The large tourism groups pressure the Government to increase the European funds allocated to the sector and reformulate the distribution criteria of those already committed so that they have a real transformative effect for the activity hardest hit by the economic slowdown caused by covid.
“It has been two devastating years for the sector most affected by the pandemic & rdquor ;, he summarized Gabriel Escarrer, CEO of Meliá and president of Exceltur, the lobby that brings together some thirty of the largest tourism companies in the country. Two years in which, according to the executive, the need to promote the modernization and transformation of the sector in Spain to reposition itself as a destination with high added value and not only focused on mass tourism has intensified.
To achieve this, from the tourist industry it is considered that the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR) and its 70 billion of euros from European funds in the coming years is a historic opportunity. The sector demands that the Government play a greater role in tourism – the traditional locomotive of the Spanish economy and the main sector with more than 12% of GDP until the pandemic broke out – in the distribution of these funds. At the moment, the sector has only 3,400 million assigned, less than 5% of the total.
at the gates of Fitur, the sector fair that is being held this week in Madrid, the clamor of the sector demanding a PERTE (strategic project for economic recovery and transformation) specifically for tourism has been growing. More and more business and also political voices (headed by the president of the PP, Pablo Casado), are asking the Executive for a megaproject agglutinating European funds similar to the one that the Government has allocated to boosting the industry linked to the electric and connected vehicle or to the new renewables and green hydrogen.
Tourism promises the government billionaire private investments to accompany these European funds with the aim of transforming the sector. “We provide our government with a strong commitment to private investment” if a PERTE of its own is launched, Escarrer stressed, at the opening of the Exceltur Tourist Leadership Forum, which is being held on the eve of Fitur’s opening. “We extend our hand to the Government & rdquor ;.
Last week, Exceltur already demanded to concentrate European funds amounting to €17.5 billion in ten years in tourism (15,000 million from PERTE in the first three years and another 2,500 million from traditional European funds in subsequent years) to modernize the old Spanish ‘sun and beach’ tourist destinations.
The organization’s proposal would be to concentrate aid from the funds in a fortnight of mature destinations -such as the Costa del Sol, Playa de Palma, south of Gran Canaria, Costa Brava, Benidorm, Ibiza, Costa de Cádiz, Fuerteventura and various areas of Mallorca– with the aim of repositioning them and activating truly transformative projects.
The association calculates that these more than 17,000 million public funds would allow mobilizing other 37,500 million more private investments. An injection of funds in the transformation of these pioneer destinations that would serve, according to Exceltur, to increase an average of 10% of the tourist GDP of these destinations each year, increase by 2.5% the number of overnight stays and the average daily expenditure of the tourists, and increase employment linked to tourist activity in these areas by 10%.
Disappointed in delivery
At the moment, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, commanded by Reyes Maroto, has designed as a key part of this injection of European funds for tourism a program to promote tourism sustainability plans led by municipalities throughout Spain and endowed with 1,800 million of euros. The Ministry has already distributed 615 million in a first call of the program to 169 small projects, of which 153 will be managed directly by the municipalities and another 16 will be done by autonomous communities.
From the large tourist groups, the formula chosen to distribute the bulk of European funds destined for the sector, focused on small projects and chosen and designed by the municipalities without the intervention of private companies, is criticized. “We have to convey our deep disappointment at the cast through mere territorial quotas and without prior business consensus & rdquor ;, Escarrer pointed out, who has demanded that the criteria be reviewed in view of the calls for new aid in 2022 and 2023.