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60+ vouchers could save the tourism sector

With summer already in sight, the desire to travel is ‘heating up’. It is still not very clear what our holidays will be this year. The lifting of the State of Alarm has uncovered a legal chaos and Spain is, right now, one thing and its opposite. In other words, while in some communities the legal instrument of the State of Alarm is necessary to continue imposing restrictions, in others it is not. The Higher Court of Justice of the Canary Islands has ruled that neither the curfew nor the perimeter closure can be applied in the community, while that of the Balearic Islands has endorsed the continuity of these measures.

The same thing happens with the vaccination passport: nothing is very clear at the moment. It seems that from June an accreditation will be put into operation that will facilitate mobility in the European Union. The Digital Green Certificate will serve to demonstrate that a person has been vaccinated, that a negative test has been performed or has recovered from the disease. This is the solution proposed to the accusations that this mechanism could be discriminatory, mainly because we do not choose when to get vaccinated.

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Tourism went from representing 12.4% of the country's GDP in 2019 to just 4.3% last year.  Photo: Getty Creative.

Tourism went from representing 12.4% of the country’s GDP in 2019 to just 4.3% last year. Photo: Getty Creative.

The end of the State of Alarm has been accompanied by uncontrolled images, with hundreds of people filling the squares of several Spanish cities. But on the opposite side of the same coin, we find that, despite the celebrations, the UCIS are still saturated. In Madrid, Catalonia, the Basque Country, La Rioja, Aragon and Cantabria, the percentage of bed occupancy continues at extreme levels.

But since Spain is one thing and its opposite, and not everything is white, or all black, other communities can boast of a really low incidence of cases in their territory. Every effort has its reward, and the Valencia Community, where restrictions have been especially harsh, did not register any deaths from coronavirus last week.

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The objective is to start the tourist season with really low figures that attract international tourism.

Mobility has been resumed in practically all the communities, and only some, such as the Balearic Islands, request a negative test to enter the region. But in summer the situation could be completely normalized. In addition, according to the statements made by Pedro Sánchez, that Spain is “100 days away from achieving group immunity.” The Prime Minister predicts that 70% of the Spanish population will be vaccinated on August 18. This date is a relief because it allows us to establish a close horizon. But beware, not immediate. We still have to hold out a little longer, but not long.

Tourism is key

The importance of the tourism sector in our country is clear, and the damage that the pandemic has done to it as well. The Tourism went from representing 12.4% of the country’s GDP in 2019 to just 4.3% last year. Faced with this legal chaos, tourism struggles to stay afloat and campaign to ensure their survival.

Many bars, restaurants and hotels are having a really bad time. That is why the sector asks the government for decisive action to reactivate national demand and thus avoid an even greater crisis in the sector. Even so, national tourism only covers 40% of the tourism that came from abroad, which leaves the recovery of economic activity in the hands of the lifting of border restrictions.

Those over 60: the goal

The reactivation of the Imserso vacation programs is expected, paralyzed since March 2020 and whose return has been announced for October, according to the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto.

Vaccination is the best economic measure. And of the 12 million people in Spain over 60 years of age, there are already 4.3 million with the complete vaccination schedule. A voucher system that financed travel in summer would serve to compensate for the losses that tourism will suffer in the coming months due to the lack of arrival of foreign travelers.

In fact, already there are communities that promote tourism through bonds. The Valencian Community has allocated 12 million euros to distribute 30,000 vouchers to those registered in the region to make trips in their own community.

In Galicia, the new tourist voucher of the Xunta, # QuegamosenGalicia21, has been presented for this year, which function as prepaid cards to spend in tourism companies that are part of the initiative.

We need concrete measures from the Government to promote a sector that has so much weight in our economy and retirees may be one of the solutions.

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