Madrid – The quarantines imposed by several countries as well as the successive recommendations not to travel to Spain due to the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic are leading the tourism sector to a "very tragic" situation, which is why they demand "clear and specific" measures in the face of a "critical" context.
This is stated by the first vice president of the Spanish Confederation of Travel Agencies (CEAV), Rafael Gallego, in an interview with Europa Press, as well as the decision of some of the main markets to impose restrictions on travelers from Spain, such as the 14-day quarantine decreed by the United Kingdom or the recommendation not to travel to the country announced by Germany, which entails carrying out a test PCR and undergoing quarantine until they receive the negative result of the test, has led the sector to a "very tragic" situation.
Travel agencies hoped to notice a "slight recovery" this summer that would help them lift part of the tourist season, but these decisions by different issuing countries and the evolution of the pandemic have made it "impossible" for this to happen, warning that the summer season, which only has one week left in August and two in September, "is not going to recover."
Along the same lines, the Business Federation of Territorial Associations of Spanish Travel Agencies, Fetave, warns that these measures have "dramatically" worsened the situation in the sector. "If the situation was already very complicated, after that it has become desperate," they acknowledge.
However, they point out that this state, now "tragic", is not irreversible and that from an "optimistic" position the receptive agencies of these international markets have the "hope" of the national market to avoid closure and, in many cases cases, the disappearance of companies and jobs.
According to Gallego, there are hotels that are already beginning to close, even if they had customer reservations for this summer. "Some clients who had a hotel paid for and booked and 48 hours before starting their stay have informed them that the establishment is closing," said the vice president of CEAV.
CANARY ISLANDS As for the Canary Islands, "the only open destination" in the winter season, Gallego warns that "either the number of people affected begins to drop or there will also be a recommendation not to travel to the Archipelago." Germany's recommendation not to travel to Spain exempted the Canary Islands, so tour operators and travel agencies began to refer German tourists from different destinations in Spain to the Archipelago. "The arrivals of Germans are going to be null or scarce," says María Frontera, president of the Mallorca Hotel Business Federation (FEHM), the same day that Germany, its main market, included the Balearic Islands in the risk zone and recommended not travel.
From the Canary Islands, the hoteliers, through the Ashotel Association, have warned of the "imminent risk" facing the Archipelago "if clear and specific measures are not taken by the Canarian Executive to save" the next season winter tourism 2020-2021.
However, Gallego trusts that "between now and the second half of September" the contagion situation will have reversed. In addition, he assured that one of the factors to take into account is that tourists are waiting at the last minute to buy and book depending on how the virus is evolving both in the destination and in their own country of origin.
Thus, travel agencies launch an S.O.S to the Government, requesting the extension of the Temporary Employment Regulation Files (ERTE) until March 2021 for the tourism sector or the performance of tests at airports to convey confidence in the destination.
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