SPAIN’S vital tourism is expected to take a €100 billion hit by the end of the year.

This would mean the industry will have reverted to income levels last seen in 1995, according to the Exceltur tourism association.

The organisation has updated its predictions after regional governments started to im,pose new restrictions in an effort to halt the rise in COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks.

More than 1 million people have been infected in Spain, with 34,000 deaths attributed to coronavirus so far.

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Exceltur’s vice president, Jose Luis Zoreda, said: “We would go back 25 years in terms of what the Spanish tourism sector generates,” adding that it would be a ‘dire scenario’.

Now the association is calling for cash handouts to tourist-related businesses similar to the bail-outs provided to banks in the financial crisis of the mid to late 2000’s.

Zoreda claimed that the government had not realised how badly the sector had been hit by the crisis and needed to urgently provide direct aid and extend the nation’s furlough scheme when it runs out in January.

The tourism industry accounts for 12% of Spain’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 13% of employment.

The sector was initially devastated by the three-month coronavirus lockdown then hopes for a successful summer were dashed when the UK and some other countries imposed self isolation rules on returning holidaymakers.

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