FUERTEVENTURA: TOURISM BOARD 'WRITE OFF' SUMMER FOR FUERTEVENTURA AND LANZAROTE
The Government estimates that 60% of tourism will be lost this year, and the local tourist board, responsible for promoting the Eastern Islands, say that maintaining air connectivity is key
"The summer of 2020 can be almost written off, we will have to wait to see what happens with the winter season and, if everything goes well, being optimistic, we could talk about recovery in the summer of next year" is the reflection of Moisés Jorge, manager of the Fuerteventura Tourist Board.
The Minister of Tourism for the Canary Islands, Yaiza Castilla, has requested specific support measures for the main economic engine of the Archipelago, as they predict that there will be a 60% fall in tourism this year compared to 2019.
When can the tourism be resumed? In an optimistic scenario, Castilla considers that in July the reopening of one of every ten hotels can begin, with the aim of basically attracting Canary tourists, but the return to "normality" will not start before October.
At best, the eastern islands, which rely heavily on tourism, have a long journey in the desert. The health crisis that plagues the planet is just the prelude to a global economic recession. After the concern about stopping the Covid-19 infections, there will be concern about how the landscape of the economy will look after the battle, especially in the main tourist source markets to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura: the UK and Germany.
"There are many variables at stake," says Jorge. From when the state of alarm is lifted and regular air traffic is allowed, to whether there are bankruptcies between airlines and tour operators or how badly the portfolios of British and Germans are left.
TUI, the only major tour operator that remains in Europe after the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook, has had to resort to a government loan of 1.8 billion euros.
The German Government has also intervened at a political level and has agreed to urge the European Commission to authorize airlines and tour operators not to refund the money advanced by their clients for flights or vacations, but instead that they have to be exchanged for vouchers to be used until the end of next year.
"We will have to wait to see what happens with the winter season and, if everything goes well, being optimistic, we could talk about recovery in the summer of next year," says Moisés Jorge, manager of the Fuerteventura Tourist Board.
The uneasiness is logical: "If TUI falls, we would have a serious problem in the Canary Islands, because it not only brings us German tourists but also those from the UK, France, Sweden or Norway," highlights the person in charge of promoting tourism in Fuerteventura.
On the other side of the scale, the announcement by Jet2, one of the strongest airlines, that it is hoping to resume flights on June 17th and that its offices are open, has been received with optimism.
The British market, in which Jet2 is strong, seems fundamental to Lanzarote - where one in two tourists come from the United Kingdom - and also for Fuerteventura - where one in four visitors is British.