Expediting the RTAs due to force majeure and cancelling the obligation to recover the workers after the end of the State of Alarm if this does not imply authorization for the conclusion of conferences and events; inclusion of all MICE tourism sub-sectors in the force majeure; and request for extension of funds and expediting of ICO and IGAPE loans, are some of the demands that the MICE sector has presented to Turismo de Galicia, with the
request that they be supported and defended before the regional and national administrations.
In the document, signed by the seven business associations included in the Galicia MICE – OPC Galicia, Association of Galician Conference Centres, Galician Association of Fairs and Events, A Coruña Hotel Business Association HOSPECO, Association of Hotel Businesses of the Province of Pontevedra ASEHOSPO, Unión Hotelera Compostela, Hostelería Compostela and the Provincial Association of Restaurants and Hospitality Businesses of Santiago – emphasize the unconditional support to the management of the health crisis and the firm commitment of the companies to maintain the activity and all the jobs but, they emphasize, “the total impossibility to do it until the realization of congresses, meetings and events is authorized”.
The companies whose main economic activity is MICE tourism “will not be able to recover their staff until the realization of events is authorized. Not taking into account these circumstances after the lifting of the State of Alarm would lead to the closure of most companies”, he warns. The document recalls that the congressional activity was already suspended before the declaration of the State of Alarm and that it will be, with very high probability, one of the last to be authorized. The maintenance of companies and jobs necessarily requires the adoption of support measures and a reconstruction programme in the
who offer to collaborate without conditions.
Proposals in the labour and tax field
In the labour field, the Galician MICE sector advocates the inclusion in the ERTEs by force majeure of all related sub-sectors, such as hotels, fairgrounds, audiovisual services companies, design, assembly, active tourism, guides, translators or hostesses. It is also requested agility in the loans, forgiveness of the quotas of self-employed until the activity is recovered or reduction to 10% of the VAT of the registration fees in events during the first year after the recovery of the activity. Without firm measures, the organisations say, it will be practically impossible to give continuity to the activity of the MICE business network, formed mostly by SMEs and the self-employed.
The document also includes a series of proposals for the maintenance of the activity and its recovery. They request from the Xunta and all the Galician institutions that the planned events are not cancelled, but postponed, and that they commit to hire them from companies in the Community, which have amply demonstrated their professionalism over the years. Measures are also proposed such as the Xunta de Galicia negotiating a framework agreement with transport companies (airlines, rail and road) to ensure the recovery of frequencies and the maintenance or even reduction of prices, to facilitate travel to our Community.
MICE companies and groups in Spain and Galicia have already set up working groups to address strategies for the return to normal, such as the drafting of a document on safety and good health practices to be observed during events involving more than twenty people. In this respect, Galicia MICE requests that the administrations plan to provide the protective health material that will surely be perceptive for the recovery of the activity, taking into account the absolute commitment of the sector to the safety and health of both workers and attendees.
Distance events and promotional campaigns as a MICE destination
The signatories consider that the short-term strategy is necessarily to reinvent itself and offer Galicia as a virtual MICE destination. To this end, they propose the creation of tools to facilitate remote events, such as the creation of “a meeting centre that can be used as a set by the entire MICE sector in Galicia”. The idea is to build a space equipped with the basic physical and technological tools, in which the usual meeting and congress scenarios can be reproduced, and which serves the whole sector as a virtual congress and meeting venue.
“Having this space available quickly would allow us to position ourselves as a differentiated virtual MICE destination, to continue capturing congresses and meetings, and to provide a viable alternative to the cancellation of events scheduled for 2020 and early 2021”, the associations state. Reinforcing and carrying out positioning campaigns for the Galicia MICE web portal and including the sector in the promotion campaigns for Galicia as a tourist destination are other actions they propose. For the new start, they state, it is to be expected that both organisers and attendees will start by scheduling events that are not very numerous and in easy and small destinations. “We are convinced that small, friendly and not overcrowded cities will help to activate confidence, and that is where we are strong in Galicia”.
“We have perfectly prepared cities, equipped with modern spaces and venues, with high quality hotels and with solvent companies and professionals to develop any type of event. We also have uncrowded rural areas that encourage integration with nature and the Way of Saint James as a leading reference for our destination in 2021”, he highlights.