Private hostels call for more government support to address pandemic crisis

camino de santiago

Private hostels call for more government support to address pandemic crisis

Agalber, the association that brings together 90 of the 300 private hostels in our territory, emphasizes their dependence on foreign tourism, which leaves them in a precarious situation

The network of private hostels associated with Agalber shows its specific weight as part of the Galician tourist sector to claim greater support and a specific plan for this type of tourist establishment, deeply affected by the crisis of the coronavirus, as it depends almost entirely on the Camino de Santiago and national and especially foreign mobility. “Private hostels are the establishments with more difficulties in the tourist sector to out of this crisis, and to achieve this we call for effective and mandated measures The association explains, “We will be able to make a profit as soon as possible”.

The group, which directly employs more than 1200 people, much of them in rural areas. offers more than 13000 places, 75% of those available in all roads, and in 2019 invoiced more than 22 million euros, generating thousands of indirect jobs in service companies and suppliers throughout Galicia.

In view of the situation caused by the crisis of the COVID 19 and the paralysis in the affluence of the pilgrims, who represent more than 90% of their clients – 65% of them are foreigners – the situation of the hostels has become very complicated, as they are establishments designed to share all their spaces. “This characteristic that defines us in this crisis is also the great problem of our establishments. We understand that social distancing measures are essential to avoid the collapse of the health system and save many lives, and of course the hostels that are going to open are willing to take all the necessary prevention and disinfection measures to ensure the safety of our workers and the pilgrims and tourists we accommodate,” they explain in a statement, “but this adaptation will have costs that very few can afford. With a very low price per bed, maximum capacity less than 50%, and a very low forecast for the arrival of pilgrims, the viability The cost of the hostels for the next few months will be much more difficult than any another accommodation facility”.

Agalber’s statement also emphasizes that many of the owners and hospitaliers of these shelters are groups at risk from the pandemic so they will not open in the coming months and could be the case that many beds are lost in the face of Xacobeo 2021. For all these reasons, Agalber is suing the Xunta:

  1.  Creation of a label endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism, similar to Portugal’s Clean and Safe, which is free and which distinguishes establishments that implement contingency plans and recommendations published in the hostel manual, to help them convey the image of security that is now essential. Small establishments at present, they cannot afford the high costs of being promoted by certification companies.
  2. Benefit for cessation of activity while there is no vaccine or treatment for SARS-Cov-2 for owners of those establishments that request it because they are high-risk persons.
  3. New IGAPE financing lines guaranteed by the Xunta without the intermediation of mutual guarantee companies.
  4. Plan of action in the event of a positive result in an establishment, with economic aid for the disinfection of the establishment and for the owner during the time he must remain in quarantine and also for the workers.
  5. Non-refundable subsidies for adaptation to the new hygiene and risk prevention regulations in the face of Covid-19, for the preparation of contingency plans with the advice of professionals, and for the contracting of services and the purchase of specific hygiene and disinfection equipment for Covid-19.
  6. Aid to digitize the check-in systems in the hostels, to avoid contact with the documents of the travelers, and to be done in an agile way without queues and agglomerations in the reception of the establishments. Also for the creation of a specialized App for personal hostels that allows pilgrims and other customers to book in advance and avoid the concentration of the arrival in rush hours among other functions.
  7. Interactive training courses in cleaning, disinfection and prevention of contagion by Covid-19, professional training in foreign languages for the hotel industry, online marketing and promotion, use of company social networks, use of computer tools for hotel management, quality and excellence in customer service, etc.
  8. Promotional campaigns that highlight the quality and added value that the hostels contribute to the Camino experience. Financial support for the hostels to have a representation according to their importance in the tourism fairs, especially those dedicated to the Way.
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