Photo: Adeje Ayuntamiento.
The Asociación de Municipios Turísticos de Canarias (Association of Canarian Tourism Boroughs) has called on the regional Government to come up with “concrete decisions and measures” to help businesses and organizations confront the current situation. “We need implementation of the measures”, said AMTC association president and Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga following a meeting of the association board in Santa Cruz on Thursday 3 September.
Much has been heard from all sides, Fraga said, and some things have been done well, but “the primary objective at the moment is to halt the advance of the infections caused by Covid-19 and reverse the situation”. There is little point, he argued, in proceeding with other plans if the rate of infections continues to grow.
The head of the AMTC said that what was needed was the implementation of concrete plans including economic help and coordination with other administrations to be able to head off the crisis and use public health measures to begin to reduce the level of contagion. “We need to access the information about infections to activate the resources needed to meet the actual situation”, he urged. The AMTC called for information on the economic measures announced by the regional and national government to be used to reactivate the sector and economic activity in general.
Fraga insisted that this was not just for large tourism businesses but “the entire business fabric of the sector”: “the sector isn’t in intensive care”, he said, “but it’s almost on the palliative ward. We have made plans, but we haven’t been able to solidify them as time is passing and we still don’t know exactly what resources we have at our disposal. We don’t know what is to come, and what we do need is for the regional government to take the reins and lead from the front with strength and clarity”.
The AMTC said the regional government could “count on the tourism boroughs, which represent a fundamental part of the sector which isn’t simply about the big companies”. He said that “we are boroughs and we are tourist boroughs which is why we share our problems and the needs of all”. Fraga said that he has a negative view of the perception that the councils hadn’t taken relevant measures against the health crisis. “We worked hard, both in taking fiscal decisions and in increasing the kind of services we needed to confront the crisis”.
He continued, “we need to reactivate the reformation projects for some of our hotels and the public works that are an important part of the recovery of jobs and wealth creation”. He said they had also been left somewhat flabbergasted as “we had received requests from the ministry for tourism for plans and projects and now they are telling us there is only €4 million for all the tourism boroughs, without even confirming whether that is for 2020 or 2021!”
The AMTC vice president, mayor of Mogán Onalia Bueno, said what was missing was firm decisions from the regional government against the expansion of the virus. “We need to be more forceful in confronting something that affects the Canaries as much as Madrid”, she said, and urged the regional government to show they were capable of leading, “ahead of Madrid”. She said we needed a real plan for the Canaries if the winter season was to be saved
Having seen the figures of those on the unemployment register during the month of August the vice president said that the tourism boroughs had “changed from being the economic motor of the islands to the poor of the islands” and that no-body was telling us how we might get out of this situation. “Yes, it was overwhelming but now enough time had passed to be able to take concrete and agreed measures”.