MADRID – “Spaniards can plan their holidays,” were the optimistic words of the Spanish Tourism Minister, Reyes Maroto. Thanks to the end of the State of Alarm on 9th May, national tourism can start again on that day.
Once the State of Alarm has been lifted, this will mean the end of the mobility restrictions between autonomous regions and provinces. However, the fear remains that any variation in the evolution of the pandemic could throw a spanner in the works. That is why Minister Maroto wanted to send out a message of hope.
In an interview in the programme ‘Al Rojo Vivo’ on La Sexta, she stated that “Spaniards can plan their holidays” and travel around the country normally in the summer. She also announced that reservations from Spaniards to the Balearic and Canary Islands have skyrocketed.
Likewise, Maroto dared to make predictions about the tourism figures: “In a realistic and conservative way, we estimate that we will reach half of the figures for 2019 this year”. A forecast that coincides with that of the employers’ association CEOE and the tourism alliance Exeltur.
Vaccination key for summer season
The minister sees the vaccination campaign as the key to a good summer season. She does not expect any problems with the delivery of the vaccines, such as during the first months of vaccination. “Have confidence, there are plenty of vaccines, the most important thing is to speed up the process and have injections 7 days a week,” she added.
Importance of European vaccination passport
In addition, the minister pointed out the vaccination certificate for travel will be available soon. Maroto: “We are working on making it common and have committed to have it ready in Spain by mid-June.”
Trips for the elderly from Imserso
The holidays for the elderly subsidised by the Spanish Imserso will start again in October. “The elderly are practically all vaccinated by that time and can therefore start thinking about the destination where they want to travel,” says Maroto.
Tourism sector less optimistic
The tourism industry in Spain was fast with a less optimistic response. The employers’ associations in the Balearic and Canary Islands denied in the local press the increase in bookings. According to them, they don’t see any movements in that direction at all.
Hosbec, the tourism organisation of hoteliers on the Costa Blanca, went even further, considering the summer as lost. They confirmed “the autumn recovery has already been irreparably delayed due to the delay in the vaccination process.”
There is also a lot of criticism of the date given for the start of Imserso’s travel programme. Last March, Carlos Garrido, president of the Spanish Confederation of Travel Agencies (CEAV), acknowledged there is political will to resume them, but there are concerns about deadlines.