Spanish Tourism Counts the Cost of C19
The Spanish Federation of Housing and Tourist Apartments (FEVITUR) published recorded losses in Spain’s tourism industry of almost 450 million euros at the end of April. This includes the normally lucrative Easter Holiday and represents a sharp decline which is comparable with the financial crisis of 2008. The difference is that the loss of revenue cannot be blamed on financial institutions or industry greed but is attributed entirely to the COVID19 global pandemic.
The deficit in revenue is expected to climb to as much as 3 billion euros by the end of the year. In Spain it is anticipated that half the tourist season will be lost to corona virus but there is some hope of an escalation in visitor numbers once travel is resumed which will hopefully kick start the recovery into 2021.
FEVITUR has lobbied the Government for urgent measures to be taken to encourage tourism this year once confidence in travel plans is restored. These include the postponement of taxes, a moratorium on surcharges charged to holidaymakers and a relaxation of temporary employment legislation in tourist resorts. Seasonal holiday destinations will, undoubtedly, be hit particularly islands such as Ibiza where the main income-generating period has traditionally been of short duration.
If such areas are to benefit in any small way from this experience it will be by acknowledging that summer seasons may need to be extended in future years with a greater diversity of amenities to attract low season visitors.
The Spanish Government has started de-escalation of it’s strict lock down, locals can move around with a greater degree of freedom and the Balearic Islands will be a priority for re-opening. The first holiday flights, however, are unlikely to arrive before July but negotiations are continuing between the Balearic and Central Governments to potentially allow flights and tourists to come back to the islands from mid June.
Social distancing looks set to continue which will affect hotel facilities and has to be a consideration for small local businesses such as bars and restaurants who will need to assess the profitability of opening under restrictions on customer numbers. There is also the concerns over traditional customer bases and the COVID19 situation in parts of the world where citizens habitually take holidays in Spain.
Most countries will experience economic recession and measures taken by all governments to contain the spread of the virus has already impacted on employment, personal debt and leisure pursuits. It seems to be a waiting game but progress, although slow and, understandably cautious, is being made.
The tourist housing market has long provided a valuable contribution to the Spanish economy and has expanded over the years to become one of the country’s major financial assets. During this latest crisis the industry has shown compassion by providing free accommodation for health care workers and military personnel.
In a situation where profit-making has been sidelined, Spain’s tourist housing market has displayed the type of integrity that will inspire the confidence of potential clients and will aid its recovery when all this is over.
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