Jorge Marichal, president of the Spanish Hotels Confederation. | Efe


CEHAT, the Spanish Hotels Confederation, has written to the national minister for tourism, Reyes Maroto, and called for the urgent establishment of a commission to implement an emergency plan for Spain's tourism industry.

The confederation's proposal is for a cross-ministerial commission with representation from the regions. This commission is "essential" in order to "properly" address all the issues which have been "seriously" affecting the tourism industry for months. Ministerial representation would include health, employment and foreign affairs, among others.

The Spanish government is being asked to articulate a plan to reactivate tourism and to address general issues and those which are specific to regions. Such a plan, the confederation hopes, will assist destinations where there is a winter season and prepare all destinations for the next summer season.

Jorge Marichal, the president of CEHAT, insists that the "survival of the Spanish tourism industry is at stake". It is therefore essential that an emergency plan contains health, employment and fiscal measures for an industry that directly employs some 2.5 million people.

There needs to be an ERTE that is specific to the hotel sector. This should be "agile" in allowing employees to enter or exit ERTE terms according to the situation with the tourism market. There should be "total exemption" from social security contributions for those who stay within ERTE. The confederation argues that ERTE should be extended "at least" until Easter 2021 in order to guarantee that companies have the necessary "oxygen" to reach Easter and to maintain employment.

On health, the confederation feels that digital health passports or similar are essential to facilitate tracing and to identify risks while tourists are in destination. CEHAT is also restating its view that tourists should be tested when they arrive in Spain. If visitors arrive in Spain and cannot guarantee that they are Covid-free (by means of a test 48 hours at the maximum before arriving), they should be given a quick test upon arrival, for which they should pay. At the end of the stay, there should be another test to show that visitors are Covid-free. These could be paid for jointly by clients and hotelier.