For the first time in 35 years there’s unlikely to be any Imserso tourists in Majorca this winter because it could put the elderly at risk of coronavirus infection.
Imserso's marketing campaign is being delayed as long as possible, which leaves Turismo Social, Mundosenior and Mundiplan in limbo.
“Everything indicates that there will be no tourism for the elderly until 2021 and if there is, a minimum number of hotels will collaborate, for instance, a single hotel will be assigned in Playa de Palma in the Balearic Islands and the same will happen in Puerto de la Cruz in the Canary Islands, because most accommodation is closed because of the crisis,” said business sources.
The Ministry of Health will make the final decision, but due to the increase in Covid-19 outbreaks it’s unlikely that the Imserso Vacation Program will be authorised this year.
"We have everything prepared except the Health Department authorisation,” said Social Tourism which manages Imserso’s trips to the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
“Coronavirus has disrupted hotel planning and the Imserso Vacation Program is not on offer because of the coronavirus crisis. As of November, 90% of the Hotel Sector will be practically closed due to the sharp drop in demand,” according to the Hotel Association of Playa de Palma.
Undernormal circumstances around 160,000 elderly people are accommodated in 40 hotels in the Balearics as part of the Imserso Vacation Program which is subsidised by the State. If the program is cancelled this year it will also affect the Airlines and other sectors of the economy.
The Hotel Association of Palma and Cala Major usually benefits from the arrival of cruise passengers, congresses and active tourism enthusiasts during the winter season, but not this year.
“Urban and boutique hotel bookings are already down by more than 50% and may fall even further if coronavirus quarantine is imposed in other source markets,” said President, Javier Vich.
CAEB Chairperson, Carmen Planas, says the outlook for the winter season is bleak.
“We are focused on the situation that’s approaching at the end of the summer campaign, in the autumn and winter months, when the situation is more than alarming in all of the Balearic Islands,” she said.
CAEB has urged the Government to put together a Health and Economic strategy and ask the Central Government to allocate economic funds to the Balearic Islands, saying "we are the community most affected by this crisis.”
“Our Islands are immersed in a situation of enormous vulnerability because of the Covid-19 pandemic and unfortunately this crisis will generate a bill that will be very difficult for the Balearic Islands to digest, because we are already in an economic recession of incalculable and enormous dimensions,” said Carmen Planas who pointed out that unemployment in the Balearic Islands is double the rate of 2019.
"There are more than 100,000 permanent workers, whose families will not receive any benefits during the winter months," she said. "The Balearic Islands need urgent help from all Public Administrations and the ERTEs must be extended until the next summer season, because if the appropriate measures are not taken, the economic viability of thousands of companies in the Balearic Islands and thousands of jobs are in danger."