The effects on tourism of the limitations imposed by some countries are described as "brutal"
The travel agents' associations demand from the government "strong support" for the companies and a reinforcement of the country's reputation. This has been stated to AGENTTRAVEL by the presidents of the associations after the last restrictions imposed by countries of the European Union to travellers coming from Spain - such as the quarantine in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands or the recommendation not to travel to our country from Germany - whose effects they describe as "brutal".
The president of the Corporate Association of Specialized Travel Agencies (Acave), Martí Sarrate, says that according to his forecasts the year may end with a decrease of 80% of visitors compared to 2019, while for outbound tourism would be 90%.
In the words of the president of the Business Federation of Territorial Associations of Spanish Travel Agencies (Fetave), César Gutiérrez, the imposition of quarantines of this kind "is practically a ban on travel to our country, since no tourist is willing to suffer the same either on the return of his trip or at the beginning of it."
"Taking into account that the summer campaign was already being to forget this cold water jug only confirms our worst predictions about the behavior of international tourism this summer," adds Gutiérrez.
Thus, travel agencies warn that this situation will affect the continuity of many self-employed, micro and small businesses. For this reason, Gutiérrez considers that it is "essential to rescue the sector" since the situation is one of "extreme emergency".
Sarrate, for his part, explains that, since the planned objective is to safeguard employment and the business fabric, "the lack of good coordination and foresight in controlling certain outbreaks has made the reactivation of our sector much more complicated".
Aid to companies and the country's reputation
Thus, from Fetave they request to the administrations that they take different measures of rescue as the extension of the ERTE by force majeure in equal conditions that at the beginning of the state of alarm, its flexibility and facilitation of the labor adjustments to "save companies with jobs and not unemployed without companies".
It also considers "essential" the deferral of Social Security contributions in general and not linked to business size, ICO guarantees up to 90% and with longer periods of grace and repayment, incentives to demand in the domestic market as well as encouragement to travel operators and transporters, communication campaigns explaining the health guarantees offered by our country, among others.
In addition to the costs that the current situation is having at the employment level in the sector, the president of the Spanish Confederation of Travel Agencies (CEAV), Carlos Garrido, also points to the "cost reputation that our country has as a leader in tourism" and calls for programs to encourage consumption as they have done in other countries in effective measures to give confidence to travelers as PCR, measure temperature and other measures to help build confidence among travelers.
In this sense, Sarrate asks that the information that is transmitted be managed "well", because "a total image of scaremongering is being created, because the possibility of the advance of resprouts has not been well controlled and the different governments have been caught off guard".
He also regrets that after "the effort made to create and implement the protocols approved by the ICTE" and for "the business and professional responsibility in complying with them", the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are not in negotiations with the different countries to "respect the agreements that were achieved by unifying the opening of the Schengen Borders" or the bilateral agreements with 15 other countries.
Very bad" forecasts
With this scenario, the forecasts made by travel agencies are "very pessimistic" because "we are in the worst case scenario, with the lost season," explains Garrido who also recalls that the agencies have not been invoicing for months and reiterates the need for "strong support to get out of this situation.
In the same line, the president of Fetave describes the forecasts as "not encouraging at all and with a tendency to get worse", at least until the health issue is resolved, which "does not stop getting worse". He blames this on the "incompetence of the exercise of competence and believing that marketing fixes everything, even the protocols of the sectors, which are necessary but insufficient".
Finally, Sarrate believes that he will follow the same trend "of caution and downgrading" because "every day the pre-established rules change" directly affecting "a psychological fear", which is aggravated by the restrictions of certain countries and results in the decision not to travel.