NewsWorldInflation hits Imserso travel: hotels are planted due to...

Inflation hits Imserso travel: hotels are planted due to rising costs

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The number of hotels in sun and beach destinations is reduced by 40% due to the program’s lack of profitabilityThe hotel sector calculates that the prices paid by program concessionaires are 50% below the cost to be faced by clientsImserso defends that It was impossible to raise the prices of the contracts in the time necessary for the campaign to start on time. It will be the first season in which Imserso’s trips return to normal after covid. But they will do so with fewer places than before the pandemic and with fewer hotels participating in the campaign. And it is that the rise in energy and food prices together with the higher salary costs makes it economically unfeasible for many establishments to welcome travelers with the contracted prices. The Tourism program for the elderly, whose sales start this Thursday in ten communities (on Tuesday they did so in the rest), initially offered 816,029 places. It is the same number as last year since the contract has been extended and it was 13% less than the 938,000 of the pre-pandemic season. Even so, it has already been decided to increase the offer for inland destinations with 28,442 new places due to the increase in demand in this segment, and doing the same with coastal destinations is not ruled out depending on how sales go. The total number of hotels participating in the program has been reduced, not only compared to the pre-covid stage, but also compared to the last season. There are 242, compared to 270. And the fall is, to the decrease, close to 40%, in the establishments of sun and beach destinations. The reason is that hoteliers have no interest in working on a campaign that, if it has never been very profitable, is now ruinous for them. Frozen prices, soaring costs The Government decided this year to extend the contract made for the 20211/22 season with the tour operator Mundiplan, winner of the competition for destinations on the peninsular coast and the islands. These contracts, which were made for prices much lower than the bidding base budgets, have already been harshly criticized by the hotel sector. This year, with them frozen and with inflation skyrocketing, many establishments consider them unaffordable. “A four-star hotel is paid 22 euros per person per day. In exchange, you have to give all the accommodation service, full board in buffet format, water and wine, Wi-Fi, entertainment… If someone is able to find a hotel at those prices on any reservation website, let them know,” explains Nuria Montes , general secretary of the Hotel Business Association of the Valencian Community (Hosbec). Compared to those 22 euros that hotels receive for each Imserso visitor, a report commissioned by the hotel management from the University of Alicante already estimated last year that the minimum cost per person for establishments was around 28 euros. With inflation standing at 10.5% last August, this gap between costs and income has become insurmountable for many of these businesses, who had a way to reduce the impact of seasonality in Imserso trips. of the tourist season. “Since last year, the increase in the cost of personnel, together with that of food and beverages, which is one of the most important items and has risen 25%, and that of the energy bill, has led to that minimum unit cost up to 34 euros. It supposes a difference of 50% with what is received and this has caused that many hotels have not been able to continue”, says Montes. In the case of the Valencian Community, the Autonomous Executive will finance the Imserso program with five million euros to help hoteliers and make it viable. “Although we continue to lose money, we prefer the social balance and maintain employment throughout the year. We can’t tell a worker that we close on October 15 and he’s going to go on strike until March. We don’t want to have to fire the squads”, they reiterate from Hosbec. Despite everything, in many other tourist areas, the situation has led many hotels to opt for closures during the fall and winter instead of joining the Imserso campaign. In the Balearic Islands, of the 35 hotels that participated last year, this year only 20 will do so. In Andalusia, it will go from 44 to 24, and in Catalonia, from 38 to 21. As regards the Canary Islands, the hotel offer will has reduced from 36 establishments to 14.Imserso: “It was impossible to increase prices”Faced with the complaint of the hotel sector, from Imserso, its general director defends that this season the agency did not have the capacity to maneuver to touch the prices that were contracted with the UTEs (Mundiplan, for specifications for coastal areas and Avoris, for inland trips), just when the sector was trying to get out of the doldrums of the pandemic. “Inflation has skyrocketed since March with the invasion of Ukraine and we have had no choice but to extend the contracts we have, and the law on public sector contracts does not allow price revisions. And, in any case, it would be the prices that the UTEs charge, not the ones that they set with the hotels, in which we do not intervene, nor do we know about, nor do we fix them”, he explains. A new tender would have meant, due to the deadlines established by law, that the trips would not have been able to start until the spring of 2023. “That meant practically losing another campaign, something that neither the Imserso program nor the sector itself can afford” . All in all, Barriga is satisfied with the total recovery of the program after the pandemic (489,000 places were filled last year, almost 60% of the total since the season started in January) and assures that the figures for the first days of sales are being very positive. “There is a great desire to travel again, it has been shown that Imserso trips are safe and the number of reservations is being spectacular. Hopefully, we can increase the places.”

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