Thanks to LANCELOT DIGITAL
The president of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation assures that the international community has played its cards well for immediate vaccination
Jorge Marichal: “Tourism will be strengthened because people will value more than ever being able to travel”
-Could it be said that the long year of the pandemic has been the blackest stage of Tourism in Spain in the last 50 years?
-In effect, it has been the blackest stage of the last 50 years, but not only for tourism. We have had thousands of deaths from this pandemic and we have experienced circumstances that no one imagined could occur. The tourism sector that has always weathered crises in a more positive way, this time has hit it off.
– Has the “closure” suffered at risk for Tourism in terms of Tourism or is it really going to be reinforced in the Canary Islands?
-From the first moment we understood that this would be a matter of two or three months, no one thought that it could be for so long, that it could be so long. After those three months, the entire sector was scared and concerned with the possibility that this pandemic could not have an end, but once we have seen that science can offer quick solutions, because, although a year may seem like a long time, it has been Very fast response, a vaccine can take between five and eight years to be ready for use. A great effort has been made and that is what makes us hope. I believe that the sector is going to recover and even be strengthened because I believe that people are going to value more than ever the power to enjoy, the fact of having different experiences and we are going to give even more value to life, if possible.
-Has the central government been fair to the Canary Islands given its dependence on tourism? Have you received the necessary aid to sustain the sector?
-We have to be aware and realistic. At first, the measures that were taken, both the Ertes and the Icos, gave a quick response to the needs of the sector. It is true that other measures, such as the issue of control at airports or the antigen test, so demanded by us and that in the end it has been seen that it was a good solution that could have been taken previously, show that it is not always The decisions we asked for were made, but we must be honest and recognize that it has been a global pandemic that has passed us all over the top. The Government has had a good reaction in many things, in others not so much, but the balance would be positive. In Spain we have come to think that we were the laughingstock of Europe for having the highest number of deaths and infections, and in the end it has been seen that, Not only have we not been one of those in the tail, but we have placed ourselves in the front cars and we have been among those who have done the best things in this pandemic. It has been a success on the part of the Government and the Spaniards, although it is true that in recent times we are seeing disorderly behaviors that make the infections not go down as fast as they should. Also the fact that the Canary Islands have been differentiated with direct aid worth 1,144 million euros and the Balearic Islands, shows that the Government has had a deference with us because we are the most affected by the pandemic, since our economy depends almost entirely from tourism. It has been a success on the part of the Government and the Spaniards, although it is true that in recent times we are seeing disorderly behaviors that make the infections not go down as fast as they should. Also the fact that the Canary Islands have been differentiated with direct aid worth 1,144 million euros and the Balearic Islands, shows that the Government has had a deference with us because we are the most affected by the pandemic, since our economy depends almost entirely from tourism. It has been a success on the part of the Government and the Spaniards, although it is true that in recent times we are seeing disorderly behaviors that make the infections not go down as fast as they should. Also the fact that the Canary Islands have been differentiated with direct aid worth 1,144 million euros and the Balearic Islands, shows that the Government has had a deference with us because we are the most affected by the pandemic, since our economy depends almost entirely from tourism.
– You went so far as to say that the sector has been improvised and that the sector has been ignored, do you maintain it?
-In some moments, yes. There have come to be controversies between administrations when applying the measures. I continue to maintain that the sector has not been given all the importance it has at key moments. I do not think it was positive to have kept us expectant on issues such as the approval of Ertes until the last minute of the last day. I believe, in fact, that a great effort has been made at the level of business representation so that the Spanish Confederation of Entrepreneurs has also given more importance to tourism within its own bosom, and the Government should do the same, inject more resources. If Spain can boast of something, it is from our tourism sector.
-Is vaccination the key?
-If President Sánchez has been right in something, it has been in this. The international community has played its cards for immediate vaccination and I think they have been played well. Although it is true that there are countries that overtake us like Israel that did not think about the price, nor about a massive purchase, but about being the first, whatever it cost, paying more than double for vaccines, but it has been shown that They have saved a lot of money, but the social vision of the different states also comes in there. When people are immunized, when there is herd immunity, people will start traveling because everyone is crazy about it. The street, whenever possible, comes alive.
-What would the sector need when the pandemic is over?
-The sector needs mobility, and that is where we have to focus.
– The lifting of the State of Alarm, has it been positive or negative for the sector?
-The truth is that it depends. It is being seen that, measured and well managed, together with the vaccination rate, it has been positive because the incidence has gradually decreased. I think we have to be happy in this regard. I do not think it has been negative, yes, as long as the personal behavior of each individual remains consistent with the time we are in. We are still in a pandemic, the virus is still there and it continues to kill people. We have to remain prudent and do things right.
-How has this edition of Fitur been?
-The Fitur edition has been decaffeinated, but the most important thing is that there has been a Fitur. Having been to the fair gives us all hope. Personally, a few months ago, I did not think that this event could be held. Madrid has been very grateful for it, it has been shown to the world that tourism is there. It has been shown that it is possible to hold events of this caliber, always within a security environment, which we have been saying for a long time. The balance is very positive, it has been seen that we are not asleep and tourism has shown that at the first opportunity we can, we will once again make Spain feel proud of this sector.
-Is Tourism left for a while in the Canary Islands despite the pandemic?
-Moreover, as long as there are people who want to know other cultures, other people and have experiences, there will always be tourism. I believe that tourism is embedded in the DNA of Europeans and the entire western and developed world. The tourism sector is a sector with a great future.
-How should this tourism be?
-Well, it must be even better than it was. We must take advantage of the new generation funds to take a faster step, not further, because we know where we have to go, but now we can do it more quickly. Digitization and sustainability now take on much more importance than they already had, which was a lot. It will be key for differentiation to reach tourism products, and not only to the large hotel chains, but also to the smallest ones.