“It was a very, very difficult time and I hope that since we are talking about economic development, it will not happen again and that these people will not be left behind,” said the ANCAT general secretary, Inês Henriques, referring to the two-year impact of the covid-19 pandemic.
The official was speaking during a hearing at the 2nd Standing Committee for Economy and Innovation and Tourism of the Lisbon Municipal Assembly.
Regarding the future report on the economic recovery of Lisbon in the post-pandemic period, Inês Henriques said that, in the sector of tourist entertainment drivers and tourist animators, which includes the activity of tuk-tuks, “more than 80 % are entrepreneurs in individual name, self-employed and micro, small and medium enterprises”, referring to the fact that “most people have been left behind” from support.
“They did not receive any funds at the time of the pandemic and can no longer be excluded, because they represent a large part of the activity,” he said, highlighting the case of the self-employed, because it there are a lot of people working on green recipes. in this field, which are subject to the Individual Tax Code (CIRS) 1519 – Other service providers.
The ANCAT argues that it is necessary to create its own CIRS for tourist activities, as the guide-interpreters have already done, specifying that, if this already existed at the time of the pandemic, “perhaps these people were minimally covered by these funds and did not have so many needs “and hunger in passing”.
“I hope never again, never again, to have to go through the experience of bringing food to someone’s house and listening to the stories I have heard,” said Inês Henriques, saying that the association organized to distribute food to struggling workers. due to the forced cessation of activity as a result of the pandemic.
Disregarding the impact the pandemic has had on the sector, ANCAT’s general secretary also said that “most people had to sell the vehicles they had”, adding that non-refundable aid was coming in. late and at the wrong time. while many had already filed for insolvency.
Regarding the support measures for tourist animation drivers and tourist animators, the association proposes that the moratoriums be extended “by an additional year” to see how the activity develops in this recovery phase, as well as a non-reimbursable support to respond to the impact of the crisis. the Russian invasion of Ukraine, namely the rise in fuel prices, considering that “the war does not affect the flow of tourists that much”.
The economic recovery of the sector “depends directly on mobility and working conditions”, underlined the manager, supporting the development of a municipal regulation in Lisbon, since free access to the activity “has come to deregulate the whole field of tourist entertainment”, in which it has gone “from eight to 80” and now there is an “excess” of workers, arguing that “there must be a contingent”
“At the moment we have people who don’t have any kind of skill working in the area, who say, for example, that Cristo Rei is Santo António,” complained Inês Henriques, adding that the regulations must be based on the quality of the work service provided, demonstrating against the municipal regulation of Porto to admit only companies with organized accounting and sale of licenses.
Other measures requested are the authorization to park tuk-tuk tricycles in EMEL parks, the granting of support for the conversion of diesel vehicles into electric vehicles and the increase in stopping areas in Lisbon, where they have already received the commitment of the current mayor, Carlos Moedas (PSD), to reactivate some stops, including creating a new one in Eduardo VII Park.
“In 2015, there were 116 arrests, today there are 51 and the number of vehicles has quadrupled,” he says.
ANCAT also promotes the professional training of workers in the sector, which is certified by Turismo de Portugal, lasting 92 hours and with several modules, namely the history of Portugal, road prevention with the GNR and the response emergency situations with Civil Protection.