Car-hire fleets are off the road. | Patricia Lozano - Archive

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The Aevab association of vehicle-hire businesses in the Balearics believes that 30% of these businesses could go bankrupt because of the crisis. The association's president, Ramón Reus, is hopeful of a reactivation of tourism by mid-June; if not, "it will be a disaster for the sector and for the economy of the Balearics".

The association has 250 member companies. In addition, there are the large companies that belong to another association - Baleval. These bring the total number up to 270.

At present, there are some 70,000 hire cars in the Balearics. Reus says that companies are negotiating the return of vehicles with dealers and manufacturers. "They are not going to be needed, because there is no tourism activity whatsoever." If these negotiations are unsuccessful, "companies' situations will worsen in every respect, and they will be forced into making cuts or they will be forced to close because they are bankrupt".

Both Aevab and Baleval hope that there is a return to normality by June, but they recognise that there will have to an "absolute reversal" for tourists to return. "We are pessimistic, but we have to hope that things will get better," Reus adds.