The tourism sector, which before the pandemic was the economic engine of Spain and is now one of the hardest hit by the health crisis, demands that the Government accelerate the vaccination process so that 70% of the population before the summer I have already been vaccinated and offers its entire network -hotels, travel agencies, private companies …- to get involved in this process.
Companies even offer to pay for vaccines and give spaces every day, 24 hours a day to speed up Maximum vaccination of Spaniards, explained Juan Molas, president of the Tourism Board, during the first tourism summit, an initiative coordinated by this organization, at the initiative of HostelerÃa de Spain, which brings together some 300,000 establishments in the country.
During the act, an example was given to United Kingdom, where airline workers and cabin crew are collaborating with the British health system to participate in the vaccination process, as some have specific training.
“If done right we can reach that figure before the summer season. That would mean that part of the population would be protected and we could launch programs such as the Imserso one, “explained the manager, who believes that the tourism sector is” the only one capable of revitalizing the situation. ”
The sector has drawn up a series of proposals to relaunch the activity. In addition to speeding up the vaccination of the population, ask for antigen testing to be allowed (now only PCR is allowed) to travelers that arrive in Spain, that the limitations on mobility between communities are eliminated, a reduction of VAT to 5% for all these sectors, as has been done in Europe.
They also ask that Spain also join the vaccination passport, promoted by IATA, the International Air Transport Agency, to facilitate mobility between countries. According to the calculations of the Bureau of Tourism, at the end of March there will be some 15 million British people vaccinated, for example, which is our main source of tourists.
If on those dates there are between 100 and 120 million Europeans already immunized, we could have a season in May of 20-25 million foreign visitors, podrÃamos tie”Molas says.” All available resources must be mobilized, the army, hotel facilities, fairgrounds … “, he says.
The pandemic, by restricting mobility, has hit the tourism sector hard, on which many activities depend: transport, cruises, airlines, bars and restaurants, leisure … There are 5,000 travel agencies closed, occupancy in hotels there are open (which are the minimum) is 17%, of the 300,000 bars in Spain 107,000 are closed and many will not.
Buses have lost 4 billion euros and a third of the companies in the sector are at risk of disappearing, according to Rafael Barbadillo, president of the Spanish confederation of bus transport (Confebus). In hospitality, 85,000 locals have permanently lowered the blind at the end of December and almost 600,000 workers who are not incorporated, some 300,000 of them in ERTE situation.
“We have demanded direct aid, all the countries are doing it, and in Spain they have consisted of mere tips,” says Jose Luis Yzuel, president of HostelerÃa de Spain. The sector has lost 65,000 million in 2020. “In these circumstances it is impossible for all the templates to be maintained”, seÃala.