MALAGA – Some good news for the elderly! Imserso’s senior citizens tours, subsidised by the Spanish government, will start again in October. Moreover, nature, culture, and city trips are becoming increasingly popular with this target group.
Imserso, the Spanish Institute for the Elderly and Social Services, has been authorised to conclude contracts for the organisation, management, and implementation of the social tourism programme for seniors during the 2021/2022 season, with the possibility of extension. This was decided by the Spanish Council of Ministers on 22 June.
Best news for Spanish senior citizens
For the director of the Imserso, Luis Barriga, the reactivation of the trips is “the best news for the elderly, as an indicator of the resumption of daily life. Furthermore, Imserso will resume trips for the elderly in October, subject to health measures”.
The temporary resumption will coincide with the usual start of these trips, in October 2021. Additionally, measures and protocols for cleaning, disinfection, access control and capacity will be included to prevent COVID contamination. This will include during transportation, in accommodations and at activities. The decisions and measures of the health authorities will always be the priority.
In this way, according to the Ministry of Social Rights, the traceability of contacts in groups of travellers is guaranteed. And as such, the public health authorities can be informed immediately in the event of an infection. In addition, it is stipulated that health workers must supervise all travel.
Refund of the reservation fee is guaranteed in case of cancellation for health reasons before the start of the trip. This includes both the user and accompanying persons. The estimated value of the programme for the three seasons is €739.4 million (excluding VAT). Imserso will account for 23.85% of this.
For the 2021/2022 social tourism programme, 816,029 places are initially requested for over 6 million stays. Prices will be indexed to the average increase in pensions (0.9%), the ministry said.
Preferences of the elderly
To meet the needs and preferences of the representative bodies of the elderly, the number of places for nature tourism, city trips to provincial capitals and cultural trips has been increased from 123,950 to 137,475. Also, more trips of 10 days or less are being offered, as the demand for these is increasing.
Minimum tender amounts increased
To meet the demands of hotels and travel agencies, the minimum amounts for calculating the tender have been raised, reports the Ministry. This will also improve the sustainability index of the facilities for peak season occupancy. This will have a positive impact on about 350 hotel companies, and it is estimated that 12,000 jobs will be directly and 85,000 indirectly safeguarded. The companies that win the contract will commit to hiring or retaining 1,000 net employees for every 7,500 hotel nights per day.
In the same way as the social tourism programme is being implemented, the thermal tourism programme is also being launched and the negotiation procedures with the thermal establishments are being finalised. These contracts will be concluded “with the highest possible speed” according to Imserso.