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Hotels warn that start of Spain's subsidised holiday scheme for pensioners could be delayed by at least three months
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Hotels warn that start of Spain's subsidised holiday scheme for pensioners could be delayed by at least three months

This could mean the possible early closure of some establishments in the Costa del Sol resorts of Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Benalmádena, and even Marbella, putting at stake more than 2,500 jobs in the establishments that have joined the Imserso programme this year

Pilar Martínez

Malaga

Sunday, 3 September 2023, 08:45

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Subsidised holidays for pensioners in Spain as part of the Imserso scheme will be delayed by up to three months, Costa del Sol hoteliers have warned.

The Spanish government's scheme - which has tourist packages up for grabs along the peninsular's coast, the islands and in inland areas of Spain - has suffered a setback due to a disagreement over the awarding of its contract. This has been sparked by Soltour, Mundiplan and Seniorplan, whose bids were rejected, and is now expected to cause a delay in the implementation of the trips of at least three months.

"There is concern about the allegations registered by the various companies that will cause delays of at least three months in the implementation of this programme for the autumn and winter season 2023-2024. This could mean the possible early closure of some establishments in the Costa del Sol resorts of Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Benalmádena, and even Marbella, putting at stake more than 2,500 jobs in the establishments that have joined the Imserso programme this year," executive vice-president of the Costa del Sol Hotel Association (Aehcos), Javier Hernández, said.

The Imserso trips involve some 75,000 stays on the Costa del Sol, mainly in winter, allowing these hotels to stay open and, with it, maintain jobs. Aehcos said: "the hoteliers do not intend to make money with the programme, they only intend to cover costs, which has not been the case for years, but on the contrary, there are losses".

Hernández called on the government to rethink the project amid data from the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (CEHAT) which, together with the University of Alicante, studied the decline of the programme.

It points out that the total cost, taking into account labour costs, rooms, catering and maintenance, in 2019 was 26.92 euros per person per night. Currently, they claim that last year this figure increased to 29.61 euros. "We propose a number of modifications to the current programme to increase cost-effectiveness. These include: extending the seasonal effect of the programme and prioritising the maintenance of employment linked to it, among others," they added.

The employers' association pointed out that if these changes were implemented, a target figure of 1.2 million packages sold per year would be reached.

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