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Escarrer compares Next Generation funds with Zapatero’s Plan E

Gabriel Escarrerpresident of Meliá Hotels International, yesterday compared the Next Generation funds that are being invested in tourism with the Zapatero’s Plan E.

Image from yesterday’s event. From left to right: Enric Sierra (deputy director of La Vanguardia), Gabriel Escarrer (president and CEO of Meliá Hotels International), and Enrique Lacalle (president of the Círculo Ecuestre). Source: Borràs Camps / Círculo Ecuestre de Barcelona.

During a conference at Barcelona Equestrian CircleGabriel Escarrer was very critical when assessing how the 3.4 billion euros of Next Generation funds destined for tourism are being invested in Spain and questioned the medium and long term economic repercussions that this injection of capital may have on destinations.

According to the president and CEO of Meliá, the vast majority of these investments financed with European funds -which are being executed by Autonomous Communities and City Councils- “They have little that is transformative and strategic.”

For this reason, he added, the Next Generation funds “they are going to become Zapatero’s plan E.”

Gabriel Escarrer once again regretted that this million-dollar investment has not been directed, instead, to the repositioning of mature destinations, through a PERTE.

“I miss that after Covid the Next Generation funds have not been to transform mature destinations and thus ensure their competitiveness for the next 20 years,” he said.

  • European funds, a missed opportunity for the sector?
Escarrer compares Next Generation funds with Zapatero's Plan E

Gabriel Escarrer, at the event held yesterday Monday afternoon in Barcelona. Source: Borràs Camps / Círculo Ecuestre de Barcelona.

“Public-private collaboration goes by neighborhood”

Gabriel Escarrer also sang the mea culpaadmitting that the private sector is “very atomized” and, therefore, it is difficult for it to value the weight of tourism before public administrations and Spanish society.

The president of Meliá Hotels International also said that public-private collaboration will be essential to plan the future of Spanish destinations and in this way “gradually change our tourism model”, towards one of greater expense.

“We must prevent markets from perceiving Spanish destinations as a commodity productbecause then other cheaper destinations will beat us,” he explained.

However, “in Spain, public-private collaboration goes by neighborhood,” he concluded.

Criticism of the “lack of control” of vacation rentals

Gabriel Escarrer also regretted the “lack of control of vacation rentals in Spain.”

“How is it possible that the 80% of the portfolio from some platforms is not within the law?”, he asked himself.

According to the president of Meliá, the vacation rental boom is the main cause of the gentrification in the historic centers, the disappearance of local businesses and the loss of identity of the cities.


Related news:
– Exceltur Forum: after recovering the figures, it is time for the purpose
– Vacation rental boom. What do hoteliers say?
– Transforming the model, the great challenge facing Spanish tourism in 2024

Source: Hosteltur

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