Updated 31 August: When Ashotel organized the politicians’ tour of south Tenerife, its President Jorge Marichal also asked the Government for the opportunity to adress it formally to explain the association’s concerns. That request was granted and so Marichal has today appeared in Parliament to ask for covid19 tests in passengers’ country of origin as well as in their destination, secure air corridors, support for tourism businesses and their workers, and flexible ERTEs (temporary redundancies) until the end of the year. These last are in place until the end of September but President Torres has already said he thinks it’s inevitable they’ll be extended.
Ashotel’s requests are grounded in the association’s desperation to save the industry: there is no plan B, Marichal says, and these islands need tourism simply to have a future. He stressed that the appearance in Parliament wasn’t any kind of attempt to put blame on the authorities but to add to their efforts and suggest measures that could be taken to move forward in a situation that, he said, was becoming more complicated day by day.
Currently, Marichal indicated, only around 25% of hotel plant is open in the province of Tenerife, and he explained that if Germany, for example, were to decide to add the Canaries to their own no-fly list, as the UK has done, we will see zero tourists again in coming days. He urged the Government to come up with proposals to recover a route towards a resumption of tourist activity. “Our situation is very clear”, he said. “We have a covid patient, tourism, who is in intensive care, sedated with the ERTE, having been given shock treatment, but it cannot continue to be sedated, it has to get ahead”.
Original post 25 August: The hoteliers’ association for the Canaries’ west province, Ashotel, has organized a tour for politicians this Thursday of several hotels and major tourist areas in Arona and Adeje. The aim, says Ashotel, is to show them “in situ” the serious situation facing the tourism sector in the archipelago.
All representatives in Congress and the Senate of the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife have been invited, and will start by seeing two hotels, one closed (Parque del Sol in Costa Adeje) and one open (RIU Palace Tenerife). Their guides will explain the specific reasons that have led the first hotel to remain closed since March, as well as the anti COVID-19 security measures that the second hotel has implemented to deal with the pandemic. Ashotel has also planned a short walk along the so-called Golden Mile in Playa de las Américas where there is a very high dependence on tourist consumption but where much has been closed since mid-March.
The tour will end at the hotel GF Victoria, Costa Adeje, where president of Ashotel Jorge Marichal will address the politicians to detail the key measures that hotel employers are demanding in order to try to save tourism, the main engine of the Canarian economy, from collapse this year, and so avoid the very serious damage this would generate in the Canaries.
Ashotel has put forward several proposals but says that the most urgent and vital for the survival of the sector are the introduction of flexible ERTE’s designed ‘ad hoc’ for the tourism sector, given that the crisis continues as a result of the no-fly or quarantine requirements in countries which constitute the main tourism markets for the islands. Ashotel says that health tests (PCR) urgently need to be carried out on tourists to break this dynamic and generate confidence and security. Of course this is something for which Canarian politicians have been arguing anyway but seemingly cannot introduce as a regional measure.
The tour will focus minds anyway, and on Thursday we should have more information about how it was received, and what if any changes we can expect. The Canaries must have some sort of winter season, that is obvious, and it is difficult to see what more the hotel sector can do than comply with the measures that have been legislated and which it has implemented. It’s sadly also difficult to see, however, what more the politicians can do given the resurgent figures and their clear need, and concern, to protect the health system from being overwhelmed if they start to relax measures. And of course, they have a very wary eye indeed on schools which are due to reopen in the relatively near future.