surinenglish

Paralysis

If the horizon for the tourism industry wasn't cloudy enough, the snap general election called for 28 April, combined with the municipal and European ballots on 26 May, create a scenario of uncertainty. In fact you could say that it goes beyond uncertainty to border on paralysis.

This calendar of dates with the polling station will have its effect on the Spanish tourist, in whom the industry has placed all its hopes. The industry was relying on the Spanish tourist to save a season when it is expected that international visitor figures will be struggling again.

Experience shows that election years always bring a slump in demand, not only because of the doubts concerning what political strategies are around the corner, but also because we have a tendency to be more careful with our spending and even make cuts in household and business economies - and all this takes its toll on people's holiday budgets.

But the usual slowing of demand is not the worst part of an election year. The real problem comes from the paralysis that hits the different authorities and administrations, from the moment that elections are called until the new governments have been formed and sworn in. This, in these times of political squabbling and fragmented parliaments, is not something that is achieved so quickly or easily.

The proof lies in the situation of tourism in Andalucía, which since last November until just a few days ago (the regional elections and their aftermath) has suffered significantly from important projects being stuck in administration.

The Plan de Acción 2019 is the route map to promote the region and maintain its national leadership and quota of the international market. Andalucía went to the International Tourism Fair (Fitur) in Madrid, the most important in Spain, in January without this project, and the same is about to happen with the ITB tourism fair in Berlin next month. The latter fair is the one that generates the most tourism business in the world, and comes at a time when the German tourism market in Andalucía is in delicate health.

Setting up the new structures of the different administrations demands time that tourism, the driving force behind Andalucía's economy, doesn't have.

This industry moves and evolves at a rate of knots, and can't wait for slow administration. Either tourism is left to one side of political colours or this paralysis will cost us dearly.