MALAGA – the provincial government says it feels unseen by the central government in granting support to the tourism sector. The Costa del Sol tourism sector is, according to the council, second hardest hit by the pandemic.
Chairman of the provincial government Franciso Salado bases this conclusion on the report ‘Comparative study of economic losses Costa del Sol-Canary Islands-Balearic Islands’. It states that almost 30% of the €7billion in government support for the tourism sector goes to both island groups. The remaining 70% goes to the 15 remaining Spanish regions.
Too much focus on the Canary Islands
Salado also criticises the government for extending ERTE for an indefinite period only for the Canary Islands. Previously, the government only released safe tourist corridors for both island groups as a strategy to support local tourism. According to Salado, the fact the Costa del Sol is not given equal footing to the two archipelagos, even when government aid is distributed, is causing bad blood within the tourist sector in his area. In 2019, the Costa del Sol with more than 242 thousand accommodations, accounted for almost 10% of national tourism in Spain.
According to the comparative study, the blow to tourism is almost equally hard for the archipelagos and the Costa del Sol. In the province of Málaga 55.2% of jobs in this sector were lost, on the Canary Islands it was 53.1% and on the Balearic Islands 78.9%. Looking at the decrease in the number of travellers staying in tourist accommodation, the province of Málaga suffered a loss of 70.8%, versus 70.6% on the Canary Islands and 87 % on the Balearic Islands. At Málaga airport there was a passenger decrease of 74.5%, for the Canary Islands it was 63.1% and the Balearic Islands 77.5%.
“Distribution based on political motives”
These are figures that, according to the provincial government of Málaga, do not justify the subordination of the Costa del Sol. In fact, of the twelve points on which the study measured the impact of the pandemic, the Costa del Sol leads on tow points and is second in seven others.
The Balearic Islands remain the hardest hit region, but losses on the Costa del Sol are greater than those of the Canary Islands. According to Salado, the fact the government is more aware of the impact of the pandemic on both island groups than on the Costa del Sol is completely unjustified and based only on political criteria. He finds it no coincidence both island groups have a socialist government.
Displeasure is unjustified according to PSOE
Last Monday, Salado wrote to Minister Nadia Calviño of Economic Affairs and Minister María Jesús Montero of Finance asking them to reconsider the distribution of government aid and to equate the Costa del Sol with the two island groups. In response, spokesman Antonia García of the PSOE delegation in Málaga said Salado is wrong. According to her, the Andalucia region received more than €1billion in public support, of which about €231 million is directly intended for Málaga’s tourism sector.