There’s been a wave of hotel reservation cancellations from Germany and the UK since the Government announced that it will be compulsory to wear a face mask in all public spaces from Monday, according to the Balearic Hotel Chain Association, or ACH and the Mallorca Hotel Business Federation, or FEHM.
“In the last twenty-four hours all of the hotel chains have received a string of cancellations from all the issuing markets, which breaks the recovery trend that we've had since the end of the Pilot Plan in Mallorca,” said ACH President Gabriel Llobera. “It was the worst moment to adopt the measure, because in the issuing markets there is a feeling that there is a problem and the German Tourist Group, TUI, has already told us that’s what has caused the cancellation of hotel reservations. You have to be very careful with this type of regulation, even more so when all businessmen are caught by surprise,” he added.
Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, CEO of Meliá and President of the Alliance for Exceltur Tourism Excellence, went further.
“In the last 48 hours the rate of reservations to Catalonia and the Balearic Islands has slowed down significantly because having to bring a mask is not attractive,” he said. "This measure should have been agreed with the affected parties, because given the need to constantly wear a mask, tourists have opted for other Spanish coastal destinations that are not as strict,” he said.
Maria Frontera, President of the FEHM, said she hopes the Government will have a change of heart.
“If the distance of 1.5 metres is respected a mask is not necessary and given what’s happening we hope that the Government reconsiders the regulation that obliges people to wear a mask.”
Palma Hoteliers have also voiced their concerns about the negative impact the new face mask regulation is having.
“There is a slowdown and once again we have had more cancellations than reservations at 5-Star, Urban and Boutique Hotels in Palma,” said President Javier Vich. “What’s astonishing is that we were not asked what the potential impact of a measure like this might be on the British and German markets, before it was adopted.
Hotel owners say they tried to explain to the Government what could happen if the mandatory mask regulation was implemented.
“This is a political decision, which we hope will be reconsidered. If we are a safe destination from an epidemiological point of view, the tightening of health controls for residents and tourists is not normal,” they said.
Small, medium and large hoteliers on the Islands agree that “all control measures must be taken in areas where concentrations occur. In hotels, anti-Covid-19 checks are strictly enforced and tourists are responsible for knowing what they have to do when they leave.”
Alfonso Robledo, President of Restauración Mallorca, CAEB, said the Government's new face mask rule is very bad for his Sector.
“This regulation was implemented without consulting the Economic Sector, it harms the productive fabric and it could be the tip of the iceberg, because there is a fear of entering premises,” he said
FEHM, ACH and CAEB claim that making it compulsory to wear a mask in the Balearic Islands is headline news in Europe.
"The damage has already been done and we expect the Government to act," Robledo said.