项都太糟糕了。”

那么,所谓的“免疫力通行证”对重启旅游业有帮助吗?

这种数字文件证明持卡人是新冠病毒的康复患者,从而应该具有免疫力。近期有很多人表示,这不失为一种重振旅行和旅游业的好办法。比如,达美航空的首席执行官埃德·巴斯蒂安似乎认为此举切实可行。

但世界卫生组织在4月下旬发表的一份科学简报给这种想法泼了一盆冷水。该简报明确指出:“目前没有证据表明,从新冠肺炎中康复,并具有抗体的人没有二次感染的风险。”

即使“免疫力通行证”真像传说中那样管用,它也未必是一个很好的推销手段。正如詹金斯所言,“如果你想吸引游客,你就应该敞开怀抱,热烈欢迎,而不是把他们当成必须证明自己没有传染性的麻风病人。”(财富中文网)

译者;任文科

今年4月中旬,捷克共和国的酒业贸易机构分享了一些令人清醒的消息。

尽管市场研究人员注意到3月的酒类销量同比增长14%,但这一数字包含了零售商在新冠疫情肆虐期间卖给禁足在家的当地人的所有酒精饮品。酒店、餐馆和酒吧的酒水销售坠入低谷,考虑到它们的停业情况,这并不奇怪。而且,如果以酒精单位来衡量,整体销量实际上暴跌了四分之一。

在这个著名的醉酒目的地,出现这种情况的主要原因是旅游业停摆。“这是因为边境关闭了。”捷克酒类进口商联盟的主席弗拉基米尔·达瑞布尼克解释说。

3月16日,捷克共和国关闭边境,成为首批因为新冠疫情危机而自我孤立的欧洲国家之一。它绝不是最后一个这样做的国家。六周后,在27个欧盟成员国中,只有荷兰和卢森堡仍然允许人们不受限制地通过陆路进出其领土。

对于价值2万亿美元的欧洲旅游业来说,这或许意味着世界末日。要知道,在岁月静好的正常年份,此时此刻正是该行业为迎接夏季假期旅游高峰做准备的时候。

“我们目前所处的情势非常独特,既没有需求,也没有产品。”欧洲旅游协会的首席执行官汤姆·詹金斯说。“实在是糟糕得不能再糟了。”

“我们原本期待着今年能创下历史新高。”

相关数据令人震惊。在捷克共和国(从4月27日又开始允许本国公民出境),今年的旅游收入预计将下降75%。在旅游业占国内生产总值(GDP)12%的西班牙,旅游收入预计将暴跌80%,即1,300亿美元。

在旅游业占GDP比重高达20%的希腊,预计有三分之二的酒店即将破产倒闭,该国正在硬着头皮应对这一凄惨前景。

在很大程度上,这场灾难是人们无法进入欧洲所致——欧洲的外部边界于3月17日关闭。詹金斯指出,每十年一次的上阿默高耶稣受难剧,原本将于今年在德国巴伐利亚州同名小镇隆重上演。业内人士此前信心满满地预计,这将推动美国进入欧洲的游客流量增加10%到20%。

“可悲的是,从入境游客流量的角度看,我们原本期待着今年能创下历史新高。”他说。

但欧洲内部旅游业的停摆也带来了毁灭性打击。需要指出的是,欧盟居民通常将80%的旅游支出花在欧盟内部。这样做的理由很充分:几乎所有欧盟国家都处于以人员自由流动著称的所谓“申根区”,欧盟的内部边界几乎成了摆设。就像跨境经营企业一样,这早已被欧洲人视为理所当然的事情。但现在,这套申根体系已经无法正常运行。

眼下,欧洲人正面临他们此前无法想象的事情。欧洲人享有的带薪休假天数一直让其他发达国家艳羡不已。根据法规,欧盟工人每年至少有长达四周的假期,此外还有密集安排的公共假日。欧洲工人充分利用五到六周的年假,精心策划旅游行程的情况并不鲜见,而现在他们却被要求驻留在国内,不要外出。

德国人尤其善于利用这些慷慨的假期安排,他们也是欧洲其他国家最热情的入境游客之一。坐拥46处世界文化遗产的德国,自身也是一个非常热门的旅游目的地。尽管如此,无论是作为一个重要的游客来源国,还是作为其他国家游客竞相前往的旅游目的地,德国也无法幸免于难。德国旅游业行业组织DRV在4月26日预测称,三分之二的旅游公司正处于破产边缘。

“如果联邦政府不尽快出手保护旅游业,1.1万家旅行社和超过2,300家旅游公司中的大部分,恐怕很难熬过这场新冠疫情带来的生存威胁,数万名从业者也将失去工作。”该协会主席诺贝特·费比格在一份声明中说。

相互冲突的路线图

以35年前签署协议的卢森堡小镇命名的申根自由流动体系,实际上已经陷于瘫痪。这是一场更大范围的欧盟框架危机的生动写照。在各成员国疲于应对新冠疫情之际,传统上主要围绕经济团结议题运作的欧盟,顿时变得束手无措。

但是,撇开象征意义不谈,这些封闭的边界目前成了一个实际问题,谁也不知道如何解决。每个欧盟成员国仍然保留着对其边界的最终控制权,而作为欧盟中央管理机构的欧盟欧委员会,只能竭尽所能地劝说各国政府采取某种协调一致的方式解除边境管制。

4月15日,欧盟委员会发布了一份“欧洲解除冠状病毒遏制措施路线图”,就各成员国在考虑开放其边境时应该考虑的问题提出了一系列标准。“高度协调的前进道路事关欧洲的共同利益。”该委员会恳求道。

但现在发生的事情远远谈不上协调。相反,一些欧洲国家正在提议签订双边协议,允许人们从其他一些欧盟成员国入境,但只涉及少数几个国家。

例如,捷克共和国正在与克罗地亚就建立一条所谓的“冠状走廊”进行谈判,以推动两国间的旅游往来,但度假者必须证明他们没有感染病毒。这两个国家并不接壤,而这显然不是问题。其共同之处在于,新冠病毒感染病例相对较少,且可控。

奥地利已经意识到,如果没有德国游客襄助,其旅游业将走向破产。出于这种担忧,该国也制定了一项类似计划。但德国外交部长海科·马斯似乎并不买账。在他看来,重新开放跨境旅游将导致感染率再度飙升。马斯于4月26日表示:“欧洲各国正在竞相成为首个重启旅游业的国家,这将导致不可接受的风险。”

欧洲政策中心的欧洲移民事务主管玛丽·德·索梅尔用“混乱”一词来形容欧洲内部重新实施边境管控的进程。“如果在解除管控的过程中再次出现这种混乱,那么我们将陷入麻烦。”她说。

德·索梅尔指出,尽管人员自由流动在3月之前仍是欧盟内部的普遍现象,但2015年难民危机期间建立的一些内部边境控制措施从未完全消失。

“直到3月和4月,德国、法国、奥地利、挪威、瑞典和丹麦仍在坚持边境管控,其目的是阻止难民二次流动。”所谓的“二次流动”是指一些难民离开他们抵达欧盟后注册的首个庇护国,又前往另一个成员国的行为。“这样做很可能是为了给本国公众创造一种印象,让他们觉得边境管控已经部署到位,但从长远看,这并不是个好兆头,因为它清楚地表明,实施边境管控是很容易做到的事情,而取消这些措施则完全是另一回事。”她说。

安全措施

今年,正如法国和意大利的政治家所建议的那样,“宅度假”可能是唯一的选择。但撇开边界问题不谈,一旦旅游业重启成为可能,目前还不清楚欧洲乃至世界其他地方的旅游业将会变成什么样子。

现在还远远不能确定新冠疫苗能够在短期内上市,如果真能研发出来的话。因此,酒店业很可能需要采取一些“社交距离”规则,这将带来非常不一样的度假体验。试想一下酒吧里的凳子远远隔开,欧洲海滩上的折叠式躺椅再也不像以前那样紧凑摆放的情形。

一些旅游业的重要参与者都对这种做法的实际效果深表怀疑。例如,瑞安航空的首席执行官迈克尔·奥莱利坦言道,如果这意味着每一排的中间座位都得空着,他领导的这家廉价航空公司将不会恢复航班。“66%的载客率根本赚不到钱。”他在4月下旬说道。

欧洲旅游协会的詹金斯也认同这种观点。“每一种服务业都有很高的固定成本。唯有最大限度地利用产能,才能抵消这些固定成本,这是服务业赖以运营的基础。”他说。“无论是商店、餐馆、剧院、航空公司,还是培训机构,只要你重新开张营业,你就有强烈的动机去尽可能地推高上座率。现在摆在旅游业面前的选项是,要么没有生意可做,要么做亏本买卖。这两个选项都太糟糕了。”

那么,所谓的“免疫力通行证”对重启旅游业有帮助吗?

这种数字文件证明持卡人是新冠病毒的康复患者,从而应该具有免疫力。近期有很多人表示,这不失为一种重振旅行和旅游业的好办法。比如,达美航空的首席执行官埃德·巴斯蒂安似乎认为此举切实可行。

但世界卫生组织在4月下旬发表的一份科学简报给这种想法泼了一盆冷水。该简报明确指出:“目前没有证据表明,从新冠肺炎中康复,并具有抗体的人没有二次感染的风险。”

即使“免疫力通行证”真像传说中那样管用,它也未必是一个很好的推销手段。正如詹金斯所言,“如果你想吸引游客,你就应该敞开怀抱,热烈欢迎,而不是把他们当成必须证明自己没有传染性的麻风病人。”(财富中文网)

译者;任文科

In the mid-April, the Czech Republic’s alcohol industry trade body shared some sobering news.

Although market researchers had noted a 14% year-over-year uptick in booze sales for March, those sales comprised all that retailers had sold to locals who were staying at home during the country’s coronavirus lockdown. Sales in hotels, restaurants, and bars had flatlined—unsurprisingly, given their closure—and, when measured by alcoholic units, overall sales were actually down by a quarter.

And the main driver for that, in this notable inebriation destination, was the lack of tourism. “The explanation…is the closure of borders,” said Vladimír Darebník, head of the Czech Union of Liquor Importers

The Czech Republic’s borders slammed shut on March 16, making it one of the first European countries to self-isolate in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It would not be the last. Six weeks later, among the 27 European Union member states, only the Netherlands and Luxembourg are allowing unrestricted travel in and out of their territories by land.

For Europe’s $2 trillion tourist industry, which would in less crazy times be preparing for a summer-holiday bonanza, it may as well be the end of the world.

“We are in the unique position of there being no demand and no product,” says Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tourism Association (ETOA). “You could not devise anything worse.”

‘We were looking forward to a record year’

The figures are staggering. In the Czech Republic (which on April 27 started allowing its own citizens to leave the country again), tourism revenues are expected to be down 75% this year. In Spain, where tourism accounts for 12% of gross domestic product, the anticipated drop is 80%, or $130 billion.

And Greece, where tourism represents a whopping 20% of GDP, is steeling itself for the prospect of two-thirds of its hotels going bankrupt.

Much of this catastrophe is the result of people’s inability to travel into Europe, where external borders closed March 17. Jenkins notes that the once-every-decade Oberammergau Passion Play was to have taken place in the Bavarian town of that name this year, which would have helped boost tourist traffic from the U.S. into Europe by between 10% and 20%.

“From an incoming point of view, the sad thing is we were looking forward to a record year,” he says.

But the shutdown of intra-European tourism is also devastating—EU residents typically spend around 80% of their tourism expenditure within the bloc. And for good reason: Almost all EU countries are within the so-called Schengen Area of free movement, rendering the EU’s internal borders practically invisible. Like the ability to operate businesses across borders, this is something Europeans take for granted. But for now, the Schengen system is no longer functioning.

Europeans are facing the unthinkable. Endowed with an allotment of paid-vacation days that is the envy of the developed world—by statute, workers in the EU are guaranteed a minimum of four weeks off; add in a packed calendar of public holidays, and it’s not uncommon for Europe’s workers to be plotting elaborate trips with the five or six weeks of annual leave they receive—Europeans are now being ordered to stay put.

Germans, in particular, take advantage of these generous holiday allotments; its citizens are also among the most enthusiastic tourists in other European countries. Home to 46 Unesco World Heritage sites, Germany is a popular tourist destination unto itself. It too won’t be spared, neither as a supplier of tourists nor as a place for other countries’ tourists to come. The DRV travel industry association predicted on April 26 that two-thirds of its travel firms are on the brink of insolvency.

“It is feared that the majority of the 11,000 travel agencies and over 2,300 tour operators will not survive this existential threat from the corona pandemic, and tens of thousands of jobs will be lost if the federal government does not soon put a protective shield over the industry,” said DRV president Norbert Fiebig in a statement.

Conflicting road maps

The effective suspension of the Schengen free-movement system (named for the small Luxembourg town where the agreement was signed 35 years ago) is emblematic of a wider crisis in the EU structure, which largely revolves around the issue of economic solidarity, as individual countries struggle to cope with the pandemic.

But, symbolism aside, those closed borders are a practical problem that nobody is quite sure how to solve. Each EU country still retains ultimate control over its borders, and the bloc’s central administration—the European Commission—can only do its best to try nudging governments toward some kind of coordinated lifting of border controls.

On April 15, the commission published a “European road map to lifting coronavirus containment measures,” offering sets of criteria that member states should consider when deciding on the opening of their borders. “A highly coordinated way forward is a matter of common European interest,” the commission pleaded.

What’s happening now is anything but coordinated. Instead, some European countries are proposing bilateral agreements that would allow people to enter from some other EU member states—but only a handful.

The Czech Republic, for example, is in talks with Croatia about establishing a so-called corona corridor that would allow tourism between the two countries, for holidaymakers who can demonstrate they don’t have COVID-19. That the two countries do not share a common border is apparently no issue. What they do have in common is a relatively low and manageable caseload of coronavirus infections.

Austria, which has realized that its tourism industry will go bust without German tourists, has a similar plan—though German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is less than keen on tourism fueling new spikes in infection rates. “A European race to see who will allow tourism travel first will lead to unacceptable risks,” Maas said on April 26.

Marie De Somer, head of European migration at the European Policy Center, characterizes the reimposition of border controls within Europe as chaotic. “If that chaos is repeated in the lifting [of controls] then we will be in trouble,” she says.

De Somer points out that, despite the general existence of free movement within the EU before March, some of the internal border controls established in the 2015 refugee crisis never quite went away.

“Until March and April, Germany, France, Austria, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark were still upholding…border controls aimed at identifying so called secondary movements of asylum seekers from their countries of first arrival [in the EU],” she says. “It was likely about imagery, and about being able to tell the national public there were border controls in place, [but] that also doesn’t bode well for the future, because it clearly shows that introducing controls is an easy thing to do, and lifting them is quite different.”

Safety measures

This year, as French and Italian politicians have suggested, staycations may be the only option. But border issues aside, it is unclear what tourism might look like in Europe—and indeed everywhere else—once it becomes viable again.

It is by no means a certainty that a COVID-19 vaccine will become a reality anytime soon, if at all, so the hospitality sector will likely need to enforce distancing rules that make for a very different vacation experience. Think bars with spaced-out stools, and deck chairs that are no longer as tightly packed on Europe’s beaches as they once were.

Key players in the travel industry are deeply skeptical about how this might work in practice. For example, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has said his low-cost airline won’t resume flights if that means leaving the middle seat in each row empty. “We can’t make money on 66% load factors,” he said last week.

“Every service business has high fixed costs and runs on the basis of maximizing the use of capacity to offset these fixed costs,” agrees ETOA’s Jenkins. “If you open your business, be it a shop, a restaurant, a theater, an airline, or a coach, every incentive will be there for you to push attendance up towards capacity…What is being offered to the tourism industry is the chance to have no business or a loss-making business. That isn’t much of a choice.”

And what of the idea of “immunity passports”?

Involving digital documents that prove the holder has been infected and is therefore supposedly immune, this has been regularly proposed as a way to revive the travel and tourism industries—Delta CEO Ed Bastian, for one, certainly seems to think they may become a reality.

But the World Health Organization (WHO) poured cold water on the concept in a scientific brief published late last week. “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,” it said.

And even if they did work as promised, immunity passports may not make for a great sales pitch. “If you want to attract visitors you attract visitors by welcoming them, not by treating them as lepers unless otherwise proved,” says Jenkins.

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