2020 was the worst year in the history of tourism, the main industry in the Balearic Islands, which contributes 42% of GDP. This debacle has bankrupted more than 4,000 companies in the Islands and the trickle of closings continues day by day. To get an idea, the activity carried out throughout 2020 in the archipelago was the equivalent of 20 days in 2019. However, while the sector is dying and faces a summer in which the economic future is at stake with the start of the season just around the corner and the need for tourists, the vice president of the Balearic government, the podemita Juan Pedro Yllanes, has celebrated the fall in tourism, oblivious to the critical situation of the sector.
In an interview with the Menorcan media It’s Diari, the former judge and Minister of Energy Transition and Productive Sectors He has declared that “we will never ever return to the tourist figures for 2019”, which in his opinion is “good news, because they endangered the sustainability of the Islands.”
These statements have generated a deep malaise. Hoteliers consider these words to be “utter disrespect” for so many families of employers and workers who suffer the consequences of the pandemic. “It is not only a grievance against all those who have endured almost 20 months of inactivity, with the consequences that this has had from a social and economic point of view. Let us remember that companies are still waiting for direct aid and bearing the same tax burdens, but rather because of the repercussion that their messages may have on our main source markets “, denounced the Mallorca Hotel Federation (FEHM).
From the FEHM have demanded responsibility and high-mindedness from the vice president of the Govern, who is accused of using the position to make judgments of ideological value “inappropriate for the second highest representative of the Government of the Balearic Islands” in the midst of such a complicated situation.
They believe that at this time the tourism value chain must be focused on the safe recovery of the destination and warn that “everything that is not launching messages that generate confidence in the issuing markets, play against us and reduce our competitiveness”, has insured María Frontera, president of the FEHM.
The words of Yllanes Nor have they settled down well within the Government among its socialist partners, precisely in some key days when the Balearic Islands play their image in Fitur Tourism Fair. Last week the president of the Executive, the socialist Francina Armengol, already traveled to Germany to sell the Islands and held several meetings with tour operators, communication groups and with the Spanish embassy in Germany.
In fact, the Executive has announced a free repatriation insurance for tourists in case their stay in the archipelago is prolonged due to the COVID-19, which will cover transportation to the place of residence and will be available to both national and international travelers, provided they have stayed in a regulated establishment.
The declarations of Yllanes disparaging tourism put at risk the work carried out by Armengol and his Minister of Tourism, Iago Negueruela, who insist on the recovery of this activity to guarantee maintaining 200,000 jobs and removing almost 28,000 employees still pending from ERTES.
For their part, from Vox Baleares they have asked for the resignation of the vice president and accuse him of making ‘tourist-phobic’ statements. “We completely censor the statements of Mr. Yllanes, we think that he should resign, or at least appear at a public press conference, to apologize for having offended all the people, they are having such a bad time in the Balearic Islands”, said the deputy spokesman of the party, Sergio Rodriguez.
For the FEHM, It is a “huge irresponsibility” and lack of coordination with the policies and actions of the Balearic Government of which it is a part. They regret that “the messages are not coordinated and focused on the long-awaited economic recovery” and are “to encourage closure, bankruptcy and decision-making more for ideological reasons than for reasons of general interest.”