Spanish Royals visit Canaries today to kick off their tour of Spain
King Felipe and Queen Letizia have arrived in the Canary Islands as part of their tour that will take them around almost the entire country. The objective is to get to know the problems of each area and publicize the effort that all Spanish regions have made to overcome the health crisis and confinement.
They are starting their tour today here on the islands, to visualize and support the recovery of economic activity after the pandemic.
With this visit, which will take place in Gran Canaria and Tenerife, the royals intend to show their support for the recovery of the Canary Islands, which were forced to stop tourism and has engulfed the islands in great uncertainty about their future.
They will start their visit in Las Palmas this morning with a visit on Calle Cano to the Pérez Galdós House-Museum on the occasion of its centenary, then will take a walk through Las Canteras.
After lunch at the Santa Catalina hotel with the representatives of the tourist sector, they will travel to Tenerife South airport, where they will visit an agricultural plantation and a packing plant, before they return to Madrid tonight.
The weight of tourism in the islands' economy (70% directly and indirectly) explains why this sector is the main axis on which the visit pivots. Some 40 representatives of the hospitality and tourism sector will hold a meeting with the royals at the Hotel Santa Catalina Royal Hideaway, which reopened its doors yesterday after three months.
In this meeting, which will be attended by the presidents of the four tourist employers of the islands, among them José María Mañaricúa (Feht) and Jorge Marichal (Ashotel), the representatives of the sector will inform King Felipe VI of their "delicate situation" and of the demands that have been made to the Government of Spain in order to overcome this crisis and return to full activity in a few months.
They will take the opportunity to express the importance to the royals, of the need to extend the ERTE in the sector until, at least, December 31st.
The peculiarities of the Canary Islands as a territory far from the mainland, make it excessively dependent on air connections to adopt exceptional measures. In this sense, they will be asked about the need to discount not only airport taxes, but also grant aid to tour operators and airlines to prevent many of them from going bankrupt.
They will also propose that inland tourism be rewarded through some type of tax exemption (via personal income tax), and finally that the price of flights between the Canary Islands and the peninsula be controlled.
The royals are at the heart of the Spain For Sure marketing campaign, and are seen as the ultimate ambassadors of Spain as a brand.