In a situation like the current one, where we have no precedent that can give us clues on how to fight the crisis that is coming, many economists try to estimate how high the deterioration of an economy that, like the Spanish one, is facing one of the biggest challenges in its history will be. In this sense, a challenge that, as we said, shows no precedent, since given the nature of this crisis, the estimates could only base their example on past crises which, in relation to their historical context, are not valid for the contrast with the current crisis. Moreover, as the various analyses reflect, we are talking about a situation in which, in addition, we must take into account the greater deterioration that our economy is experiencing and which, on the other hand, is not being experienced by other similar economies in the world.

Thus, after this brief commentary on the situation facing the Spanish economy, and without taking into account an economic structure that in the case of our economy, already at the outset, showed great signs of vulnerability, we must highlight several aspects that are fundamental to the economic recovery that the country must promote. Aspects which, as I say, are fundamental and yet seem to go unnoticed in public opinion and parliamentary debate. By this I am referring to companies, as well as to our entire productive fabric; but, this time, I am not referring to our entire productive fabric, but to a specific segment for which, as our analyses published by the Fundación Civismo are based, losses are expected that should, at the very least, concern our economy, as well as our governments.

In this sense, I am referring to the tourism sector, a sector which, given the nature of the crisis that is befalling us, is proving to be the most affected sector of the list of sectors that make up our economy. Thus, we could say that, as with other sectors, the deterioration of this sector was more than discounted in a scenario in which, like the current one, such severe contractions in the economy are expected. However, in the case of Spain, we cannot allow ourselves to be carried away by this complacency, as well as by the social satisfaction, since the high dependence that our economy presents of this sector in particular, compromises the economic bet that the Government must make to get the country out of the quagmire that it faces. As we will see below, we are not talking about just any sector; we are talking about a strategic sector, and its contribution to our economy must be taken into account.

As we said, when we talk about the Spanish tourism sector we are not talking about just any sector. In this sense, we are talking about a sector that, taking into account its direct contribution, as well as the calculation of the indirect contribution as an aggregate factor, the Spanish economy subordinates nearly 25% of its GDP to the tourism sector. Therefore, we are talking about a fifth of the Spanish economy, taking into account that indirect contribution that the auxiliary services that said sector feeds, is shown to be dependent on the tourism sector. A sector that, considering the structure of our GDP, is presented as the second sector, by contribution to the GDP, with more presence in the structure of the Spanish economy.

On the other hand, it is worth noting the employment that this sector generates in our country. In this sense, taking into account the real figures, we are talking about a sector that supports, over the total employment in the country, 14.7% of the employed population in Spain. Therefore, we are talking about a large number of people who, directly or indirectly, depend on this sector to generate income that, subsequently, contributes to our economy. This, taking into account that the projections made by the Bank of Spain that place the unemployment rate for when the situation dissipates at 22%, should, at the very least, keep the leaders in the country on their toes; since a greater deterioration than expected could increase this unemployment rate above what has already been predicted.

Moreover, as the data reflect, we are not only talking about a sector that supports a large amount of employment in the country, but we are talking about a sector that, according to the figures that this sample shows, is one of the main engines of growth for employment in the world. In this way, we are talking about a tourism sector that, in light of the data, has generated, since 2013, about 20% of all employment generated on the planet. With a daily contribution of 5 billion dollars, the tourism sector has positioned itself as one of the main engines of growth for employment, creating two out of every 10 jobs worldwide. If we take into account the easy adaptability of the sector to crisis situations, as well as the temporary nature of the sector in our country, we are talking about a contributor that Spain cannot afford to ignore.

Faced with this situation, Hosteltur’s losses amount to 92,000 million Euros, in the worst case scenario. In this line, we are talking about losses that, according to the projections made by the Civismo Foundation, cannot be covered by the plans that the government has applied up to now. Plans such as encouraging domestic tourism, a domestic tourism that, in the analysis, is shown to be useless to recover and alleviate the harmful effects experienced by the sector, more so if we consider that 92% of trips made by Spanish citizens are within the national territory, leaving a remainder that, in addition to the figure that already enters the Spanish economy by domestic tourism, is clearly insufficient. Together with this, we should highlight another series of plans such as the injection of public capital; some injections which, also in the analysis, show how 93% of the mentioned injections are presented, as it has happened in other sectors, as credits for private indebtedness.

In this sense, measures that are nothing more than a toast to the sun to silence the pleas of a sector that knows the situation that is coming. Therefore, and in conclusion, the Spanish Government should be more condescending to its productive fabric, since its economy depends on it. As we can see, even in situations where the Government sees a large part of its economy, as well as its employment, in danger, there is no concern commensurate with the scenario that is presented. This is shown by these proposals, which have already been objectively described as insufficient by the representatives who give voice to the sector. Thus, the deteriorating situation that is expected for our economy forces the Government to take decisions in this regard; therefore, if it does not provide viable measures that help the sector to overcome part of the effects of the crisis, the chaotic situation could lead to the bankruptcy of a large part of those small entrepreneurs who dedicate their lives to businesses linked to the sector; widening, of course, some imbalances that, as we mentioned at the beginning, place the country in a very complicated scenario.

Francisco Coll MoralesEconomist

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