Thanks to LANCELOT DIGITAL -Tourist recovery: the Canary Islands calls for a safe mobility policy agreed by the EU
The president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, spoke this afternoon at the general assembly of the Islands Commission of the Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions (CPMR), which is held annually, to which he was invited to participate in the presentation on tourism , along with regions such as the Balearic Islands, Ionian Islands (Greece), Cyprus and Guadeloupe. Torres exposed the reality of the main economic sector of the Canary Islands and the profound impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on it, with practically zero tourism in the Archipelago throughout this period. Faced with such a situation, the President of the Canary Islands once again demanded and insisted on the need for a safe and consensual mobility policy within the EU, so that, together with the extension of vaccination,
The regional president indicated that the decline in tourism in the Canary Islands in 2020 reached 70%, going from 15 million visitors (foreign and national) in 2019 to 4.6 million in 2020. In fact, he explained that it has only been opened an average of 35% of the existing hotel beds and that, last February, the actual number offered barely reached 6%. As he remarked, this has resulted in an “unprecedented drop” in Canarian GDP, around 20% last year, which, in his opinion, justifies a differentiated treatment from public administrations to the Islands.
In this line, the head of the regional Executive explained that the two Spanish archipelagos, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, have been the autonomous communities of the country most affected by the economic crisis, which is why they have been the territories that will receive the most direct aid for their sectors production of the 7,000 million package approved by the Government of Spain. Specifically, the archipelagos will receive 2,000 million, of which 1,144 will go to Canarian companies.
In his speech this afternoon, Ángel Víctor Torres also underlined the extraordinary aid package approved by his Government, with more than 400 million euros in direct subsidies and tax deferrals approved last January, as well as the incentive program to restore connectivity airline, with special mention to the Flight Development Fund. In 2020, direct aid to affected subsectors from the Islands reached 95.3 million euros, to which must be added the resources of the Reactiva Plan.
It also highlighted the importance of the extraordinary Next Generation-EU funds as a fundamental tool to achieve a more innovative, digital and sustainable tourism model. However, he warned that tourism recovery will depend on the evolution of the pandemic and vaccination in the countries of origin and in the Canary Islands. In the Islands, it is expected to reach 70% of the immunized population during this coming summer.
For Torres, all hopes in the recovery of tourist flows are placed on vaccination, “whose pace we hope and hope will accelerate in the coming weeks”, although he congratulates himself on the “progression in the United Kingdom, our main issuing country. of tourists, something that invites us to optimism “.
According to the forecasts of the Government of the Canary Islands, if group immunity is achieved this summer, for November and December of this year the indicators point to a tourist recovery of between 70 and 80% compared to 2019, which would begin to lay the foundations for a much stronger recovery in 2022.
During this general assembly, the president of the Canary Islands also stressed that it is vital that air connectivity recovers once infections are controlled and vaccination rates are intensified, as well as that the EU finally reaches an agreement and unifies criteria on the European digital certificate. This path, not yet consolidated, should allow the gradual restoration of free movement within the European Union and from OECD countries, where the United Kingdom is located. In his opinion, and as he remarked in his speech, “this is key”, and also that kerosene is not taxed in archipelagos or remote territories that depend on tourism such as the Canary Islands. For Torres, the tourism of the future will be in the destinations for longer and, therefore, there will be less impact on the carbon footprint, ”
“There is a significant bag of travel demand now suppressed and, more than ever, European coordination is crucial for the recovery of mobility,” Torres said. In his view, for economic recovery it is important to establish a common approach in the gradual removal of restrictions and the relaxation of current measures; ensure greater coordination; implement the digital certificate with the maximum guarantees, and accelerate the acquisition and distribution of anti-COVID vaccines.
The president reviewed the economic and social measures developed in Spain and the Canary Islands to alleviate the effects of the crisis, such as ERTE, State guarantees, aid for the self-employed, rents or against evictions, which are now extended for three months . Although he did not minimize the acuteness of the crisis in the Islands, he did highlight the safety and world prestige of the Canarian tourist destination, he was convinced that health and economic recovery are improving every day, and concluded his intervention by assuring that ” We will emerge stronger from this crisis and with a much better Europe. ”
What is the Islands Commission of the Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions
The CPMR is an association made up of 150 regions from 24 countries (members and non-members of the EU) that represents 200 million people and whose objective is to promote a balanced development of the EU to value all its spaces, focusing, above all , in economic, social and territorial cohesion, maritime policy, blue growth and accessibility.
The CPMR operates in areas such as European governance, energy, climate change and neighborhood policy, among many others.
This institution is organized according to six geographical areas: the Atlantic Arc, the Balkans and the Black Sea, the Islands, the Inter-Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.
The participation of the Canary Islands and the rest of the European outermost regions (except Guyana) in this Commission focuses on the defense of their interests as islands, ensuring the clear differentiation of the outermost reality, a fact recognized in article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.