At the gathering of politicians and tourism industry business leaders in Palma on Thursday, there was unanimity in believing that tourism will recover, but no one ventured to state when. Before it can, health security has to be restored and the contagion curve has to go down in the Balearics and the rest of Spain.
Organised by the Balearic government and the Exceltur alliance for tourism excellence, the theme was "future strategy for the recovery of the tourism sector". There was agreement on: the importance of public and private sector collaboration; the transformation of mature (obsolete) resorts; an end to the tourism of excesses; the commitment to quality tourism; and an extension to the tourism season.
In addressing these various themes, the CEO of Meliá Hotels International and president of Exceltur, Gabriel Escarrer, said they were ones on which work has already been done and that Covid-19 "gives us an opportunity to strive to continue being the leaders among the most competitive tourist destinations". Escarrer regretted that there are certain voices which "demonise" the tourism sector and the islands' dependence on tourism. "The Balearic Islands provide a benchmark for tourism worldwide and promote the development of other sectors."
President Armengol stressed the need to "combine strategies for an effective reactivation of the tourism sector", while the Balearic tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, announced that the government will be establishing a think tank with the private sector in combining strategies for "reopening" the Balearics. "2021 will be vital, and we must get out of this crisis together."
Among others who took part in Thursday's discussions were Carmen Riu of Riu Hotels & Resorts, Javier Sánchez Prieto, the president of Vueling, and the mayor of Calvia, Alfonso Rodríguez, who is also president of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces' tourism commission.