MADRID – Tourism is a major contributor to the Spanish economy. It is also one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. Therefore, it will now receive a support package worth €720 million.
The support package was approved by the Council of Ministers last Tuesday. It will primarily be used to invest in the competitiveness of companies and the renovation of historical heritage. The financial injection comes at a time when Spanish corona infections are increasing. Therefore, the sector expects less recovery in the coming months.
“We will continue to provide assistance where it is needed and we are making progress in modernizing the tourism sector,” Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, told Spanish public broadcaster RTVE. According to the minister, this package is an addition to the €615 million approved in November for sustainability.
More than €100 billion in losses
The tourism sector, which is important for Spain, accounts for 12.3% of GDP and provides 12.7% of employment. At the same time, it is one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic. The year 2020 was closed with more than €100 billion in losses. Some of this has since been restored thanks to vaccinations and the improvement of epidemiological data. However, a lot of uncertainty is expected in the coming months due to the omicron variant.
Fund of €565 million in loans
To help restore some of the lost competitiveness, the ministry has provided a fund of €565 million in loans. With this, the ministry wants to finance projects related to the energy efficiency of the sector, the circular economy, as well as digitization, and making tourism more accessible. The measure has been included in the support package to be able to participate in a new round of European support. On Friday, December 3, the European Commission authorised the first payment of €10 billion to Spain.
The loans granted can finance a maximum of 75% of the costs of projects. The amount may also not exceed the equity of the company and there is a maximum of €6 million.
€109.8 million for the renovation of historical heritage
In the same vein, the autonomous regions will receive €109.8 million euros in direct subsidies for the maintenance and renovation of historical heritage. It concerns 37 sites of cultural interest, mainly in the Spanish interior and in small municipalities. No fewer than 1,000 Spanish monuments are currently in danger of disappearing and are therefore on the ‘Red List of Heritage’.
Consequently, €62 million is earmarked for the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, €3 million for the Camino Ignaciano de Manresa pilgrimage route, and €45 million for 15 Spanish World Heritage Cities, each of which will receive €3 million.
Also in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) the Plaza de Cervantes is being renovated, in Cáceres and Cuenca work will be done on the city walls, and in Toledo, grants will go to restore the historic gardens of La Vega, Sisebuto, and Recaredo.