Tourism tempers fray as crisis bites hard

Just to put some meat on the bones of the current social and economic crisis, the press yesterday was widely reporting statistics released by the Instituto Canario de Estadística (Canarian Statistics Institute). The figures were compiled in February this year, and they show that a total of 15,885 households in the Canaries are surviving on an income of less than €180 a month, and 94,909 on less than €350 a month. These are households, or families, not individuals. In terms of Tenerife specifically, which is said to be the worst affected of the islands, 7,374 families are in the less than €180 a month bracket, and 45,143 are on under €350 a month.

Meanwhile, the Canarian Government is trying to push jobs for locals as much as possible, and questions are being asked as to how much, or even whether, tourism money goes into the local economy, particularly in terms of job creation. In this respect, it seems to be failing completely, and the Government has recently bewailed the fact that tourism numbers are clearly up for the first time in a few years … but tourism jobs are going down. President Paulino Rivero is on record as saying this is incomprehensible, but the regional media was far from impressed with his “analysis”, arguing that tourist income very rarely makes it into the wider Canarian economy, and doesn’t create employment in any meaningful way.

Now, today, the secretario técnico ejecutivo of FECAO (la Federación Canaria de Ocio y Servicios – Canarian Leisure and Services Federation), Antonio Vélez, says that all-inclusive packages have meant a fall of 34% in tourist spending in the local economy, and that this further results in a considerable deterioriation in the services that have traditionally been offered to tourists. FECAO says that the implications for the sector’s economy are serious, with ramifications in fields as diverse as car hire, supermarkets, restaurants, excursions and leisure facilities. The Federation has urged the Canarian Government to “do something” … not for the first time. PV

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