The booking rate to travel to the Canary Islands It has been reduced by half and the sector finds it difficult for normal cadence to recover before summer. However, businessmen expect the information campaigns launched by the Regional Government Tourism Department can reduce the negative effect of coronavirus. Massive cancellations are not taking place, but there is a constant drip, which increases the restlessness of hoteliers, even though in this chapter the numbers do not differ in excess of those before the arrival in the Archipelago of the Covid-19.
Susana Pérez, president of the Insular Association of Hotel and Apartment Entrepreneurs of Lanzarote (Asolan), urged yesterday to continue working from all areas to “counteract the bad news.” In his opinion, it is important to influence “the security of fate” and the “mild diagnosis” of the disease.
“It is not time to save efforts“, explained the business representative, who gave an example of how quickly British tabloids took the case of the hotel in Quarantine of the South of Tenerife to give a wrong idea of reality. Any investment is justified to prevent a situation that “is not catastrophic,” Perez said, causing great damage to the Easter week, which is already in the making.
“It has created an excessive climate that has ended up affecting us,” said the president of the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism Entrepreneurs (FEHT), José María Mañaricua. His counterpart in the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Jorge Marichal, president of Ashotel, exposed at the end of last week the existence of cancellations, but ruled out granting them the character of significant. Moreover, he was sure that the initial response of the clientele will end up being diluted in the coming weeks.
The crisis originated by the coronavirus has forced the Ministry of Tourism of the Canary Islands Government to reorder the promotional activity and to prioritize the campaigns aimed at sending a message of “normality, security and tranquility”.
The head of the department, Yaiza Castilla, he acknowledged yesterday that hotels and apartments are registering cancellations in response to the occurrence of cases of coronavirus in the region, although they cannot be quantified or specified which islands most affect them. “There is a brake on reservations“said the counselor. These consequences on the housing sector were predictable, admitted Castilla, who stressed that” the important thing is that they are the least possible. “
Castilla announced that the regional Executive will maintain its contact agenda in Berlin even though the German authorities have decided suspend the ITB, the fair city tour, initially planned for this week, as a preventive measure. The representatives of the council will travel tomorrow to the German capital to hold a series of meetings with tour operators, airlines and other agents of the sector in which it constitutes the second market in importance for the Archipelago and first for islands such as Gran Canaria.
Thus, Tourism will meet with the TUI tour operator and seeks to do the same, in person or electronically, with the airline Condor. Both companies concentrate 70% of air capacity between Germany and the Canary Islands.
“We must not make decisions from fear. If there is a safe tourist destination, it is this, “said the counselor. Castilla called on” the wisdom and sanity “and asked to” shoulder the shoulder “to get the message of” tranquility“that the tourists of the Islands themselves have been responsible for transmitting to their compatriots through videos recorded during these days and that yesterday they had already reached 4.5 million and a half views.
On the other hand, the counselor has convened for today, urgently, the Canary Tourism Council -integrated by the regional, island and local administrations, hotel employers, travel agencies and chambers of commerce, among other agents- in order to address the situation and obtain the opinion of institutions and businessmen about the refocusing of promotional activity of the Archipelago after the appearance of the coronavirus.
The sector wants to avoid, thus, a “stigmatization” of fate. The priority that the Government has given to strengthen the image of the Canary Islands as a safe and quiet destination is such that the rest of the campaigns are temporarily suspended, with the exception of the one directed to Holy Week.
Thus, the information lines at the destination for the visitor through airports, ports and accommodation establishments will be maintained and increased, if necessary, with recommendations in several languages and the availability of 112 before symptomatic cases, avoiding alarmist messages or generalized risk. It will also continue with the constant monitoring of the impact for the Canary Islands abroad, in order to react quickly to false news and new situations of high media impact.
Tourism will maintain the current planning of assistance to national and international fairs, including the next March calls in Lisbon, Paris, Moscow and Barcelona and will communicate to the organizers this intention, as long as there are no suspension measures. It will also promote the “truthful” messages of tranquility and continuity of the tourist offer through national, international media and press agencies and social networks.