There is less than a month left and there is still no news of which companies will be the ones that will manage the contracts of the 816,000 Imserso trips. This delay threatens that they will begin on October 15, as the Government expects, since there would hardly be time to start marketing the first trips. In addition, an incident registered between two of the companies that are fighting to get hold of one of the three lots (trips to the islands, to the peninsular coast and inland circuits) may further delay the final decision until the CNMC makes a decision on the respect. New obstacles for a process that has already had some problems in recent months.
Three companies have submitted an offer for the three contracts put out to tender: Mundiplan (made up of Iberia, IAG7 and Alsa), Turismo Social (Globalia and Barceló) and Traveltino (Logitravel and Viajes El Corte Inglés, recently merged). The first two they have been distributing the lots between them in the last editions, a fact that could change in this edition. At the moment, the offers made by each of the companies for each lot are known, where Mundiplan proposed the lowest prices with respect to the maximum bidding budget for each of them.
The delay in granting the lots is joined by an incident between Traveltino and Social Tourism registered by the Public Procurement Platform this week. Specifically, and according to the document, the first “complaint, expressly, and providing supporting documentation, that” The company Halcón Viajes has tried to eliminate a competitor, denying him any possibility of access a required medium of which you have all domain””, With the contracting authority having to notify the CNMC so that it may rule on the matter.
The controversy is that the Imserso specifications state that companies must have at least one point of sale in municipalities with more than 25,000 inhabitants. In Arucas (Gran Canaria) Halcón Viajes owns the point of sale in that town and Traveltino accuses it of not responding to its request to formalize a contract to be able to sell. This has caused that now it is the CNMC the one that has to pronounce itself in case Halcón Viajes has committed any infraction.
Until the Competition opinion arrives, the Contracting Platform decided “to suspend the decision on whether or not to admit the affected bidder and, where appropriate, the remaining bidders.” Thus, the resolution might not come until Competition is pronounced. On the other hand, the Hiring Table will continue with the procedures that do not affect this incident. That is to say, it could resolve the lots of peninsular coast and inland circuits, leaving in suspense that of the islands.
Possible future problems
In the absence of the final award, other potential problems could further delay the start of the trips. On the one hand, it is not ruled out that any of the companies that are going to tender file a claim, as has already happened in previous editions.
On the other hand, the complaint filed by the hoteliers for the conditions of the specifications, and which initially paralyzed the program, is still pending. Hoteliers complain about the absence of a cost study in them and that they have to offer a full board service for 20.5 euros, when their costs range from 27 to 33 euros. In the end, the courts ended up knocking down the complaint but it is expected that there will be an appeal before the National Court.
It must be remembered that the social tourism program is crucial for tourism to remain active in low season. A more pressing need after the pandemic. Thus, despite the fact that the number of seats has decreased by 122,000, it is expected that Imserso trips generate 12,000 direct jobs and 85,000 indirect and involving up to 350 hotel establishments.