MALLORCA’S tourism sector has been paralysed by the spread of the coronavirus in Europe.

The Executive Vice President of the Mallorca Hotel Business Federation (FEHM), Maria Jose Aguilo, said that many hotels on the island are reporting an increase in cancellations since the virus has reached Spain.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Aguilo explained that establishments are now considering delaying opening at Easter if bookings don’t pick up in the next few weeks.

“If the current situation continues and sales are not revived, it is clear that with 30% occupancy, establishments will not open during Holy Week,” said Aguilo.

Warning of its negative impact on Mallorca’s economy, Aguilo stressed that the health crisis will have a knock-on effect on employment and the start date on temporary contracts will be postponed until the summer. 

“Despite being a safe destination, we are being harmed by an accumulation of circumstances which will have a direct impact on hiring workers and in the opening of hotels,” added Aguilo.

The Globalia and Barcelo hotel chains also say they’re feeling the effects of the epidemic and that there is currently no movement in their bookings.

A number of businesses on the island have also been heavily affected by the cancellation of the Italian based Luxottica Group’s annual convention in Calvia due to mounting fears on the spread of the coronavirus.

Expected to draw over 500 people to the island, all of the group’s hotel bookings, transport, transfers, excursions and restaurant bookings were cancelled.

Meanwhile, Spanish and foreign airlines report that customers are cancelling flights to Mallorca at Easter.

“During the next two months we will have to reschedule flights between Mallorca and all European destinations. 

“It’s a complicated situation and the crisis has really taken its toll on sales for our Easter campaign,” said an airline representative.

However, AENA chairman Maurici Lucena Betriu stressed that the impact of the coronavirus spreading to Europe is still unknown.

“We know very little so far about potential impact. It’s clear that the situation is really fluid, there are changes every day.

“Any mitigation for coronavirus would be short-lived and in my experience, potential reduction in traffic recovers quickly and dramatically, as we saw after pandemics or terror attacks,” said Betriu.

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