Tourism companies see the distribution of NextGenerationEU funds as "retail" that prevails in the interior Spain

The main association of companies in the tourism sector, Exceltur (which groups together the 30 largest companies, from Iberia, to hoteliers through Renfe) considers that the distribution of the first Next Generation funds has favored, above all, the small municipalities of inland, ahead of the traditional coastal tourist areas that, in his opinion, need them more due to the structural problems that they drag.

The tourism sector monopolizes the SEPI rescue fund: it accounts for half of the companies and 75% of the aid

The tourism sector monopolizes the SEPI rescue fund: it accounts for half of the companies and 75% of the aid

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That first distribution of 615 million euros of the Destination Sustainability plans has been marked by a "retail" focused "on few projects, in small municipalities that do not really have a transformative impact," said Jose Luis Zoreda, vice president Exceltur executive.

In the opinion of this business 'lobby', aid should focus on "sun and beach" destinations that are "the flagship of the Spanish tourism industry and have had structural problems for years," he summarized in a meeting with media to present the evolution of the sector in 2021 and the outlook for 2022.

"If we say that the plan [Next Generation] It is a manna and that there must be stones for everyone, we will say why it has reached the next municipality and not mine ", Zoreda has affirmed. According to Exceltur, of those 615 million, more than half, 53%, It has granted to inland destinations and 28% to the Mediterranean coast and islands, when the latter account for 60% of the entire offer and those for inland 12%.

He criticizes that, with these funds, projects such as bike lanes or electrolineras have been financed - which he assumes are the competence of other ministries, not the Ministry of Tourism -, a fence for a golf course in Asturias or "polycentric sustainability" projects.

"Of the funds currently distributed, Aragon, for example, has focused on promoting ski resorts. I am not saying that there is no justification for supporting emptied Spain, with few resources; [este modelo de reparto] it does not have the desirable impact and that it does not go where these funds can have more multiplier effects, "says the Exceltur executive.

Where do you think the funds should go?

Exceltur considers that the funds should be concentrated on the Mediterranean coast and on the islands, because they represent 70% of the total tourism GDP. To do this, it calls for a Perte, an action and investment plan like the one approved for the automotive industry.

Regarding the volume of aid, he assures that the sector aspires to funds worth 15,000 million in 10 years, at the rate of 1,500 million public aid a year. And, for actions, the association gives as an example those already carried out in Magaluf (Mallorca) or Ibiza, aimed at a "tourist profile with greater spending capacity".

Among the areas to which the funds should go, he points out the Costa del Sol, South of Gran Canaria, Costa Brava, East of Mallorca and Costa Dorada, as the first five sources, for concentrating more supply.

Full recovery in 2024 and support for labor reform

Regarding the evolution of the sector, Exceltur figures the tourism GDP at 88.546 million euros, at the end of 2021, which is still 42.8% behind the pre-pandemic levels. It notes the recovery, slowed down in December by the Omicron variant, due to the pull of domestic demand, while foreign demand has not yet recovered. The United Kingdom is no longer the main source market, relieved by tourists from Germany and France.

Looking ahead to 2022, the outlook is positive but cautious. "Most companies continue to suffer, due to this sudden stop with Omicron, and have cash flow problems," said the vice president of Exceltur. Therefore, it urges to maintain the Ertes, which conclude next March, throughout 2022, and extend ICO credits and accelerate aid from the State Society for Industrial Participations (SEPI). Full recovery, at pre-pandemic levels, would not come until 2024.

Regarding the labor reform, the 'lobby' of the tourism sector believes that the balance is "positive because it maintains elements of flexibility, in a sector such as tourism, which creates so much employment with such a changing situation," he valued Óscar Perelli, director of the Exceltur study area.

Support, but with nuances. "It is a technical issue but there are questions that are yet to come to fruition: how to understand seniority in the discontinuous fixed, as an alternative figure to temporality when eliminating the work contract, if it is for the days or for the computed years. The main lines of the labor reform are sensible, to be able to agree on agreements or the internal organization of work, "he summarized.


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