There is concern in Spain's tourism sector that it could face another catastrophic season unless a group's proposals to ‘save summer’ are taken on board by the authorities.
A group of tourism professionals, including members of the Spanish Association of Hotel Directors (AEDH) and private health groups has put together a plan to “save lives, save the economy and save tourism and avoid the destruction of companies and jobs that are linked to the tourism sector and that directly and indirectly represent 25 per cent of the national GDP”.
In short, they say they want to “get one of the main economic engines in Spain to lead the country's economic recovery”.
The group lists eight points and calls on the government to “react with forceful measures to be able to solve the state of health emergency in which we have been immersed for almost a year. The vaccination of the majority of Spaniards is not enough to alleviate the effects of this crisis and to be able to overcome the situation," says Manuel Vegas, president of the national AEDH.
The first of the measures is the implementation and monitoring of massive, rapid Covid-19 tests of the population.
In addition, they demand an effective control of national and regional borders, demanding quick and inexpensive tests, mainly at origin, accompanied by a simple online form and a tracking plan.
They also include in this battery of measures a fast, efficient and effective vaccination plan that allows the population to be immunised as soon as possible. Furthermore, they request that the offer of collaboration from private health care providers be considered.
Another proposal is to require the issue of a health passport at origin to reopen connectivity first on a national level, then on a European level and, finally, on an international level.
In the document, the group believes that once these proposals have been addressed, it is time to get to work on reactivating the economy through measures that try to counteract the effects of the crisis.
Among them, they mention the extension of ERTE schemes and maintenance of subsidies to employees.
They also point to the need to reduce and, in some cases, create exemptions from general and municipal taxes, as well as the reduction of tax rates to a single rate, the lowest, to encourage travel again.
Finally, they point out that it is necessary to encourage tourist activity with non-refundable aid and measures that make the sector more competitive and sustainable. They request the cancellation of the tourist tax - in areas where it is levied - from 2020-2021, or that the amount collected be delivered back to the sector to invest in their accommodation, innovation projects and sustainability.