Catalonia: tension over independence, tourism drops

Association denounces damages caused by separatist process

12 October, 13:41

    MADRID - The separatist process in Catalonia is starting to have a serious impact on tourism, one of the region's main economic resources, according to the association Foment del Treball, in a statement called 'Foment diu prou', or Foment says stop.

    According to the association representing tourism businesses, hotel reservations since the controversial October 1 referendum on independence have dropped by 50% compared to the seasonal average.

    The arrival of tourists in Barcelona dropped by 30%, a trend the association blamed on the ''serious social and economic situation experienced by Catalonia''.

    ''The uncertain path chosen by political forces with a firm majority in 'Parlament' in the month of September have crossed illegal boundaries, bringing the country towards national and international disrepute and perhaps economic disarray'', the statement also said. The association, chaired by Joachim Gay de Montella, criticized the ''context of political uncertainty and risk'' that caused ''the reaction and response of companies that are very important in Catalonia, some essential protagonists of our entrepreneurial history'', in a reference to the fact that large Catalan corporations have moved their headquarters.

    ''Hundreds of companies of smaller dimension'' are following their example, the statement said.

    According to Foment del Treball, ''it is a clear reflection of the maximum degree of concern through which, in the entrepreneurial sector, we are watching a very serious political conflict that affects us all''. In noting the ''risk of economic instability'', the association urged political leaders to have a sense of ''responsibility'' and to ''dialogue'' to avoid ''irreparable consequences for Catalonia and Spain''.

    Another association, Gremi de restauraciò, which represents the restaurant sector, denounced a drop ''between 25% and 30% in sales'' in September, which followed ''the damage caused by tourism phobia'' with demonstrations against mass tourism and the Ramblas terror attack in Barcelona last August.

    In stressing the ''worrying decrease of foreign tourists'' and the cancellation of meetings and congresses, Gremi recalled that the hotel and restaurant sectors employ 70,000 people in Barcelona alone. (ANSAmed)

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