The Omicron coronavirus variant has wreaked havoc on the struggling industry despite hopes that 2022 will mark a huge improvement over 2021
Some 219 travel agencies in Andalusia have received €11.5 million in aid to keep them afloat, revealed Nuria Rodríguez, Malaga province delegate to the Junta de Andalucía Ministry of Tourism.
The funds come from the EU’s Resilience Fund, of which a total of 1.1 billion is allocated to Andalusia. So far, 1,690 businesses have received €75.5 million in aid. Some 11.5 million euros went to travel agencies.
Speaking during a visit to Viajes Marimartur travel agency, Rodríguez said: “Grants range from 3,000 euros to 200,000 euros. With them, the beneficiaries will be able to pay their debts and make payments to suppliers and other creditors in addition to the fixed costs already paid and the losses generated from March 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021. Some of the owners of these agencies have earmarked this payment assistance credits they received at the start of the pandemic.
María del Mar López, director of the Viajes Marimartur agency, said the aid was vital.
“Without this help, probably half of the branches would be closed or we wouldn’t be able to survive and we would be in very bad shape.” The president of the Association of Travel Agencies of the Costa del Sol, Sergio García, added: “There have been interesting aids whose amount depends on the number of employees and the activity of each agency, but which provided respite.”
“This sector plays a fundamental role in creating wealth and jobs in our community. It is largely to this sector that we owe the economic recovery we are experiencing,” Rodríguez said.
“Despite the good results and that we recorded a reactivation at the end of the year, the administration must continue to support the professionals who have been particularly affected by the coronavirus crisis,” she added.