The president of Cehat considers that the war will not affect Spain as much as other countries because it will be a "refuge destination", which is already perceived in the reservations for Easter and summer
After two years of pandemic, with the total closure of the hotel plant during the months of confinement and the very gradual reopening of international tourism, the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (Cehat) is not afraid of what has to come. Its president, Jaime Marichal, considers that the war in Ukraine will inevitably affect tourism -just like the rest of the economy-, but he assures that Spain can become a "refuge destination" because people want to continue traveling and geographically we are better positioned than other tourist destinations such as Greece or Turkey.
"The war will especially affect the price of fuel, a problem because almost all tourists arrive in Spain by plane," explains Marichal, who asks the Government to take measures to lower costs "urgently." Even so, he assures that “the pandemic has shown that the tourism sector is capable of withstanding almost everything.”
Despite this, Marichal assures that the rise in prices to the final customer will be "inevitable" if energy costs remain so high. “It can be tolerated if it is a temporary problem, but if it continues like this, it will have to be done, even if it is not proportional to the rise in costs,” he acknowledges. For this reason, he asks for direct aid or financing from European funds so that hotels can renovate their facilities towards a more sustainable model and do not spend as much energy.
Likewise, during the presentation of the 2021 Annual Report, the president of Cehat assures that the searches for Easter are going very well and they hope that last year's figures will improve, which have already doubled those of 2020. The objective is to achieve tourist occupation of 2019 -the year before the pandemic- as soon as possible, but there is still a long way to go since overnight stays are still almost 50% below.
The British market is the one that is pulling the most thanks to the elimination of entry restrictions to the country. Marichal acknowledges that the covid is already "internalized" and that although it continues to give respect, it has been shown that Spain is a vaccinated country with a strong health system, which gives "a lot of security to foreign tourists."