Tourism Board says Spain's borders must open soon. | P. Pellicer


Companies from the Tourism and Hospitality Sector, Territorial Associations of Family Business and Balearic ABEF, have asked the Government to confirm border opening plans and support companies to alleviate the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis.

They are also requesting clear dates in order to to be able to plan and make decisions that can be implemented quickly or, at least at the same time as other European countries.

The companies, including ABEF Representative Carmen Matutes, said they’re concerned that competing countries are reacting faster than Spain to activate their Tourism Sectors.

The telematic conference included the Association of Family Business of Madrid, the Association of Family Business of Alicante and the Balearic Association of Family Business.

Carmen Matutes, Deputy Director of the Palladium Hotel Group, pointed out that opening before July 1 would minimise losses.

"Otherwise, for many establishments in the Islands it will not be worth opening at all," she said.

Businessmen, Employers and Institutions are putting pressure on the Central government to press ahead with Tourist activity, and pointing out that Italy, Croatia, Portugal, Turkey and Germany have already reached agreements to establish safe corridors for airline passengers from June to October.

Tourism Board

Tourism Board, Chairman Joan Molas, has called on the Government and the Tourism Sector as a whole, including Workers, Professionals and Businessmen, to restart Tourism Activities as soon as possible, saying “losing the summer season would be a complete calamity.”

"In mid-June the Spanish Tourism Sector must have the possibility to be active, giving Spaniards the opportunity to resume travel and foreign tourists the chance to enjoy holidays in Spain, as they usually do,” said Joan Molas in a letter to the entire Sector.

The key date for the Tourist Board is June 15 and Molas is asking the Government to look at what competing countries are doing.

“Germany has understood that Tourism must be reactivated and is committed to establishing air sanitary corridors for people to travel to other countries this summer, while in Spain inland tourism is encouraged.”

Molas adds that "with all the health guarantees that we are perfectly able to offer, we must return to the activity without further delay".

He urged the Government to focus on economic recovery as soon as possible, instead of "embarking on a disastrous repeal of the Labour Reform, which will only lead to more business closures and layoffs.”

Molas insists that reactivation of the economy must be accompanied by measures that support it, which requires urgent political decisions.

The Tourism Board estimates that the accumulated losses will amount to 40,000 million euros by the end of May, soar to more than 80,000 million euros by the end of August and if Tourism is not reactivated immediately will top 120,000 million euros by the end of the year.

ABEF Representative, Carmen Matutes, said hotels have adopted a three prong attack to make sure sanitary protocols are in place, which includes, the establishment of security and protection protocols; investment in new technologies that allow maintaining the distances between clients and staff; and communication to let customers know that their establishments are safe.

The Tourism Board has requested a 7% reduction in VAT “to keep Spain competitive” and other proposals include eliminating the Tourist Tax which it says "is completely pointless under the present circumstances.”

Mobility and Air corridors

It is absolutely essential to promote internal mobility, reopen borders and facilitate air connectivity, and “only when this happens will the Tourism Sector be able to function again," said the Tourism Board.

The European Union has urged Member States to reopen borders as soon as possible so that travel can resume and Italy has already announced that its borders will open on June 3.

"Spain cannot delay this decision," said the Tourism Board.