Fitur begins on Wednesday an edition called to mark the turning point after almost a blank year, in which Spain has lost 70 million international tourists and 92 million trips from nationals, with losses exceeding 100,000 million euros compared to 2019.
For the first time in its history, Fitur will be held in a hybrid format – face-to-face and online- forced by the coronavirus, which has cut the number of attending countries from 165 in 2020 to 55 with physical presence on this occasion and that will have the capacity reduced to 50% to ensure health security.
Despite the forced reduction of capacities, it is about the first major world fair to be held in person once the pandemic is more controlled and the vaccination process advances, which the sector hopes will serve to relaunch tourism and travel.
The fair will be inaugurated by the kings this Wednesday and will remain open until Sunday. They will only be required antigen test o PCR for professional conferences (the first three sessions). The general public will be able to enter during the weekend, without the need for a test.
55 countries will have a physical presence in the Ifema campus and another 79 will do so through the Fitur LIVEConnect digital platform, which has been operational since May 5 until June 4. All the autonomous communities are present in more than 46,000 square meters in seven pavilions enabled, and more than 5,000 companies that have confirmed their presence at the fair (38% international).
Among the novelties, highlights the celebration of Fitur Lingua, on language tourism, which will be led by Spain, as well as Fitur Woman to highlight the relevant role of women in the world of tourism.
Sánchez will present the green digital certificate
In this edition the President of the Government, Pedro Sanchez, will present the ‘green digital certificate’ that can be applied from June and that will allow you to travel safely. Spain, which is already prepared for it, awaits “as soon as possible” the approval of the European Commission. According to the Minister of Tourism, Reyes Maroto, ten destinations have requested that this certificate be applied as a pilot and the Ministry is working to be able to apply it reciprocally with other EU member states.
The Government has declared the fair as “exceptional event of public interest“, which allows companies to deduct the expenses they incur for participating in this event in their Corporate Tax returns. It has also been declared essential for both institutional and private travelers from more than 60 countries, which speeds up visas .
Losses of 100,000 million
With this fair, Spain hopes to start leaving behind the horror reflected by the figures: between April 1, 2020 (fifteen days after the first state of alarm was declared) and last March 31, more than 70 million foreign tourists and 79,000 million euros of spending that they had left here a year earlier were lost. To this must be added the 92.4 million fewer trips made by the Spanish, in which they would have spent more than 21,000 million euros, judging by the figures from a year earlier.
The result is that the sector and everything that moves around it has seen more than 100,000 million euros dissipate in 12 months, according to the figures published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), which the Exceltur alliance raises to 116,000 million. A very graphic figure of the depth of this crisis for the sector: the 346 million hotel nights lost are equivalent to the total number of nights spent in 2019 in the sum of Greece, Portugal, Malta and Cyprus together.
And this logically translates into a jobs bleeding: it continues to fall at a rate of 36.6% at the end of April while the economy as a whole has contained the destruction of jobs. At the end of March there were more than 750,000 jobs affected by the activity stoppage: about 440,000 in the Temporary Job Reduction File (ERTE) and more than 310,000 fewer Social Security affiliates.
Hoteliers are confident that, thanks to vaccination, they will at least reach figures of around 50% of 2019 occupancy. Specifically for the summer, Exceltur’s first estimate aims to achieve a tourism GDP still 34% lower than 2019 levels.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.