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Travel agencies demand direct financial aid to help them survive

Protest in Barcelona attended by hundreds to urge Catalan government to provide rescue plan

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17 December 2020 04:52 PM

by

Natacha Maurin | Barcelona

Hundreds of travel agency professionals came out to Plaça Sant Jaume on Thursday to demand direct aid from the Catalan government to help them survive these next few difficult months, and facilitate them with a rescue plan for the industry. 

This is the second protest staged by the travel agencies industry, speakers mentioned that most of them have been out of work since travel restrictions came in on March 14.

The rallying cry of “we cannot do this anymore” rang out throughout the duration of the demonstration.

Representatives of the Business Assocation of Travel Agencies (ACAVe) also advocated for the change from PCR tests to enter Spain to antigen tests - a measure also supported by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

They also urged that the government in Madrid listen to these requests, as a sister protest took place in the Spanish capital.

Furthermore, they denounced that the measures which have been put in place so far to help the industry have been “completely insufficient”

“We can survive, we will survive but they need to explain to us with what tools and what reasoning.” Jordi García, the spokesman for the ‘Locos por viajar’ association of travel agencies, explained to Catalan News . 

More information was also demanded regarding Spain’s temporary redundancy scheme, the ERTO, and whether this will continue past the expected January 31.

Speakers at the protest were also clear to mention that they were not the only part of the tourism industry that has been affected by the pandemic. Hospitality, tour guides and all businesses linked to tourism have felt the heavy blow of limitations of travel.

Travel restrictions

Currently, heavy travel restrictions are placed throughout the world. Travellers from certain countries cannot enter Spain without a negative PCR test.

Moreover, mobility is currently limited to a county-wide level in Catalonia, and leaving the country is only allowed for certain exceptions.

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  • A poster saying “less words, more aids” at a protest in Barcelona, December 17, 2020 (by Maria Asmarat)

  • A poster saying “less words, more aids” at a protest in Barcelona, December 17, 2020 (by Maria Asmarat)

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