Lithuanian guides have staged an action in Vilnius to draw attention to their plight as the coronavirus pandemic has hit the tourism sector.
Under the slogans “Guides together” and “Guide work matters”, several dozen people arrived on an open tourist bus to Vilnius Town Hall on Tuesday.
The action took place in several European cities at the same time.
“We would like to express solidarity with guides from Hungary and all over the world who are now sitting without work,” said Eglė Likaitė who was working as a guide abroad, but returned to Lithuania during the coronavirus lockdown.
Linas Daubaras, the president of the Lithuanian Guide Union, said the main demands for the government were to extend pay subsidies for self-employed guides and ban foreign guides from working in Lithuania for two years.
“Under the existing scheme, we will be paid that ridiculous amount of 257 euros for two months after the quarantine. We are asking for it to be paid for at least six months,” Daubaras said.
He added, however, that government institutions were sceptical about proposals to restrict foreign guides.
Around 4,500 guide certificates have been issued in Lithuania so far, Daubaras said, but only over 600 are actively working in Lithuania.