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.