Hundreds of hospitality professionals in Spain and another fifty leisure and restaurant organizations demonstrated yesterday in Madrid to ask for measures to help the sector in the face of the crisis caused by the pandemic and the restrictions imposed to prevent infections. Under the motto #Savetheostelería, asked in the Plaza de Cibeles the flexibility of the Temporary Employment Regulation Files (ERTE) and ICO credits, consumer promotions and fewer reductions in capacity in establishments, through a joint collaboration between the sector and the administrations.
The President of Hospitality of Spain, José Luis Yzuel, denounced the “dramatic” situation the sector is going through, with accumulated losses of over 40,000 million euros. “We are the sector that sells the most happiness and at this moment is in a dramatic situation,” he stressed to the media, while denouncing a “total disaster” due to sprouts and lack of tourism.
«We are resilient and versatile, we will endure, but if the Government does not take definitive measures the catastrophe will be massive, we are talking about possible closures of 85,000 stores with nearly 700,000 jobs », he pointed out.
Specifically, the hoteliers demand that they start sanitary hygienic support measures always coordinated with the competent authorities that allow efficient management in the event of possible outbreaks and quarantine processes. To this are added actions to effectively support employment, with the extension of the ERTE until the end of the pandemic, ensuring a greater exemption from the social security contribution to businesses that have a partial opening and exonerating one hundred percent those that are closed.
For its part, the Bank of Spain yesterday requested structural changes in the tourism sector, with a “differentiated and less congested” offer that allows offering “higher quality services”. In a note collected by Efe, the Spanish financial supervisor also demands economic policies that combine «elements to mitigate the marked loss of income in the short term, with stimuli that facilitate structural changes whose need had already been identified prior to Covid-19 ».
These structural changes will make it possible to consolidate the diversification of foreign tourism towards markets (such as the United States, China and the Nordic countries) and towards segments (such as urban and business tourism) with higher average spend, a trend that was already beginning before the health crisis. The Bank of Spain recalls that the Spanish economy is particularly sensitive to the evolution of the tourism sector both in terms of activity and the net foreign balance, within which the tourism surplus exceeded 3% of GDP in 2019.
It notes the gradual, albeit very limited, reactivation of foreign tourism in June and the first weeks of July, as reflected high frequency indicators such as passenger traffic at airports, spending in Spain with credit cards issued abroad and Internet searches for vacations in Spain from the main source markets. The INE data also reflect this relative July recovery, both in tourist arrivals (they eased the contraction rate to 75% from 98% in June) and in tourist spending (80% drop compared to 98.6% in June) and in hotel overnight stays made by non-residents. However, since the end of July it is observed a stagnation in these indicators, which has caused the closure of “a certain proportion” of hotel establishments before the end of the season.
In addition, the worsening of the health crisis as the summer progressed, with the restrictions imposed by some countries to travelers from Spain, it caused the reactivation to be truncated, which could also be affected, according to the Bank, due to capacity limitations in leisure and restaurants in different regions.