Thousands of jobs in Spain are at risk due to postponement of Imserso senior travel

by Lorraine Williamson

MADRID – Imserso’s subsidised holiday trips for the elderly have been a household name in Spain for years. Older people can go on holiday to the Spanish coasts cheaply in the low season and hotels see their rooms occupied at times when other tourists ignore them. 

The Spanish government has now suspended the Imserso travel program, throwing hotels and employees into total uncertainty. “We are in the worst possible scenario,” says the hoteliers association of the Valencia region. Thousands of jobs are at risk of disappearing. 

Legal stumbling blocks 

The Central Administrative Tribunal for Contractual Resources (TACRC) has suspended the program. The reason for this is Ávoris Corporación Empresarial was awarded the full contract for the program, but that award has now been challenged. Consequently, the preparations are in jeopardy. 

13,000 jobs at risk 

According to Mayte García Córcoles, Secretary General of Hosbec, 13,000 jobs are at stake in the Valencia region alone. Of these, 3,000 jobs are directly linked to the hotels and the remainder are from suppliers and the wider tourism industry. 

Hotels in trouble 

Hotels must now quickly re-offer their rooms or consider closing. This will be a big blow, especially in places like Benidorm, which has focused heavily on spreading tourism over the year. 

Cogesa Expats

Different regions, different problems 

On the Costa del Sol, there are fears of the loss of more than 2,500 jobs. Hotels in places such as Torremolinos, Fuengirola and Benalmádena will have to close their doors if the program does not go ahead. 

The dilemma in Murcia 

The situation is also precarious in the Murcia region, where many coastal holidays of the Imserso program take place. It is mainly seasonal workers who are now at risk of losing their jobs. It is not only hotels that are suffering from the uncertainty. Companies that supply food and beverages, bedding services, laundry services and maintenance companies will also be affected. 

Dated program, new problems 

According to critics, the Imserso program is dated. Hotels have been complaining for some time about the low rate they receive, only €25 per person per day for a four-star hotel with full board, including entertainment and cleaning and other services. Consequently, there is an urgent need for a renewal of the Imserso program. Repeated requests and attempts have been made to this end, but they have never been responded to. “This should be the beginning of the renewal of a program that everywhere shows signs of ageing,” said García Córcoles of Hosbec in the NIUS newspaper. 

Also read: Almost a perfect summer season for hotels in Spain 

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