Javier Vich, president of the Palma and Cala Major Hoteliers Association, is very concerned about the negative impact that the pandemic is having on the city's hotels. "Palma has always been a tourist destination where the entire hotel stock is open twelve months a year. Hotels never closed. The pandemic has fundamentally disrupted all tourism and business forecasts. The fall in foreign tourism has been enormous, and this has had an impact on occupancy levels."
He says that 35 of the 72 hotels are currently open. "In November, it is expected that 25 establishments will be open. That will mean 4,100 of the 11,000 places that there are in all hotels in the association. The problem will be what will happen in January and February. I don't dare to predict how many hotels will be operating, but the outlook is very bleak."
Vich adds that the UK quarantine and the German advice against travel were a severe blow. "Prior to those decisions, things were very good, bearing in mind the circumstances. Right now, occupancy is only between ten and twenty per cent. This means, logically enough, that hotels which are open are not profitable."
On how Balearic society views tourism, he believes that it has now fully realised that the islands live from tourism. "Doing anything other than supporting tourism has a negative impact on the entire tourism and productive value chain of the Balearic economy."
Air travel, he insists, must be maintained at all costs. "The authorities must act with all kinds of measure in order to avoid the loss of flights and passenger schedules. The economy must be preserved." And on this travel he notes that national tourism has helped to offset the fall in foreign tourism. "But if there are confinements like the one in Madrid, that will be the final straw."