Today's meeting between the government and Mallorcan hoteliers. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


Mallorcan hoteliers have stepped up to the plate with regards to helping Ukrainian refugees and today the Mallorcan Hotel federation announced that its members will provide the government with 350 rooms, studios and flats in some 90 locations across the island to accommodate refugees from Ukraine for a month, a figure much higher than the 250 temporary places requested by the Balearic government.

The Minister for Social Affairs and Sports, Fina Santiago, revealed the figure when she presented “a generous and absolutely necessary agreement” at a press conference, the result of a request made by the government to the Mallorca Hotel Business Federation (FEHM).

Santiago explained that the government contacted the FEHM to ask for cooperation to accommodate for a period of a month the Ukrainian refugees who are currently staying at the Covid hotel in Palma, which closes on March 31, so that the regional administration will have time to find more permanent accommodation for extended stays.
The government had asked for 250 “bridging places”.

She said yesterday that there are between 280 and 290 Ukrainian refugees staying at the Covid hotel in Palma, and explained that the Government is looking for longer-term accommodation, in the same way that the Red Cross and the island councils of each island are doing.
“The response has been hyper-solidarity,” said Santiago, and praised the response from the Majorcan hotel sector.
The minister thanked the hoteliers for providing more places than requested.

“It will allow us to place these people in a more appropriate way,” she said, adding that the Balearic Red Cross will select the most suitable spaces.
Santiago praised the fact that the hoteliers have also responded to the government’s request for furniture and material to equip accommodation, “with an extensive list of all kinds of essential kitchenware and furniture.”

“Our aim is to speed up their temporary stay, which will be between one and three years. A hotel cannot be definitive and we have to set up hostels where they can stay in a community, together,” explained the minister.

Santiago added that, in order to facilitate their integration, 88 displaced Ukrainian children are already attending school in the Balearics, and 540 health cards have been issued.

On behalf of the FEHM, the vice-president, Maria José Aguiló, thanked the government for its empathy with the hoteliers and stressed that this is not the first time they have collaborated in humanitarian crises.
“Out of solidarity, the hotel sector in Majorca could not remain on the sidelines, given the dimensions of the conflict,” said Aguiló, who recalled that, as soon as the invasion of Ukraine began, the FHEM spokes to its members to find out which ones would be willing to collaborate.

“The response was very quick to provide solutions to housing and materials such as beds, mattresses and bedding, and in less than 24 hours we quintupled the amount we had been asked for,” she said.
As for the accommodation for some 200 people, she also stressed that thanks to the efforts of the companies it has been possible to exceed the amount. “We are offering a temporary and transitory solution”, she pointed out.

She explained that some 25 or 26 hoteliers are providing accommodation and meals, with a greater volume of places in the tourist areas of Puerto Andratx, Peguera, Cala d’Or, Cala Millor and Alcudia.
Aguiló stressed that the hoteliers have also expressed their willingness to employ refugees, taking into account their job profiles, “to help their normalisation and their integration”, and the employers’ association is working together with the Ministry of Labour to “go a step further”.

The councillor for Economic Model, Tourism and Employment, Iago Negueruela, thanked the FEHM for the work it is carrying out, given “the immensity of the humanitarian catastrophe” to seek solutions.
He thanked the hotel companies for their collaboration with the government “in the face of a problem of such magnitude.”