MADRID – Most of the 9,500 travel agencies in Spain have been closed for almost a year. And at least 50% of their employees have been temporarily dismissed via an ERTE scheme. But the political party PP came up with a rescue proposal.
The party states that these companies “can no longer hold out and need immediate help.” Augustin Almodobar in parliament for the PP says it is “essential to save the industry. And that the value they contribute to the rural economy is recognised.”
The Congress of Deputies on Thursday rejected a non-legislative proposal (NLP) submitted by the PP to support travel agents. Furthermore, party spokesman Almodóbar defended the plan consisting of 24 measures to help this sector. The proposal included direct financial support and a reduction in VAT.
Almodóvar believes that these companies are ‘just like the entire Spanish tourism sector on the brink of collapse’. He previously stated this in an interview with Hosteltur.
Travel industry proposal rejected
The proposal was rejected by 20 votes against and 16 votes in favour. Almodobar sees this as a sign that the government is abandoning the tourism industry. He regrets the rejection that is cornering a ‘fundamental sector’ for Spain.
The PNL presented by the PP was rejected with votes from the PSOE, Unidos Podemos, Esquerra Republicana, EH-Bildu, Junts, the CUP and Nueva Canarias, with a total of 180 votes. The PP, Vox, Cs, UPN, the Canary Islands Coalition, the PRC, Foro Asturias and the BNG voted in favour (156 votes), while the PNV, PDeCAT, Más País-Equo, Teruel Existe and Compromís abstained (14 to vote).
Help from government already there
PSOE spokesperson Adolfo Pérez, said his Social Democratic party voted against because the government has already ‘allocated €30billion to tourism’. In addition, he pointed out that other measures have also been taken by the government. These include ERTE schemes, help for the self-employed in the sector, ICO credits or under the banner of the tourism support plan.
Of the 82million tourists still visiting Spain in 2019, 40% came through small, medium, large and tour operators, Almodobar said. In addition to direct aid, the 24 measures proposed by the PP included, the reduction of VAT, moratoriums on rent or the amendment of the regulations on package travel.
“We demand clear and firm action from the government,” said the spokesman, regretting the government’s rejection of its political formation’s array of initiatives in support of the industry.