Tourism calls for more immediate measures to avoid closures

The tourism sector has considered the extraordinary measures approved this Thursday by the Council of Ministers insufficient and "meager" and calls for new effective aid that can be applied immediately to avoid the closure of hotels and travel agencies due to the progression of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has announced an ICO line of 400 million euros to help companies in the tourism, transport and hospitality sector, as well as making the rules on air strips more flexible so that airlines are not forced to use them out of fear to lose them.

Also measures to protect discontinuous permanent workers with an extension of the Social Security bonuses to cover the months of February to June and the refund of the amount of trips contracted in the Imserso holiday programs.

The business association Exceltur has considered the endowment of the ICO credit line of 400 million "meager", because it believes that they would need at least 5 billion euros.

Likewise, Exceltur has asked the Government to facilitate the deferment of payment of social security contributions and VAT at no cost, "for all companies regardless of their size", and to introduce the reduction of the repayment terms of the settlements to refund of VAT, review the regulations for calculating fractional payments of Corporation Tax.

Exceltur also requests to make the distribution of work throughout the year as flexible as possible, allowing the temporary release of agreements, early vacations and allowing "solidarity days", as well as speeding up the management and approval of temporary employment records (ertes)

The Association of Airlines (ALA), which brings together 80 airlines flying in Spain, also sees the government's measures as "completely insufficient".

ALA recalled that in the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook the Government allocated 700 million euros in the credit line, compared to the 400 million now approved for the sector.

The Spanish Confederation of Travel Agencies (CEAV) has requested the suspension or reduction of Social Security contributions, taxation or even a reduction in taxes, and sees insufficient that the Government has limited itself to allowing SMEs and the self-employed defer and divide your tax debts without interest for six months, instead of its suspension.

The CEAV wants Fogasa to assume at least a part of the dismissals that occur for economic reasons and recalls that the negotiation of the new 3-year collective agreement in the sector, which was going to agree on salary increases, has been halted jointly with the unions up to 2%.

In addition, CEAV would like to be able to compel workers to enjoy vacations.

The president of the Business Federation of Territorial Associations of Travel Agencies (Fetave), César Gutiérrez, has told Efe that the agency sector needs, above all, an injection of treasury urgently, because the fall in income is Add the volume of returns of customers who give up traveling following the recommendations of the Ministry of Health.

The loss of income will make it "very difficult" to face the personnel costs, which represent between 70 and 80% of the costs of an agency.

With an increase in measures, "it is still possible to try to make this situation not worse than 2008," according to the president of Fetave, who also calls for a more flexible handling of the Ertes.

In addition, he considers that it is time for the financial sector "to return to society the effort that society made for it a few years ago" (in the first 2010 with aid to banks) and collaborate with the tourism sector to avoid closings.

For his part, the president of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodations (Cehat), Jorge Marcihal, has told Efe that the cancellations are cascading, more since the ban on flying to the United States approved by the Government of the US president, Donald Trump, and has asked the Government for more financial, labor and fiscal measures to deal with this crisis.

The president of Cehat considers capital that the tap of financing to the sector is not closed and crucial that it helps companies to extend tax and Social Security obligations over time, in addition to the flexibility of the mechanisms for submitting an erte and that companies are protected, "because it is the best way to protect employment."


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