Hoteliers warn: either tourism is reactivated or there will be a massive closure of establishments

2020/09/15 15:21:53 Written by Canarian Weekly Business

The accommodation sector of the Canary Islands, both hotel and apartments, which opened their doors in July, say they can no longer take it. The loss of the Germans was the last hit after the vetoes of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the Nordic countries, and the end of the holidays of local residents has sunk occupancies to below 20% in the south during September, with no reservations in sight.

In the cities, the situation is somewhat better for business trips but the occupations are still insufficient to make the business profitable. With 40% of the accommodation open, occupancies are below 30% and the prospects are very low. "For October the situation as of now, is worse than September," said a source from a well-known hotel chain.

The situation has led some chains, such as Lopesan and Riu, to decide to close hotels on the islands and leave just the minimum open to respond to the meagre demand. Other chains such as Radisson, Barceló, Iberostar, Gloria Palace and Cordial, do not foresee closures for now, choosing to wait for tourism to somehow reactivate.

However, as almost everyone agrees, if there is no change in the next few days or weeks, if no safe corridors with Germany or the United Kingdom are opened, or if no tests are established to avoid tourists from quarantining upon arrival in their countries, the Canary Islands will experience a "massive closure of its accommodation establishments."

“Germany and the UK need us. Everyone is waiting for our incidence rate to improve so tourism can be reactivated as of mid-October”, said the general director of the hotel chain Be Cordial Hotels & Resorts, Nicolás Villalobos, adding: “either things change soon or everything will be closed. Right now there is no tourism," he said.

His hope is that Germany and the UK decide in the next few days to review their restrictions and loosen their rigidity. "We hope that in the coming days there will be news because otherwise we will go to a total closure," he says, and assures that the low occupancies are causing significant operational losses but the commitment of his group, which has 16 hotels open, is to remain open while waiting for the situation to change . His hope, in addition to a control of contagions, is that the PCRs are definitively established, so that tourists when they go back to their countries do not have to quarantine if the result is negative. “We hope that Europe prevails and an agreement is reached to put an end to the mobility restrictions for Europeans,” says Villalobos.

On September 28th there is a meeting of all the tourism ministers of the European Union and that unilateral agreement could be key.

Barceló with 11 hotels open (out of 17), the Gloria Palace with one of four, and Radisson with two operations, will remain open. Iberostar will keep the 6 of 12 it has, Lopesan will keep 4, and Riu another 4 after they announced eight closures.