The Spanish economy is clearly a tourism economy. This statement, as much as it may be disliked in Moncloa, is a reality when contrasted with the data showing the presence of tourism in the Spanish economy. It is precisely this that needs to be clarified to a government that repeatedly alludes to the need to provide added value to a productive fabric that, due to the high presence of the tourism sector, does not have it. All of this, trying to progressively reduce the weight of such an important sector in the economy in order to give it to other sectors that, in this case, have more added value for the team of ministers.
These statements, curious as they may seem, are statements made by members of the Government such as Minister Alberto Garzón. These statements quickly met with a reaction from a tourism sector which, far from helping it, is shown to be the sector most damaged by the COVID. A sector that, despite the greater boom in consumption in these months that have been relieved the measures of social distancing, still bears incalculable losses that, in the eyes of the hotel businessmen, and represent nearly all the income that, in previous years, would have entered. In this sense, giving the year for lost.
To get an idea, the hotel and catering employers’ association Exceltur has pointed out that the losses for the sector are going to be irreparable. While several scenarios were considered, the worst being the one that estimated losses above 18,000 million euros, the new scenario, after the worst behavior of the pandemic and the vetoes to the Spanish tourist destinations, places the losses above 33,000 million euros. And if we look at the figures presented by Spain at this time, in the middle of summer, we talk about a decline, based on the tourists received during the month of June, is a decline in the entry of international tourists of 98.6%, anticipating that this situation will continue over time.
Moreover, if we add to this the decrease in average spending, due to the deterioration in income levels, we are talking about a historic and unprecedented situation for the sector to rely on.
Given these figures, we can get an idea of the future that awaits a sector like this. A sector that, moreover, would be much worse off if, in view of the situation that can be observed, there were new shoots that would force the Spanish economy to be confined once again. This is a situation that must be addressed, especially when, as in Spain, tourism carries a large weight in the economy. For, although many try to hide it, tourism for Spain is, taking into account the direct and indirect contribution of this sector to the Spanish economy, about 25% of Spanish gross domestic product (GDP). Such is its importance that, considering the 12% contraction foreseen for the country at the end of the year, 57% of it would be justified by the fall of this sector.
Furthermore, it goes without saying that employment in the tourism sector will also fall. A job that, taking into account the latest data recorded in terms of unemployment, those of July, are positive because of the great impulse that represented the concentration of recruitment in the service sector in the months of May, June and July, during the month of July. In this sense, if we take into account the direct contribution of the tourism sector to employment in the country, we are talking about a sector that supports about 14.7% of total employment in the country. In this sense, a sector that, in view of the losses, leaves almost a million jobs in the air that, in the face of the situation, are subject to ERTE, or in another case, and do not foresee a return to it in view of the fall in demand.
All of this worries, as we said, the Spanish economy a lot, but not the government. According to the latest declarations made by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Spanish economy must show great caution with the measures it adopts, and those it does not adopt, to compensate for the situation of the tourism sector and stimulate its survival. For, taking into account the presence of the tourism sector in the different economies, the tourism sector for economies such as Spain or Mexico, which stood out at the top of the ranking, should be very cautious with the deterioration of a sector that, like tourism, subordinates a large percentage of its economy and employment.
Well, according to the forecasts, we are talking about millions of people and businessmen who, in view of the situation, could disappear because of the situation; which, by the way, anticipates postponing its recovery for that sector until 2024. In view of this situation, we must remember that, despite talking about a very large sector, we are talking about the fact that it is made up of a list of companies which, in view of their size, are limited in size, as well as very scarce resources. In short, SMEs that, faced with the situation, try to survive with resources that, in the interests of survival, are extremely scarce. Since, as we even warn, neither the income from domestic tourism, given the reality that the data offer, are measures that will save the Spanish tourism sector.