The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, has participated in the high-level meeting of representatives of Tourism of the European Union (EU) convened by the German presidency of the Council of the EU to analyze the impact of the pandemic on the tourism sector and discuss the challenges of tourism policy and decisions to be made for the future. Maroto promoted an agreement that provides a European response to the tourism crisis in which "the general rule must be to guarantee safe travel between our States" and advocated "putting in place the necessary measures to make it effective." The final declaration led by Spain obtained the support of nine member countries: Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta and Portugal.

The head of Spanish Tourism highlighted the need to establish homogeneous criteria for the treatment of risk areas and coordinated measures in the control of the departure and arrival of travelers, providing "mutually recognized tests" in order to "avoid indiscriminate measures such as quarantines and travel restrictions ”. "The objective is to put Europe back as a safe travel destination". The minister insisted on applying these criteria of free movement in a regionalized way, not nationally as before, so that the flow of visitors in the regions or islands is allowed. that meet the agreed sanitary standards.

Maroto explained to his colleagues the ambitious aid plan that the Government of Spain has implemented to support the tourism sector since the pandemic began, which has already mobilized more than 25,000 million euros, mainly aimed at protecting tourism companies and their workers and workers. But he insisted that it is not enough and now "it is urgent to adopt measures to recover the demand of both domestic and international travelers, which is affected by mobility restrictions and a lack of confidence."

Along with the new criteria for safe travel, Maroto insisted on the need for a European Shock Plan to rescue the sector that includes "specific lines of support for tourism" in the new EU budget, including a European Guarantee Fund for travel that ensures the financial liquidity of tourism and aviation, guarantees payment of reimbursement claims and enables companies to offer flexible credit bonds. "Now more than ever we have to work together and in a coordinated manner on a more resilient, competitive, safe and sustainable European tourism model that helps Europe continue to be the world's leading tourist destination," the minister advocated.

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More than 25,000 million euros has been made available to the national tourism sector by the government since the pandemic broke out with the aim of cushioning the economic and social damage caused by the virus. A good part of the batteries of measures that the Government has deployed have been aimed at maintaining activity and jobs in this sector.

The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, recalls that “most of these aid were approved by Brussels within the Shock Plan to alleviate the effects of COVID. In addition, Spain has been able to implement specific plans that do not require permission from Brussels, such as tourism sustainability plans, aid for digitization (smart destinations) or the State Financial Fund for Tourist Competitiveness ”.

Specifically, to facilitate access to liquidity, the Government enabled the ICO COVID-19 guarantee line, which until last September 15 had injected more than 15,000 million euros, specifically 15,173 million, among 115,033 companies in the sector of the tourism, leisure and culture. This is undoubtedly the sector that has used these credits the most, since it is twice the second on the list, that of construction and infrastructure.

These are loans that are being requested mainly by SMEs and the self-employed, and which are added to another 400 million euros of the COVID / Thomas Cook line, already closed and 100% executed. Hotels, restaurants, passenger air transport companies and travel agencies are among its main beneficiaries. In other words, this Government has provided financing to the tourism sector for an amount of 15,500 million euros.

Regarding the temporary extension of ERTE under special conditions, for the tourism sector it had a cost of 3,450 million euros. In May, ERTE workers in the tourism sector reached more than one million people, specifically 1,055,927. Of the 812,438 employees who remained under ERTE at the end of August, 40% belong to the tourism sector, specifically 325,578 people.

If we talk about the self-employed, the extraordinary benefit for cessation of activity had benefited 420,945 entrepreneurs until July, at a cost of 1,020 million euros.

Within this group of freelancers, it is the hoteliers who, for their part, have benefited the most from the moratorium on mortgage debt. According to the Bank of Spain, 20,086 hoteliers had taken advantage of the measure until July 31 last. The approximate estimated costs of this measure are 731 million euros.

Other measures to support the sector that the Government has adopted are bonuses of 50% of business contributions to Social Security for common contingencies, as well as the concepts of joint collection of Unemployment, FOGASA and Professional Training of workers for all those companies linked to tourism that start or maintain employees with fixed discontinuous contracts.

In the same way, on June 18, the Government launched the Impulse Plan for the tourism sector, a set of 28 measures with an endowment of 4,262 million euros to regain confidence in Spain as a safe destination, improve its competitiveness, reactivate the sector, reinforce the tourism knowledge and intelligence model and implement marketing and promotion actions.

The Impulse Plan contains measures in the field of training. Within the Hosts Program, a specific course is created to train workers in compliance with health security measures. Until July, 1,696 people had enrolled in this course. In addition, the measures contained in an ambitious training plan with SEPE and FUNDAE are already being implemented to re-qualify 70,000 professionals in the tourism sector. A program endowed with 106 million euros.

To improve competitiveness, the Impulse Plan has foreseen 859 million euros, distributed among loans from the State Financial Fund for Tourist Competitiveness; financing for the digitization and innovation of the tourism sector; the strengthening of the network of Smart Tourist Destinations, the 'Fair Hotels, Labor Responsible' program and the Program for Sustainable Tourism Plans in Destinations, endowed with 53 million euros until 2022 and which is already in the selection phase of the beneficiary projects together with the CCAA. A total of 260 tourist destinations are expected to benefit from this program, which is cooperatively financed by the General State Administration, Autonomous Communities and local entities.

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The Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdes, announced this Wednesday that the Government is already working "actively to improve the IMSERSO program and adapt it to current circumstances" with the aim of making it a "safe program that protects the population that enjoys it year after year." .

In statements to the media from Palma, where he makes a working visit to learn first-hand about the situation in the sector, Valdés explained that these works are led by the Secretary of Social Affairs, which has the support of the Secretary of State for Tourism. He has also explained that the decision to suspend the program responds exclusively to "public health" criteria, so as not to expose them unnecessarily.

Valdés has assessed the latest INE survey on the hotel situation, which only confirms that the positive recovery that began in July "was truncated" in August "as a result of the imposition of quarantines and travel restrictions." “Today's data confirms that discretion and lack of coordination has been fatal in terms of visitors. We are already working from the Government together with other member states within the European Commission to put order in this way of managing mobility ”, he indicated.

With the aim of lifting these quarantines, the Executive values ​​with the governments of the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands the establishment of health corridors that allow international tourists to be brought in.

Meetings with the sector

During his visit to Palma, the Secretary of State met with the Minister of Economic Model, Tourism and Labor of the Balearic Government, Iago Negueruela, with whom he has spoken, among other questions, about the projects that could benefit from European recovery funds in the Balearic Islands.

Next, Valdés met with representatives of the hospitality sections of the UGT and CCOO unions on the islands, as well as with representatives of the tourism and hotel sector in Mallorca.

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The month of August closed with a total of 2,275,096 workers in employment related to tourist activities and representing 12.2% of the total affiliates in the national economy, according to the data included in the Report on Employment in Tourism prepared by Turespaña, dependent on the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, and released today.

The sector has lost 39,875 contributors compared to the previous month, thus breaking the positive trend registered in July.
The Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdés, considers that the data for August “partly reflect the impact of the quarantines imposed by some countries on travelers from Spain, which has slowed down the recovery that began in July, when the sector gained 100,099 new members ”.

Affiliation by sectors and communities

In year-on-year terms, the sector has lost 351,029 contributors, representing a fall of 13.4%. The decrease occurred in all tourist branches: hospitality decreased in the last 12 months by 273,849 affiliates (172,022 belonging to food and beverage services and 101,827 in accommodation services); Travel agencies and tour operators lost 9,733 workers and other tourism activities decreased by 67,447 affiliates.

By Autonomous Communities, the greatest decreases in affiliation in the last year occurred, in relative terms, in the Balearic Islands (-29.1%), Catalonia (-17%) and Andalusia (-15.7), followed by the Valencian Community (-14.5); Galicia (-14.1); Extremadura (-14%), Murcia and Castilla La Mancha (-13.4%); Aragon and La Rioja with a fall of 13.3%, respectively, Castilla y León (-12.9%); Canary Islands and Cantabria (-12.4%) and Navarra (-11.5%). The decrease has been smoother in Ceuta and Melilla (-3.8%), Asturias (-8%); Basque Country (-8.2%) and Community of Madrid (-9.7%).

In absolute values, Catalonia (with 53,941 fewer affiliates), Andalusia (-51,240) and the Balearic Islands (-48,632) lead the loss of employment in the tourism sector.

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Spain will host the next meeting of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in January, as its members, meeting in Tbilisi (Georgia) have unanimously agreed, on the occasion of the 112th meeting of this highest governing body of the agency from the ONU.

The Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdés, who has represented Spain at the meeting, has valued in a very positive way that Spain can host "the celebration of such an important Council for the future of tourism."

In his speech, Valdés proposed that the celebration of what will be the 113th meeting of the Executive Council of the UNWTO coincide with the development in Madrid between 20 and 24 January of the International Tourism Fair FITUR, as an unequivocal sign of the relevance of Spanish tourism on an international scale and as a sign of support for the sector.

From the 113th meeting of the Executive Council, a proposal for appointment should come out to the UNWTO General Assembly to renew the position of secretary general of the organization, which is currently held by Zurab Pololikashvili.

UNWTO is the United Nations body in charge of promoting responsible, sustainable and accessible tourism for all and is the only UN agency with its headquarters in Spain.

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The tourism training program Hosts of the Secretary of State for Tourism has convened its seventeenth edition of free online courses, with an offer of 16 courses whose registration period is now open.

“Since its inception in 2009, Anonymous has trained 30,415 professionals in the tourism sector. Of these, 35% have participated in courses scheduled until August of this year, which shows the interest aroused by a training offer adapted to the new reality imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic ", has valued the Secretary of State for Tourism , Fernando Valdés.

The training catalog of this new edition incorporates as the main novelty seven courses focused on the application of good practice guides promoted by the Secretary of State for Tourism to prevent coronavirus infections among clients and workers in the tourism sector.

It also includes the programs ‘Culture of Detail’ and ‘Destination in Detail’, which seek to improve customer service and improve the quality of tourist facilities through beautification techniques, but also with reforms to make them more accessible and sustainable.

The offer is completed with two courses inaugurated in the last edition and which had an excellent reception and satisfaction among the students: ‘Introduction to Digital Tourism Competencies’ and ‘Smart Tourist Destinations’.

Program features

The Hosts program, which is part of the Spanish Tourism Quality System (SCTE), is aimed at professionals from all subsectors involved in tourism, from accommodation and hospitality, to travel agencies, tourist transport, guides, stations skiing and mountain, through shops, car rentals, craftsmen, marinas, active tourism companies and conference organizers.

It is also aimed at employees of public tourist services, such as information offices, beaches, protected natural areas, local police, cleaning services or museums and interpretation centers.

All the information with the offer of courses and registration deadlines can be consulted at the following link:

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The Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdés, visited Valencia this Thursday, where he met with the president of the Valencian Generalitat, Ximo Puig, to share points of view on the situation and needs of the tourism sector in the Region.

In a statement to the media, Valdés highlighted "the ability to adapt in this sector, which has made undeniable efforts to offer and continue to offer the best service to tourists and will continue to make efforts both to get out of the current situation as if to constitute a fundamental element of the economic strength of the Valencian Community and of the whole of Spain ”.

"We are fully aligned from the Government of Spain and from the Government of the Valencian Community to continue supporting a strategic and fundamental sector in the whole of our economy and our society," he assured after his meeting with the President of the Generalitat.

Active listening with the sector

Before his meeting with Puig, the Secretary of State held a meeting with representatives of the Valencian tourism sector to listen to their demands and suggestions, in which he was accompanied by the Regional Secretary for Tourism of the Generalitat, Francesc Colomer; the president of the Valencia Provincial Council, Toni Gaspar, and the Government delegate in the Valencian Community, Gloria Calero.

Valdés has then moved to the province of Castellón. In Peñíscola, it has held a meeting in the town hall with its mayor, Andrés Martínez, and with councilors and councilors from the rest of the Smart Tourist Destinations in the province (Benicarló, Benicassim, Morella and Vinarós).

Peñíscola has advanced its intention to present a project to the Tourism Sustainability Plans to be financed by the Secretary of State for Tourism, a program designed to modernize mature tourist destinations and stimulate and organize this offer in rural or inland areas.

The Secretary of State will end this two-day official trip to the Valencian Community with a lunch in Castellón with the mayor, Amparo Marco, and representatives of the sector.

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The Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdes, has started this Wednesday a two-day visit to the Valencian Community, with Benidorm, capital of the Costa Blanca, as the first stop.

"Benidorm is a reference for Spain, for the Valencian Community and for the set of international tourist flows", stressed the Secretary of State, who has valued the "effort of its administrations and its citizens to turn Benidorm into a destination safe, sustainable and capable of adapting to new situations that require not only the effects of COVID, but also new trends associated with tourism ”.

In statements to the media accompanied by the mayor of the city, Antonio Pérez, and the regional secretary for Tourism, Frances Colomer, Valdés stressed the importance of "unity" and collaboration between the different levels of the Administration. "It is essential that at a time like the present, a difficult time for society as a whole and for the tourism sector, we are together, sharing the challenges, the analysis and participating collaboratively all the administrations together with the sector", he highlighted .

Valdés has made it clear that the Government of Spain will be "always by the side" of the tourism sector due to its strategic nature "not only economically but also socially". Asked about an eventual extension of the ERTE, he has been "optimistic" that an agreement can be reached within the framework of social dialogue "beneficial for the whole of the Spanish economy and especially for a sector that is very affected such as tourism."

The Secretary of State has known the Smart Data Office, the data analysis center that allows to know in detail the profiles and preferences of the visitor to the city, with the aim of having the best information to adapt supply and communication to tourists.

Benidorm was the first destination in Spain to be recognized as a Smart Tourist Destination and the only one currently certified after passing the audit of the UNE 178501 standard for the Smart Tourist Destination Management System.

Denia and Gandía

After a visit to the Valencian Institute of Tourism, where he has met with representatives of the tourism sector, the Secretary of State has moved to Denia, recognized as a Creative City of Gastronomy by Unesco, where he has lunch with the mayor, Vicent Grimalt, and representatives of the gastronomic sector.

Valdés ends his agenda for today with a visit to Gandía, where the mayor, Diana Morant, will receive him.

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Spain received 2.5 million international tourists in July, 75% less than in the same month of 2019, while spending reached 2.45 billion euros, according to the Border Tourism Movement Statistics (Frontur) and the Survey of Tourist Expenditure (Egatur) prepared by the National Institute of Statistics. In July, the average expenditure per tourist stood at 994 euros, 17.8% less than a year ago and the average duration of trips was 8.1 days, which represents an increase of 0.6 days compared to as of July 2019.

The Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdés, considers that “these data reflect how COVID-19 is negatively affecting the tourism sector due to restrictions on international mobility and the lack of confidence in international travel, an impact that is being felt worldwide ”.

For Valdés it is significant despite the fact that the tourist who has visited us has opted for even longer stays than in 2019: “It shows that among those who decide to travel to our country, COVID-19 has not altered their plans in terms of the duration of the stay is concerned, which is indicative of the perception of Spain as a safe destination ”.

In the first seven months of 2020, the number of tourists visiting Spain exceeded 13.2 million and total spending reached 14,291 million euros, 72.6% less than in the same period in 2019.

By Autonomous Communities and countries

The Balearic Islands were the main destination chosen by international tourists both in number of arrivals (23.9% of the total) and for its weight in tourist spending (26%).

It is followed by Catalonia, which accumulates 17.7% of arrivals and represents 17.3% of spending, and the Valencian Community (15.5% of arrivals and spending).

Regarding the nationalities of origin of tourists, the French led the number of arrivals in July, with 597,244 tourists; followed by Germans (432,302) and British (377,886).

However, so far this year the United Kingdom continues to be the main source market, with more than 2.4 million tourists and a decrease of 76.9% compared to the same period in 2019. France (with more than two million and a drop of 67.2%) and Germany (with almost 1.8 million and a drop of 72.9%) occupy the second and third positions.

Regarding the level of spending, the main source markets so far this year are the United Kingdom (16.3% of total accumulated spending); Germany (13.5%) and the Nordic countries as a whole (8.9%).

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The Spanish Tourism Institute (Turespaña) has commissioned the state company Ineco to design the remodeling and expansion project of the Madrid Conference Center, located on Paseo de la Castellana and known for the ceramic mural on its frontispiece designed by Joan I look.

“With the signing of this collaboration between Turespaña and Ineco, we are making progress in the recovery of an emblematic building in the capital that offers great potential to improve Spain's competitiveness in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events tourism segment (MICE, in its acronym in English) for its excellent location and its surface area of ​​almost 40,000 square meters ”, highlighted the Secretary of State for Tourism and President of Turespaña, Fernando Valdes, after signing the order with the president of Ineco, Carmen Librero.

"The reform will also allow the location of the new headquarters of the World Tourism Organization, which will give more visibility to the main international institution in the field of tourism of the United Nations," said Fernando Valdés in reference to the UN agency based in Madrid since 1975.

Characteristics of the assignment

Within 10 months from the signing of the order (extendable due to unforeseen causes), Ineco must present a basic project for the construction and exploitation of the works, which will be tendered at a later stage.

For this consulting work and drafting of the basic project, Ineco will receive from Turespaña a maximum amount of 627,199.82 euros. The project must include an analysis of the state of conservation of the Miró mural by a specialized professional, since it involves of a singular element protected by the Madrid General Urban Development Plan of 1997.

The institute attached to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism will supervise all the works and may propose modifications in everything that it deems appropriate and does not represent an economic imbalance.

Inaugurated in 1970, the Palacio de Congresos has been closed since December 2012, when a technical report concluded that it did not comply with current regulations on security. The car park does remain in operation (it is operated by Turespaña) since this area was not affected by the 1995 fire that damaged part of the complex.

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