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Photo Credit: Prague Convention Bureau

Kongres Magazine has prepared an overview of European State Aid for Covid-19 for the meetings industry. Considering the meetings and exhibition industry was one of the most affected during the corona crisis, state aid is of utmost importance for the survival and resilience of the sector. Below, the support from the EU and European governments to Czech Republic’s exhibition industry is listed.

We hope the mentioned good practice case will encourage other governments and policymakers to do the same in their respective countries. Exhibitions and trade shows are the fastest of fast-tracks to economic recovery once the coronavirus crisis has passed and will deliver the best return on investment now. We sincerely thank UFI, EEIA, and EMECA for providing valuable information.

CASE STUDY: CZECH REPUBLIC

Czech Republic was one of the most aiding countries when it came to the meetings and exhibitions industry. Their financial aid helped the industry persevere.

EMERGENCY HELP

Measures related to public guarantees, loans, tax deferrals:

On 15 May 2020, an approximately €18.5 billion (CZK 500 billion) Czech scheme for guarantees on loans to support lending to companies with up to 500 employees that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak was announced. Under the scheme, the support will take the form of State guarantees on loans. The scheme will be managed by the Czech promotional bank, Českomoravská záruční a rozvojová banka, a.s. (CMZRB). The measure aims at limiting the risks associated with issuing loans to companies with up to 500 employees that are most severely affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, enhancing access to external financing, thus ensuring the continuation of their activities.

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Photo Credit: Prague Convention Bureau

On 26 June 2020, a €2.6 million Czech scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak was announced.

RESTART HELP

Expenditure measures:

On 19 August 2020, a €34 million (CZK 900 million) Czech scheme to support operators who had to cancel or postpone their cultural event(s) due to the restrictive measure that Czechia had to
implement to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The public support will take the form of direct grants and will cover up to 50% of the eligible expenses, i.e. the expenses incurred by the operator to organise the event that was ultimately postponed or cancelled. The purpose of the measure is to facilitate access to external financing by the beneficiaries and to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages they are facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

On 27 August 2020, a Czech aid scheme of 126.7 million euros (3.31 billion CZK) to support operators offering accommodation services, forced them to close their doors due to restrictive measures that the Czech authorities had to take to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Public support will be granted through direct subsidies in the form of a fixed amount per room and per day, for the entire period during which the accommodation was closed, ie from 14 March to 24 May 2020. The measure aims to alleviate the sudden cash shortages that beneficiaries face as a result of the pandemic.

On 3 November, a €110.5 million Czech scheme to support retail businesses and service companies renting premises, whose activities were limited or forbidden due to the measures imposed by the government in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The public support will take the form of direct grants and will cover 50% of the rent due for the months of July, August and September 2020. The purpose of the scheme is to mitigate the liquidity shortages that the affected companies are facing due to the measures taken by the Czech government to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

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Photo: Getty Images

RECOVERY HELP

Expenditure measures (direct grants): 

On 8 March 2021, a €38.5 million Czech scheme to support companies active in the ski resort sector that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak was introduced. Under the state aid Temporary Framework, the support, in the form of direct grants, aims to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages these companies are facing due to restrictive measures implemented by the Czech government to limit the spread of the virus, notably the mandatory closure of ski resorts in wintertime.

On 22 March 2021, the Czech Republic announced a scheme of approximately €3 million to support businesses operating tours that were prevented from carrying out their activities due to government measures introduced to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Under the state aid Temporary Framework, the public support, in the form of direct grants, aims to help the beneficiaries address their liquidity needs, preserve employment and maintain the operation of businesses and the supply of services in the tourism sector.

On 30 March, the Commission approved a Czech aid scheme worth approximately €22 million to support companies active in the organisation of fairs, exhibitions, conferences and business
events, in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. Under the state aid Temporary Framework, the public support, in the form of
direct grants, aims to mitigate the economic difficulties and the liquidity shortages faced by the beneficiaries due to the outbreak and the measures implemented to limit the spread of the virus.

Measures related to public guarantees, loans, tax deferrals:

On 29 March 2021, a Czech scheme (‘COVID Invest’) for guarantees on new investment loans, to support lending companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak, and the modification of an existing scheme (‘COVID Plus’) provided guarantees to large exporting companies. Under the state aid Temporary Framework, the two schemes can jointly generate loans with a nominal amount of up to €19.3 billion. The ‘COVID Invest’ scheme, sharing its budget with the ‘COVID III’ scheme approved in May 2020, aims to provide guarantees on new investment loans to small and medium-sized enterprises and large companies. The scheme aims to support the liquidity needs of firms whose financial needs have increased significantly over the past year, including fast-growth companies, start-ups and scale-ups and will be managed by the Czech promotional bank (CMZRB).

To find out more about Czech Republic’s aid scheme, click here.