Of the Recovery Fund and Other Stories

Supposedly, on April 27, the Council of Ministers approved the Recovery Plan, a unique and, hopefully, unrepeatable opportunity to revitalize the Spanish economy in what promises to be a thorny journey. I say supposedly because although the news headlines and the media have echoed, the information reaches us so empty of content, let alone concrete, that one no longer knows what to expect. It was on 23 April 2020 that it was agreed to set up this large but slow-moving fiscal stimulus package. After a year of wandering through the minds of economic policy makers, the only thing we can say for sure is that this year we will include in the budgets 27 billion in total and we will have to wait until 2025 to complete the figure of 74 billion that we expect. Very stimulating data, or at least we expect the worst-hit sectors to take it.

The tourism sector, for its part, like all television viewers, is perplexed by the statements of figures such as the Secretary General of the Tourist Board, who admits that “it is true that the rate of vaccination has not been optimal in our country”. We predict that it will become the understatement of the year, although we do not put our hands on the fire. There is still a long year ahead and we are sure that our representatives have some ace up their sleeve for when we think they can’t surprise us anymore.

Spain would be ready to open its doors to tourism starting in June, as announced at the annual summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). By then, an optimistic 33% of the population would already be vaccinated, according to the Government’s ambitious vaccination schedule. The crisis threatens 4.4 million tourist jobs until 2025, when, according to a McKinsey report, tourism activity in Spain will reach a full recovery. The sector, which went from representing 12.4% of the country’s GDP in 2019 to only 4.3% last year, continues its journey through the desert. This translates into a loss of 250 billion due to restrictions and inefficient management in the reactivation of the sector. Specifically, the consultancy foresees that until 2024 there is a risk that a total of 4.4 million tourist jobs will be lost. To employment destroyed in more than a year of pandemic, we must add the ERE, but that is another song, because it is where tourism brings together more than half of the total number of workers, which also extends until September.

Thus, when tourism spending has bottomed out, with levels never seen in the history of Spain, it has been the national tourist who has pushed the sector hard in its lowest hours.

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