Total desolation. The hotel sector of the Costa Blanca foresees that the increase in restrictions to face the covid, with the icing on the curfew until the August 16th in the main tourist towns starting next week, provoke a new wave of cancellations that will dot the month of August, just when it was expected to stick its head out after a July that in the end will not be catastrophic. The businessmen directly accuse the central government and to Tip of not having done our homework, of having rushed, of not having foreseen what could come our way, of not having controlled more harshly the bottles and now, with the reverse gear, of sowing fear in the market. Hotels and apartments received yesterday the first calls canceling reservations after hearing that “what is happening on the Costa Blanca?”
So much Hosbec as the Provincial Association of Hotels of Alicante consider that restrictive measures “They are going to sink the summer” by transmitting fear just at the gates of August, and blame the central and regional Administration directly for the possible disaster, which “had months to foresee that this would not explode in the middle of summer,” agree Nuria Montes and Victoria Puche, secretary general of the Hosbec employer and president of the Alicante hoteliers, respectively. Just yesterday the cataract of cancellations began and it is expected that the trickle will continue incessant except for a miracle. “They have thrown our image on the floor. Not because of the curfew, which too, but because the idea is transmitted that something serious with the covid is happening in the Valencian Community, which ruins all the effort made to prepare for months, “he underlines Nuria Montes, Secretary General of Hosbec.
Can anyone explain why in Benidorm it has gone from one covid incidence from 12 to 505 cases per one hundred thousand inhabitants in six weeks with nightlife closed and the hotel industry closed at zero hours? This is the question that hoteliers and hoteliers of the main tourist municipality of the Valencian Community asked themselves yesterday, the most punished by the crisis, which is on the verge of an August in which even new closures that are added are not ruled out to hotels that have been closed for more than a year. “The bad thing is that you could see it coming but the person who had to see it has not seen it, and, above all, we continue with a very low vaccination rate,” said Nuria Montes.
Victoria Puche, president of the Provincial Association of Hotels, wondered: «What has the Government done in the last 18 months to find us now with this chaos? And the Consell? Now they put their hands to head when they admit that the sanitary pressure has been transferred to the health centers but many continue to close in the afternoons in summer. The contract for health workers has not been renewed and the vaccination rate continues to be slow. They cut our necks in the middle of high season and sink the image of destiny, that’s the worst. What do I answer to some clients in Madrid who ask me what is happening in Alicante? »
The economic crisis derived from the covid pandemic has caused the tourism sector to accumulate since March 2020 some losses of 14 billion euros in the Valencian Community (ten thousand in the province of Alicante), which represents the loss of 70% of the activity. A reduction in the tourism business that has a direct impact on the PIB provincial. Some 9,000 workers, both in hotels and in restaurants, bars and cafes are still in ERTE in the middle of July and, after this month, the summer, even acceptable, is twisted at times. Of the 14,300 bars, cafes and restaurants, 30%, some 4,300 establishments have not reopened since the first lockdown occurred in March 2020. And all without the direct help arriving.
The tourism sector has practically been without customers since September 2020, without income and with millionaire fixed costs in 30% of the hotel plant that is still closed. This is the tourist reality of the province, which until May had 160 hotels closed due to the perimeter closure and now at 50% on average due to restrictions.
The hoteliers support operating costs for each temporarily closed hotel of between 35 euros (amortized establishments), and 150,000 euros, in the case of those with outstanding loans, larger or subject to the payment of a rent. An average of 100,000 euros per month per establishment.
Frustration, on the other hand, just when the Sociological Research Center (CIS) published a report on Thursday revealing that half of Spaniards do not plan to go on vacation this summer, while 45.1% will go on vacation or have already moved, and 4.9% do not know or doubt, according to the barometer of the Center for Sociological Research (CIS), corresponding to the month of July. In addition, the survey reveals that this summer national tourists will stay in Spain, since 88.8% will travel through Spain and only 8.8% plan to go abroad.
Two weeks will be the measured length of stay of Spaniards who plan to go on vacation, being the choice of 29.4% of those surveyed. Between one and two weeks and a week are the other most chosen options, with 28.7% and 27.4%, respectively.
The CIS barometer points out that the beach is the preferred destination for 58.8% of Spanish travelers, followed by the rural municipality (20.5%), the inner city (15.3%), the islands (11.9 %) or road trips (8.2%). Regarding the type of accommodation, 34.8% of those surveyed prefer a hotel or aparotel to spend their holidays, being the entire rental home, which includes tourist apartments (20.1%); the second home and the family home, friends or company, both with 19.1%, the other preferred options.
52.7% of those surveyed do consider it necessary to implement sanitary measures to have a safe vacation. Among these measures, the most necessary are more resources to reinforce the health system, reinforce security protocols in public transport and in tourist activities. Of course, he raised a curfew as in the next three weeks more than two million citizens in the Valencian Community between one and six in the morning.
Other options considered to increase security but not so necessary are limiting the capacity in swimming pools and beaches, mandatory use of masks and an app to monitor the traceability of infections.
As for the return of the british tourists (no news), no news, despite the fact that since Monday of this week the vaccinated Englishmen have not been quarantined at home after returning from their holidays on the Costa Blanca.
Rejection in the PP
Carlos Mazon, President of the County Council and the Provincial Tourist Board “Costa Blanca”, criticized that “the Consell has settled in disproportion and in finding guilty parties. The culprits are not young people, or the hotel industry or nightlife. This begins with the irresponsibility of President Pedro Sánchez to disassociate himself and divert responsibility to the autonomies. Mazón stressed that “we already warned of possible sources of contagion when the premises were closed and that is what has happened. The problem is that the Generalitat does not assume its own responsibility for having dismissed 3,000 health workers at the beginning of the summer, being the last autonomy in the peninsula in vaccination and not having an inoculation calendar for young people. They always blame others.
In Alicante, the government team formed by PP and Ciudadanos after meeting with representatives of the hoteliers, hoteliers and nightlife, demanded that the vaccination rate be increased and that it stop “criminalizing hoteliers and young people, because we are suffering a poorly managed health crisis and not a tourist crisis “, denounced the Alicante, Luis Barcala, and the vice mayor, Mari Carmen Sánchez. “All my support for the hotel industry, which is going through its worst moment since the end of the state of alarm,” said the mayor.
In Benidorm, Toni Pérez, regretted the delay in vaccination. “They promised us that in summer we would be vaccinated 70% of the population and there we continue.” Pérez announced aid of up to 3,000 euros for nightlife venues, taking advantage of a budget from the Provincial Council.
The curfew extension in 45 more municipalities, thus reaching a total of 77 localities in the Community, 18 of them in the province, has been the last straw for the hotel and leisure industry, who see how the summer season escapes them between the fingers “due to the inability of the Administration” to face the new wave of infections that affects the Valencian Community, pointed out yesterday in a statement signed by the presidents of the ARA associations (Alicante Restaurant Association), César Anca, and Alroa (Association of Leisure Venues), Javier Galdeano. “Once again, reality shows that the Consell’s strategy to stop this fifth wave of infections by imposing a curfew involves sacrificing a sector that accounts for 8.9% of the province’s GDP and that employs more than 80,000 employees ”. «From ARA and ALROA we want to remind the president Ximo Puig who promised the sector a summer of recovery as compensation for the sacrifice of winter and spring, but what he requests is a betrayal, especially when, as of the day before yesterday, Health has communicated 92 hospital admissions of covid patients in the province, of of which 11 remain in ICU, a significant decrease in hospital pressure compared to previous waves of infections ”.
Since the de-escalation, «the hospitality industry has assumed with resignation and stoicity each and every one of the measures that have been imposed on it: space and capacity limitations, reduced hours and total or partial closures, and it has done so hoping that the responsible for managing the health crisis in the Valencian Community did their homework ».
At the same time, the hoteliers insist that «for months we denounced that limiting the hours of nightlife establishments would lead to mass gatherings of young people without control or sanitary measures. The Consell did not listen to us and maintained its restrictions, drowning a sector that has endured its closed businesses for more than eight months. So we demanded an urgent change in vaccination plans to avoid another wave of infections in the younger population, but the Consell responded again by firing 3,000 health workers ».
Hoteliers and nightlife feel betrayed
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.