By Pepi Sappal • 22 April 2020 • 23:50
Image of an Ouigo high-speed train.
Credit: Wikipedia - Kabelleger / David Gubler CC BY-SA 4.0
Hotel Melia and Room Mate hotel chains have confirmed that they plan to open their hotels by July, once lockdown restrictions have been lifted next month.
“THE sector can’t permit the luxury of staying shut until December,” according to Kike Sarasola, Founder and President of the Room Mate hotel group, in response to the government’s recent proposal of delaying tourism from opening up until the end of the year. “Tourism is the motor of the Spanish economy and the biggest employment generator,” stated Sarasola. “The government has not understood that if tourism doesn’t recover, neither will the economy.
“We are looking at potentially seeing a part of Spain’s key economy disappear with a loss of 2.8 million jobs,” added Melia Hotels International’s Gabriel Escarrer, who believes that the coronavirus crisis “will have the same impact as a war.”
“We can’t wait with our arms folded until a vaccine arrives,” Escarrer added. “We have to do mass testing and work on safety and hygiene protocols, which will change the operation of establishments. We are already doing this in China where we have now opened up three hotels, now that the country has eased restrictions.”
Sarasola agrees: “What we have to do is generate confidence among tourists to demonstrate that they won’t catch the disease.” Both Sarasola and Escarrer plan to do exactly that. They are aiming to open their hotel chains in Spain by July, despite the fact that they expect a tough summer. However, things will be much worse if the industry has to wait until the end of the year to open up. According to the tourism industry association Exceltur, it could suffer catastrophic losses of around €124 billion if the sector remains closed until the end of the year, as reported.
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