Berlin (dpa) – Bills of between 200 and 1,000 euros (224 to 1,121 dollars) are being mailed to all the tourists from Germany who were brought back home earlier this year as the government sought to rescue people from potential coronavirus hotspots.
About 67,000 tourists who would have otherwise been stranded abroad when countries began sealing their borders to check the spread of the virus were brought home with the operation. But now it’s time to pay.
The government hopes to recoup about 40 per cent of the 94-million-euro cost of the operation this way.
Costs will be staggered. Those rescued from the Canary Islands and North Africa will be charged 200 euros. People who were in southern Africa and the Caribbean will be asked to pay 500. The fee is 600 euros for those who were in South America and Asia. And people who were rescued from Australia or New Zealand will get a 1,000-euro bill.
The first 1,000 bills were already mailed on Friday. The government says the fees are on par with the price of an economy class plane ticket.
In all, 240,000 German residents had to be brought back. The great majority were people who had booked travel packages. They were returned to Germany by the organizers at the expense of those companies.
But that left the 67,000 individual travellers who had to be rescued by the government, which required 260 flights to 65 countries.