Spanish hoteliers have requested the Government to implement a Spain Bond, similar to the one that has been operating since last year in the Valencian Community to stimulate domestic demand. Nuria Montes, general secretary of Hosbec, the main Valencian hotel employer, announced this Friday that the Spanish confederation of the sector has already presented to the Government this initiative that consists of encouraging national tourism outside of high season with a spending discount. Montes has made reference to the 40,000 people on the Viatgem Voucher waiting list of the Generalitat Valenciana, which takes care of up to 70% of the cost of stays with a maximum of 600 euros. The program has been expanded and has a budget of 12 million euros.
“The experience has been good, with a return for the Administration and encouragement for everyone. It can be exportable. At the moment, the Government has not responded to the initiative ”, said the hotel representative, who has quantified the investment proposal for the Spain Bond at 500 million, which would reduce stays by up to 50%. Hosbec also proposes an autonomous Senior Bonus for retirees given the uncertainty of the Imserso program and criticizes the lack of government aid.
The Valencian employers’ association has been concerned about not knowing when British tourism will arrive, which accounts for 30% of foreign travelers visiting the Valencian Community (60% in Alicante). In the best scenario, they await your arrival at the end of July. If the improvement is slower, travelers would be delayed at the end of August, so the start of the summer campaign is in the air.
The number of reservations is “50% of how it was in 2019”, although he has commented that it is expected “to have a good month of August.” Now, national tourism is working very well on weekends, although during the week the occupancy is very worrying, between 15% and 20%. 30% of the 284 hotels represented by the association are still closed, especially in Alicante.
A good part of the autonomous communities have launched similar initiatives with the intention of convincing domestic tourism to travel this summer through the Spanish geography. The Administrations trust that national visitors help to reactivate the economy and save the season. The amounts vary according to the region and will allow significant discounts when paying for accommodation, restaurants or other tourist activities. The first initiatives, launched already in 2020, obtained “very good” results, according to Mercedes Tajero, manager of the Spanish Confederation of Travel Agencies (CEAV).
In most cases the aid is only available to citizens residing within the limits of each territory. That is to say, for the Andalusians in Andalusia, the Valencians in Valencia or for the Galicians in Galicia. In this community, for example, applicants will have a purse card where the Administration contributes 60% of the voucher and the tourist the remaining 40%. The Balearic Islands, meanwhile, offer discounts of 100 euros to its inhabitants who spend two nights on an island other than their residence. There are also aid for Castilla-La Mancha and Castilla León and the Basque Country.
The Canary Islands have been one of the last regions to join. There, the Ministry of Tourism will have up to 15 million euros to promote tourist vouchers, of which the bulk – about 10 million – are destined to subsidize, from July 1, part of the holidays of Canarian residents who decide to stay in the islands, although there will also be incentives for national travelers who extend their stay in the archipelago. In Aragon, the grants are also open to anyone residing in Spain and of legal age, with a maximum of 300 euros. And in the Community of Madrid these grants reach up to 600 euros per person.
“For the confederation, the model that seems most appropriate is that of Andalusia, since it focuses all marketing on the travel agency, thus giving more guarantees to consumers,” insists Mercedes Tejero. The Andalusian community was one of the first to announce a tourist voucher in autumn of last year. The sector complained that it was late, once the summer was over, but the Junta de Andalucía has reactivated it by expanding the target audience. The measure provides bonuses of up to 500 euros, although only to people registered in municipalities of the community or those who have the Andalusian card abroad. In this case, the accommodations are outside the initiative because it is the client who, after reserving everything normally and enjoying their holidays, must make the request for a refund once they have returned home. “It is a subsidy rather than a bonus itself,” says Juan Zapata, president of the Andalusian Federation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (Fahat).
Destinations where national tourism is essential for their economy, such as the provinces of Huelva or Cádiz, have welcomed the initiative with open arms. “What is intended is that the Spanish see that there is a great opportunity and travel, even several times a year,” underlines Ramón Estalella, secretary general of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (Cehat). “Every euro invested by the communities will generate economic activity, taxes and employment”, highlights Estalella, who believes that when normality recovers and the pandemic ends these incentives “will not be repeated”, except for groups such as the elderly.