State aid: Commission approves €28 million Bulgarian scheme in support of tour operators affected by the coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission approved a €28 million (BGN 55 million) Bulgarian scheme to support tour operators forced to limit or suspend their activities due to restrictions in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. Under the measure, tour operators are entitled to receive €35 for each passenger that has booked a travel package with them, which includes a flight into Bulgaria. Eligibility is restricted to flights between 14 May and 31 December 2020. The scheme will be in the form of a direct grant. The measure is open to all tour operators and carriers regardless of the country of registration and to all travellers regardless of the country of origin. The objective of the measure is to stimulate incoming tourism. It will facilitate access to finance and mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that the affected companies are facing. The Commission found that the Bulgarian measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the support will not exceed €800,000 per company and will be granted no later than 31 December 2020. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules.More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.58050 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.