Barcelona, Dec 27 (EFE) .- The strong impact of the coronavirus crisis in the tourism sector has caused the hotels in the Catalan capital to close the balance of the year with a 95% drop in billing and the number of customers , which for the Hotel Guild of Barcelona is a “dramatic” situation.
After months closed due to confinement and with the absence of tourists due, among other things, to the mobility restrictions imposed to try to control the virus, the hotels that are currently open in the city of the total of 440 registered establishments do not reach 25% .
The general director of the Barcelona Hotels Association, Manel Casals, explained to EFE that they are about to close their “worst year”, with billing and customer drops of around 95% and with between 30,000 and 35,000 workers in Records of Temporary Employment Regulation (ERTE).
After the halt of the confinement, some establishments reopened their doors, but most have closed them again as the virus outbreaks increased or new restrictions were applied, such as regional and municipal perimeter closures or the hourly limitations imposed on the restoration.
In recent weeks, coinciding with the new measures taken by the Catalan government, they have closed again “between 40 or 50 hotels” in the city.
“Soon we will take a year without billing,” stressed Casals, who has warned that the “survival of the sector has a limit.”
The latest restrictions imposed by the Generalitat, which establish new limitations on catering and that hotels can only serve dinners to customers staying in their establishments until 9:00 p.m., Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve included, “do not help, but harm” and do even “deeper the dramatic situation” experienced by hoteliers.
“This does not make any sense”, assures Casals, because the few clients that will be in the establishments will have to dine early and “be walking around” between 9:00 pm and the hour of the chimes “.
Throughout this crisis, the sector has not stopped asking the administrations for “direct aid” to mitigate losses, in addition to other measures such as a reduction of the IBI, the exemption from paying the IAE and other municipal taxes and fees since March 2020 until a situation is stabilized that right now is “dramatic” and in which they do not have “any kind of help”.
Casals believes that from mid-2021 hotels could begin to operate “without losing money”, but that it will not be until 2022 when they begin to have a more or less “normalized” activity, although, “given how everything is evolving, it is still It will take time to reach the figures for 2019 “.
“It will cost a lot to reactivate everything again,” said Casals, especially in what refers to the sector of fairs, congresses and meetings, since companies have lost a lot of money with this crisis.
The director of the Barcelona Hotels Guild believes that, although there may be some establishments that will close their doors permanently, there will not be many because the hotel industry and tourism in Barcelona are “viable”, although it is possible that there will be changes of owners.
In this sense, he has ensured that vulture funds that want to buy establishments “at bargain prices” have already begun to appear.
According to Casals, “discouragement” is the general trend among Barcelona hoteliers, since when the light begins to appear at the end of the tunnel with the expectations open for the start of vaccination, more bad news arrives, such as the new restrictions or the emergence of a new strain of the virus in the UK, which continues to add uncertainty to an already difficult situation. EFE