40% of workers currently on ERTE in the Canarias were working in tourist boroughs
The Canarian Tourism Boroughs Association wants to access the budget surpluses – over €600 million – to counter the effects of the crisis
Over 73 thousand workers of the almost 20 thousand in
the Canary Islands currently on social welfare (ERTE) as a result of the
Covid-19 crisis were employed in one of the 13 member boroughs of the AMTC (The
Canarian Tourism Boroughs Association), and those same boroughs saw over
19,000 jobs lost in March of this year.
The board of the AMTC spoke yesterday online to
discuss possible solutions to the difficult situation and to look at how they
should be liaising with bodies such as the regional and national governments
with regard to their particular situation. The association wants those
bodies to seek to give the matter “urgent priority status” and look to be more
flexible in their economic regulations, and allow the boroughs use the budget
surpluses they have in the banks, “money that we have accumulated in savings in
the years up to 2019”, according to the association president José Miguel
Rodriguez Fraga (Adeje mayor) and vice-president Onalia Bueno (Mogan mayor).
The AMTC say that it is vital that tourism be a part
of the overall national debate about the economic recovery of Spain given the
important part it plays in the economy and society in general. The
association should be part of those discussions and therefore has requested
meetings with the regional and national tourism chiefs.
The figures speak for themselves – of the 195,183
workers now on ERTE, 73,137 were working in one of the member boroughs, that’s
37.47% of the total. In March of last year the boroughs created almost 2,000
jobs, this year the crisis has destroyed almost 20,000 in the same
areas. “Normally we are the boroughs that are leading the way in
job creation as the zone that fuels the economic motor of the Canaries, but
facing up to a crisis of this kind sees the tables turned, and we are now
suffering more that most regions in terms of jobs lost and damage to the
economy”, said the Mogán mayor.
To counteract the situation it is, say the
association, absolutely vital that the boroughs be allowed access the money
accumulated by the boroughs in the years to date. “The government has
calculated that the Canarian GDP will fall by 20%, by €10 thousand million,
which could ultimately destroy 350 jobs – so we have to stop that happening
with measures that need to be financed, and the money is here, frozen in the
banks, it just doesn’t make sense” stated the mayor of Adeje. And if the
boroughs are not allowed used this money they will ask the state to permit the
boroughs work up a debt that can be then regulated.
The association says that there is a need for a
national tourism pact and they are also going to ask the the EU to prepare an
aid plan for the sector and incentivise flights from Europe using European
funds. They are planning a communication and promotion plan to explain to the
international public that the “Canary Islands are a safe quality destination,
something which has been demonstrated to be of great important to visitors to
the islands in the past.
The 13 member boroughs of the AMTC, Adeje, Arona, San Bartolomé de
Tirajana, Mogán, Tías, Guía de Isora, Antigua, Yaiza, Pájara, Santiago del
Teide, Puerto de la Cruz, TEguise and La Oliva, have an estimated €800 million
banked, and are now saying that at least some of this money should be used to
start to create plans for jobs and incentives for other related economic
sectors, help small and medium enterprises and the self-employed,
The AMTC joins a call by
FECAM, the Federation of Canarian boroughs, to the Spanish government, for
flexibility similar to that of the EU to those countries suffering most as a
result of the crisis, and in how the government have already expressed a
willingness to allow for flexibility for different regions in the rules
regarding costs and debts.
The association does not want this
money to be used as a contingency fund for emergency social funding, but
separately, to be invested in plans for public employment creation schemes and
investment in local companies, as well as other local sectors related to
tourism who will need to be ready to reactivate their productivity and begin
again to generate employment.