The premiere of the Valencian tourist voucher: with controversy and … collapse after 600 requests per minute

It starts with 700 member companies although the Association of Short-Term Rental Housing criticizes the exclusion of a large part of the housing for tourist use

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The launch this Tuesday of the Valencian tourist bond almost died of success. The initiative devised by the Consell to promote the domestic market with discounts of up to 70% on the cost of booking a trip for those registered in the Valencian Community it was released yesterday with the collapse of the web, such was the avalanche of requests. Specifically, the platform recorded 600 per minute, according to sources from the Government of Tourism. In the first hour of operation of the web, 1,193 people signed up.

But it was not the only controversy that has involved the so-called ‘Viatgem CV’ program, to which 700 companies have already joined to promote travel in the Valencian Community. Among these companies there are travel agencies, hotels, tourist apartments, campsites, rural houses, hostels and housing management companies for tourist use, “all of them registered in the Register of Tourism Comunidad Valenciana”.

However, from the Association of Rental Housing for Short Stays of the Valencian Community (AVAEC) has denounced what they consider to be “discrimination against a high percentage of the housing sector for tourist use (VUT)” in the program. This entity applauds the initiative for what it may be of revulsive for the diminished tourism sector, although it regrets that the VUTs managed by individuals and legal entities and which are not management companies are left out.

And this despite the fact that, the association insists, “Decree 92/2009, of July 3, of the Consell, by which it approves the regulatory regulation of tourist housing in the Valencian Community, only requires registration in the Tourism Registry to legal or physical persons whose professional activity, main or not, consists of the transfer for consideration of the use and enjoyment of at least five tourist homes “. Nothing says, therefore, about the obligation to be management companies to register in the Registry.

In practice, this assumes that 44% of the total number of houses for tourist use cannot join the program existing in the Valencian Community, that is, more than 35,000 homes, according to AVAEC figures. In their opinion, this measure “violates the principle of equality and goes further, if possible, into the deterioration of the sector”, which is why they urge the Council to rectify and dialogue with the entire vacation rental sector.

Even so, the Regional Secretary for Tourism, Francesc Colomer, has encouraged more companies to join an initiative until December for which 14.3 million euros have been reserved. In fact, the voucher can be spent on a reservation to travel in three different periods: between October 20 and December 31, 2020, between January 1 and March 24, 2021 and between October 13 and December 31, 2021.

The program comes precisely at a propitious moment because, in the words of the hotel management Hosbec, “the tourism market is increasingly weakened”. Hotel occupancy “keeps the pulse”, although we are talking about 30% on the Costa Blanca or 19% in Valencia. Benidorm survived the week after the October bridge with an occupation of 45%; yes, with many hotels closed and only 23 open.

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