Many businesses give up participating due to the freezing of rates and the rise in costs
There is no year in which the travel schedule for seniors of Imserso smooth start. After two years of the pandemic, now the problem is that many hotels have decided not to participate because, as costs have skyrocketed, they say it is no longer worth it. The Government decided to extend the conditions of the program instead of making new contracts, which meant freezing the rates (22 euros per night and person), despite the fact that the rise in energy costs was already known, denounces a close source to negotiations.
These sources estimate that there may be 40% of the hotels that have dropped out of the program, about a hundred, which affects thousands of jobs, they explain. The Valencian hoteliers, who do continue in the program, are spared this stampede thanks to the aid plan launched by the Valencian Government, which will invest five million to thus reduce the losses in the sector. It represents 20% of the entire offer of the social tourism program for the elderly.
This year the program it had some 816,000 beds. There are coastal areas that endured the winter thanks to Imserso and are going to run out of activity. And some older people already arrive at travel agencies asking about some destinations and are told that there are no hotels, they lament.
The companies awarded the subsidized travel program that depends on the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030 directed by Ione Belarra are Mundiplan (union of companies formed by Iberia, Alsa and IAG7) and Social Tourism (voris). The first manages the hotels on the coasts and islands, which is where the problems lie, and the second manages inland tourism.
Given the difficulty in finding hotels, and in order to justify the number of places assigned to it, Mundiplan is concentrating them on Valencian hotels, so that there is a concentration of beds in fewer hotelsexplain these sources.
In the Balearic Islands there will be fewer companies participating, which have based their decision on continued low prices and rising costsagrees the executive vice president of the Business Federation of Hotels of Mallorca (Fehm), María José Aguil.
Nuria Montes, general secretary of the Valencian hoteliers association, Hosbec, also agrees that many businessmen outside this community have decided to resign. They calculate losses of about 12 million euros, since the companies awarded they pay them 22 euros per person and gives (the price has been frozen), but the costs, they calculate, amount to 34 euros, which implies that employers receive four euros per person and day.
They denounce that personnel costs have increased by 6% and food and beverage costs by 25%, while energy, which accounts for 20% of their costs, has increased by 300%. This is a ruin after two years of pandemic.
In the past season there were already problems, because the Imserso launched its trips in January, with months of delay. 59.93% of the total number of places available, some 489,042, were executed. Already then the sector denounced that they were paid below costs and that the energy crisis had not yet broken out.
This updating of the program is needed so that the entire sector and all the communities can continue to guarantee this continuity, says Aguil.
The Imserso model, which was devised to finance cheap trips for retirees, but also to so that companies could maintain employment throughout the year, not only in high season.
It is a political decision. They should not implement a contracting system that forces them to work below cost, says Montes. Sector sources agree in criticizing the Ministry’s neglect and the difficulties they have in dialoguing and meeting. It’s like they don’t care.