EU says volcanic ash costs tourism industry 1 billion euros

13:24 / 30.04.2010 "The first estimates for the losses incurred by the tourism sector almost reach the one billion euro mark," Antonio Tajani, vice president of the commission, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship, said in a statement after an ad-hoc video conference with tourism ministers of European Union (EU) member states.

The video conference was designed for an exchange of views on the impact of the volcanic ash situation on the European tourism industry, in particular on the accommodation and the tour operators and travel agents sectors.

Europe was hit last week by an unprecedented crisis with the closure of airspace due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland leading to more than 100,000 canceled flights and more than 10 million passengers unable to travel.

The commission estimated on Tuesday that the volcanic ash crisis has caused economic damages between 1.5 and 2.5 billion euros (2 and 3.3 billion U.S. dollars) to European air industry. It proposed a set of measures to help airlines, including state aid.

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