Tourism industry leaders in Spain are warning of the consequences of the political situation in Catalonia for tourism in the country as a whole. The Mesa del Turismo, a group of leading businesspeople and industry professionals, says that the instability and the publicity being given to it is creating an image of insecurity in Spain.
The digital newspaper El Confidencial has quoted Alfonso del Poyo, the vice-president of Meliá Hotels International, who says that hoteliers are experiencing significant drops in bookings, with cancellations stemming from a suspension of convention activity in Catalonia.
Nevertheless, airlines such as Lufthansa have not reported any particular impact on bookings to Barcelona as yet. The political situation is such, however, that the radical CUP in Catalonia has called on the regional parliament (assuming it is able to convene) to look at ways of taking control of ports and airports.
Travel agencies in Spain, including the Balearics, are reporting little demand for Catalonia at present, though in Catalonia itself they remain optimistic for 2018 while conceding that there is uncertainty in the short term.
The conflict may well have a greater impact than the terrorist attack in Barcelona. National tourism minister Alvaro Nadal is among those to have suggested that it will do. Bookings recovered quite swiftly following the attack, and during September, despite the rising tension, there was no impact. Bookings for October, however, which had shown a rebound after some cancellations because of the terrorist incident, are now dropping again. As for November, analysts say it is too early to be certain of the impact. Advance bookings have been good, but there could well be cancellations.
Meanwhile, the banking sector is taking its own measures. One of Catalonia's main banks, and one with high presence in Majorca, Banco Sabadell, has switched its registered office to Alicante. CaixaBank is said to be contemplating a similar move and may make an announcement today, with Majorca a possibility. Sabadell's central services remain in Barcelona, though. The switch to Alicante, explains the bank, is to protect its clients and to ensure legal security.
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