The extension of the current social tourism program (2019-2020) of the Labor Employment Organization (OAED) for a period equal to the duration of the emergency measures, due to the coronation, was decided by the administration of the Organization, to ensure the rights of beneficiaries and beneficiaries. take their vacation.
In fact, the social tourism program for the period 2019-2020 has been suspended since the beginning of March, due to the unprecedented situation facing the country, due to the pandemic of coronary heart disease.
In statements to the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency, OAED Commander Spyros Protopsaltis notes that, at the same time, the new 2020-2021 season program is being prepared, announcing its strengthening and upgrading.
Speaking to APE-MPE, Mr Protopsaltis said that a social tourism program is a valuable tool of social and economic policy, with multiplier benefits, supporting both the workforce and businesses.
“It simply came to our notice then. In particular, at the current juncture, when the strengthening of domestic demand in tourism is necessary, the expansion and upgrading of the program will contribute substantially to immediate employment support and the cessation of unemployment, “said Protopsaltis, stressing that his social program It is particularly important for economic, social and cultural development, as it enables our fellow citizens to take vacations, while strengthening thousands of tourism businesses and local businesses. societies, thus being a driving force of the economy.
The annual program was implemented by the former Labor Organization (OEE), until its abolition and merger with OAED in 2012, to start a new path from 2013 until today, always serving the same purposes, but adapting to the new socio-economic conditions and modernized for better service to citizens and businesses. Since 2013, hundreds of thousands of citizens have participated in the program, which begins each year on August 1 and ends on July 31.
How social tourism checks work
According to OAED, the program is now implemented exclusively electronically, while the main difference from the past and innovation is the replacement of the well-known paper “social tourism cards”, which provided the beneficiaries with electronic “social tourism checks”.
Checks are unique electronic numbers, which are recorded in the electronic file of each beneficiary and incorporate a specific financial value, which is the subsidy for the holidays.
“In short, participants do not need to hold anything in their hands when they go to the tourist accommodation, only their identification. Respectively, the participating companies identify and activate the check, through the electronic services of OAED, recording the dates of arrival and departure. It is, therefore, a simple, modern and environmentally friendly process “, clarifies Mr Protopsaltis.
The total number and economic value of checks are set on an annual basis and depend on the type and category of tourist accommodation, while in the islands of Lesvos, Leros, Samos, Chios and Kos, the value of the check is higher.
For example, for social tourism for the period 2019-2020, the total number of beneficiaries and beneficiaries of the program is 140,000 people.
When applications are made and who are the beneficiaries
Each year, usually around the end of May to the beginning of June, OAED publishes a public invitation to submit electronic applications to the interested beneficiaries and companies on specific dates and the number of beneficiaries and beneficiaries is set.
After submitting the application, all the data required to verify that the conditions for participation are met, are drawn up by OAED. Therefore, it is not necessary to provide supporting documents, except in a few cases, where again the possibility is provided to be attached to the electronic application.
Beneficiaries of the program are all those who, regardless of income, made the previous year:
– 50 days of insurance in e-EFKA with contributions in favour of OEE or
– received from OAED 50 days of special maternity protection benefit or
– received a unemployment benefit of at least two months (50 daily allowances) or
– raised 50 days in total from the above (working days, special maternity protection benefit and unemployment subsidy) or
– are registered unemployed in the Special Register of Unemployed Persons with Disabilities of OAED on the expiration date of submission of applications.
In the online application, the beneficiaries also declare the beneficiary members of their family, ie spouses and children, as well as disabled escorts. As OAED notes, the check is granted year after year, unless they are disabled, who can participate in the program every year.
Beneficiaries are also selected electronically by scoring, which ensures transparency and takes into account family, financial and insurance status.
Specifically, the scoring criteria are individual or family income, the number of minor children, the number of insurance days of the previous three years and the time of continuously registered unemployment. After the scoring process, the checks are issued.
Which tourism companies are involved
For the participation of tourist accommodation companies, only the verification of their legal operation is required. The participating companies are included in a dynamic Register, posted on the OAED web portal.
In recent years, as Mr. Protopsaltis emphasizes, due to the increased interest, new applications are submitted and new companies are constantly included in the Register, during the program, in the context of additional public invitations.
What is the duration of the vacation?
Beneficiaries who receive a social tourism check, freely choose the tourist accommodation they wish from the Register and contact the company for booking the room, in the time period that interests them, during the 12-month duration of the program.
They can spend up to five nights at any of the Registry’s accommodations, paying – depending on the category of accommodation – and a symbolic amount of financial participation with a maximum.
In case they choose accommodation for their vacation in Lesvos, Leros, Chios, Samos or Kos, they can spend up to 10 nights without paying private participation.
Prospects for strengthening and upgrading
At the same time, the new 2020-2021 season program is being prepared.
“In view of the necessary strengthening of tourism in our country, changes are being considered in the program, so that it is addressed to a larger number of beneficiaries, includes more overnight stays, has a higher subsidy amount, and even covers part of the beneficiaries’ ferry tickets in parallel with accommodation coverage “emphasizes Mr. Protopsaltis.