TOURISM bosses have called for the resignation of director of health emergencies Fernando Simon after he ‘welcomed’ the quarantines imposed on travellers returning to the UK and Belgium.
The Tourism Board, which represents hundreds of business-people in the sector, became enraged after Simon said yesterday that it is better that tourists from Belgium do not come to Spain as it ‘lowers the risk for us.’
Simon, who has become somewhat of a celebrity as the face of Spain’s battle against COVID-19, reiterated the point in regards to the UK.
“From a health point of view, these decisions help us, and it removes a level of risk,” he said.
Despite also recognising that it is bad news for the tourism sector, his comments have left the industry and others furious.
The Tourism Board accused Simon of ‘celebrating the ruin of the tourism sector’, which accounts for almost 13% of the country’s GDP and 13% of employment.
“The words spoken by the director of the Coordination Center for Health Alerts and Emergencies yesterday stating that he is grateful to the countries that have decided not to bring tourists to Spain have deeply outraged the Tourism Board,” it said in a statement.
It added that his comments were ‘completely unacceptable’ before demanding he resign.
The organisation said if immediate rescue measures are not taken, the paralysis of the sector could see Spain lose €90 billion by the end of September.
That figure could easily rise to €120 billion, the statement read, and a loss of 1.5 million jobs by the end of 2020.