Spain urges Brits not to ‘throw in the towel’ on 2020 holiday season

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Tourism leaders in Mallorca have vowed “not to throw in the towel” and believe they could still salvage the 2020 holiday season despite the coronavirus crisis.

The Spanish Government believes there is still a chance for some sort of summer season in whatever format and Mallorca’s governing council agrees.

Island president, Catalina Cladera, said: “We are not ending this year’s tourist season. Whatever we can safely reactivate, we will.

“As soon as we can, we must move to the contingency phase and live with the pandemic, always in a safe way, because people’s health is essential, as well as saving the productive fabric and jobs.”

In common with other holiday hotspots in Spain, they anticipate tourists will be allowed “back in” in three different phases in order to adjust to the aftermath of the pandemic.

To test the waters, the revival will start with local holidaymakers, followed by national and then international, which will include Brits.

No timescale has been set by the Spanish Government as the current State of Emergency runs until April 26 but is to be extended today until May 9.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the winding-down process could start towards the end of May but again in phases.

It’s estimated that the Balearics, which include Mallorca and Ibiza, have already lost €905million in revenue in the five weeks of the State of Emergency, with half attributed to the hotel and restaurant trade.

Mallorca, like the Canary Islands, wants to be first in line when resorts are able to reopen.

But major adaptations will need to be made to all aspects related to holidays to take into account self-distancing, from travel from the airports to the hotels themselves.

Catalina Cladera said: “It is clear that in the way we travel there will be one before and one after the crisis, as in 9/11.

“We will have to adapt the way we travel and we must prepare our destination in this new environment, making it more secure, promoting innovation and technology, and adapting to new protection measures in hotels, restaurants, shops, transport and way of traveling .”

And she added: “We cannot forget that we have always been Mallorca, our strength has not changed.

“We are now fighting to overcome the global health crisis but our natural environment and the potential of the tourism sector remain there.”

The Balearic Government has also told hoteliers that they won’t have to cough up tourist tax money as they have had no guests.

They are supposed to pay in October, based on an estimate of October 2019, but the government says this will not happen.

Tourism chiefs have stressed, however, that this is not a suspension of the tourist tax which holidaymakers would still have to pay on their eventual return.

Spanish airports also anticipate reopening on a phases basis, with national traffic first, then European and then international.

Since March, traffic at Spanish airports has suffered a drop of 59.3% in the number of passengers (8.1 million) and 43.8% in the number of operations, reaching 95% in some days of April.

Until the coronavirus health emergency broke out, Spanish airports had managed a traffic of 33.9 million passengers in the first two months of the year, 3.2% more than in the same period of 2019.

Plans are already being made for 46 Spanish airports, to include queue management, terminal disinfection, the supply of masks, gloves and disinfecting gels, control of the capacity of shops and restaurants and distances between passengers. Again, no timescale has been set.

Last week, Spain’s Minister of Labour Yolanda Diaz said she did not expect tourism to “get back to normal” until the end of 2020 but tourism leaders appear now to be sending out a different signal.

Spain’s death toll from coronavirus has already surpassed 21,000.