Spain’s government has decided to allocate more than 4.2 billion euros in an effort to revive the tourism sector, which has been devastated by the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Spain’s move comes days after the government’s decision to reopen its borders to travellers from the European Union and Schengen Zone countries starting from last Sunday, June 21, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Authorities in Spain have also announced that they are planning to open up to travel from non-EU countries from July, as long as the health situation permits such a step. A total of 12 per cent of GDP is depended on the tourism sector.
Spain’s government latest decision attempts to convince Spanish citizens to spend summer holidays in their own country this year.
Most of the money will be spent on covering government guarantees for tourism sector loans, a moratorium on mortgage payments, and a lowering of airport taxes for airlines.
“Spain is reopening for tourism. We are world leaders, which is why every step we take must be a safe step,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez pointed out during an announcement.
Spain is considered the world’s second-biggest tourism destination with 84 million visits during last year, but as Coronavirus pandemic led to more than 28,000 deaths, these number faded away.
The current crisis is “the worst in the history of tourism and one that could lose the sector up to 83 billion euros”, according to Juan Cierco, in charge of the tourism commission at Spain’s chamber of commerce.
The tourism employers’ organisation Excelturasserts that the means taken so far to save tourism have been insufficient. The organisation called for direct payments, tax cuts and Italian-style “holiday bonuses” to top it up.
“Spain mustn’t skimp on means to save the sector”, Exceltur’s statement reads.
Amid the Coronavirus, Spain’s government previously allocated 15 billion euros on helping the sector in the form of financial help to tourism industry employees and credit lines.
On June 21, Spain’s authorities reopened country’s borders for all European Union and Schengen countries(except for Portugal with which the borders will reopen on July), despite EU’s recommendation to lift internal border restrictions by June 15.