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Hoteliers applaud change to 75 per cent travel discount method 

The Hotel and Extra-hotel Association of Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, Ashotel, has expressed its satisfaction that the State finally obliges by law the airlines and maritime passenger transport companies to request resident status in the last step of ticket sales. 

Until now, and as the Tenerife hotel association has been denouncing for years, when buying a plane ticket, mostly, many airlines give a different price if you are a resident (in the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Ceuta and Melilla) or not, making the 75% bonus not real in practice. 

The hotel management association had long ago denounced that when a Canarian resident buys a plane ticket over the internet, the first thing they ask him is if he is a resident, instead of offering him the price of the ticket and its availability, which could lead to the situation that the final price paid by the resident is not really 25% of what a peninsular pays, after the application of the corresponding discount. 

The verification of this malpractice was exacerbated when, after Ashotel requested the creation in theiIslands of an Air Connectivity Price Observatory, one month before the entry into force of 75% of the resident bonus in July 2018, the Ministry de Fomento, led then by Minister José Luis Ábalos, confirmed a year later – September 2019 – that the prices of air tickets between the Peninsula and the Canary Islands had risen between 20 and 40% since the entry into force of the discount of 75% resident. 

The president of Ashotel, Jorge Marichal, denounced that this unclear practice that several companies could be applying would skyrocket after the entry into force of the 75% discount, which Ábalos finally confirmed in an intervention in Congress. “For this reason we ask for the creation of an Air Connectivity Price Observatory and a change in the ticket sales procedure, so that only at the end of the acquisition process the status of resident will be asked and thus apply the air discount at the time of payment and not at the time of booking,” he said. After confirming that price increase, Ashotel advocated to proceed in a safe and studied way to apply corrective measures that would avoid this unjustified increase, reviewing the application formula of that 75% discount to which Canarian residents are entitled and that comes now, after the approval of Law 11/2020, of December 30, on General State Budgets for the year 2021. The aforementioned legal regulation incorporates this requirement in the sale of tickets for a few days and gives two months (January and February) for airlines and shipping companies to apply it on their ticket trading platforms. 

The hotel management association has always considered that the entry question on residence constitutes prior discrimination that violates the right to equality of all Spaniards, without prejudice to their residence. Residency in the Canary Islands must be a subsidy in the price, but not a condition that determines it, as it seems that it is being applied until now. Along with this reality, which the State is now obliged to correct, there is also another practice contrary to free competition in the acquisition of tickets for Canarian residents: the geographical identification of the IP address (Internet Protocol, for its acronym in English) of the electronic device (mobile, tablet, computer…) from which the search is carried out. Thus, if the user connects through nodes located in their area / geographical zone, the airlines will be able to find out where they are located, discriminate using algorithms and apply higher rates because they know that they will only pay 25% of the ticket.