The Government is preparing an inter-ministerial plan to relaunch the Barcelona brand, jewel of the Crown of Spanish tourism that has been in deep depression for two months due to the negative effects of the Catalan separatist process. The vice-president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, met Monday with representatives of the hotel and tourism sector in Barcelona, who confirmed the fall of up to 30% in the reserves, with no forecast of improvement at Christmas, given the loss of confidence of travelers in the destination by the political gale.
After the meeting, which lasted almost three hours, Santamaría said that the Executive observes with concern this setback in the tourism sector and announced that urgent measures are being finalized to tackle a situation that is “acute”. Secretary of State Roberto Bermúdez de Castro reported last week in the Senate that the Government will campaign in favor of Catalan products, committed to avoiding the consequences of a feared political boycott in other parts of the country.
“We are very worried about this repercussion. It is essential to re-launch the Barcelona brand. Catalonia and especially Barcelona have great potential, excellent infrastructures, hotel accommodation of the first magnitude. It is not fair that the political situation of the procés has deteriorated a brand that is of quality, “said the vice president after the journalists who follow the election campaign of the PP. Santamaría, who serves as president of the Generalitat by delegation of Mariano Rajoy, noted that the most important downturn has been in national tourism and attributed to the lack of confidence in the political situation.
«It is very important to recover confidence. The tour operators, the embassies of other states need a climate of normality, “he said, embracing the concern of the sector. The vice president insisted that the intervention of the 155 “has helped” to recover some normality, but that there is still much to be done for Catalonia to return to stability and the path of economic recovery. That will require an electoral turnaround on 21-D, he warned.
“A change of Government and climate in the Generalitat is crucial that allows the Government of Spain to have an interlocutor who, within the law, is concerned about giving back” to the situation, said Santamaría. “It is an acute problem but if we bet on this change, for coexistence, we can turn around the economic bill so large that leaves the procés,” he concluded. The Government also warns against the possibility of the problem becoming “chronic”.
The latest data on unemployment have been disastrous. Santamaría recalled that in October and November unemployment rose by 7% in the service sector in Catalonia, while in Spain 3.2% was created in the same period.
“The falls in the field of tourism have been very important, especially domestic tourism. They add to some very widespread falls since October and November, “said the vice president. “The important damage is already done and it has been very big, but it can be reversed. We must avoid that the damage, which has been very acute, become chronic, “he said in the company of Xavier García Albiol.