Spain is a tourist country. As much as the pandemic has put it in check and has accelerated the need to rethink the dominant model of mass tourism -a recurring debate since before the outbreak of the coronavirus-, a debate continues to settle on this sector. essential part of the Spanish economy. Currently, it is estimated at around 10% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and in 2019 it exceeded 12%. It is necessary to remember that Spain is still a tourist country in order not to lose sight of its weight in employment (December closed with 2.3 million Social Security affiliates linked to tourist activities) and to take this into account when reformulating the model economic of the country. It is true that there are emerging areas that need to be promoted (the energy transition, for example), but economic recovery in the short and medium term largely depends on the reactivation of tourism. Having exposed all of the above, the perplexity of tourism entrepreneurs is understandable when they saw last April, when the Government presented the large investment projects that would absorb the bulk of European funds, that tourism was in discreet eighth place, with a plan modernization and promotion of the sector endowed with 3,400 million euros in three years, behind other plans such as sustainable mobility (13,200 million) or housing rehabilitation (6,820 million). Fitur, the tourism fair that is being held these days in Madrid, has served as a loudspeaker for companies in the sector to insist on their claim for more aid, in correspondence with their weight in the country’s economy.
The large companies grouped in the Exceltur lobi and the CEOE employers demand that tourism have its own PERTE (strategic project for economic recovery and transformation). The minister of the branch, Reyes Maroto, rejects it, because she considers that the planned plan is already a “true PERTE”. Here it is convenient to clarify terms: although it is the same money from European funds, the modernization plan of the tourism sector of 3,400 million, as it is designed, is not a PERTE, although the minister equates them. A PERTE is reserved for star projects, with growth potential, and among its distinctive characteristics is the public-private collaboration and with research centers, at least five companies and two autonomous communities must participate. The Government has announced PERTE for the electric vehicle, for state-of-the-art health and for renewable energies and green hydrogen. The strategic value of these three fields is indisputable, as is that of tourism, which instead remains outside. It is essential that the tourism industry modernize, reposition destinations and improve the quality of some products to not depend only on the number of tourists who visit us. A wide-ranging remodeling that without a PERTE that articulates it will be difficult to achieve. Another question is whether Exceltur’s request that 17,500 million be allocated is excessive, when for renewables it is 6,900 million and for electric vehicles, 4,300 million. Likewise, it would be wrong to allocate this huge investment to return to the state of 2019, without adapting to the new times.
Government support for tourism through first has been decisive. It has prevented numerous companies from going bankrupt and hundreds of thousands of workers from losing their jobs. The Government then knew how to attend to the needs of the sector; now you must continue to do so.