The Asociación Empresarial Hostelera de Benidorm, Costa Blanca y Comunidad Valenciana (HOSBEC), the group which represents a large number of hotels on the Costa Blanca, has said that the region urgently needs help if the tourism sector is to survive.
A plan has been agreed between employers and unions to protect businesses and safeguarg employment but it has not been taken into account by the government in its plan of a transition to a “new normal”.
President of HOSBEC, Toni Mayor, said that it would be “very complicated” to open hotels under the conditions proposed by President Pedro Sanchez in his four part.
“On one hand, because the limitations of capacity and services are barely compatible with the tourist activity itself and, on the other hand, because it allows the opening of hotels without allowing the displacement of clients and tourists at the same time, which is a clear contradiction.
“Thus, the first conclusion we draw from the government’s plan is that the hotel activity allowed in the de-escalation phases is minimal, and basically centred on occasional accommodation for commercial and mercantile activities, without any tourist component.
“In addition, the uncertainty goes even beyond the end of Phase 3 planned for the end of June. Without international air operations there will be no tourism or activity that can guarantee a return to normality at reasonable levels.”
Moyor continued: “We must not forget that in the main tourist destinations of the Valencian Community, international tourism accounts for between 50 to 60 per cent of the total revenue.”
HOSBEC argues that with all of this taken into consideration, the “force majeure” should extend beyond the lifting of State of Alarm until such a point in time when “the tourism sector is once again seeing strong demand”.
The strategy which was agreed weeks ago with the relevant unions includes an extension of the ERTEs for six months after the end of the State of Alarm, with the possibility of an additional extension “if tourist movement restrictions persist”.
Mayor said: “For these ERTEs, a 100 per cent exemption of the company’s social security contribution is necessary – for all types of companies, regardless of their size.”
The plan also requests a 12-month grace period for the payment of interest on mortgage debts, to be paid at the end of each loan.
The president of HOSBEC warned “if the government does not consider this protection plan, the consequences will not be long in coming. The lifting of the ERTEs force majeure once the end of the State of Alarm is declared without other measures planned will mean a cascade of layoffs, job destruction and even bankruptcy among hundreds of tourism companies. We are seeing how we can drown and (the government) can’t throw a lifeline full of concrete.”
If the the Spanish government do not consider the plan to revive tourism in the area, 300.000 jobs may be destroyed and the Valencian Community could see a 14% drop in it’s GDP.
“Approving this protection plan will allow effective and progressive de-escalation for the tourism sector”.