Spain announces $4 billion aid package for tourism


 The Spanish government has announced that it will inject over 4.26 billion euros ($4.78 billion) to help the country’s tourism industry recover from the coronavirus crisis.

Explaining the measures at an event at the Palacio de la Moncloa, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday that Spain was restarting its tourism sector as one of the first in the world and would ensure “each step be safe”, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We have overcome the hardest phase of the pandemic in Europe, although there is concern about what is happening outside our borders,” said Sanchez.

“Tourism is an essential plan for our country… We have every reason to bet on this sector.”

The financial aid will be used in five domains including consolidating the country as a safe destination, financial support for companies, improvement of the industry’s competitiveness with sustainability and digitalization, creation of a new observatory for tourism intelligence and marketing tools for promotions of international and national tourism.

Spain’s state-owned loan service Official Credit Institute (ICO) will have a preferential tranche of 2.5 billion euros for tourism companies, Sanchez said.

This plan brings the government’s commitment to the sector to over 19.5 billion euros since the beginning of the pandemic in Spain.

Tourism has become the sector that contributes most to the Spanish economy, with around 176 billion euros per year, representing 14.6 per cent of GDP in addition to 2.8 million jobs, according to a report by the business association World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Now, tourism is battered by the coronavirus pandemic and a 14-day quarantine imposed on arrivals.

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