During IAAPA Expo Europe, Dr. Klaus Batz, Managing Director of the European Waterpark Association e.V. (EWA) and Friedhelm Freiherr von Landsberg-Velen, President of the Association of German Leisure Parks and Leisure Companies (VDFU), had the opportunity to report to Eric Philippart of the European Commission on the economic problems of leisure pools, spas and leisure parks. The occasion was an internal expert meeting, which took place at the invitation of the International Association on Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) together with the Senior Expert for Tourism Policy of the EU Commission.
Dr. Klaus Batz used the opportunity to draw attention to the unequal treatment of privately run leisure pools and spas and of municipal and state-owned enterprises with regard to aid programs to cope with the economic impact of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Another wish of the EWA managing director: The European Commission should commission scientific expertises for future crisis situations comparable to the pandemic, which can be a reliable and uniform assessment basis for the individual EU member states for their packages of measures. Only in this way can the “federalist chaos” be avoided in the future, which has led to the individual member states in the EU and within these states, in turn, individual federal states or even cities and municipalities coming to completely different assessments of the infection risk and, based on this, to completely different specifications for the operation of recreational bikes, spas and amusement parks.
VDFU President Friedhelm Freiherr von Landsberg-Velen also drew the attention of the EU expert on tourism and tourism promotion to the disadvantage of leisure facilities in border regions if, as is the case in Germany, they have to pay the full sales tax rate on their admission revenues, while in neighboring countries comparable companies are granted a reduced sales tax rate. Another increasingly pressing problem is the difficulty amusement parks and leisure pools have in recruiting employees.
EWA Managing Director Dr. Klaus Batz was able to elaborate on this point in a one-on-one discussion with Eric Philippart: It is urgently necessary that the process for a residence and work permit is simplified and accelerated in the countries of the EU.
Pictured: Friedhelm Freiherr von Landsberg-Velen (front row, 2nd from left), EU Tourism Commissioner Eric Philippart (front row, 3rd from left) and Dr. Klaus Batz (2nd row, left) with the participants of the expert panel (c) IAAPA.