The impact of Covid-19 in Slovakia

May 2021

Hospitality and Tourism Sector is one of the most affected sectors by the Covid-19 pandemic. Measures to prevent the disease have been implemented and adopted with effect from the 16th March 2020. Throughout the so-called first wave all the hospitality services were mandatorily closed until the beginning of June. The worsening situation in Autumn called for significant restrictions again, which were put in place from mid- October until the end of the year. In January 2021, yet another lockdown was announced and all hospitality services had to be banned again.  
As a result of the pandemic, the number of tourists was down by almost 50%, which translates into a decrease of more than 8 million overnight stays. It is expected that a similar decline will happen this year.
Wellness services are among the most restricted services as a result of the Covid-19 measures. They always are among the first services being banned and among the last being re-opened. It generally applies, that hospitality sector operators had to take measures beyond the scope of their regular duties, so that the health and safety of their employees and guests is secured.
Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions related to it have also negatively impacted the education and vocational training within the sector, especially when it comes to students acquiring their practical knowledge and skills at employers’ workplaces. We expect that the impact of the pandemic will also be reflected in a slight decline in interest to study at schools with focus on hospitality and tourism.

The influence of Covid-19 in Slovenia

May 2021

Tourism is one of the industries most affected by the coronavirus epidemic. The spring wave was followed by virtually complete closure of the country, public life came to a complete halt and with it most economic activities. Tourism was dormant for almost three months, starting to open its doors only in June 2020. But autumn came and with it the rapid growth of infections and the extraordinary deterioration of the epidemiological picture. Thus, on October 19, 2020, the government declared an epidemic for the entire country and introduced restrictive measures. This, of course, meant that tourism actors were again forced into closure. The closure lasted a long six months. It was not until April 26, 2021, that tourism actors were able to gradually begin to open their doors.
In May 2021, the epidemiological picture is improving day by day. Restrictive measures are being relaxed and many activities are being released. In the tourism industry are opening restaurants, hotels, spas, wellness centers, camps...
In the middle of March 2020, the entire Slovenian educational sphere moved from the school environment to the virtual-virtual environment. Classical instruction was no longer possible, practically over the weekend it was necessary to adapt and introduce distance education for more than 443,000 children, pupils and students. Distance learning was an extraordinary form of work and in fact an emergency solution, which lasted until mid-May 2020 and then continued in the current school year from mid-October to the end of February 2021, followed by a one-week exchange of students at the school until last week when all the students returned to school.
It turned out that school is much more than just education. In particular, distance learning is difficult to carry out practical lessons. In most cases, practical distance learning in tourism and catering programs took the form of researching online resources and making posters on a specific topic, promotional brochures, or similar products. Practical instruction in schools has resumed in limited form in smaller working groups from mid-April 2021 onwards.
During the distance learning, it was nevertheless possible to carry out practical training by working in companies that accepted students. But this does not apply to the field of tourism and catering, where companies were closed until the beginning of May 2021. Therefore, practical on-the-job training for students of these educational programs was completely dropped or we postponed them to the next school year.

The impact of Covid-19 in Latvia

May 2021

Tourism is one of the sectors most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in Latvia. The impact of the pandemic has led to a large reduction in tax revenues in the sector, as well as a significant increase in unemployment. When the coronavirus first appeared in Latvia the declaration of an emergency situation and travel restrictions completely paralyzed the sector. A similar situation was also in the second wave of Covid-19, which began last November. Wellness and SPA services remain limited in the country. Vocational education institutions have to adapt to the changes. Both at the end of last school year and the beginning of this school year, several vocational education institutions rescheduled the learning process so that students could implement work-based learning in companies. Apprenticeships were organized remotely and on-site. Companies developed methodological materials and assignments to allow students to implement training partly remotely and to assess videos sent by students. With the increase in vaccination rates, it is expected that the situation in the sector will gradually improve and businesses will be able to resume their normal work.

Current situation with Corona virus (Covid 19) in Bulgaria

May 2021

The percentage of patients with corona virus in Bulgaria decreases.  The ban on conducting face-to-face training in higher education institutions is lifted on 19 May so attendance training at universities is being restored. From May 31, the present learning process of all students is allowed according to order № RD-01-355 / 18.05.2021 issued  by the Minister of Health. From the same date it is allowed to conduct in the presence of group extracurricular activities and activities, activities of interest, activities and others, organized in school and extracurricular environment. Sports competitions are held when occupying no more than 50% of the seats for the public and observing a physical distance of at least 1.5 m, as well as wearing protective face masks. 
According to tourism Bulgaria takes all necessary measures for the highest security so that guests feel protected and safe during their stay in Bulgaria. And the observance of the sanitary-hygienic prescriptions is one of the key conditions for our country to keep the green stamp for safety and hygiene (Safety and hygiene travel stamp), issued by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). 

Tourists can enter the country in three ways:

-  Through a document for completed vaccination scheme against COVID-19. 

- By a document showing a positive result from a polymerase chain reaction test or a rapid antigen test for COVID-19 - for persons suffering from COVID-19 for     the period from the 15th to the 180th day from the date of the study, entered in the document. 

- By a document showing a negative result from a polymerase chain reaction test performed up to 72 hours before entry into the country or a negative result      from a rapid antigen test performed up to 48 hours before entry into the country to detect COVID-19, as of the date of the test, entered in the document.

Newsletters No.5:

Training of local WBL mediators and national WBL mediators' advisors

In February and March 2021 in each partner country, except Germany, trainings of local WBL mediators and national WBL mediators' advisors were organized. The objective of this activity was to ensure successful functioning of WBL mediators in facilitating the cooperation between VET schools and wellness tourism companies in planning, organization and provision of WBL, including in mobility. 

VET school’s vocational SPA Center

The Vocational Education and Training School “Kliment Timiryazev” (P2) in Sandanski, Bulgaria became the first school in Bulgaria with its own educational practice corps for the “Performer of thermal and spa procedures” specialty. The first VET spa center in Bulgaria was opened on 19 June 2020. The opening ceremony was attended by many guests – the Minster of education of Bulgaria, the mayor of Sandanski, city councilors, students, teachers and public figures.

Project WeSkill  - “Wellness and Spa Tourism Sectoral Skill’s Development”

On 11 November 2020, a Kik-off meeting of the WeSkill project partners took place online. The WeSkill project is based on the results of the WellTo project. Five WellTo project partners are  participating in the WeSkill project, which will ensure the appropriate transfer of the already existing good model of cooperation in the implementation of the WeSkill project.

The WeSkill project’s main objective is to be designed transnational curricula and respective training content in wellness and spa tourism sector. There will be developed 5 transnational modular curricula based on learning outcomes for learners at EQF 4 and companies’ employees occupying EQF 4 related qualifications.

Equipping VET students and adults/employees from the sector being trainees with the missing skills, by using a strong modern personalized didactic tool (multilingual training mobile app), the WeSkill project will try to make wellness and spa tourism sector more appealing, sustainable, advanced and competitive in the EU area.

Newsletters No.4:

Newsletters No.3:

Stakeholders' Consultation Workshops

In November and December 2019 in each partner country, except Germany, stakeholders’ consultation workshops were organized. The aim of these events was to collect feedback from stakeholders in partner countries with respect to adequacy, comprehensiveness and feasibility of the draft AWC joint curriculum.

Third Partner's Meeting

The third consortium meeting took place in Piestany, Slovakia, November 12-13, 2019. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the project progress and results achieved so far, as well as to plan further activities in details. The programme of the partners´ meeting also included demonstration of spa and wellness procedures, as well as visit to the secondary vocational school – Hotel Academy of Ľ. WInter, which is one of the partner organisations in the project.


WellTo project presented in the conference of the European Vocational Skills Week in Bratislava

The project WellTo was presented to 130 participants at the opening conference of the European Vocational Skills Week "Future of VET for labour market" on 23 September 2019 in Bratislava with Shyamal Majumdar, Director of the UNESCO-UNEVOC as the note speaker on Major trends influencing future of jobs.​

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Presentation of WellTo project to more than 30 vocational school principals and owners

On Monday, July 1, 2019 the Slovak Association of Hotels and Restaurants (WellTo project partner from Slovakia) organized a meeting with more than 30 vocational school principals and owners. The participants were briefed on the WellTo project and its activities. There was also a dusscusion between the participants about the news in the field of vocational educational training in tourizm, improving the quality of vocational training and new educational projects.


Meetings of WellTo project partners from Latvia

On Thursday, July 4, 2019, Latvian project partners’ met in Riga with the aim to discuss AWC curriculum development and elaboration of modules.

On Thursday, May 23, 2019,  WellTo project partners from Latvia met in Riga with the aim to discuss cooperation, AWC Qualification profile and develop Units of Learning outcomes.

Meeting of WellTo project partners from Slovenia with stakeholders

On Tuesday, May 21, 2019, a meeting of the Wellto project partners from Slovenia with stakeholders was held at the Velenje School Center. Together with the employers, teachers and lecturers, they discussed the prepared learning outcomes and units that will form the basis for the preparation of a joint AWC Qualification Profile. 


Newsletters No.2:

Second Partner's Meeting

The second consortium meeting took place in Dobrna, Slovenia, March 18-20, 2019. The purpose of the meeting was design of joint Administrator of Wellness Centre (AWC) Qualification.

Focus Group Meeting

The international focus group meeting took place in Sofia, Bulgaria, January 16-17, 2019. In addition to the representatives of the project partners, the representatives and managers of wellness tourism companies and representatives of educational institutions from the field of tourism also participated the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was defining of Administrator of Wellness centre (AWC) Occupational Profile.

Newsletters No.1: