REPRESENTATIVES from seven Benidorm hospitality and industry-linked industries visited Madrid last week.
They were received by Ignacio Diaz, a high-ranking official and spokesman at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, and Miguel Sanz, director of Turespaña, which promotes tourism outside Spain.
The representatives have successfully persuaded Spain’s government to review the possibility of applying the Erte furlough scheme introduced during the State of Alarm to their sectors.
“Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, takings have fallen between 50 and 60 per cent and now we are approaching the worst time of year,” said Raul Parra, president of shopkeepers’ association, AICO.
“We need the government to act now and come up with solutions to prevent dozens of businesses from closing.”
The Ministry assured the Benidorm associations that they are preparing future benefits. These include non-repayable grants towards renting commercial premises, a permanent headache for small and medium-businesses especially in municipalities like Benidorm where many are finding it impossible to pay the high rents.
Diaz also assured the Benidorm delegation that the central government is currently working on a 12-month extension of the deadline for repaying Institute of Official Credit (ICO) loans.
Payment would ordinarily fall due next March or April, but business-owners will instead be given a year to try to stabilise their finances before having to pay up, AICO and ABRECA revealed after the meeting.
“The meeting had some good things, like these two announcements,” Parra said.
“Other issues were not discussed, but at least we have taken the first step and our claims have reached the Ministry.”
Alexandre Fratini from ABRECA, which represents the hospitality trade, agreed that some questions went unanswered and the associations still do not know what the government intends to do with its allocation for Imserso subsidised holidays for pensioners.
The Benidorm delegation also wanted the government to explain why Europe, but not Spain, had created tourism vouchers and – a longstanding complaint – why Benidorm, the third most important tourist destination, is still not officially classed as a tourist municipality.
“Brussels is waiting for us and we aren’t going to stop,” Fratini declared.
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