The president of the Council of Tourism, Culture and Sports of CEOE, Marta Blanco, participated in the IV edition of the conference 'New challenges and opportunities for tourism in a scenario marked by Covid-19' held in Malaga and organized by El Confidencial.

The director of El Confidencial, Nacho Cardero, inaugurated this event by pointing out the importance for tourism to reinvent itself as an industry in the Covid-19 scenario. Although Spanish tourism represents 13% of GDP and is considered one of the most competitive in the world, it has suffered losses of 100,000 million euros and has reduced its activity by two thirds due to the pandemic. For this reason, the sector must face this new challenge with the help of the Administration, placing the client at the center of the business and relying on digitization through technologies such as big data and sustainability.

This recovery is extremely important for the Costa del Sol, since, as Margarita del Cid, the vice president of the Malaga Provincial Council and CEO of Costa del Sol Tourism, pointed out, tourism generates 117,000 jobs and income by value in the region. of 14,400 million euros.

Speech by the president of the Council of Tourism, Culture and Sport of CEOE

Marta Blanco's intervention was about the global business scenario in times of Covid. It began, therefore, referring to the consensus that exists between the employers of the neighboring countries on the current situation and the appeals to the respective governments. In this sense, he pointed out that this pandemic is having a huge impact on the world economy, but especially in Spain, whose GDP has suffered a fall of 18.5% in the second quarter. The current economic crisis is not comparable to that of 2008. While that of 2008 had its origin in market errors, the nature of this is very different, since it has been caused by the measures taken in response to a pandemic. Companies from all countries also agree that it is essential to guarantee an investment framework conducive and favorable to private initiative, as well as to ensure macroeconomic stability and that this is not the time to increase the tax burden. The structural measures adopted in the wake of the 2008 crisis were successful. For this reason, it is necessary to continue deepening them to overcome the current economic crisis. Cooperation between international and national institutions must also be strengthened to ensure that companies can access the liquidity and financing they need to survive and develop.

At the same time, the adoption of unilateral measures in the field of labor law must be rejected, since doing so without the support of companies does not seem reasonable, as they are responsible for their administration and management and their production processes.

There is also consensus that resilient health systems must be defended. For this, it is necessary to bet on a favorable framework for investment, policies that promote innovation and a solid intellectual property regime that facilitates research and commercialization of new drugs.

On the other hand, training is essential, whether it is aimed at young people, whether it is continuous, aimed at adapting and improving the training level of employees. They also ask international organizations to make a comparison of the measures adopted in the different countries to face this health crisis and draw lessons from the experiences acquired. Marta Blanco has indicated that these are the appeals that the bosses of neighboring countries make to our governments. Companies are part of the solution, for a simple reason, because they generate wealth, employment, and ultimately social welfare. Now, confidence-building measures are needed and this word, confidence, is absolutely key to economic recovery.

In relation to Spain, the crisis has had a more intense impact than in neighboring countries, largely due to the weight of tourism in its economy. This sector represents 12.3% of GDP, 12.7% of employment and 16.4% of total exports of goods and services. Furthermore, the tourist surplus is 3% of GDP. All of this shows the systemic weight of tourism in our economy.

In our country, tourism has contributed to correcting economic imbalances such as the current account deficit and has developed and diversified its business model to become the most competitive destination in the world. However, on this occasion, the tourism industry cannot lead the recovery of the economy, but it can contribute to it as long as the business fabric of its entire value chain is preserved for when demand reactivates. For this, it is necessary to combine economic policies that mitigate the sharp drop in income in the sector with stimuli and structural reforms that consolidate the transformation process already begun before the pandemic, and that has its digitalization, sustainability and training main assets.

Questions of interest from the conference 'New challenges and opportunities for tourism in a scenario marked by Covid-19

It cannot be foreseen when all the permanent staff of tourism companies will be reinstated, since it depends on issues such as mobility. The fundamental thing at this time is to generate trust, communicate that it is possible to continue with the activity of the sector and adapt to the new scenario. You have to learn to live with the virus, as it will not disappear in the short term.

Workers have to adapt to the new production model in which new technologies will be more present and the necessary skills will be different. Talent must be taken care of, but it must also be taken into account that the sector will require different talent after the crisis. Leadership is important for workers to do their best in this new environment.

This summer they have operated 20% of the flights compared to the previous year and domestic traffic has dropped to 30% in August. It is essential that mobility is recovered to recover tourism. To do this, it is necessary to build consumer confidence and properly communicate all the measures that are being taken. Other actions such as a uniform regulatory framework with homogeneous measures at the European level and replacing confinements with PCR tests would make it easier for tourists to travel.

Customers have changed their perception of the environment and the way they interact with the company. Companies must increase their efficiency when managing their resources, since environmental changes are very fast and long-term planning is not possible. Technology can help improve these processes through intelligence departments and big data, which allow them to react to demand more quickly and make better decisions.

You can check the event program in the following link.

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