The Spanish government has increased the distribution of funds from the first tranche of investment as part of its “extraordinary program of sustainable tourism plans in destinations”. This program, with € 1,858 million over three years, is the most substantial element of a global tourism modernization and competitiveness plan, for which a grand total of € 3,400 million is planned.
The initial distribution is roughly equivalent to a third of the € 1,858 million – € 614.67 million, a remarkably precise figure, which must be made available immediately. Of this amount, the five major sun and beach tourist regions will together receive nearly 50%.
Andalusia leads with 72.62 million, followed by Catalonia with 69.87 million, Valencia 49.85, the Canaries 49.59 and the Balearics 47.75. In terms of the average for the seventeen regions, the Balearics are therefore winners in the amount of 11.6 million euros. Winners, but one wonders how happy the regional government will be.
The Spanish government’s approval for the distribution comes just over a year after the program was first announced. There was five strategic areas action which explains the total expenditure of 3,400 million over a period of three years.
Others included “the development of tourism products and the modernization of the tourism ecosystem” and “the commitment to digitization and tourism intelligence”. How these areas differ is something of a moot point, as if the investment is undoubtedly to be welcomed, it is shrouded in the complexity of the jargon.
However, we now know at least how to divide the main item – sustainable tourism plans in destinations -. Over the next two years, we can expect that the amounts received by the regions will be roughly similar, some criteria being guide the broadcast. One of them is territorial, that is, the size of the region and the population density. Another is, quite simply, tourism – the number of foreign tourists and their spending as it was in 2019.
Regarding this last criterion, the Balearic Islands have grounds for complaint, as do other regions. Catalonia has always been the national leader in attract foreign tourists, with the Balearics and Canaries vying for second place.
In 2019, the Balearics were second. If we then consider the territorial criterion, the reproach may legitimately be greater. The smallest of the big five in terms of area is the Balearic Islands, where there are the weakest population but the highest population density. And that’s before we take into account the floating tourist population.
If the Balearic government feels wronged because of the payout ratios, then it has always been unhappy with the way the regional funding system is organized. As this system is subject to review, the government maintains that there should be a greater favorable agreement due to the pressures and demands of overcrowding – and that most certainly includes the floating tourist population.
The government has a strong point, so although funds for the “extraordinary program of sustainable tourism plans in destinations” may be disappointing, compensation could be provided. thanks to regional funding. No, it must be said, however, that it is the same thing, the regional funding mainly serving to cover general needs, such as health and education, while this “extraordinary program” is specific to tourism.
It’s hard to say whether $ 47.75million is too little or too much (it’s unlikely to be the latter), as we don’t know what it will actually be spent on. Announcing the cast, Spain’s Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto spoke of a “historic investment” through which the country’s tourist destinations must be supported like “never before”.
This investment, she said, will be aimed at “tourism innovation capable of integrating environmental, socio-economic and territorial sustainability and develop resilience strategies in the face of the new challenges of climate change, tourist over-demand or health or security crises ”.
In other words, it is an investment in the normal general and vague concepts that we have become accustomed to. The devil, as always, will be in the details whenever these are offered.
And it is hoped that the details will be specific to tourism, unlike another form of sustainable income that often has little to do withwith tourism, namely the sustainable tourism tax, alias tourist tax or ecotax, which the Partido Popular opposition (against the tax in principle) mischievously proposes should in fact be an ecotax and only for environmental projects.
We find it quite extraordinary that it took a pandemic to ignite all this tourist spending – extraordinary since the means apparently did not exist before.
It says all of this spending, but the 47.75 million for sustainable tourism plans in the Balearic Islands as a destination is nowhere near what the regional government hopes to get from the sustainable tourism tax in 2022 – close to 100 million. less.
But at least can we be sure that the from the Spanish government document will be for tourism. Can’t we?
The optimism of winter tourism is fading …
It may be just as good that Mallorca and the Balearic Islands do not have a vibrant winter tourist season. Since there isn’t, there can’t be too much anxiety if it looks like this tourism is in danger of shrinking – again.
For regions of Spain where tourism is decent in the low season, the fear is that the restrictions will come back due to the increasing number of infections in European countries. In the Canaries, there has been a slowdown in bookings, attributed by hoteliers to increased infections and concerns about the reimposition of restrictions.
Meanwhile, a group of leading organizations representing hotels, tour operators and other players in the European travel industry are calling for no travel restrictions and calling attention to European Center for Disease Prevention and control (ECDC) stating that these restrictions are ineffective in reducing virus transmission.
The president of the European Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators interprets this as the ECDC saying that preventing vaccinated people from traveling would have no impact on public health.
His association wants a common European approach to any travel restrictions and that this be based on “proportionality”. Absolutely, but then the demands of a common European approach have largely fallen on deaf ears for many months. There is little reason to believe that there will be one now.
It’s not just the winter season that is causing concern. Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary believes holidaymakers will postpone booking for next summer if there are increased restrictions. The image has changed very quickly, because reservations had worked at almost 100% of what they were before Covid. Suddenly, and in the space of just a few days, the situation deteriorated.