Fourth vice-president and de-esclation chief, Teresa Ribera recently poured cold water on the idea of a June opening, saying July was more realistic because Spain could not dice with people’s health. “We have to be very careful about how the person who comes is not at risk, because they arrive at a safe destination, and at the same time it does not pose a risk to the local population.
“Our idea is that we can work on origins and safe destinations rather thinking of July than June. If it is opened massively, we could be incurring irresponsibility,” she said.
But Spain’s “Mesa del Turismo”, a powerful body made up of tourism leaders from all regions, says international travel MUST resume before or on June 15th at the latest and has warned that losing the summer season “would be a complete calamity”.
It has also called for the elimination of tourist taxes, saying “they are very inadequate measures in the current circumstances”.
“In mid-June, the Spanish tourism sector should have the possibility to become active, giving its citizens the maximum possibilities to resume travel and all foreign tourists to enjoy their holidays in Spain again, as they are accustomed to doing,” said Joan Molas, president of the Tourism Board in an open letter.
“We have said it before and we insist: with all the health guarantees that we are in perfect conditions to offer, we must return to the activity without further delay.”
“There is no economy without health, but neither is health without economy, and for this reason it is strictly necessary to develop an action plan that allows the two to progress in parallel, seeking a balance between the two that allows us to move forward.”
The board is estimating that the accumulated losses for the tourism industry until the end of May will reach 40,000 million euros.
“This figure will double, exceeding 80,000 million euros at the height of August if tourism is not reactivated immediately,” Molas warned.
The Mesa says the tourism sector has been one of the hardest hit in the coronavirus crisis, so it requires additional support to minimise the loss of business and job fabric. It has called for a string of measures, including extensive financial aid and a reduction in VAT to seven per cent “which would help keep Spain competitive.”
“It is known that for each euro spent on tourism products, 1.96 euros more are generated in other sectors of the Spanish economy,” said the board’s president.
The tourism leaders also want the tourist tax scrapped in places where it is in force, such as the Balearics, saying this would have “a positive effect on the activation of demand.”
This call has been echoed by hoteliers in Mallorca and Ibiza but the Balearic government has refused to do so.
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The board also wants borders reopened to allow international travel.
“Italy has already announced that It will open on June 3. Spain cannot delay this decision,” said Joan Molas.
“There is an urgent need to convey a clear message to foreign tourists, that Spain is safe and that they are welcome.
Tourism is a company in which all of us Spaniards are shareholders; a company that has always paid us back in great amounts what we have invested in it and that has contributed to the earliest overcoming of other crises . Let us not now abandon it to fate.”
Spain’s State of Emergency is expected to end on June 7th and at the moment, travel is restricted with anyone coming into the country subject to 14 days of quarantine.
The government hasn’t said when this will be lifted but it is widely tipped to be rescinded once the State of Emergency order is lifted.
Spain is still recording coronavirus deaths every day but the24-hour figure has been below 100 for the last week. So far, nearly 28,000 people have died.
Published at Fri, 22 May 2020 13:53:00 +0000