Nightlife and Tourism businesses in the Canary Islands are demanding an urgent rescue plan saying, in presentations to the regional parliament this Monday, that they are “fed up” of the regional Executive “continuing to ignore” the sector.
The statements come on the day that all four of the primary tourism associations in the Canary Islands – Ashotel, FEHT, Lanzarote Tourist Federation and Asofuer – have demanded the implementation of tests for tourists both at origin and destination, along with an “urgent” plan of specific actions for the Canary Islands and those affected by the Spanish “furlough” scheme known as the ERTE, to make it more flexible and adapted to the reality of the archipelago.
In a joint appearance before the parliamentary tourism commission they have urged the regional parliament to try to “contain” the growth of the pandemic curve in the Canary Islands in order to return confidence to the main tourism markets.
The Asociación de Ocio Nocturno de Canarias accuses the Government of the Canary Islands of making decisions solely based on coronavirus infections without providing effective solutions, and meanwhile workers who depend on this sector “are left without sustenance and in the most absolute ruin.”
Businessmen belonging to this association say that they have already “lost their patience” after the Government has taken decisions for more than a month to prevent this type of activity and yet no aid measures have yet been announced for companies that, as a consequence of their decisions, have been forced to close “and if they continue like this they are doomed to bankruptcy.”
“We regret that no decision has been taken to protect the thousands of jobs in the leisure sector that, with each passing week, helplessly see families and entire companies move to unemployment without any alternative from the Government.”
The association has asked the Government to meet and outline the bases for an economic rescue for affected companies and thus stop the “bleeding” of jobs that is taking place week by week without a plan of measures that, instead of forcing closures, provide help for this important sector in the economic fabric of the islands.
The president of Cehat, Jorge Marichal, representing Tenerife hoteliers called for ” brave decisions” and “being forceful” in setting “entry and exit” controls for tourists in order to create so called safe air corridors. “Let’s not waste any more time, Canarian society depends on this, I would not like to see spring with more than 40% unemployment. We have to do things now.”
He has asked that the Canary Islands, as one of Europe’s 8 ultra-peripheral regions “lead” the tourist tests initiative because it will give “security and credibility” for tourists and in the face of criticism he said he has asked himself if “there is a plan b” from the public sector in the face of a collapse of the tourist industry.
The statements from nightlife and tourism businesses this Monday come as one of the islands’ last remaining source markets, and the second largest historically, Germany, seems also likely to close flights to the Canary Islands, joining the rest of the Schengen zone countries in advising against all but necessary travel to the archipelago. Notable exceptions include Sweden and Portugal.
Watch the full session this morning here (Spanish Language):