The global pandemic caused by Coronavirus has had dramatic consequences on the health of thousands of people. The health crisis has also led to a global economic crisis of unprecedented scale.
SOS TURISMO is a social and business movement arising from an industry-wide demand for action by all involved in the tourism value chain of the balearic islands.
In the Balearic Islands this has caused a fall in GDP of more than 25% in 2020. Economic activity is practically paralysed and only just surviving. As tourism businesses, we cannot hold out any longer.
This desperate situation has led to a sense of impotence among workers and business owners, who are seeing the likelihood of reopening recede, endangering our companies, our assets and our jobs.
This collective feeling surfaces and becomes visible in the SOS TURISMO movement, a cry for help directed at all authorities at all levels.
WHAT DO WE ASK?
In economic and public health terms, we urgently demand effective action plans.
We who support the social and business protest movement SOS TURISMO put forward the following demands:
1. ACKNOWLEDGE immediately that a crisis of this scale requires unity, clear plans of action, transparency, evidence-based decision-making and prioritisation of measures geared to controlling the pandemic in order to avoid social crisis.
2. PRIORITISE HEALTH: special attention must be given to the healthcare workers and care providers who are on the front line, battling to save lives, physically and emotionally exhausted and lacking the staff and materials needed to handle the situation.
We are calling for healthcare policy which makes use of all possible resources, both public and private, mass testing of the population and effective tracking of cases to block transmission chains.
Furthermore, we urge the publication of details of the vaccination programme in the Balearic Islands and the announcement of which groups will be eligible once all vulnerable and at-risk individuals have been vaccinated. We demand to receive more doses of vaccines in order to carry out an intensive campaign and immunise 70% of the population by the summer.
We insist that Spanish government negotiators in the European Union back the creation of an internationally-recognised vaccination accreditation system in order to facilitate movement; and that airports and seaports are equipped with improved checkpoints.
3. Develop joint ACTION PLANS between the Government of the Balearic Islands, business associations, social partners and reputable experts in order to move appropriately through the stages of resistance, recovery and reorientation.
We have not yet come through the first of these, and businesses are already on the brink, bearing the brunt of huge financial burdens and unable to open and generate revenue. Many businesses have been closed since October 2019.
News of vaccines gave us grounds for hope, but the mismanagement we are seeing, coupled with the EU’s weakness in the face of the pharmaceutical companies, quickly put an end to our confidence.
The European Union needs to act faster, more assertively and more effectively in its licensing of vaccines, with all necessary guarantees, and procure far greater supplies in the short term, in order to meet the demands of European citizens for security of healthcare and protection from the virus.
4. DRAW UP A RESCUE PLAN FOR THE TOURISM SECTOR, with the active participation of all stakeholders. The goal must be to safeguard businesses and jobs until it is viable to reopen the economy, and while we are waiting for the aforementioned measures to take effect. We need direct support and a substantial reduction in our fiscal and tax obligations.
We must use all the tools at our disposal and develop all the necessary policies to facilitate appropriate conditions and create the alliances needed for recovery in our sector.
We need to launch a powerful message, backed by action, to our source markets, generating confidence and showing them that we are working to welcome them back by offering a safe destination which provides the tourist experience they expect in the Balearic Islands.
As any recovery will be partial, we need to maintain the protection mechanisms and ensure that they are flexible, in order to prevent the destruction of the business fabric and jobs.
Given the urgency with which rescue measures for the economy and health services are needed, the promotors of SOS TURISMO – workers, business owners and citizens sympathetic to the cause – are calling for action by each and every authority involved.
We will keep the beating heart of tourism and this campaign alive until our demands are listened to and effective, rapid mechanisms put in place to achieve all our objectives.
We cannot afford to continue with this inaction, and neither can our municipalities, our islands, our community and our country.